There are a lot of sit-down, $20-a-head Korean restaurants in the valley, but not so many places on the quick, inexpensive end of the spectrum. The owners of K Zzang decided to take this less-traveled casual route, though their motivation was largely due to the restaurant’s location: downtown San Jose, where they anticipated a majority of their business would be working people with only an hour or less for their lunch break. They designed all their food choices to be fast, convenient and easy to take out.

The menu actually includes only two meal choices (along with a few sides options), both of which are very basic, traditional Korean dishes. The first, bibimbap, can be found nearly anywhere in Korea. The other, dosirak, which is like a Korean bento box, is more of a traditional home-prepared lunch than a restaurant dish. They both come with several protein options. The bibimbaps are $7.99; the dosiraks, $8.99.

Each bibimbap comes in a large bowl with warm white rice, cucumbers, carrots and other fresh veggies along with protein choices of beef, chicken, tofu, spicy pork and shrimp. A raw egg is a common addition in Korea, but that option isn’t available at K Zzang. The dish falls somewhere between a salad and a stir fry. I ordered beef, which was tender, but not too soft. All the flavors are all very simple and delicious, containing just the taste of the ingredients: the meat, veggies and rice, and not any added sauces. 

The dosirak is probably more common in Korean restaurants in America than in Korea, since, like the bento box in Japan or the lunchbox in America, dosirak describes how the food is presented. At K Zzang, the components include rice, veggies (in my case a serving of broccoli in hot sauce), an egg roll (with is literally an egg roll, like an omelette almost), a noodle dish and the protein. The options are the same as with the bibimbap, except no tofu. I ordered mine with chicken. While I liked all the sides, I thought the chicken was a little dry.

Off the side menu, I ordered pajeon, which was translated on the menu as “seafood pancake.” It actually seemed more like a seafood pizza or a crab cake, but with shrimp and calamari, and a bit on the greasy side. It was surprisingly delicious, though probably not as healthy as the other two plates.

K Zzang
78 S. First St., San Jose; 408.975.6677