To be frank, not much has changed: Parking in the tiny plaza remains a mission, lineups are persistent, and members of waitstaff are hurried and snappy.
On the bright side, table turnovers are ridiculously swift, meaning that wait times are brief - an average of 10-15 minutes on weekend afternoons. Regrettably, prices have surged since last fall, and even sharing a single order isn't so economic now.
This happened to be our very situation, for an obnoxiously loud couple migrated to the adjacent table halfway into our meal.
It commenced with condescending remarks from the male, then equally eye-raising responses from the female. She began to complain about the prices of the dishes before her, which was my sole prompt to look down at my own menu sheet. I suppose she was right in that Cho Sun Ok was far from being an inexpensive, fast-service restaurant. However, at the same time, it seemed unnecessary to rant aggressively when the wait had already been endured.
The steamed mandu was, unfortunately, sourced from a freezer. Albeit satisfying in terms of a veggie-carb balance, the filling was stiff and the edges of the wrapper firm and dry.
Its accompanying platter of dipping sauce was, on the contrary, very distinct. Seemingly a blend of soy sauce, lemon juice, and a lightly sweetened vinegar, the condiment worked wonders for elevating the profile of pre-packaged provender.
I settled for dessert. (Dessert first, anyways.)
While in wait, we had analyzed the options before us: Korean-style churros could be ordered in their Original form ($4) or with glaze and toppings as a Special ($5). Combining ice cream to the concoction was an additional three to four dollars, and any extra toppings would be fifty cents more.
It was relayed to us that Cream Cheese was one of the less popular choices (ranking fourth out of five in terms of demand), since some customers apparently did not enjoy the taste of Philadelphia cream cheese. Hearing this, we switched to a Condensed Milk glaze - the single best-selling glaze option.
A minimal amount of glaze was observed on the loop: the flavour of condensed milk was subtle and largely masked by the fragrance and crunch of chopped peanuts. Contrary to the finely-diced fragments I had been expecting, the larger pieces of peanuts was a pleasant surprise.
In terms of price and size, the churro parfait is undoubtedly most suited for sharing. A single loop devoid of ice cream could easily curb sugar cravings for one ravenous appetite (or two smaller, casual stomachs).
One Zo is my default pick in the area, so I suggested popping in to grab drinks for the return journey.
Nature Melon Lemon was a citrusy upgrade from the sophisticated roasted profile of Nature Melon, while Melon Spring Tea appeared a ridiculously light blend of green and oolong with subtle sweetness.