Bada Story – Great Korean Hwe (Sashimi) In Flushing

Bada Story is a restaurant in Flushing that specializes in hwe (Korean style sashimi).  Hwe is a little different than the Japanese sashimi as it tends to be served directly after being killed whereas most fish we have in sushi restaurants has been aged.  There is a misconception that great fish in sushi restaurants is super fresh when in fact the meat needs to have a little time in order to break down to get that very tender texture associated good sushi.  Also, hwe tends to be eaten with chogochujang which is gochujang (Korean spicy pepper sauce) mixed with vinegar and other seasonings like sesame oil.

Bada Story basically only serves hwe and you order set menus that offer a variety of other dishes in addition to hwe.  The restaurant feels like you’re in Korea and the interior looks like a cabin.  It’s a fun atmosphere where people are having fun eating and drinking.  The waiters speak varying degrees of English, but they have a couple of waiters who are fluent in English and the menu is in English, so communication is not an issue.

There are tanks where the keep the fish and sea cucumbers (the weird pinkish long things).

We got the fluke set, which was recommended by a friend of mine that is from the area.  This set was a shocking amount of high quality food for the price and we were very full at the end (everything below is part of the set).  It ended up being $65 per person including drinks, tax and tip!


These were raw vegetables served with tenjang (fermented bean paste).  They were fresh and tasted great with the tenjang.  8/10

Seafood Salad

This was a lettuce salad with fish roe and squid in a sweet ginger dressing.  The seafood was nicely fresh and it was tasty.  7.75/10

Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Pancake)

This is a typical Korean seafood pancake.  It wasn’t oily and was nicely crispy.  It came with a tangy soy sauce with peppers and onions in it.  The version here was good.  8/10

Steamed Egg

This is a steamed egg custard that is made with egg, water and sugar.  It’s a simple dish, but I always really like this dish as I tend to like eggy dishes.  8/10

Cheese Corn

This is yellow corn with cheese on top of it, which is common at Korean restaurants.  They also added corn, peas and shrimp here as well.  It’s certainly not gourmet, but there is something satisfying about the sweetness of the corn and the creaminess of the cheese.  7.75/10

Mussel Soup

This was a simple soup with mussels.  The mussels were fresh and the soup base is very light with the flavor of mussels imparted into it.  7.75/10

Fried Fluke

This was fried fluke with a slightly tangy soy sauce.  It was freshly fried and not oily.  The meat was tender and flaky.  It wasn’t anything special, but it was still pretty decent.  7.5/10

Sea Pineapple and Sea Cucumber Sashimi

This looks super bizarre, but the red-orange things are sea pineapple and the grey-blue things are sea cucumber.  While they look like they might be really mushy, the texture is actually somewhat firm and crunchy when you bite into it.  It was very fresh tasting and despite its bizarre appearance the flavor is quite mild and mainly tastes salty and briny.  You dip it in soy sauce with wasabi.  I found it to be quite delicious.  8/10

Grilled Whole Fish

This was a whole fish grilled with salt and lemon.  This fish was cooked properly, so the meat was tender, but they over-salted the fish, so it was a bit too salty otherwise I’d have given it a higher rating.  7.5/10

Mixed Sashimi Platter

This was a platter of several cuts of fish, octopus, abalone, shrimp, uni and this odd looking thing which I’m actually not sure what it was (I believe it might’ve been part of the sea cucumber).  Everything was very fresh tasting and surprisingly high quality.  I was quite impressed by this sashimi platter. 8.25/10

Fluke Hwe (Sashimi)

This was the main course.  The fluke was laid out on rocks with dry ice at the bottom, it was kind of over the top, but it did look pretty.  Fluke is a very mild flavored fish, so the flavor is quite subtle.  The meat was extremely fresh having just been killed so it’s got a firmer texture than you might be used to at a normal sushi restaurant.  I like to dip it in the chogochujang, which is tangy, sweet and spicy, but you can also dip it in soy sauce and wasabi.  It was good although I was pretty full by the time it showed up.  8/10


After the fluke they gave us some light kimchi, which was a nice palate cleanser.  7.75/10

Spicy Tuna Roll

This was just a small spicy tuna roll.  It was decent, but nothing special.  7.5/10

Maewoon Tang (Spicy Fish Stew)

This is a spicy fish stew.  I was so full by the time this came that I only really ate some to see how it tasted.  The ingredients were all fresh, but the soup was a little light in flavor.  Good versions of this stew tend to be spicier and have more the seafood flavor imparted into the broth.  7.5/10

Overall, I really enjoyed my meal here.  The food is good and it’s a fun place to come with friends.  It also happens to be very reasonably priced for what you are getting.

161-23 Crocheron Ave
Flushing, NY 11358
(718) 321-9555

Bangane – A Korean Goat Specialist And One Of The Most Exciting Restaurants In Flushing

I think I may get jaded sometimes when you go to as many restaurants as I do and it takes more for me to get excited these days than it used to. Luckily, Bangane is one of those rare finds that really got me excited.

Bangane is a Korean goat specialist restaurant located further down Northern Blvd in the sleepier part of the Korean section of Flushing. I’ve tried one of these places in LA a long time ago, but it was so long ago that I barely remember it as this point, so I was really excited to go re-introduce myself to this dish. This dish is pretty rare and even if you ask people from Korea about it you get this questioning look as it’s not common at all. I don’t know this for sure, but I’d guess this is probably country people type food.

The restaurant has a very traditional looking wood interiors and looks like an old school neighborhood restaurant in Korea. It has this sort of rustic sleepy atmosphere, which I liked. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Most don’t speak English very well, but one lady spoke English decently and was able to help us order properly.

They brought out a nice spread of panchan.


I read a few reviews online who said they were well known for their kimchi. However, while their kimchi wasn’t bad, I found it too sweet and I thought it was just alright. 7.25/10

Jap Chae

This was standard jap chae (glass noodles), but was made well. It wasn’t overly sweet or over sauced as a lot places make it and was a pretty decent rendition although it was pre-cooked as most panchan is. 7.75/10

Bean Sprouts And Broccoli

This was bean sprouts and broccoli cooked with sesame oil; it was fine and pretty standard. 7.75/10

Dried Squid In Spicy Sauce

This is dried squid that is covered in gochujang (Korean chili paste). While it looks spicy, it’s actually sweeter as opposed to spicy. I always love this and it was quite good here. 8/10

Boiled Greens

Standard boiled greens, nothing special. 7/10

Lotus Root

These were lotus root cooked in a sweet soy sauce. They made these excellent here as they retained their crisp without being too tough and were not overly sweet as most places make them. 8.25/10

Egg Custard

This is a simple dish made from boiling eggs, water and sugar, which results in this egg custard thing with scallions. It’s pretty hard to mess this dish up and it was good here. 8/10

Pickled Radish Soup

This is a cold spicy pickled radish soup that is tart, slightly sweet and very refreshing. I always love when they give you this. 8/10

Pan Fried Goat Liver

This was goat liver that had been covered with egg and then pan fried in oil. It turned out to be quite good, it wasn’t metallic tasting at all, wasn’t dry and had good flavor. Also, while it looked really oily, it actually wasn’t at all. 8/10

Boiled Goat Meat

They bring out a big chunk of boiled goat meat on the bone and cut up the meat table side then they put the meat on top of a steamer which has a bed of scallions which have been steaming. You let it steam for a couple minutes then you take the meat, scallions and wrap it in lettuce with the various condiments and dip it in a really great smoky tangy spicy sauce. I wasn’t sure how this would be, but really it turned out to be excellent and one of the more exciting dishes I’ve had in NY in a while. The meat was tender, flavorful and had a slight gaminess to it that I really liked. I know a lot of people shy away from goat or lamb because they don’t like the gamey flavor, but I’m telling you this is really good and I believe most people will really like it. 8.5/10


The next course is a jungol, which is a big stew. They take the leftover goat meat, add more scallions and cook it in a spicy broth. The resulting stew was pretty good although I thought it could use a bit more flavor. However, one of the waitresses told us to put some of the spicy sauce with vinegar we used for the boiled goat into it, which was perfect as the tangy sauce gave it an extra kick of flavor that made it quite good. 8/10 (7.5/10 without the sauce)

Fried Rice

Normally when they do this, I never end up having enough room to actually enjoy it. However, this time I had enough to room to enjoy it. They take the soup pan, add rice and seawood to the leftover soup and keep cooking it until it turns into fried rice. It’s fairly light as far as fried rice goes because they don’t use any oil. Also, it’s not heavy flavored, but I liked it quite a bit particularly as a last dish. 8/10

Overall, I really enjoyed this meal and I’d highly recommend trying this place out as not only is it delicious, but quite unique in NY.

16519 Northern Blvd
Flushing, NY 11358
Phone: (718) 762-2799

Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong – Finally Good Korean BBQ In NY

Kang Ho Dong is a famous Korean comedian and former wrestler who started a chain on Korean BBQ restaurants in Korea.  Baekjeong refers to low class people in ancient times who were butchers by trade although it’s not a term people regularly use anymore.  Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong opened their first branch in the US in LA where it is very popular and well regarded.  Thankfully they decided to open another branch in Flushing.

Kang Ho Dong is located on Northern Boulevard in the Korean section of Flushing that is quieter and much less hectic than Downtown Flushing.  When you walk in you’ll find cartoon pictures and life sized cut outs of Kang Ho Dong everywhere.  The restaurant is large industrial looking open space that very much like you’re in Seoul although bigger than restaurants in Seoul.

We came at an off hour, but the service was pretty good and attentive.  I also love that they have the button, which every Korean restaurant in LA has.  When you press the button a waiter comes; it’s so practical, I kind of wish all restaurants had it!

Anyhow here’s what we got:


They don’t give you much panchan at Kang Ho Dong; you only get a sweet potato pancake, sweet potato chunks in a sweet thick soy sauce and kimchi.  All of the panchan were decent although not outstanding.  7.75/10

Beef Brisket Soybean Paste Stew (Tenjang Chigae)

We ordered two BBQ sets, each came with a free soup and this was one of those.  Over years I’ve become a bit of a snob when it comes to these types of soups as my GF’s mom is an amazing Korean cook and I’ve realized how subpar most restaurants make these.  However, I was pleasantly surprised and this was a pretty decent.  The broth had good flavor and was not overly salty or watery like most places.  I don’t normally see beef in this dish, but the brisket was a nice touch.  I was surprisingly pleased by this.  8/10

Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Chigae)

Same as the beef brisket, I was surprised that it was pretty decent.  It was nice and spicy and not overly salty.  8/10

Buckwheat Noodle With Spicy Sauce (Bibim Naeng Myun)

I love naeng myun which are black arrowroot noodles; you can read more about here.  They are typically a summer dish as they are served cold, but I couldn’t pass them up.  They are either served in a cold tangy and sweet broth (mul naeng myun) or served dry in a spicy, tangy and sweet sauce (bibim naeng myun).  We got the bibim naeng myun.  It’s pretty self-explanatory and is served with slices of pickled radish and Korean pear.  This was a pretty decent version and I’d order it again.  7.75/10

BBQ Condiments

The BBQ meats came with several condiments including scallions and bean sprouts topped with gochujang (sweet and spicy red chili sauce), lettuce, pickled radish slices, thick sweet soy sauce with onions and we also got sesame oil with salt and pepper, which I forgot to take a picture of but I highly recommend getting (you need to separately order it).  I particularly liked the scallions and bean sprouts and I got multiples orders of that.  8/10

Thinly Sliced Beef Brisket (Chadol Bagi)

This is thinly sliced beef brisket, which you cook very quickly and then put in a lettuce wrap with condiments and dip in the sesame oil with salt and pepper.  The meat quality was noticeably better than other Korean BBQ restaurants in NY, which I generally find use pretty mediocre quality meat.  It was good and I was quite happy with it.  8/10

Premium Boneless Short Rib (Saeng Kalbi)

This was one of my favorite cuts of the day.  In NY, I usually get marinated kalbi because the meat quality is not that great.  However, unmarinated kalbi is the way to go if the meat quality is better as it is here.  The meat was nicely marbled with great flavor; you really didn’t need much more than the meat and some lettuce.  I highly recommend getting this.  8.5/10

Marinated Boneless Short Rib (Yangnyum Kalbi)

This is the regular marinated kalbi.  The cut of meat while fairly decent wasn’t as good as the premium cut.  The marinade was good although it tasted a bit sweet after eating the saeng kalbi.  Overall, it was certainly better than other places in NY, but wasn’t at the same level as the saeng kalbi.  8/10

Marinated Pork Collar

This was pork collar marinated in a sweet soy sauce.  The meat was nicely tender and the marinade was good although I will say after the saeng kalbi all the marinades tasted kind of sweet.  8/10

Premium Seared Pork Belly (Sam Gyup Sal)

This was the traditional sam gyup sal; it’s pretty self-explanatory and they do a good version here.  Make sure to dip it in the sesame oil with salt and pepper.  8.25/10

Premium Pork Jowl

This was interesting as it’s not common to find pork jowl at Korean BBQ.  As it turned out it was my other favorite cut of the day. It had a good pork flavor and while tender still have some springy-ness to it, which I really liked.  I would say this was the consensus favorite at our table.   Definitely make sure to order this.  8.5/10

Steamed Egg, Corn Cheese And Onion

When they cook your meat on the sides they put egg, corn and cheese and peppers and onions in these moats on the side the side of the grill.  As its cooking it cooks these as well.  They were all pretty good, but I think I liked the egg the best.  7.75/10

Overall, it was very good and I’m glad there is finally a good Korean BBQ place in NY.

152-12 Northern Blvd
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 886-8645

Han Joo – Great Korean Sam Gyup Sal (BBQ Pork Belly) Specialist in Flushing / Murray Hill and the East Village

Han Joo is a well-known Korean restaurant located in the Korean area of Flushing / Murray Hill.  As I’ve waxed on about in the past I love specialist restaurants because you know exactly what you’re going for and you know they are going to make it well.  At Han Joo they specialize in sam gyup sal, which is Korean pork belly BBQ.  They are also known for the fact that they don’t BBQ the meat on a typical Korean BBQ grill, but rather on crystal plate, which I’ll explain more about later.

The restaurant is located right in the middle of Korean area of Flushing / Murray Hill, which is the real Koreatown in NY.  It’s a small restaurant that like most restaurants in the area doesn’t have too much in the way of décor.  The service was fine and the hostesses seemed nice although I don’t think they speak English very well (my friends speak Korean).  However, the menu is translated into English (as you can see from my pictures below), so you should have no problems.

Ban Chan:

Ban chan are the small dishes that they give you for free at the beginning of the meal at Korean restaurants.  Here they gave us pajun (pan fried pancake), broccoli and seaweed with gochujang (chili paste), kong na mul (bean sprouts), sweet pickled radish strips, potato salad, marinated cold eggplant and jalapeno in soy sauce.  These were all good, nothing amazing, but competently made.  7.75/10

Crystal Grill:

Unlike most places in NY that use the regular metal grill, at Han Joo they bring out a thick crystal plate which is propped up diagonally with a fire underneath it and you grill you meat on it.  It looks cool although I’m not sure if there is a huge difference aside from the fact that your meat never actually touches fire.  Although the other added bonus is that the juices from the pork run down the plate and they put kimchi at the bottom which baths in it and you eat this kimchi which is delicious.

Thick Fresh Pork Belly (Kal Saeng Sam Gyup Sal):

Han Joo offers several different types of sam gyup sal, which you can see in the pictures of the menu above.  The first cut we got is the thick fresh pork belly was pretty similar to normal sam gyup sal except it was a little thicker.  It had great flavor and the meat was nicely fresh.  It’s pretty explanatory, but it was delicious.  This is definitely among the best sam gyup sal in NY and is a “must order” dish. 8.5/10

Marinated Pork Belly With Green Tea:

My friend who eats here fairly regularly said the thick cut is the best, but we decided to get the green tea as well so I could try some other flavors.  This was not cut quite as thick and was dusted with a green tea powder.  The powder gives it’s a green tea flavor and makes it a little more salty.  It was pretty good although I preferred the thick fresh pork belly.  8/10


The sam gyup sal comes with a variety of condiments including tenjang (bean paste), kinako powder (roasted soybean flour), sesame oil with salt and pepper, marinated onions and green onions, pickled radish, green peppers and raw garlic.  Personally I like it with sesame oil with salt and pepper and some kinako powder.  I also like it to wrap it up with the marinated onions and green onions in lettuce wraps and dip it in the sesame oil with salt and pepper.  I love pickled radish as well, but I usually eat it separately.

Purple Rice in Pumpkin:

The rice is pretty good here; nice and al dente.  I also love pumpkin so I liked this.  8/10

Tenjang Chigae:

Tenjang chigae is a simple bean paste stew.  It’s something people eat at home all the time, but for some reason restaurants in NY can never really get this right.  This wasn’t very good.  6.75/10

Mul Naeng Myun:

Mul naeng myun is a cold buckwheat noodle dish that has origins in North Korea and is usually eaten during the summer.  It’s served with ice, pickled radish, Korean pear and hardboiled egg.  The broth is tangy and sweet and the buckwheat noodles are slippery and have a bit of bite to them, but aren’t al dente per se.  I love mul naeng myun, but I find that the difference between a good version and an ok version to be relatively large.  It was ok here, but nothing special. 7/10

Overall, I thought the sam gyup sal here was great and definitely worth your time.  Also, they have opened a branch on St Marks in the East Village, so if you don’t want to trek all the way out the Flushing you can find it right here in the city as well.

Flushing / Murray Hill Branch:
41-06 149th Pl
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 359-6888

East Village Branch:
12 St Marks Pl (between Cooper Sq & Astor Pl)
New York, NY 10003
(646) 559-8683

Koo’s Sweet Rice Pancake Ho-tteok Cart – Delicious Ho Dduk (Korean Sweet Pancake) in Koreatown

This is a very short post on a cart that only serves one thing, which is a Korean sweet pancake that is called ho dduk.  The cart is located outside of the California Supermarket on Beverly between Western and Normandy.  It’s a tiny cart that has a Latino woman making the ho dduk.  I think this used to be at the other location of California Supermarket, but luckily I checked online for the address before I went there otherwise I would’ve gone to the old location.

Korean Sweet Pancake (Ho Dduk):

This is a pancake that is made up of wheat flour, tapioca starch, corn flour and rice flour.  The pancake is filled with a mixture that is made up of brown sugar and cinnamon (traditionally I believe it’s supposed to have chopped peanuts in it as well, but I don’t think it has any here).  The pancake is cooked on a griddle with some oil.  The outside is hot and a bit crispy, but the inside is gooey.  It’s got a great sweet cinnamon-y flavor.  I really like ho dduk, so this was great for me.  The one thing is that I’m not sure they cook them fresh to order anymore.  The lady gave me one that I believe had just been made as it was very hot and fresh tasting, but I saw a lot of pre-cooked ones.  Many years ago when I first started going here they used to cook them fresh to order and they are obviously best when cooked freshly.  8.5/10

Overall, this place is very satisfying for me.  I definitely think it’s worth checking out.

4317 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Seongbukdong – Korean Braised Beef (Kalbi Jjim) and Mackerel Specialist in Koreatown

I’m a big proponent of specialist restaurants because you know they are going to make that specific dish well.  In Asia, it’s very common to see specialist restaurants, but when you go to Asian communities in the U.S. you tend to see a lot of “jack of all trades master of none” type of restaurants.

However, one of the good things about the LA food scene is that the Asian communities are large enough that you actually do see quite a lot of specialist restaurants.  Seongbukdong is one of those types of restaurants.  It is a tiny Korean restaurant located in Koreatown that specializes in two dishes, kalbi jjim (braised beef) and godeungeo (mackerel).

The restaurant is a small room looks very Korean with lots of wood finishing and off white wall paper with lots of different newspaper clippings about the restaurant in many different languages (Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese).  We went at lunch and it was totally packed with about a 15 minute wait.  The servers were pretty nice and speak English although my girlfriend spoke with them in Korean, but my relatives spoke to them in English since we’re not Korean and they were able to converse fine.

Here’s what we got:

Complimentary Starter Dishes (Banchan):

They had an interesting selection of banchan, which are complimentary dishes that you are given at the beginning of a meal at Korean restaurants.  Here they gave us green chilis with tenjang (fermented bean paste), marinated mushrooms, cucumbers and bamboo, kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage) and a cold egg custard with scallions that hads the consistency tofu.  I thought all of the banchan were quite good and fresh and they were also a little different than the banchan most restaurants serve.  8.25/10

Fermented Bean Stew (Tenjang Chigae):

Tenjang chigae is a fermented bean paste stew that is a staple Korean dish.  The broth is pretty self-explanatory and it’s got tofu, enoki mushrooms and scallions in it as well.  When it’s made right it’s quite good, but unfortunately it fell pretty flat here.  The ingredients were generally fine, but the broth was way too salty and just sort of came together poorly.  I didn’t think it had a very good tenjang flavor either. 6.5/10

Grilled Mackerel (Godeungeo Gui):

I really like simple grilled fish, so I was excited about trying it here.  This was grilled mackerel with some salt and lemon.  It was grilled very nicely where it has a slight crisp on the outside, but the meat was quite tender without being mushy.  It was a solid dish. 8.5/10

Braised Mackerel (Godeungeo Jorim):

This was interesting as I’ve never had this dish before.  It was cut up mackerel that was still on the bone in a sauce made of fermented cabbage.  The sauce was quite pungent and had a very fermented flavor.  The mackerel was quite tender and had good texture.  I thought it was pretty decent, but it had a very strong fermented flavor and I’m not sure it’s something I’d crave to eat.  7.75/10

Braised Beef (Kalbi Jjim):

Kalbi jjim is one of my favorite Korean dishes.  It’s beef that is braised in a sweet soy sauce marinade.  It tastes just like it sounds and if you like slightly sweet foods and tender meat then this is a dish you will enjoy.  The marinade here was excellent and tastes exactly how it should.  The beef was a bit inconsistent, I’d say about 25% of the meat was nice and really tender, but other 75% was too dry.  I know what this is supposed to taste like because my girlfriend’s mom cooks the best version I’ve ever had (including in Korea) and I’d say the marinade is quite similar, but in her version every piece is melt in your mouth tender.  If they had gotten all of the meat to be tender it would’ve been gone from a good dish to a great dish. 8/10 (this could’ve been an 8.5-8.75 if the beef was consistently tender)

Spicy Pork (Daeji Bulgogi):

This is sliced pork that has been marinated in a spicy and sweet chili sauce.  The dish looked really good, but the version here was just okay.  The pork wasn’t tender enough and I thought it was a bit overly sweet.  7/10

Overall, I thought it was good although I don’t think it quite lived up to the hype of a lot of the reviews I read (particularly on yelp) where it is generally universally highly praised although it’s worth checking out.

3303 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 738-8977

Momofuku Ssäm Bar – David Chang’s Gut Busting, But Delicious Bo Ssam (Pork Shoulder)

David Chang has truly become a celebrity chef and every restaurant he opens seems to turn to gold as they all do really good business.  While I am not a huge fan of Asian fusion food and I don’t like every dish David Chang makes, I do think that David Chang has created something good and I’ve got a lot of respect for what he’s done (he also seems like a nice guy from the TV interviews etc I’ve seen him in), so I’m rooting for him.

I’ve heard about his version of Korean bo ssäm for quite some time and I’ve been trying to put together for a dinner for a while, but given the long lead time necessary for a reservation and people’s constantly changing schedules it took me a long time to finally come here.

The format at Momofuku Ssäm Bar has changed immensely from the first time I came when it was a Chipotle-style Korean burrito type of concept.  Now it’s got a full menu and real food and is not some fast food concept with the hallmark being their large group bo ssam and rotisserie duck offerings.

The restaurant is long thin space with tables, long communal seating and an open kitchen.  The walls and floors are all dark wood and look reasonably sleek.  However, the layout is kind of weird so it’s a bit cramped and definitely on the loud side.  The service was reasonably good and everyone was nice.

On to the food:

Steamed Pork Buns:

This dish is one of David Chang’s signature dishes. It consists of a white steamed Chinese bun called mantou with steamed pork belly, hoisin sauce, cucumbers and scallions. While many in New York thought that David came up with something totally revolutionary, I originally thought that he just copied a Taiwanese gua bao, which is very similar to this except the condiments are slightly different.  However, I read an interview where he explained that he was trying to re-create Cantonese style Peking duck buns except using pork belly instead of duck.  This makes sense because while both gua bao and Cantonese style Peking duck buns use a steamed mantou, the condiments at Momofuku are very similar to a Cantonese style Peking duck bun except he uses cucumbers instead of spring onions.  Anyhow, the dish comes together nicely, the pork belly is tender and flavorful and the sweetness from the hoisin sauce goes well with the cucumbers and scallions.  However, people always want to know what’s better and for me a good Taiwanese gua bao is definitely better because I prefer the condiments. With that said, this is still a very tasty dish and definitely worth trying out.  8.25/10

Bo Ssäm:

This is David Chang’s version of a traditional Korean dish called Bo Ssam, which is steamed pork belly with condiments that is put into lettuce wraps with condiments.  The main differences are at Momofuku they give you a whole pork shoulder where as traditionally they give you sliced pork and the sauces and condiments are a bit different as well.  Here they give you lettuce, rice, spicy and sweet bean sauce, ginger-scallion oil, chopped kimchi, pureed kimchi and oysters.  I liked the spicy and sweet bean sauce a lot, the ginger-scallion oil tasted just like the typical Chinese version meaning it was good, the kimchi was decent, but not great and I wasn’t much of a fan of the pureed kimchi.  The oysters were nice as they tasted fresh and briny.  The pork was flavorful and tender, however it depended on where the meat was as some of the meat was very tender and delicious and other pieces were a bit dry.  I liked it in the lettuce wrap, but after a while I started to like it better with just rice and bean sauce.  It was extremely filling and even though we had 8 people, I was almost too full and ended up being a zombie on my couch afterwards.  Overall, while I didn’t think it was quite as transcendent as some made it out to be, I did think it was very good.  8.5/10

I thought this was a unique and enjoyable meal.  While it’s not something you can eat very often, I’d definitely recommend trying it out.  I look forward to coming back to try his rotisserie duck ssäm.

207 2nd Ave (between 12th St & 13th St)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-3500

PAN – Finally a Good Pojangmacha Restaurant in Koreatown

It is nice to have a Koreatown in Manhattan; unfortunately, in my opinion, most of the restaurants do Korean food a disservice as they have huge menus and make lots of dishes, but make none of them well.  Luckily, there are exceptions and overtime Korean food in Manhattan has been getting better with new restaurants such as Arirang and PAN.

PAN is a new restaurant that specializes in “pojangmacha” style food, which is a street stall type of restaurant that you eat and drink at in Korea.  A lot of the food served a pojangmacha is comfort food that goes well with drinking.  When I visited Korea I ate at a lot of pojangmacha places and I really enjoyed this style of food.

PAN is hidden on the 2nd floor of a building on 32nd Street between 5th and Madison in between Kyochon and Ishihana.  The dimly lit space is windowless with a very industrial feel having cinderblock type walls, and concrete floors.  The first thing I said when I sat down was “this place really looks like some place in Seoul” and everyone agreed with me.  The clientele was almost 100% Korean, but the staff does speak English and they are quite friendly.

Here’s what we got:


This was one of the panchan (complimentary small dishes) served.  The kimchi was fine, it wasn’t overripe and was probably better than most places in ktown, but I’ve become a kimchi snob as my girlfriend’s mom makes the best kimchi ever, so I thought it was decent but nothing to write home about. 7/10

Spicy Peppers:

This was another panchan they gave us.  This was spicy green peppers in a chili sauce that had quite a bit of garlic in it.  I really liked the sauce and the taste of the spicy green peppers went very well with the garlicky chili sauce.  I thought these were quite good especially with some rice. 8/10


This was a complimentary soup.  I believe it was a fish stock soup.  It had a nice flavor and wasn’t too salty.  I thought it was pretty good. 7.75/10

Steamed Egg Custard:

This was another complimentary dish that is a simple dish made of egg steamed with water and a little bit of sugar and scallions.  While it is very simple, I always like this dish a lot. 8/10

Fried Squid:

This was fried tempura style squid tentacles.  Normally, I don’t like this dish because it’s not freshly fried, so the batter isn’t crispy and it’s usually over-battered as well.  However, here it was freshly fried and not over-battered.  The batter was slightly sweet as I believe they used a sweet potato batter.  It was served with a very light soy sauce that complimented it well. 8/10

Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Pancake):

This was a typical Korean pancake with seafood and lots of green onions.  The problem with this dish is that if you cook it wrong it gets gooey and oily, but they did a good job as it wasn’t gooey at all and had a nice crispy texture on the outside.  It’s served with a soy sauce that has chili and scallions that compliments the pancake well.  Overall, this was a pretty decent version. 8/10

Nakji Bokeum (Spicy Octopus):

This is octopus stir fried in slightly sweet spicy sauce with spicy green chilis and onions.  This is a dish that I love with a cold beer and some rice.  The sauce was quite good here, it was spicy and flavorful without being overly sweet which tends to be the downfall of most places I get this at in Ktown. The octopus was cooked well and wasn’t rubbery and I liked the green chilis that they use.  Overall, I enjoyed this dish. 8/10

Maewoon Jokbal (Spicy Pig Feet):

I’m a big fan of pig feet as I like fatty meats and pig feet sort of remind me of fatty meat as they are gelatinous in texture.  A friend of mine highly recommended I try these as he said they are the star of the show.  I got the spicy version as opposed to the regular steamed version.  They chop the pig feet into bite sized pieces and cook them in a semi-sweet spicy sauce and garnish them with chopped scallions and sesame seeds.  The pig feet were cooked really nicely and were very tender.  The spicy sauce tasted great with pig feet and combined with some rice it all came together really well.  8.25/10

Bo Ssam (Steamed Pork Wraps):

Bo ssam has gotten kind of famous because of David Chang at Momofuku who serves his own version at Momofuku Ssam Bar.  The dish is a steamed pork dish served with cabbage wrappers and condiments such as kimchi, oysters, garlic and a fermented shrimp sauce.  I decided to order it here against my better judgment as I find restaurants that don’t specialize in this dish don’t make it well.  The pork was fine, it was a bit leaner than I prefer, but it tasted decent.  The cabbage wrappers were fresh and the daikon kimchi was pretty decent, but the oysters were too fishy tasting and I didn’t think the dish had enough flavor overall.  I don’t think I’d order this again. 6.75/10

Clam Soup:

This was a clam soup with clams, fish cakes, dried tofu, scallions and bbq’d seaweed.  The soup broth was excellent; it wasn’t overly salty, had a good deep clam flavor and also a bit of a peppery flavor.  Everyone was really surprised as how good this was.  8.5/10

Overall, I enjoyed the food and atmosphere at PAN.  I’d definitely recommend trying it out for some good food and a fun place to have drinks with friends.

319 5th Ave (between 32nd St & 31st St)
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016
(212) 679-0770

Sol Hyang Lee – Amazing Korean-Chinese BBQ Skewers at One of the Most Unique Restaurants in Flushing

Sol Hyang Lee is one of the many northeast Chinese restaurants that have been popping up in Flushing.  These restaurants are either run by Chinese who live near the border of Korea and can speak Korean or by ethnic Koreans who live in China and can speak both languages as well.  Sol Hyang Lee is run by the later.  Sol Hyang Lee’s specialty is BBQ skewers which you cook at yourself.  My friend’s family (who is Korean) eats here fairly regularly and she was the one who told me about this place.

The restaurant is a longer narrow restaurant that is lined with light wooden booths with white walls that also have exposed brick.  The restaurant looks much more like a Korean restaurant than a Chinese restaurant.  Each booth has a metal box in the middle of the table where they put the hot wood charcoal that you use to grill the skewers.

The customer mix was probably half Chinese and half Korean.  I’m not sure whether the staff speaks English or not, but the menu is fully translated into English, so pointing should be no problem in case they don’t speak English.  They do speak fluent Mandarin and Korean; it’s pretty cool to watch them go back and forth between languages depending on which customers they are speaking to.  They seemed to be pretty nice, but my friend spoke with them in Korean, so I had no idea what was being said.

Just like a normal Korean restaurant they served ban chan (small dishes) at the beginning of the meal, which were similar to normal Korean ban chan, but you could tell there were some differences in the way they spiced them.

Pickled Cabbage and Daikon Radish:

This was pickled cabbage and daikon radish in a very light slightly sweet and tangy soy sauce.  It was pretty good.  7.5/10

Bean Sprouts:

This was a typical Korean preparation of bean sprouts with green onions and sliced carrots in sesame oil.  The bean sprouts tasted fresh and the sesame oil was nice.  7.75/10


This was an interesting ban chan as I’ve never had it before.  It was sliced liver with celery in a slightly spicy and salty sauce.  The liver was cooked nicely and was not metallic tasting or weird tasting at all as badly prepared liver can be.  In fact it wasn’t liver-y tasting whatsoever.  I thought it was pretty decent.  7.25/10

Sweet Pickled Radish Strips:

This was another typical Korean preparation of sliced pickled radish strips in a sweet chili sauce.  Although typical in flavoring it was done well.  7.75/10

Cucumber Kimchi:

This was just a normal cucumber kimchi, however I don’t think they normally give it as a ban chan I believe it needs to ordered separately.  They gave it to us gratis because the girl had forgotten our beer and apologized and then brought this out to us to make up for it.  As it turned out it was excellent.  The cucumbers were crispy and not mushy, the seasoning was nicely spicy and sweet, but not too sweet.  8/10

Here’s a picture of the metal BBQ in the middle of the table:

Cumin Spice:

They give you a bowl of slightly spicy cumin powder to dip your skewers in.  It’s really delicious and I was basically dousing all my skewers in it. 8.5/10

Here’s a picture of the skewers when they are brought to the table raw:

Here’s a picture of skewers on the BBQ:

Beef Skewer:

The beef was delicious, it was tender and had a good clean flavor and was kicked up a notch with the cumin spice. 8/10

Lamb Chunk Skewer:

My friend recommended this one and I’m glad she did.  This was definitely my favorite skewer.  It was slightly fatty chunks of lamb that were already marinated in a slightly sweet soy sauce.  The meat was very tender and was melt in your mouth good.  The flavoring of the sauce was really good, so you didn’t need any cumin or other seasonings.  It wasn’t gamey at all and even my girlfriend who doesn’t like lamb thought it was delicious.  8.5/10

Pork Heart:

This was slices of pork heart.  Heart is a muscle with basically no fat, so it has a firm texture, but it’s also a pretty clean tasting meat.  The version here was good, a little chewy and salty and great with cumin.  7.75/10

Chicken Gizzard:

Chicken gizzard is very Korean; it is pretty common in Korea probably more so than any other place I’ve ever been to, so it was no surprise that it was on the menu.  It’s similar to heart in texture and taste.  The version here was quite good.  7.75/10


This was just squid with a little chili oil on it. I wasn’t sure if BBQ’ing squid would make it too chewy, but as it turned the squid was actually quite tender.  I was pleasantly surprised by this. 8/10

Sauteed Shredded Pork in Sweet Bean Sauce (Jing Jiang Rou Si 京酱肉丝):

This is a typical northern Chinese dish consisting of shredded pork in a slightly sweet bean sauce that is served with shredded leek, sliced cucumber, cilantro and tofu wrappers.  You then take the meat put it in the wrapper with the condiments and eat it as a wrap.  I have a feeling that this dish might be the basis for the “moo shu pork” you see at Americanized Chinese take-out places.  I thought it was pretty good, the pork was tender and the sauce was reasonably good although I would’ve liked it slightly sweeter as it the sauce was fairly mild tasting.  I liked the condiments a lot in particular the shredded leek.  The tofu wrapper was decent, but a little plain.  Personally, I’d prefer it in a mantou bun (steamed white bun), but overall it was a pretty decent dish.  7.5/10

Quail with Chili:

The waitress recommended this.  It was quail in a sweet and spicy soy sauce with chilis.  The meat was tender and the sauce was very delicious.  It’s kind of like eating buffalo wings.  Also, it tasted best when it was hot; it wasn’t as good once it got colder, so I’d recommend eating it when it first comes out. 8/10

Neung Myun:

We ordered this at the end of the meal because we wanted something cool and light to finish the meal.  It looked quite a bit different than the regular Korean neung myun.  It also tasted different to as it was sweeter, spicier and more tangy than the typical preparation.  The noodles were decent, but not great.  My girlfriend didn’t like it that much as she thought it was too sweet, but the rest of us thought it was decent although I’ve definitely had better bowls of neung myun.  6.75/10

Overall, this was one of the more exciting restaurants I’ve found in Flushing.  Not only was it quite unique, but the food was very good.  I highly recommend trying it out.

Also, my friend said that the place next door which is also is a Korean Chinese place has better dishes, but the BBQ skewers is why you come here as the restaurant next door isn’t a skewer restaurant.  I’m looking forward to trying the place next door soon.

13673 41st Ave
Flushing, NY 11355
(347) 732-0350

Takashi – Really Exceptional Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) in the West Village

Takashi is a new Japanese yakiniku restaurant in the West Village. Yakiniku is the Japanese version of Korean BBQ. It is quite similar to Korean BBQ, but generally I find that there tends to be more cuts of meat available at yakiniku restaurants and the marinade tends to be less heavy handed than at Korean BBQ restaurants, but overall you won’t notice huge differences at good places (fyi for comparison sake no place in Manhattan serves really good Korean BBQ).

Takashi specializes in beef and serves no other types of meat. Chef Takashi Inoue is a 3rd generation Korean who was born and raised in Osaka, Japan (Koreans are the largest minority in Japan). I watched an interview with him on their website and he stated that the meat must be very fresh and he takes a lot of time to do the prep work. It is always great to find a chef who takes the time to do things correctly (part of what I absolutely love about great Japanese restaurants). According to their website Takashi features beef from local New York state farms from of Dickson’s Farmstand in Chelsea Market, Kansas’ Creekstone Farm of Pat Lafrieda, and Oregon’s Washugyu cows of Japanese Premium Beef.

The restaurant is quite small with seven small tables with grills in the middle of them and a chef’s counter. The service was decent, but a little disorganized perhaps because it’s a new restaurant.

On to the food:


They start the meal off with a trio of a cabbage salad with a ginger ponzu sauce, bean sprouts marinated in sesame oil and crushed sesame and kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage). These were all decent, but not outstanding. I like the cabbage salad the best. 7/10


This is their version of a traditional Korean dish called yook hwe. It consists of thinly-sliced chuck eye tartare in a sauce that I believe had soy sauce, sugar, salt, sesame oil, garlic and perhaps a few other ingredients. The meat is topped with sesame seeds, shredded nori (dried BBQ’d seaweed), quail egg yolk and lemon. The sweet and saltiness of the sauce goes well with the beef. The beef is very good quality, so it has a great clean beef flavor. 7.75/10

Gyutoro-Temaki Sushi:

This is minced raw chuck flap hand-rolled sushi. It looks just like any other sushi with the finely minced beef on top of a small rectangle of rice with sesame seeds and diced green onions sprinkled on top of it. They give you large sheets of nori (BBQ’d seaweed) that you wrap the sushi in and then dip it is soy sauce and wasabi. It was good, but because raw beef is a light in flavor and I felt that the beef was somewhat overpowered by the flavors of the nori and soy sauce. That said you can tell how high quality the beef is as it is really clean tasting. 7.5/10


I was very excited to try this because it looks so great. It is chuck flap topped with sea urchin and fresh wasabi on shiso leaf and nori (BBQ’d seaweed). You wrap it all up and then dip it in soy sauce and wasabi. This was very good, the creamy clean flavor of the uni combined with the shiso and nori is a great combination. Because raw beef by itself is fairly light in flavor it almost adds more texture as opposed to flavor, but it works well. 8.25/10


This was cow tongue marinated in sesame oil, salt, pepper and lemon. This was some of the better tongue I’ve ever had; I actually didn’t tell some people what it was since people tend to get squeamish around organ and other odd cuts of meat. Everyone thought this was really good and were even more surprised when I told them what it was. It was clean tasting and tender, it was perfect for the BBQ. 8.5/10


This was ribeye served simply with salt, pepper and lemon. It was a beautiful cut of meat with such nice marbling. This was simple, but really good once it was BBQ’d. It was very tender and had beautiful flavor. 8.75/10


This was heart marinated in sesame oil, salt, pepper and lemon. I think most people have some misconception of heart as they’ve never tried it. Heart is a muscle and because it is so lean it can actually be somewhat firm to tough depending on whether you cooked it correctly; I think a lot of people think it’s going to be some really weird tasting meat, but that is far from the case. It is light in flavor and has no gaminess or other odd flavor to it. The heart here was really well done. Firm, but tender enough at the same time and really great flavor after it is BBQ’d. I haven’t had hear t this good in a long time. 8.75/10

Nakaochi Kalbi:

This was the meat between the ribs. It was marinated in the Takashi sauce, which was more similar to typical Korean BBQ marinade. The meat is fatty, so it is very tender and flavorful. They serve it with a light semi-sweet soy sauce that was great because while it had a good flavor it did not overpower the meat, so you could still taste the meat and not just the sauce. Overall, I liked it, but it didn’t show case the quality of the beef quite as well as some of the other cuts although it was still very good. 8/10 (it is the meat on the left side of the plate in the picture)


This was the outside skirt steak. This was a nice cut of meat marinated in the Takashi sauce. The meat has enough fat that made it quite tender and flavorful, but wasn’t overly fatty so it had a good balance. This was perfect for grilling. 8.5/10 (it is the meat on the right side of the plate in the picture)

Beef Belly:

This was a special that night and was marinated in the Takashi sauce. It was quite fatty, but I like fatty meats, so it hit the spot for me. 8.5/10 (it is the meat on the left side of the plate in the picture)


This was short rib that was really beautifully marbled, probably the prettiest piece of kalbi I’ve ever seen. It was marinated in the Takashi sauce. I don’t know what to say about it other than it was really good. 8.75/10 (it is the meat on the right side of the plate in the picture)

I was really surprised at the quality of the meat here, everything was really great. I think this is one of the better meals I’ve had in NY in a quite a while. I want to come back to try more of their offal dishes as I just didn’t have enough stomach room to try anymore. I highly recommend coming here as soon as you can.

456 Hudson St (between Morton St & Barrow St)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 414-2929

Patate Fellow – Great New Korean Fried Chicken and Hot Wings Restaurant in the Lower Eastside


Patate Fellow is a new restaurant that opened up in the defunct Fat Hippo space on Clinton Street.  They are a Korean fusion restaurant that specializes in fried chicken.  However, their chicken is not like most Korean fried chicken such as Kyo Chon or Bon Chon, it’s more similar to Baden Baden.

The restaurant is in a dark space that looks like a sports bar with a large screen playing sports games and another TV behind bar as well.  The people who run it are very friendly and the service was good.

On to the food:

Patate Fellow Chicken & Fried Platter:

This is tong dak, which is a Korean fried chicken that looks like rotisserie chicken, but is actually fried chicken.  This is the same dish that Baden Baden in Koreatown specializes in.  The chicken here actually looks exactly the same as Baden Baden. The skin is crispy and flavorful and the meat is juicy and tender.  They give you several sauces including a curry sauce, ketchup, yuzu sauce etc.  The sauce I prefer though is the standard spicy vinegar sauce and ketchup that they normally give you at Korean tong dak places.  The fries were freshly fried and tasted good.  The fried garlic tastes great as well.  This was very good and I think it was on par or maybe even a little better than Baden Baden in Koreatown.  7.5/10

Spicy Hot Wings:

These were fried very nicely and the meat was quite tender.  They don’t really look spicy, but they are actually reasonably spicy.  The seasoning was different than I was expecting, it tasted somewhat similar to Tabasco sauce. They are served with a blue cheese dressing. These were pretty good, but I preferred the Patate Fellow chicken. 7/10

Overall, I liked Patate Fellow and it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.  It’s worth checking out.

71 Clinton St (between Stanton St & Rivington St)
Manhattan, NY 10002
(212) 533-4781

Sik Gaek – Fun Korean Seafood and Drinking Restaurant in Flushing

Sik Gaek is a Korean seafood and drinking restaurant in Flushing.  It became semi-famous after it was featured on one of Anthony Bourdain’s episodes on the outer boroughs.

When a lot of people in America (even foodies) think about Asian restaurants they envision all of them being small rundown restaurants and street food. While that is certainly part of the restaurant scene in Asia, there is a whole side of Asia that is not often showcased in Asian communities in New York (I think this is likely because of the demographic of the immigrants here) such as high end upscale places, drinking establishments, modern restaurants etc.  Sik Gaek reflects a small piece of this as it is supposed to resemble restaurants in Korea where you eat, drink and have a good time with your friends.

The restaurant is pretty busy looking with wooden walls adorned with posters advertising soju with famous star like Hyori on them and specials written in Korean on the walls.  The crowd is mainly Korean.  It’s quite loud with lots of loud conversations and drinking, but it is definitely a fun atmosphere.  The service is generally pretty decent and I’ve always found the servers to be pretty nice.

On to the food:

Fried Egg:

At the beginning of the meal they bring you a few eggs that are fried in a pan.  It’s pretty simple, but they taste pretty good when you put some gochujang (a semi-sweet Korean chili paste) on the eggs as gochujang goes really well with fried eggs.  7/10

Duk Boki (Spicy Rice Cake):

They bring you out a complimentary bowl of duk boki as well.  Duk bok is a dish consisting of rice cakes and fish cakes cooked in a semi-sweet spicy sauce.  While not the best version I’ve ever had, their version is pretty decent.  6.75/10

Steamed Egg Custard:

This dish is eggs cooked with a little bit of water and sugar in a small hot pot. It turns into a fluffy egg custard. It tastes good and it’s almost impossible to mess up because it’s so simple.  7/10

San Nak Ji (Live Octopus Sashmi):

This is my favorite dish here. It is octopus that has been sliced up right before they serve it to you. I’m sure this is going to freak a lot of people out because it’s still moving when they serve it to you.  It is a misconception that it’s still alive, but it does still move because it was literally cut up right before it is served to you.  The octopus obviously tastes very fresh, it’s not rubbery and I really like it with either the gochujang or the sesame oil with salt and pepper.  You do have to chew it so it doesn’t stick to the side of your mouth since it is still moving (I can see about 80%+ of people reading this cringing and vowing never to order this).  I recommend trying this as it is definitely my favorite dish here.  7.5/10

Steamed Seafood in a Sweet Pumpkin:

This dish was interesting.  It was squid, octopus, shrimp and kabocha in a spicy red sauce covered topped with melted white cheese.  Kabocha is called Japanese pumpkin, but is actually a type of winter squash.  It’s orange, sweet and starchy (I love kabocha).  It was interesting, I like all ingredients separately, but I couldn’t decide if I like them all together. You could definitely tell that it’s one of those dishes that someone probably invented in the last decade or so. It was decent, but not amazing.  6.75/10

Assorted Seafood Hot Pot:

This is a gigantic iron pot filled with about every type of seafood you can think of: lobster, clams, abalone, octopus, squid, oysters, shrimp and a bunch of stuff I’m forgetting now.  It also has noodles as well.  The broth is a light spicy broth. I generally like all the seafood, but because there is so much of it and the pot is so big inevitably some of it gets way overcooked. The broth turns out to be pretty tasty because the combination of the seafood flavor and the spicy broth is nice. This is a great dish to drink with as well.  7/10

Fried Rice:

At the end of the seafood hot pot, they put rice in the leftover stew and stir fry it with some dried seaweed and sesame oil.  This is very tasty perhaps even more tasty than the actual hot pot itself.  7.5/10

Steamed Shellfish:

This is a gigantic pot with water and just like the assorted seafood hot pot it has about every type of seafood you can imagine.  I find the seafood easily gets overcooked and it’s too plain.  I’m not much of a fan of this dish.  5.5/10


At the end of the steamed shellfish they use the remaining water that has now turned into a very light seafood broth and cook some noodles in it.  It’s also better than the original dish as the broth is sort of refreshing and the noodles go well with it.  7/10

Overall, I don’t think the food at Sik Gaek is amazing, but some of the food is pretty good and it is a great place to go have fun and drink with friends.

161-29 Crocheron Ave
Flushing, NY 11358
(718) 321-7770

Food Gallery 32 – An Interesting New Food Court in Ktown

Food Gallery 32 is located on 32nd Street in the middle of Koreatown in a space that used to be a bank. It was supposed to open in the summer, but it finally just opened very recently.

It looks similar to what a lot of food courts in malls in Asia look like and it has a mix of Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese food. There are 3 floors, the 1st floor has all the actual stalls and up front there is a single cash register area where you order your food and they give you a buzzer that buzzes when your food is ready. The seating is located on the 2nd floor and the 3rd floor. It also looks like the 3rd floor is going to have a crepe / drink place and Red Mango is moving from their current location into the 1st floor. Everything is brand new and very clean.

Here’s a list of the places:

  1. Boon Sik Zip: serves boon shik food which is basically Korean street food
  2. Pastel: serves Japanese food like katsu, curry rice, omelette rice etc.
  3. O-de-ppang: serves Japanese food such as donburi, teppanyaki, onigiri
  4. Bian Dang: serves Taiwanese food, it’s the guys from the NYC Cravings truck. Bian Dang means lunchbox in Chinese
  5. Big Bowl: serves ramen and various Korean noodle dishes
  6. Hanok: serves more regular Korean food with various chigae, bokum dishes etc
  7. Jin Jja Roo: serves Korean-Chinese food

Here’s what I’ve tried so far:

Soon Dae (Korean Blood Sausage):

This was from Boon Sik Zip. Soon dae is a Korean blood sausage that is filled with rice which you dip in some seasoned salt. Soon dae is a pretty popular dish and I like it a lot when it’s done right. Unfortunately, I think the one here might have been frozen before because it was sort of dry and the flavor wasn’t that great. 6.5/10

Fried Squid:

This was from Boon Sik Zip. I don’t know why I always order this at Korean boon shik places because it’s usually been sitting around too long and the batter is always too thick, but I made that mistake again. The squid itself was fine and it was freshly fried, but the batter was too thick and oily. 6.25/10

Odeng (Fish Cake Soup):

This was from Boon Sik Zip. The soup itself wasn’t bad, it was fairly light and not overly salty. The fish cakes themselves were decent although I think they were a frozen kind based on the texture which was too soft, homemade fish cake have a much firmer texture and more flavor. It was decent though. 6.75/10

Beef Kim Bap:

This was from Boon Sik Zip. This was pretty decent, the flavoring was good and the ingredients tasted good. The rice was fine as well. The beef was a little dry, but aside from that it was pretty decent. 7/10

Jja Jang Myun (Noodles in Brown Sauce):

This was from Jin Jja Roo. This is one of the staple Korean-Chinese dishes and its noodles in a dark sauce that has a lot of onions and pieces of pork in it. The noodles were fine and were reasonably al dente, however the sauce was a bit bland, so I thought it was just so so overall. 6.5/10

Kkan Poong Gi (Fried Chicken in Spicy Garlic Sauce):

This was from Jin Jja Roo. This is another typical Korean-Chinese dish. This was much better than the jja jang myun. The chicken was fried well and was nice and crispy. The sauce was a bit tangy and more spicy than usual which I liked. I think Hyo Dong Gak’s version is better, but this was pretty good and better than Shanghai Mong down the street. 7.5/10

Hambak Steak:

This is from Pastel. I’m not sure why it was called “Hambak Steak”, but its hamburger covered in gravy with rice. You find this at a lot of Japanese places. The hamburger meat itself was cooked decently and wasn’t dry. The gravy was a bit tangy and sweet, I’d prefer it less sweet though. Overall, it was pretty decent. 7.25/10

Pork Chop Over Rice:

This is from Bian Dang. This is a very typical dish in Taiwan and its’ called pai gu fan in Chinese. It is a fried pork chop over rice that has a stewed pork belly sauce and pickled vegetables on it. The pork chop was cooked nicely and was tender. However, it didn’t have nearly enough five spice powder in it, so it was a bit under flavored. The meat sauce had decent flavor, but was too salty. The pickled vegetable was decent. Overall, it has potential, but they need to work on the seasoning a bit if they changed it a little bit I think they’d have a pretty decent product. 6.75/10

Zong Zi (Chinese Tamale):

This was from Bian Dang, they gave it to me for free as an opening promotion. It contained glutinous rice, peanuts, dried shrimp, pork, Chinese sausage, green beans, raddish and mushrooms. The filling was good, but the rice was a little too mushy, if they steamed it correctly it would be pretty good. 6.75/10

Overall, it’s sort of a mixed bag as some of the food I tried was pretty decent and other dishes were mediocre. However, it is very cheap and quite convenient. I plan on coming back and trying more dishes to find out what else might be good.

11 W. 32nd Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 967-1678

Korean Thanksgiving – Sorry You Can’t Buy This

This website is mainly a restaurant site, but this Korean food was so good that I had to put up some food porn from my Thanksgiving at my GF’s mom’s house.

From the top left corner clockwise:

Spicy green peppers stir fried with dried fish, lotus root slices in a sweet soy sauce, gaenyip (a type of pickled Korean shiso leaf), fried fish, a type of pajun (Korean pan fried pancake), more of the spicy green peppers fried with dried fish, a type of spinach like vegetable in a sort of tenjang (bean paste) sauce, two types of marinated vegetables, more fried fish, homemade white kimchi and homemade red kimchi.  Everything is made from scratch including all the sauces, kimchi etc.  Every dish in this picture is really good.

Mak Gook Soo:

This is a cold thin noodle in a light broth with takuan (yellow pickle), kimchi, strips of fish cake that has been stir fried in a soy sauce type of sauce and then you put a dash of a sauce made from soy sauce, sesame oil with green onions, chili flakes and sesame seeds.  I really love this dish.

Sorry you can’t go out and try this, but I had to put it up anyhow.