When you’re Korean and you want to go all out, you go to a barbecue restaurant, but when you want simple, cheap Korean food, you go to a “boonshik jip” (분식집; boonshik literally meaning minute meal and jip meaning house), a casual restaurant specializing in Korean fast food. There’s many boonshik restaurants in New Jersey, but the place my family and I visit most often is Dok Ka Bi (독깨비; goblin in Korean). MORE »
I first heard about Hyoja-dong Yetnal Ddukbokki (Translation: Old-fashioned Ddukbokki from Hyoja-dong) when Robyn posted about it a few months ago on Serious Eats. I’ve eaten a lot of ddukbokki, but never the stir-fried kind. When I was little, I used to fry up dduk with sugar, creating sugary crunchy logs, but I never thought to make savory versions. This was all new to me. So as soon as I got to Korea, I asked Joo Hyun about it. She said she never had it, but Soo Hyun had, and she was told it was greasy, but good. Mmmm, that was all I needed to hear. The next day, while David was out visiting a friend, I went on a search for fried ddukbokki. MORE »
It seems North Korean food is a trend in Seoul right now. With tensions running high between North and South Korea and Kim Jong Il acting crazier than ever, I’m not sure how this happened (Is it like, another missile?! That crazy motherf*cker! I wonder what he ate this morning?), but for me it was quite nice. My mom’s side of the family is from Pyongyang (the capital of North Korea), so I grew up eating a lot of North Korean food. Nengmyun (냉면, cold buckwheat noodle soup) is probably the most well-known, but another cold soup dish I grew up with is kimchi mari (김치말이). It’s very similar to nengmyun, but the soup has kimchi, kimchi liquid and/or mul kimchi (물김치, water kimchi), and sesame oil in it, and instead of the buckwheat noodles, there’s rice. (Rice noodles instead of rice is another option, but rice is more common.) Until recently, no one — unless they were North Korean — knew about kimchi mari. My mom’s friends and my friends always assumed it was something my mom made up with leftover mul kimchi and rice. Now everyone eats it, as they should, but those who doubted before, recognize my mom’s skills y’all!
On our second day, Joo Hyun took me and David to Nun Namu Jip (눈나무집, Snow Tree House), a cute restaurant in Samcheong-dong (삼청동) famous for their kimchi mari. We got there early, but there was already a line out the door. Joo Hyun said the line wasn’t so bad, so we queued up and people watched as we waited. MORE »
Two weeks ago I realized my hair was starting to look like Kim’s weave on Housewives of Atlanta, (OMG, wasn’t that show the best? All I have to say is ‘POW!,’ ‘WOW!’) so I stole away from the office to get a quick trim on 32nd street. Leaving the salon after my haircut, I realized I was late for a meeting, but still hadn’t had a bite to eat. Being a few doors down from Woorijip, I planned on running in and grabbing some kimbab (김밥, also called gim bap, kimbop, kimbob, etc… it’s all the same) before hopping back on the train. But, as fate or Woorijip management would have it, there was a ten dollar credit card minimum, and having spent the last few singles on a tip to the shampoo girl, I had no choice but to return back to the office with a growling stomach. I eventually ended up eating animal crackers from the vending machine in the office pantry. Not a nice lunch.
A few days later, David and I were heading to Flushing, where Ellie, Gil, and Julie were going to pick us up for a day trip to Mohegan Sun. Yipee! During the ride there, Ellie texted, “Did you guys eat?,” like a good friend of mine would ask. When I replied no, she texted back, “We’ll pick up some food on the way. Maybe gim bap.” Double Yipee!! A quick ride on the LIRR later, we were at Song’s Family (송가네). MORE »