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At this tiny Korean fast-food eatery in Flushing, the warning on the menu — “[takes] 10 to 15 minutes to cook” — says it all.
You won’t find anything fancy here — it’s almost all carb-loaded Korean comfort foods, like kimbop, noodles, fried rice and rice cake dishes. But the simple, home-style food is prepared with exceptional care, using fresh ingredients.
The kitchen is open, so we watched as our vegetable kimbop (Korean sushi rolls) was assembled on the spot. The carrots and greens, which had been lightly sautéed in sesame oil, were flavorful and crisp. The oozing, orange cheese, with its sweet flavor, went oddly well with the mildly fishy seaweed and the nutty, sesame oil-infused greens.
The fried rice omelette, a paper-thin egg omelette draped over a huge portion of vegetable fried rice, was satisfying, though a bit too oily. The fried rice was a mixture of diced carrot, onion, scallion, and mushroom — all clearly fresh, not frozen — sautéed in ample sesame oil.
The sweet, nutty sesame oil and savory egg were a fine pair, made all the better when we spooned on some of the intensely tangy ketchup that came on the side.
Unfortunately we were in a hurry, but other options on the menu — cold spicy-vinaigrette thick noodle with mixed vegetables, monetary (sic) jack cheese pork katsu cutlet, spicy squid kimbop, and spicy ramen with cheese — were beckoning.
We settled on a takeaway order of the spicy rice cake with ramen noodle. But when we arrived home several hours later, we were disappointed to find a mess of bloated, sauce-logged noodles and no sauce to speak of.
Still, the ribbons of cabbage, thick onion slices, and large pieces of scallion had remained nice and crunchy, while the cylindrical rice cakes had become exceptionally soft and flavorful — enhanced by all the gochujang-based (Korean red pepper paste) sauce they had absorbed.
From what we could taste of the sauce via the rice cakes and noodles that had absorbed it, we were impressed. Its flavor initially seemed simply sweet, but within moments, a spicy kick crept in.
It was a tasty enough mess to ensure that we’ll be heading back to try a fresh order of the noodles and rice cakes — perhaps this time with some monetary (sic) jack cheese thrown into the mix.
— By Anne Noyes Saini, City Spoonful
This Kimchi Jjigae Is Comfort Food at Its Best
When I’m away from home, this one-pot kimchi stew is what I crave the most.
Pictured recipe: Kimchi Jjigae
When kimchi gets old, it becomes my favorite ingredient to cook with. This flavor-packed, sour kimchi is perfect for many different dishes in Korean cooking. Kimchi jjigae (stew) is the most common dish made with aged kimchi, and it&aposs the most beloved jjigae in Korea.
In late fall, Korean households make enough kimchi to last through the winter and early spring until fresh vegetables are available. This annual kimchi-making event is called kimjang (or gimjang), and is a time-honored tradition in Korean culture. I grew up watching my mother make kimchi with over 100 heads of napa cabbage. On the kimchi-making day, she would gather with her neighborhood friends. These ladies would take turns to help each other. It was a community event. Back then, meat was scarce, so Korean mothers heavily relied on kimchi to feed their families. All winter long, throughout different stages of kimchi fermentation, they would make stews, soups, noodles, dumplings, savory pancakes, stir-fries, fried rice and more. There simply could never be too much kimchi.
With modern refrigeration technology and with cabbage and radishes available all year round, we don&apost make as much kimchi as my mother&aposs generation used to. But I still make a fair amount of kimchi. I learned it from my mother, and it&aposs a tradition that I hope my children will continue.
Growing up, we had a lot of meals just with kimchi jjigae and a bowl of rice. I don&apost remember ever getting tired of it. There is something about that red, rich and hot broth and that deliciously softened kimchi we all love. When I&aposm away from home, kimchi jjigae is what I crave the most. Actually, most Koreans do. It&aposs comfort food at its best.
The most popular version of kimchi jjigae is made with fatty pork. Many people love the rich broth with pork fat, and fishing out the intensely kimchi-flavored pork pieces. For younger Koreans, it may even be difficult to imagine this dish without some sort of pork. However, when I was growing up, kimchi jjigae was often made simply with anchovy broth, without any meat. Even as a young child, I really enjoyed the clean, savory flavor of anchovy broth in soups and stews. When I think of my childhood kimchi jjigae, I think of kimchi jjigae made with anchovy broth.
While Koreans also use soup or stew stock made from other ingredients such as beef, chicken and vegetables, dried anchovies are traditional and most commonly used. As such, dried anchovies are a staple in every Korean kitchen. They come in different sizes for different uses, but medium to large anchovies are best for making broth. (Look for dried anchovies in Korean markets and well-stocked Asian markets. They are also available online—Seoul Mills is a good source for them and other staples of Korean cuisine.)
The recipe I&aposve shared here uses anchovy broth as the stew base, but you can substitute with any flavorful broth you have available, such as beef, chicken or vegetable broth. While the consistency of this stew may seem more like a Western soup, Koreans distinguish a stew (jjigae) from a soup (guk) based on the ratio of liquid to solids in a dish. Soups generally have more liquid than solids, and stews have more solids than liquid.
As long as you have well-fermented, sour kimchi, kimchi jjigae is hard to mess up! The older, the better. (If you make your own kimchi, use the oldest jar you have. Some Korean markets also sell mukeunji, aka old kimchi.) To develop a deeper flavor, cook the kimchi before adding the liquid. Use the juice from the kimchi, if available. It adds lots of flavor to the stew.
Salt is usually not necessary, unless the kimchi was lightly seasoned or kimchi juice is not available. Season the stew to taste. You can simply use a little bit of salt, but Korean soup soy sauce, fish sauce or salted shrimp (saeujeot) are also used for additional seasoning.
In addition to fatty pork, kimchi jjigae can also be made with beef or canned tuna𠅊nyway you make it, it&aposs not only a great way to use up old kimchi, it&aposs also an incredibly satisfying meal.
Hyosun Ro started her blog Korean Bapsang (Korean Table) in 2009 as a way to teach her children how to cook the food they grew up with. Join her more than 76,000 followers on Instagram @koreanbapsang.
Get hooked on Korean recipes
I fondly remember the first time I tried Korean food. My not-yet-husband took me on a date to a little Korean place in Chicago.
The parking lot was so small that only a few cars could get in at a time! But the food! Oh, my was it fascinating and delicious. You could order pre-made dishes or you could cook it right there on the tabletop stove in front of you.
The room was filled with noise and the smoke of cooking meat.
(If you live in Chicago the restaurant is San Soo Gab San…try it out for sure!)
Korean Comfort Foods that’ll Warm Your Heart
I took my mother’s homemade dinners for granted when I left for college. My dad told me that I should learn how to cook from my mother because she is the best chef he knows. When I come home from school during breaks, I always crave her Korean food the most. The smell of her stews simmering on the stove for hours fills the house with comfort. Her deep brown and red marinades of pork belly in kimchi-jjigae can’t be replicated by any restaurant. My dad and I actually tried to find a local Korean restaurant in Syracuse, but none of the dishes taste the same as my mom’s.
During dinner, my parents would tell me the cultural significance of our food. My favorite noodle dish, janchi-guksu, is a popular wedding entrée. Tteokguk is a traditional dish to celebrate the new year. Learning about the food I enjoy makes eating it all the more special to me, even though my memories with the dish comes from my Korean-American experience. Here’s my favorite Korean dishes I commonly eat at home.
When I was little, my family went to a Korean-Chinese restaurant and always ordered jajangmyeon for me. Jajangmyeon are noodles with black bean sauce often served with pork or beef. Over winter break, my mom taught me how to make it. The recipe was easier than I thought it would be, and I’m excited to say I know how to make at least one Korean dish. In South Korea, it’s a popular takeout food, most commonly ordered after moving into a new apartment. It’s also enjoyed by single friends who eat together on Black Day, an unofficial Korean holiday for single people (April 14).
My mom never measures anything exactly when she cooks. It’s always about balancing the different flavor profiles. Jajangmyeon sauce needs chunjang, a specific black bean paste used in Korean-Chinese food. To start, fry a spoonful chunjang with hot oil and mix in the vegetables and meat. Jajangmyeon typically uses onions, potatoes, and ground pork. You can also find pre-made mixes of jajangmyeon sauce too. The specific noodles are called jungwhamyeon, but my dad said udon or even spaghetti are good replacements. You can also pour the sauce over rice and eat it like a curry.
Kimchi is Korea’s national dish and is always present at dinner. Traditionally, kimchi is spicy fermented cabbage or radishes. They can be eaten as a side dish (called banchan in Korean) or cooked as a stew (jjigae in Korean). Like other foreign cuisines, certain foods have an acquired taste, and kimchi is definitely one of them. My dad told me that Korean food can also be addicting — once people try it and get used to the new smells and taste, they will always crave it. I introduced Korean food to my friends at school and now they can’t get enough of it. But nothing will beat the warm, inviting smell of coming home to my mom’s kimchi-jjigae. She makes her food with love and care, and her food always cheers me up on a rough day.
Sour kimchi will give the best taste. The more fermented, the better. Put the kimchi in a pot with some fatty pork belly and let those cook before adding any liquids. My mom uses anchovy broth, but you can use chicken, vegetable or milky bone broth as substitutes. Add some leftover juice from the kimchi. If the taste is too sour, adjust it with some sugar. Toss in some pieces of tofu and let it soak up the broth. Scallions are an excellent garnish.
Kimbap is a seaweed rice roll with various fillings. In Korea, it’s often considered a picnic food and packed in lunch boxes because it’s so portable. My mom’s recipe adds pickled radish, beef, spinach, carrots, fish sausage, and imitation crab. Kimbap is the “road trip” food my family brings for long car rides. My family gathers around the kitchen table to eat the scrappy end pieces my mom chops off before we leave the house. This family tradition started when my family dropped me off at college for the first time, and it was the first Korean food I introduced my friends to. This dish is irreplaceable to me because no one makes it like my mother.
Kimbap is very customizable. To get started, you’ll need sheets of dried seaweed (gim in Korean), it’s the same seaweed as a sushi roll. My mom uses extra sesame oil to coat one side of the seaweed sheet. She also adds a little bit of vinegar to the rice. You need long strips of fillings for the roll. Popular fillings are cooked eggs, spinach, carrots, imitation crab and strips of beef (bulgogi, if you want to get specific). Add a layer of rice on the unoiled side of the seaweed, then layer your fillings. My mom uses a bamboo mat to roll everything together. Lastly, cut the roll into bite size pieces and enjoy.
My mother’s food helps me feel connected with my Korean heritage. Her food means so much to me because it affirms a part of my identity I am learning to be proud of. Korean food helps me share a part of my culture with my friends and will always remind me of home.
Craving Korean Comfort Food? Try This Budae Jjigae Recipe
Korean-food aficionado and former Food Republic editor Matt Rodbard has partnered with NYC chef Deuki Hong to release the best Korean cookbook you’ll find this side of the Hangang (that’s a river in Seoul). Dive into America’s famed Koreatowns with these two experts and find yourself in the kitchen with a hot wok, a lot of sesame oil and plenty of kimchi.
Often referred to as “army-base stew,” budae jjigae is a story of desperation and ingenuity born out of necessity during the Korean War. During that tumultuous time, impoverished Koreans were forced to use leftover U.S. army rations for sustenance, sometimes even foraging through trash piles in the process. Ever since, and in far happier times, this spicy stew bobbing with Uncle Sam’s finest — Spam, hot dogs and processed American cheese—has remained in Korea’s culinary orbit.
Today, budae jjigae is popular among young Koreans for another reason: its party-prolonging powers late at night. Head to Koreatown restaurants like Chunju Han-il Kwan in Los Angeles or Pocha 32 in New York City, and chances are you’ll spot pots of jjigae (or a larger, more elaborate pot of jeongol) stationed at every other table. It’s delicious and dead easy to prepare: Just throw everything in a pot and let it bubble away. American cheese marrying with chile and ramen noodles with hunks of processed meat? You know that’s going to work well.
Craving Korean Comfort Food? Try This Budae Jjigae Recipe
- Prep Time: 1 hour plus fermenting time
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Level of Difficulty: Easy
- Serving Size: 4
- 6 1/2 cups Anchovy stock
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons gochugaru
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 can Spam, cut into large dice
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 package Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup, or other instant noodle (noodles only)
- 2 slices American cheese
- 1 scallion, sliced, for garnish
- 2 beef hot dogs, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup frozen rice cakes, cut diagonally
- 1 cup medium-dice extra-fermented Napa Cabbage Kimchi
- 8 ounces soft tofu, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 cup enoki mushrooms
- 3 strips smoked thick-cut bacon, cut into small dice
Anchovy stock (makes 1 quart)
- 1 quart water
- 25 dried anchovies
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped daikon
- 1 bunch of scallions, trimmed and cut into thirds
- 2 2-x-2-inch squares of kombu (aka dashima)
- 2 jalapeño peppers or Anaheim chilies, halved lengthwise
Kimchi (makes about 2 quarts)
- 12 cups water
- 1 cup coarse sea salt
- 1 large napa cabbage (2 to 3 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped, peeled Asian pear
- 2-inch knob of ginger, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 Korean red chili peppers, trimmed and cut in half
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup salted fermented shrimp
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup rice flour paste
- 1 cup coarsely ground gochugaru
- 1 bunch scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 cup carrot, grated
- 1/2 cup peeled and grated daikon radish
For the kimchi
BRINE THE CABBAGE: In a large container, combine 12 cups of cold water and the sea salt. Cut the napa cabbage head lengthwise, then into quarters. Place in the salt water and brine for 6 hours at room temperature. The brining step both adds flavor and opens the cabbage’s pores, allowing the marinade to soak in. Rinse in cold water and have a little bite. If you would prefer it saltier, brine for another 6 hours to overnight it’s a matter of personal preference.
MAKE THE RICE FLOUR PASTE: Once the cabbage is brined, make the rice flour paste. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, continually whisk the sweet rice flour and 1 cup water until it reaches a boil. Keep whisking for 2 minutes until it reaches a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat, transfer to a container and refrigerate until cool.
MAKE THE MARINADE: Combine the onion, Asian pear, ginger, garlic, chile peppers and ¼ cup water in a food processor and run until smooth, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the shrimp, sugar, rice flour paste, gochugaru, scallion greens, carrot and daikon and combine well.
Drain the brined cabbage, rinse each piece well in cold water and place them in a very large bowl. While wearing plastic gloves, toss the cabbage with the marinade, coating well. Transfer to clean, large glass jars or clean plastic containers with lids that fit snugly. You can cut the cabbage to fit if you want, or keep the leaves whole and pack them tightly in the jars. Affix the lids, though not too tightly, and place the jars in a cool, dark, dry space and allow to ferment for 1 day. Heads up: The fermentation process may cause some kimchi juice to bubble over, so place the jars in a plastic bag. When done, refrigerate for 5 to 7 days, or until the kimchi has reached your desired level of funk. It will keep up to a month in the refrigerator to enjoy eaten directly from the container, or longer for use in further cooking, like in Kimchi Jeon and Kimchi Jjigae.
For the stock
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 quart water, anchovies, daikon, scallions, kombu and chilies. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat, then lower heat to maintain a simmer for 15 minutes.
Strain the mixture into a medium container using a mesh strainer and discard the solids. The broth should have a cloudy, light caramel color with a deep sea taste and a slight kick from the chile peppers. Use the stock immediately, cool and refrigerate for a couple days or freeze for up to 2 months.
For the stew
In a large, shallow pot, whisk together ¼ cup anchovy stock with the gochugaru, garlic, mirin, soy sauce and sugar.
To the pot, add the Spam, hot dogs, rice cakes, kimchi, tofu, bean sprouts, mushrooms, bacon and onion. Pour 6 cups anchovy stock into the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the rice cakes are soft but maintain some bite, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the ramyun noodles on top of the stew and cook for another 3 minutes. Top with the cheese slices and garnish with the scallion.
In Flushing, Myung San Plumbs the Depths of Fermented Korean Comfort Food
“We’re known for fermentation,” confides Hoon Beam Cho when I ask him if I missed anything on my first visit to Myung San, a Korean comfort-food restaurant on the outskirts of Flushing in view of the Broadway Long Island Railroad Station. The cordial host is referring to cheonggukjang, a malodorous fermented soybean mash that’s used to make a pungent brew of the same name, affectionately dubbed “dead body stew” thanks to its smell. It should come as no surprise that TV personality Andrew Zimmern has consumed the dish in its homeland of southwestern Korea on his show Bizarre Foods the man couldn’t get enough.
I’ll admit that I was not so immediately moved. When more than two tables order the soup — with its musty, rust-colored kimchi broth murky with bean paste and punctuated by cubes of semi-firm tofu — walking into the spare 26-seat space feels akin, at least olfactorily, to entering a shipping container that doubles as a poorly ventilated hot yoga class for Medieval Times knights. But then you take a deep breath, unsheathe your individually wrapped silverware bearing the restaurant’s name, and plunge spoon-first into a world of fermented funk. There’s a pervasive nuttiness that’s cut by a sharp, almost cheese-like saltiness. The dish’s edge softens as you eat, its tempestuous flavors settling into a low hum of rotten musk. Fermented proteins are the Nicolas Cages of the chef’s larder, captivating in their ability to at once confound and delight.
Cho runs the restaurant with his sister Young Hee, the two of them greeting diners, passing out menus, and distributing banchan, the complimentary snacks that start nearly every Korean meal. At Myung San, the spread can include vegetables such as marinated eggplant and matchsticks of young radish kimchi, pan-fried tofu with chile sauce, miniature dried and candied anchovies that taste like sweet and salty fish jerky, and kimchijeon, a scallion pancake tinged orange with kimchi that’s both crisp and a bit gummy.
While the kids manage the dining room, the kitchen is Mom’s domain. As both owner and chef since the restaurant opened in 2003, Gap Soon Cho cooks a lengthy roster of soups, stews, grilled meats (including pork belly on a gas stove), and stir-fries. And though the restaurant is beloved for its uniquely assertive stew, Cho holds an equally endearing command over more recognizable Korean fare, like a ssambap spread of slightly chewy pork belly cooked in gochujang, a fermented chile paste that adds heat and depth.
Spicy, sizzling pork makes for a fine perfume compared to the cheonggukjang, but even more alluring is Ms. Cho’s plated Eden of fresh vegetable and herb ssam, an array of flora any botanist would envy. The display comes piled high with lettuces, bulky sheets of napa cabbage, fiery tubes of green chile pepper, cilantro, perilla leaves, and a trio of greens: dandelion, chrysanthemum, and boiled and chilled collards. Ms. Cho grows much of it, supplanting the rest with produce from Asian grocery H Mart. This is anti-dare food, and yet it still feels exciting assembling different combinations of flavors from the verdant assortment. Layer a leafy green with rice, herbs, meat, and a spoonful of ssamjang sauce buzzing with scallions and fresh sliced chiles, fold, and chomp away. The order includes a small bowl of tofu stew flavored with doenjang, cheonggukjang’s milder, longer-fermented cousin (fermentation actually mellows the harshness of the soybeans), which shows up in a vast number of Korean dishes.
There are no tables for two at Myung San. They would be dwarfed by the massive trays of jeongol, stew-like casseroles on steroids that feed six easily and cost upward of $40. They overflow with proteins both animal and vegetable, including spicy duck, swellfish, and tender goat meat crowned with perilla leaves. Less grandiose but no less satisfying is tteok manduguk, a milky, starchy soup made from pork bones and brimming with chewy, glutinous rice cake slivers, strands of cooked egg, and coarsely chopped pork and vegetable dumplings. Forget chicken this is pork soup for the soul.
In the late afternoon and into the evening, saucers of makgeolli, a cloudy white alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice, begin to appear. The restaurant serves two kinds: a sweeter, fizzier brew from Kooksoondang brewery in Korea, and the locally produced Dudukju brand made in the Catskills, at Kim’s Farm Resort in Wurtsboro. Dudukju has a resolute dryness, its sweetness and carbonation muted like Spanish Txakoli.
Myung San offers no formal dessert, but Gap Soon will cut up a mean fruit plate upon request. All growing boys and girls can appreciate that.
All about ramyeon, the Korean comfort food that’s more than just a trend
Over the last year, I can say with a clear conscience that I never once hoarded toilet paper. But I did stockpile instant Korean noodles, with no thought or care for those who might go without.
I’ve shamelessly elbowed my way through the aisles to pluck the last packets off the shelves of my local Korean grocery store here in Paris, and filled my online shopping cart with as many instant noodles as possible. Because just as it is for most Koreans, ramyeon is my comfort food. The Korean version of boxed Kraft mac and cheese, if you will (or Kraft Dinner if you’re Canadian).
Korean ramyeo n is also spelled as ramyu n, though the former further differentiates itself from Japanese noodles, or ramen. And while some products are branded as “ramen” over “ramyeo n” (Jin Ramen is a good example), if it’s a product of Korea from a leading manufacturer like Nongshim, Samyang and Ottogi, it’s ramyeo n. For the uninitiated it’s important to note that Korean instant ramyeo n is worlds away from the Cup Noodle or the outdated Sapporo Ichiban brands, both of which are all salt and little flavor. One of my pet peeves is seeing online recipes for “instant ramen hacks” that use these insipid varieties as a base. Because for the same price, maybe a few pennies more, you can dive into a bowl of hot, spicy, soul-soothing soupy noodles in an umami-rich broth that tastes like it’s been simmering for hours instead of five minutes. And the world, it seems, is catching on.
Last November, leading ramyeo n manufacturer Nongshim reported that overseas sales of its instant noodles were expected to spike 24% in 2020 over the previous year to amount to $990 million . That figure encompasses huge sales increases in Europe, Canada, and the United States. Nongshim’s sales of its flagship brand, Shin Ramyun—one of my personal lifelong favorites—were projected to reach $120 million in the US alone .
The biggest driver of Nongshim’s runaway success in 2020? The black thriller comedy from South Korea, Parasite, which won the Oscar for Best Picture last year and catapulted both Korean cinema and Korean instant noodles into the global spotlight.
BapBap’s rolls include one featuring grilled squid with peanut sauce, another sporting smoked brisket, and a DIY bowl that features Angus short rib, brisket, and summer corn.
There are so many places in the further reaches of Flushing to score Korean BBQ and kimbap—the sushi-like rolls that feature ingredients like spicy tuna and cheese—I like to call it K-tropolis. BapBap, the latest Korean spot in the nabe, takes it cue from these classic Korean specialties as well as Manhattan’s temples of gastronomy. That’s because it was created by two fine dining vets, Nate Kuester—who was a sous chef at The Cecil and cooked for three years at Aquavit—and Jason Liu, who was Aquavit’s service director and was most recently general manager at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare.
While at the Cecil Kuester learned to smoke brisket under the tutelage of Chef JJ Johnson. At BapBap, he smokes brisket and features it in a Bap Roll. Other rolls include spicy tuna and squid, a trio makes make a nice lunch for $12. That smokey meat is excellent in the roll, and even better when combined with angus short rib, in the grilled kalbi ssambap, which also features grilled summer corn all over a bowl of rice. It comes with sheets of roasted seaweed, so you can roll your own ssam just as you would at a Korean BBQ joint. The combination of Korean BBQ and low and slow American cue is a tasty homage to Kuester’s Korean-American heritage.
Haemul ssambap combines lobster, squid, clams, and tuna with grilled pineapple.
The haemul ssambap, featuring a mix of seafood, including grilled lobster, squid, briny clams and tuna tartare along with spicy Korean chojang sauce and shaved daikon is perhaps the least traditional of the bowls. That’s because it also contains a cheffy touch, sweet grilled pineapple. Rolled up in the accompanying sheets of seaweed, it makes for a refreshing lunch. Kuester is happy with his composed rice bowls and rolls. BapBap’s customers are too, but he says there’s one drawback. “I eat too much rice everyday.”
Grilled banana leaf and black sesame soft serve topped with injeolmi (soybean powder) and almonds.
Kuester is no slouch when it comes to sweets either, having spent a year at Aquavit’s pastry station. BapBap offers amazing soft serve for dessert. Right now the flavors are grilled banana leaf and yuja (black sesame) topped with injeolmi (soybean powder) and almonds. They are best enjoyed as a swirl.
Chef Judy Joo is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to share delicious Korean comfort food recipes from her new cookbook, "Judy Joo's Korean Soul Food: Authentic Dishes and Modern Twists." She shows us how to make macaroni and cheese with kimchi, Korean-style fried chicken wings and grilled beef short ribs.
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Kimchi Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is probably one of the first dishes that I learned how to cook — albeit from a box with fluorescent colored orange powder. It was so good, even cold! This recipe is definitely a strong upgrade from an instant version, with a béchamel base, four different types of cheese and kicked up with a bit spice and crunch from the kimchi. Kimchi and cheese is a combination that is winning fans all around the world. I can swear, at first bite you'll surely swoon.
Grilled Beef Short Ribs (Wang Galbi Gui)
Galbi (beef short ribs) is one of the most loved cuts of Korean barbecue. Nicely marbled and full of flavor, everyone loves this sweet–salty meat boasting a heady mix of garlic and ginger. Serve this cut in the traditional Korean way, with ssam leaves to wrap and ssamjang sauce. You'll quickly see why this dish is so popular.
Korean Fried Chicken Wings
Korean fried chicken has been the rage around the world as of late. The extra crispy crust makes it so different and addictive compared to other fried chicken. My secret ingredient is matzo meal, a Jewish unleavened flatbread, which keeps this crust super crunchy, and a splash of vodka, which prevents gluten development, making these wings super crispy.
If you like those Asian-inspired recipes, you should also try these:
Joah Dishes Out Korean Comfort Food in Queens
The stretch of Northern Boulevard winding east from Flushing and into Murray Hill could be called the K-Town of Queens. It’s flush with Korean businesses, including some of the best spots in the city for Korean barbecue, roiling seafood hot pots, and kimchis ranging from fresh and crisp to dense and funky. Though just out of reach of the 7 train (unless you don’t mind walking a mile or two), these restaurants are well worth the extra fare to take the LIRR to Broadway, where you’ll be deposited right in the thick of it.
On the busy blocks immediately surrounding the train station, a restaurant like Joah is easily overlooked. It’s not as large or as conspicuous as neighbors like Sik Gaek, the sprawling seafood restaurant flashing the face of Anthony Bourdain (a fan) across its LED sign, and it does not offer any of the more traditional Korean dishes that are often the draw here. It doesn’t even serve banchan (the array of tiny side dishes usually presented at the beginning of a meal), which, as Joah general manager Lana Kang tells the Voice, “is craziness.”
What Joah does serve is a version of Korean comfort food that borrows some of its heartiest elements from America, Japan, and even Italy. Cheese features heavily pasta and breaded pork cutlets play a supporting role. “I would call ourselves modernized Korean food for any type of person,” says Kang. She puts Joah among a handful of other newish Korean restaurants — including Her Name Is Han and Five Senses, both in Manhattan’s Koreatown — that are “reaching out to the second generation of Korean Americans.” This younger set, Kang says, knows and likes Mom’s cooking but is drawn to something “cooler.”
Joah’s dining room, a sparse whitewashed space sweetly strung with sprays of dried flowers, could almost be taken for a daytime café, but the pitchers of cocktails on the menu indicate otherwise. These tipples (all also available by the glass) are mostly soju-based and invariably brightly colored and sweet, adorned with paper straws, umbrellas, and lemon slices entombed within ice cubes — a clear draw for the young people Joah aims to please.
The food, meanwhile, will please anyone deep into one of those pitchers. These are drinking dishes — junk food of the highest order. Take, for example, the bacon-studded kimchi fried rice, which is served in a hot skillet, topped with a fried egg, and surrounded by a bubbling moat of melted mozzarella and corn. When mixed all together it becomes a kind of over-the-top casserole. A crust of fried cheese forms along the bottom of the pan, and every forkful trails gooey strands to rival a Domino’s commercial.
The kimchi fried rice, like a pitcherful of blue soju cocktail, is best when shared. So are many of Joah’s best dishes, which come in portions too large and rich for any one person to handle. Such is the case with the mayo rice, which is, delightfully enough, exactly what it sounds like. A large pile of fried rice comes crosshatched with squiggles of either plain or spicy mayonnaise (get the spicy), topped with one of three proteins: Spam, tuna salad, or mentaiko (pollock roe). The tuna salad makes for a surprisingly pleasant combination of textures, the sort of dish you realize you could have been making for last-ditch dinners at home all this time if only you’d thought of it. Still, with its salty punch of flavor, the mentaiko rendition was my favorite.
There are some more traditional Korean dishes on the menu — e.g., bulgogi — but there are also Italian-ish pastas in tomato or cream sauce, as well as Japanese offerings. “Traditional,” anyway, is relative. The pastas were only added because of popular demand, Kang tells the Voice, but Japanese items have been a part of Korean cuisine since at least the Japanese occupation of Korea in the first half of the twentieth century. As a result, the katsu you’ll find at Joah is different from the typical Japanese variety. Rather than a shattery panko crust, this fried pork chop bears a denser, double-fried breading, as crisp and flavorful as the best takeout chicken fingers. Get it as an entrée topped with sweet Japanese curry sauce or cheese or find it on the mansour plate, a combination platter of katsu, kimchi fried rice, a meatloaf-like “hamburger steak,” and sides. At $27, the latter is a splurge compared to the majority of the menu, which ranges from $10 to $15, and should only be an investment for the indecisive.
Of all the dishes at Joah, the budae jjigae, or “army stew,” may be one of the most familiar and true to form for fans of Korean food. It’s a classic version of the hearty soup that originated around the end of the Korean War, when the only foods not scarce were American military rations. Sliced hot dogs, batons of Spam, processed ham, and instant ramen noodles figure prominently but are combined into something greater than the sum of their parts by a broth made rich and spicy courtesy of gochujang and kimchi. This bowl, bubbling over a Sterno flame, links the “modern” things Joah does with cheese and mayonnaise and fried pork chops to a feat Korean cuisine has achieved before: turning junk food into really delicious junk food.
Yukgae Jang & Kimchi Jeon?
We brought special recipe from Korea to give
customer's full satisfaction from our main menu to Kimchi. Crispy Kimchi Pancake (Kimchijeon) is recognized as staples food in Korean cuisine . Using most flavorful traditional kimchi, this tart ripen kimchi turns into flavorful pancake with satisfying chewy and crisp.
Kalguksu (Korean knife-cut noodle soup) is characterized with its deep and clear broth that makes it nutritious and hearty. It is made from a heart broth filled with vegetables and knife-cut noodles. This warm noodle dish is simple yet refreshing and comforting Korean dish.