The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 28 September 2007

Spicy Korean @ Kunjip, New York

A few blocks from the Empire State Building, there is a small district of K-town with several 24-hour Korean restaurants. Kunjip is reviewed as one of the best Korean eats in Monhattan, and was crowded full of Korean people when we ate there for lunch on Friday - a good sign that this is the place to have good authentic Korean food. The restaurant was packed, and we waited about 10 minutes for a table. Service was quick and efficient, and we must look Korean because the waitstaff kept talking to us in Korean.

One of the best part of this lunch was the banchan. A myriad of complimentary side dishes covered most of the table, and they were delicious. I could have had my fill with just rice and the banchan, which included the usual kimchee and beansprouts, but also many other dishes like pickled white radish, marinated nori (seaweed used for sushi), potatoes braised in soy sauce (reminded me a lot of pongteh, a Nonya dish my mum cooks), a dried seafood/jerky dish (which I loved) and some greens. The banchan given in Perth's Korean restaurants pales in comparison to this spread. Perhaps this is pretty close to what is served in Korea.

I love the fact that the Korean cuisine has such robust and unpretentious flavours, and its bold in-your-face spiciness is something I definitely appreciate. I've had yummy Korean in Perth and in Japan, and this is perhaps the best Korean food I've had so far. I ordered Suk-Uh Chigae ($12.95), a spicy seafood soup, and Honey got Yuk Gae Jang ($7.95), a hot and spicy beef stew. The seafood included prawns (or shrimps as they call them here), fish and clams and they were fresh. The beef stew was quite delicious with a pretty spicy kick - there was japchae (translucent potato noodles) in the beef stew too. I can't really say more than that the food was delicious, and very filling. Good value for what we paid.

Suk-Uh Chigae and Yuk Gae Jang

One day, we'll visit Korea and try some of the awesome Korean food and sweets that I saw on Dae Jang Geum (an awesome Korean drama series which got even a guy like Rob hooked on it).

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