Sunday, April 27, 2008

Woorijip, Gahm Mi Oak, and Kunjip: If you are what you eat, I must be Korean

Several weekends back (okay fine, all of my posts are from meals I ate eons ago, I'll just stop pointing that out) I found myself on an inadvertent Korean food kick. Aside from a burger and some cookies at the 3rd Ward Open House, all the other meals I had were from the Country of Kimchi.

Early Friday night, with MH and DT, there was dduk bok-ki at Woorijip, chewy rice cake tubes in a sweet, spicy sauce. The container I grabbed turned out to be vegetarian, so instead of the fish cakes I had expected to be mingled in, there were chunks of cabbage. I love dduk and other items based on pounded glutinous rice, but I try not to eat too much of them as they're calorie-dense and according to my folks, difficult to digest.
Sulongtang, Gam Mee Ok
Then, after we spent the rest of the night drinking, there was sul-long tang at Gahm Mi Oak, a specialist in this restorative ox-bone soup. Sitting at the bottom of the milky white broth were scatters of rice and noodles, along with some flat, wide ribbons of beef. Containers of chopped scallion and sea salt were on the table so the flavor of the sul-long tang could be adjusted to our preferences.

After a long night and particularly to ward off (or cure) hangovers, Gahm Mi Oak is the destination of choice for drunken Koreans all over New York City.
The next night, after hanging out with a big group at a bar for a while, several of us started feeling hunger pangs and decided to sneak out for some grub. And wouldn't you know it—my friends wanted Korean food.

JSK had a particular craving for the kimchi gobdol bibimbap at Kunjip, and so that's where we ended up. I followed his lead and ordered the same thing for myself.
IMG_3456.JPG IMG_3458.JPG
The bibimbap, which comes in a hot stone bowl, arrives looking like it consists only of white rice and a fried egg, with roasted seaweed scattered on top. But once you sink your spoon all the way down to the bottom and start overturning its contents, a rich, dry stew of pork belly mingled with shreds of pungent kimchi appears.
Stir that in thoroughly with the white rice, breaking up the fried egg as you go, and you end up with something like kimchi fried rice…but better.

Considering the number of Korean friends I have, it's not surprising that I frequently end up in Korean restaurants. But aside from when I travel, three meals in two days is more than I've had of practically any cuisine available here. It's one of the beautiful things about living in NYC, I guess—there's so much variety, you hardly ever have to eat the same thing twice.


  1. Our house and big house, but what's the name of the middle restaurant?

  2. I don't know, I'm not the Korean! Shouldn't YOU be telling ME, Mr. Bae?