It’s a wonderful thing to be able to find a taste of your first home in your current home. That’s how it feels when I stumble upon delicious Korean food in New York City. There is no other comfort quite like being able to walk into a restaurant and be greeted with flavors, smells, and smiles that remind me of Korea. There are innumerable Korean restaurants in Manhattan, but there are two in particular that always come to mind when someone asks what my favorite restaurants are.
Hanjan – (Flatiron District)
This restaurant is almost unassuming in appearance when you first walk up to it. It was opened by chef Hooni Kim, (who also owns Danji, another Korean restaurant in NY) just three years ago, but it’s already established itself as a mainstay in NY Korean cuisine. All of the produce they serve is responsibly sourced and the meat is all antibiotic & hormone free, because Chef Kim is a firm believer in responsible eating. The menu features a playful dichotomy between very traditional dishes and more modern twists on Korean flavors, and both avenues end up being the perfect comfort food.
There are both small and large plate options, so you have many dining combination options available. All of it is absolutely delicious, and it’s hard to choose a favorite dish off of the menu. But, I will say their noodle dishes are a family-favorite. So, if it’s your first time, make sure to try the spicy squid stir fry or the Korean spicy ramen (or both).
Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong – (Koreatown)
If you know Korean BBQ, you probably already know about Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong.
This is one of my favorite places to bring the family. The fun, bright rooms coupled with the sizzling of the grills and the laughter of the patrons creates an experience that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. There’s almost always a birthday in the glass-walled private rooms so you’ll get a bonus little light show during your meal.
They serve a traditional Korean BBQ menu at Kang Ho Dong Baekjong, but they do it an astoundingly delicious way. From the cuts of meats, to the kimchi, to the cheesey corn, you can tell that they don’t skimp on quality. There is nothing quite like getting to watch you food cook in front of you; the aromas are intoxicating, and it’s just a great time for everyone involved.