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New Owner at Tong Tong Kim Bab Inc.

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  • lisa Nov 2, 2005 05:21 PM
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One of my fave casual Flushing Korean places which actually made the book, has changed hands. Was in today for some takeout kimchee bokkumbap and mantoo and noticed a few red-ribbon wrapped trees and the absence of the adorable chubby little older woman behind the register. Turns out she sold the place two weeks ago. New owner was extremly sweet and made my bokkumbab without any spam or eggs as per my request and insisted I sit and have a free drink whilst waiting. She was smart to keep the two middle aged Korean women who did all the cooking for the previous owner - they rock!

Menu is identical and quality seems to have remained the same. Bokkumbab was extra spicy which was super!

I wonder if Maru, the new shop across the street, is giving them a run for their money.

lisa

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  1. Maru (a.k.a. Shin Ji Eun's Delicious Food) looks like a winner. I stopped in over the weekend and got a nice squid kimbap and a tasty, salad-like pyogo mushroom plate. It's a bright, tidy joint, and the staff is friendly and clearly proud of their food. (By the way, what's changroo kimbap?)

    Thanks for your posts on these places. We don't hear enough about Korean food in this area. Got any other favorites out that way? Seems like block after block of promising-looking eateries, many with no English signs (and that was just as far as the LIRR station near Nolbu). Another area I don't see many reports on is Union, both north and south of Northern.

    18 Replies
    1. re: squid-kun

      We can honestly say we've been to EVERY Korean place on Northern in Flushing and Union- honest to God. When I have more time, I'll write something more extensive up. For now:

      Fave for take-away panchan is Hansol Party House on Nothern and Crocheron about...mushrooms, greens, panfried slabs of tofu, pajun, japchae...all to go in plastic containers or styrofoam trays...Yum!

      Fave for kimbab and kimchee mandoo chigae is Nolbu under the 162nd street el about...kind of cornered off of Northern. We're regulars.

      And of course the Natural Tofu Restaurant for awesome, awsome soon dooboo...I usually get the kimchee one with mushrooms, extra spicy without meat. I Love the panchan there as well- unfortunately it's not the same panchan when you do take-away- so specify. I particularly love the warm, lightly dressed Korean sweet potato panchan- it's like German potato salad but not :) It's an at least once a week place in the cold weather.

      Picnic Garden for all you can eat BBQ is good as is the BBQ Chicken Place up by where the movie theater used to be (ages ago). I'm actually not a big BBQ girl.

      Kum Gang San for when you are bringing guests from the 'burbs for a first time who might need a nicer ambience.

      Incidentally, Maru hasn't had their phenomenal thin-skinned almost wonton-style kimchee mandoo since opening week...now all they are offering is fried crescent-moon shaped ones...kind of pedestrian.

      The Changroo (sp?) kimbab comes un-assembled; it's spicy cold octopus in a fiery gochuchang-based sauce, seaweed wrappers, and hot rice....you kind of assemble yourself. Yum.

      Oh! And I like the mandoo at Shin/m Po a lot...near the Dunkin Donuts...part of a large Korean chain that boasts the best mandoo in Korea. My husband doesn't favor these as much as they are more fermented tasting than ususal.

      And at Tong Tong Kim Bab Inc...the pork tonkatsu special is pretty delish for when you're not in the mood for the stellar bokkumbab.

      Have Fun!

      lisa

      1. re: lisa

        i will also try my best to sum up some of the korean spots i go to in flushing/bayside:

        1) nam oh jong: northern blvd (& 162nd st or so): across the street from where quartet/rite-aid used to be. for korean bbq, i prefer this place over kum gahng sahn and dae dong myun oak. they use wood chips in the grill so the meat has that smoky, woodsy taste. portions and pan-chan are generous sizes. they also have a great bi bib bbap (the spicy mixed rice with vegetables and meat that comes
        in a stone pot). this place has changed management a few times, but it's back to its original owners in the late '90s.

        2) natural health center (tong dak): this place is directly across the street from nam oh jong, i might've screwed up the official name. their specialty is chicken - their rotisserie chicken dinner plate is very good, it reminds me of eating this type of chicken in seoul. chicken jook is great for stomachaches (porridge). a korean hangover cure: sam gye tang, which is a whole game hen stuffed with rice, ginger and other seasoning in a chicken broth. i love it here.

        3) ham ji bak, northern blvd (& bell blvd): this place is in the old tony roma's location. they are famous for sam gyup sal - which is slabs of pork bbqed on a grill in front of you. it's wonderful - the sides you eat with it are amazing. you can either eat it with raw, seasoned scallions and rice, or wrap it in moo, which is korean cabbage of some sort? and then dipped in a plethora of sauces.

        4) yu chun nehng myun: northern blvd, next to the IHOP: i don't know what the crossroad is here, but it's across the street from the huge shopping area with han ah reum korean supermarket, mcdonalds, etc. this is THE place to be in the summer time. their cheelk nehng myun is handmade korean root noodles chilled overnight that's spicy and very cooling on a hot summer night. nehng myun usually consists of a thin vermicelli noodle, but the noodles are not thin here -it is simply delicious.

        5) guh sung (bell blvd): this is a few blocks off of northern blvd, if you go past Slate Billiards (the old BBC), the 24 hour gym and head towards the LIE. it's a korean-chinese place. they serve a killer jjang jjang myun (handmade noodles in a black bean and onion sauce), jjam ppong (handmade noodles in a hot seafood broth), tang soo yook (korean styled fried beef in sweet sauce), and various other korean/chinese delectables. the owner has been serving this type of food for decades, she's wonderful. the more popular korean/chinese restaurant is sam ohn gak, which has 2 locations: northern blvd + parsons and northern blvd + springfield blvd. i think guh sung is significantly better than sam ohn gak.

        6) another favorite for koreans (particularly late at night) are the korean supermarkets! han yang supermarket (on northern blvd + murray st) is a popular spot for both young and old night owls. on the weekends at around 4AM, expect it to be crowded with tons of bar hoppers wanting their fix of cheap, korean comfort food. you can find many things from kim bap, noodles, stews and other korean comfort food. the original han ah reum supermarket (union st, heading towards parsons blvd) closes early, but their eatery is also very good. they have good LA kalbi and bulgogki lunchboxes.

        7) sushi family (northern blvd near little neck pkwy): this is a korean owned sushi establishment but i had to throw this in b/c they make very good rolls and other japanese dishes. their pan-chan is very good.

        there's def many other places i know, but i couldn't tell you the names b/c i've been going all my life. i will report back once i take a moment to actually learn the names of the other places i've frequented.

        1. re: linda

          Great Post! For those following along. when you have samgyupsal make sure you put some kimchee on the grill as you bbq what is essentially very tender, fatty bacon. The drippings mix with the kimchee and eaten with rice it tastes sublime. When I ask any of my Korean students about their fave Korean restaurant HamJiBach is always what I hear. Samgyupsal is the preferred food of every Korean teen that I know :) Great for Atkins by the way...

          Linda, Where is your fave spot for sanchae bibimbab, which I'm sure you know is much harder to find than ordinary bibimbab? I prefer the lightly cooked root vegetables and the red, bean-studded rice to ordinary bibimbab. It's a virtual fiber-fest and I ate it all the time when I was preggers with my son. Not surprisingly, at two years old he likes it too. Sometimes at Korean restaurants he will say, "Mama, gosari.." and I will pull a slender shard out of my bowl. The waiters/waitresses are usually floored.

          I ADORE Korean food. Which is why Flushing is the best place for me to live. I'm never moving :)

          lisa

          1. re: lisa

            Figured I'd change the subject line to reflect what has become a more comprehensive post....

            1. re: lisa

              Linda, and Lisa,
              Thanks for the very useful info on the Korean scene in Flushing/Bayside. This has to be one of the most informative posts I've read on Chowhound in quite a while. I've been trying to do my own reconnaisance on/off Northern Blvd, but I don't get around there very often, and it's difficult to keep track of what's good when I feel like I'm doing target practice in the dark. I've always felt that the Korean scene in this area is one of the frontiers on Chowhound, except for a few blips on the radar, it's gone largely undiscovered. I hope you two contribute a lot more and let us in on the ins and outs. Thanks again.

              1. re: Eric Eto

                As Yoona, one of my long-time students and now a Stuyvesant hopeful just pointed out after reading this thread: "Ms. Antinore, how could how have forgotten Dong Hae Ru's mandoo?" She's right. Dong Hae Ru on Union Street across from Sheng Rainbow Plaza makes excellent mandoo- you can watch them through the window.

                Koryodang Bakery, both locations (one on the corner of Union and 37thish and the other on Northern and about 158thish) has really yummy fried cruller type things stuffed with curried potatoes and carrots in addition to a myriad of other sweet offerings that I'm not nuts about.

                And in Flushing Mall my absolute, absolute favorite place is the ground level Korean/Chinese dumpling counter next to the juice kiosk right near the fountain. Not mantoo, not jiaoze...This hybrid place rocks! 18 beautifully steamed dumplings for about 6 dollars served with a plate of barely fermented kimchee type spicy cabbage salad and a beguiling dipping sauce. There are 5 or 6 varieties of dumolings but I always go for the shrimp, pork, sea cucumber and chives....The woman who appears to be the boss speaks Korean and Chinese and her dumpling makers speak what I think is Mandarin. They are a real treasure. I think Suzanne Parker briefly mentions this place in her Book "Eating Like Queens."

                Kimchee Pizza at BJ's on Roosevelt off of Union (the first place to do this YEARS ago)is another place I stop at when I'm around. The pizza in general here is pretty lacking but I give the owner major props for his multi-cultural approach to business.

                And the little hole in the wall on Union a few shops down from Koryodang and the buses that sells little snacks like dok buki. This place is great.

                My toddler, Michael Jude, is a great fan of the made- to-order sweet-bean filled fish made in a press with batter. They are found in a few of the Korean supermarkets but the woman who runs the stand at my local Han Ah Rheum in the shopping Center on Northern and about 160th is the sweetest lady and so I always buy mine there. I like them, strangely enough, with salt sprinkled on top. They are a great treat on my walks back to my home after a food shopping. They are 5 for four dollars and worth every cent.

                Linda, how do you feel about Jade right next to the Natural Chicken Restaurant on Northern? I ate there when it first opened and was impressed with the quality of everything. It seems to have a "snobby" rep with the Koreans I know. What do you think?

                Linda, how do you feel about Jade right next to the Natural Chicken Restaurant on Northern? I ate there when it first opened and was impressed with the quality of everything. It seems to have a "snobby" rep with the Koreans I know. What do you think?

                lisa

                1. re: lisa

                  Are any of these within walking distance of the 7 train in Flushing, or do most require the use of a bus?

                  Also, could someone receommend a good HOF (or a non-club/bottle service type place) where I could grab some drinks afterwards, should I make the trek out there on a weekend night?

                  1. re: Lambretta76

                    Dong Hae Ru is within walking distance as is Kum Gung San and Koryodang Bakery. So is Flushing Mall. Most of the other stuff that's been discussed restaurant-wise would require the use of any of the buses that travels Northern Blvd such as the Q28 or Q13.

                    No Clue about where to go for drinks :(

                    1. re: lisa

                      i hope other chowhounders try out korean spots and let me know what you think.

                      it would be intimidating to be a non-korean in a predominantly korean restaurant, but do not be afraid! there are employees that can speak english and that can guide you. it also would help to know the exact thing you want - which in this case, please refer to my previous posts about the delectable dishes each restaurant is known for. or feel free to post/ask!

                      lisa - i love "cha-koht" bbap. this is rice that is made out of red beans and the rice is a nice purple-ish color. it conjures up great childhood memories. unfortunately, i don't know where to get kim bbap made properly with this rice besides my mother. :) you're knowledge of korean food is impressive, are you korean? in addition - this place jade that you speak of, is it that seafood restaurant right next to the natural health center i wrote about? if so, i do like it there, i think it's called "chan-oh-jeep" or something like that. the servings are generous, panchan is diverse.

                      additionally, check out this website for more reviews. i don't necessarily agree with the reviews, as some of these places are average in my book. a few of the places may also not be around, as management changes often in struggling korean restaurants. nonetheless, most of them are still good places:
                      http://207.228.230.125/koreanfood/HTM...

                      here are more listings, as lisa and others have mentioned:

                      1) kumkangsan: this is within walking distance of the 7 train, it's on northern blvd and union st. it's a mainstay and the place to start for anyone interested in korean food. it's 24 hours, it's very "user-friendly" for non-koreans and it's huge. there's a lot of weddings, parties, etc that are held here on the w/e, so it will be packed. a lot of my friends come here around 5AM to eat after they go drinking. go for the korean bbq, kalbi. and if you're with a bunch of people, do as the koreans and drink soju merrily with your kalbi. try the bi-bim-bbap (korean mixed rice in stone pot), any of the gook - which means soup, in this case, not a derogatory slang word, is also a good choice. :) man-do-gook is soup with dumplings, duk-gook is soup with slices of korean rice patty type thing. kalbi-tang, which is beef in a korean beef soup, is also good. and, ji-gae, which is spicy korean seafood/tofu stew, is always a good choice to have with kalbi.

                      2) ooh-chun: this is on kissena blvd across the street from the flushing library. another 24 hour place, though not as busy as kumkangsan. i'd say this place is average - you won't get anything bad by any means, but it's a safe place to go for basic korean food. i usually get sul-lung-tang here, which is oxtail broth soup with noodles, rice and slices of beef. this is also another supposed hangover cure. it's not as good as it is at gam-mi-oak, which is a place on 32nd st in the city that specializes in sul-lung-tang, but it's fine here. additionally, you can get the same things at kumkangsan here.

                      3) how could i forget koryodang bakeries? there's one on union st right across from the municipal parking lot there's another on northern blvd and 164th st and yet another on springfield blvd and LIE service road. very popular all day, whether it be for breakfast, a small lunch or an after dinner treat. a favorite amongst koreans is "che-dohl-beh-gi" which is like a korean donut - it's fried dough, twisted, than splattered with sugar. there's also tons of pastries with sweet red bean paste or cream in the middle that's very good. and if you want some thick sliced white bread, try it sometime from here. it's delicious - perfect for thick grilled cheese sandwiches. during the summer, you must eat "paht-bean-soo." it is shaved ice, topped with sweet red bean and syrup, fruit slices, fruit jellies, whipped cream. this is the quintessential korean summertime treat. oh, and koreans love their coffee light and sweet, so you'll like the coffee here if you take it that way.

                      4) san soo kap san: it's on northern blvd by utopia parkway (near taco bell, 7-11). this used to be a buffet restaurant, but now it is a korean bbq restaurant. it's also changed hands of management, so i've never been there. however, my bf went recently and said that the kalbi was very fine, tender and marinated nicely. so, i'd suggest checking out here also.

                      5) there is this great korean noodle shop on northern blvd, by linden place. it's across the street from the flushing town hall. i don't know what it's called, but it's a green-ish colored tiny little restaurant that only serves noodles. it's korean style thick noodles in a thick broth, either chicken or seafood. i like chicken, but people love the seafood one. on rainy days, expect a wait. it's very cheap, about $7 or so for a huge bowl. it reminds me of the little hole in the walls in korea which have great food.

                      enjoy!

                      1. re: Linda

                        I LOVE that noodle place too! Most people don't venture down Northern past Union...their loss :)
                        BTW, I am not Korean. I was born right here in NYC to American-born parents. My background is Sicilian/Austrian actually. BUT I am a Seung-sen-nim
                        ( no clue how to spell...) and my students and their parents tell me I am an "Honorary Korean." I think they really must like me, because before I got married a few of them even tried to set me up with their nephews and sons :) One even bought me a hanbolke!

                    2. re: Lambretta76

                      For just a few more bucks, LIRR is a good option. From the Nolbu Sushi shop that lisa recommends at Northern and 163rd, you could almost heave a kimbap onto the platform of the Broadway station (not that you'd want to throw one away). The Murray Hill station, one stop west, is also convenient to this stretch of Northern Blvd.

                    3. re: lisa

                      Thanks for this review.
                      Has anyone explored the parallel world of Korean food purveyed around the Murray Hill LIRR station (Roosevelt/41Ave; 149-150 Sts? Korean commerce has transfomed this sleepy 19th century setting into what call "the Korean Village" I don't eat K food as often as Chinese food s I haven't tried any of the dozen or so places yet.

              2. re: linda

                Could the "natural health center" be Han Sol Nutrition Center (160-26 Northern, 718-888-0200)? It's right across from Nam O Jong and its menu lists those specialties you mention. Looks great.

                Also, for anyone who'd like to check out Sushi Family, they just opened a Flushing store at Union and Northern (Sushi Family Express, 35-48 Union, 718-321-2231).

                1. re: squid-kun

                  yes, i believe it's han sol nutrition center, thank you for finding the right name! :) i recommend the "sam gye tang" (whole game hen in chicken broth stuffed with rice, roots, etc) for cold, winter nights, it'll warm you up instantly.

                  also try the tong dak - which is korean for rotisserie chicken. i like the "tong dak chun shik" which is rotisserie chicken platter - it comes with half rotisserie chicken, shredded cabbage, a soft buttered roll, soup and korean root.

                  you'll get "jook" - chicken porridge for starters and a few dishes of panchan (starting/side dishes). i love the dessert drink - it's just a simple persimmon and cinnamon iced drink with a few pine nuts. mmmmm.

                  indeed, sushi family opened up an "express" location on union st and northern. i am yet to go there, if anyone wants to report. before it was sushi family express, it was a korean restaurant that served frogs. needless to say, that didn't last for too long.

              3. re: lisa

                Wow – what Eric said! Thanks to both of you. I'll be back in the nabe soon, printout in hand.

                Lisa, one more question, if you see this: Is the BBQ chicken place near the old moviehouse the same as the Natural Health Center that Linda mentions below? Can't have too much good chicken :)

                1. re: squid-kun

                  nope...It's a few shops down and says something like BBQ Chicken 1.5 and has a weird chicken cartoonish insignia. It's chicken that is bbqed at your table in the style of kalbi or bolgogi. Quite good.

                  I'll take note of the exact address next time I walk by:)

                  1. re: lisa

                    Thanks! We walked by that place last weekend. Wondered what "1.5" meant (maybe three legs per bird?). It's at 160-30 Northern, 718-445-9508.

                    1. re: squid-kun

                      The 1.5 is actually a reference to the 1.5 generation - it's an immigration thing.

            2. my wife is korean and likes kimbap a lot. It's hard to find good kimbap. What's the the address of Tong Tong Kim Bap Inc?

              1 Reply
              1. re: bruce

                It's on Northern Blvd and 160th Street a few doors down from St Andrew Avellino and the bokkumbab is sublime, but the kimbab at Nolbu is much better. Much, Much better. It's where most Koreans I know buy it for their kids each morning for school lunch or before the It's essentially a takeout place and is on Northern a little past Crocheron going east. It's kind of at an angle off the side of the street on the right hand side just after the LIRR trestle.

                Hope that helps.

              2. I found this great post while meandering through the Korean bbq threads hoping to find a place that might be good for a group dinner in the coming months.

                I am particularly interested in finding a place withh good bbq that is within walking distance from a subway station, hopefully the 7 train, or an LIRR statiion. ARe those mentioned here still in business.

                Are there any others that you would recommend? Apart from a few restaurant meals during short visits Seoul, I have very little experience with Korean cuisine...