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Love K-Town---Recommendations for new places?

Calling all Korean food experts! I love Korean food and often go to K-town, but I am stuck in a rut of going to only a handful of places. I like Kunjip and Shilla best and have also been to Won-jo (decent), Kum-gang-san (aka the tourist trap) and the small place next to Kum-gang san that specializes in Sulungtang. Can anyone recommend some good places other than these? I tend to prefer places that have great soups and stews rather than places that specialize in BBQ. Also, any great places for Soon Doo boo, the soft tofu soup? (When I used to live in Philly, I would go to a place that only served variations on Soon Doo boo, the soft tofu soup, and have not been able to find an equivalent in New York that measures up.) Thanks in advance for your help!!!

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  1. Cho Dang Gol on 35th st - excellent soon do boo.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pablog98

      and a hundred other kinds of tofu

      1. if you have the time and inclination to travel a bit, you can go to flushing for really good korean food (outside of LA or korea that is).

        there're a lot of korean restaurants clustered around northern blvd in flushing.

        in the city, albene (across from cho dang gol, which has very good pork-ssam) is good for quick, ghetto korean food. but too much msg though..

        2 Replies
        1. re: koreankorean

          Yes, check out these posts on Flushing, On the fringes of Flushing, there is a wide variety of incredible Korean places that few outside the neighborhood have visited. I haven't been but I'd love to. It's on my "to do" list.



          1. re: Brian S

            Here's a summary of that second thread plus at least one other, with addresses and other info: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        2. My favorite is Mandoo, 32nd street (of course), towards 5th Ave. It is the restaurant that has women in the window making dumplings (mandoo). I love the seafood mandoo, and I've had it in their soups and thought it was fantastic.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fornaio

            Hmmm...I got Mandoo Soup there for lunch about a month ago or so and thought it was fine and hit the spot but wasn't tremendously special or anything like that.

          2. I second Mandoo Bar. But they only have mandoo, ramyun, bokkumbab, bibimbap. If you can handle spicy, order the duk-bo-ki which you can cook on your table and there are noodles and veggies in it. (it's rice cake) Or, the jol-myun which are noodles but they are a bit starchy so they're a little al dente when you bite into it.

            I rarely eat in k-town b/c I agree that the best korean food is in Flushing/Bayside. If you need some recommendations, let me know. I know plenty in Flushing.

            I haven't been to the following places, but a friend of mine just sent me an email last week regarding some places in k-town. Here they are below along with her original comments.

            Woo Ri Jip - more like a deli where the food is instant or kept in hot containers / refrigerators all day. It's still yummy but not sure if you guys want to do that rather than sit formally at a restaurant.

            Won Jo - the kalbi is probably best b/c they barbecue it with coals but d├ęcor is lacking

            Kang Suh - the worst service if you are seated downstairs. Upstairs is fine.

            Choong Mu Ro (relatively new restaurant) on south side of the street - it's the most clean and best service

            6 Replies
            1. re: FoodFanNYC

              Thanks Everyone! I totally agree that the best Korean food is in Flushing and I go to Flushing all the time for real Taiwanese food, so I welcome any suggestions there. It seems like most Asian food in Manhattan pales in comparison to the places Flushing and my mantra is "WILL TRAVEL FOR GOOD FOOD." If any of you Korean food fans also love other Asian food, One of my favorites is going to the Little Fat Lamb for the "Ying-Yang" Hot Pot---a divided hot pot that is half spicy peppercorn broth and half medicinal/herb broth. They also have homemade fishballs that they form tableside, dropping each one fresh into the boiling pot.

              1. re: Aiceegray

                I hope you'll post some Taiwan recommendations in Flushing on the Outer Boroughs board. People there were discussing where to go and disagreed, and I'd like to hear your recommendations. By the way, Spicy & Tasty and Xiao La Jiao also offer the two-chambered hot pot... but it's not on the main menu.

              2. re: FoodFanNYC

                When i first got back from korea a few years ago, I thought that Mandoo Bar was awful! But now, it's not so bad. I don't think the quality has changed but my desperation for mandoo certainly has! hahaha (I still wouldn't say that it is an example of great mandoo but passable).

                Cho Dang Gol (for tofu), Kun Jip (everyday comfort food), Kang Suh (BBQ & groups) & You-Chun (really reminds me of Korea...great Dduk Bok Gi) are my favorites.

                1. re: asm305

                  mandoo bar IS awful. but you're right - when there isn't much else out there, people tend to lower their standards. it's crazy; i wouldn't touch any of the options in manhattan if food of that level were available in nj, queens, and especially LA or korea, but when you're in manhattan you have no choice but to pony up for poor-to-mediocre grub. at this point i hardly eat in k-town anymore, which saddens me as a korean. i don't mind travelling to flushing or nj to get the better stuff, but it's really mind-boggling to think that there isn't one korean restaurant on the island that's much better than average.

                  1. re: surly

                    I just asked for suggestions in the Tri State board for good Korean in NJ - as I didn't want to divert this thread. Any suggestions?

                    1. re: surly

                      Mandoo bar is good for mandoo and acorn noodles, and that's about it...at least these days.


                      NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                2. SEOUL GARDEN.
                  32nd Street just East of Broadway, on the south side of the street - 2nd floor.
                  Best Soondubu I have had int the city hands down. I get the #50 - spicy. The pachan are very fresh as well. I much prefer the soondubu here to Cho Dang Gol.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Diana182

                    2nd Seoul Garden. The Soondubu is addictive.

                    As for Cho Dang Gol, I go for only for the Biji jigae.

                  2. cho dang gol is my favorite!
                    they have something called 'pork healthy wrap'(ssam)
                    and it's one of my favorite things on their menu.

                    1. If you like soups, I recommend the Jampong men a few blocks up at Hyo Dong Gak (35th near 6th). Perfect when the weather turns cool... and I don't miss Kum Ryong either ;)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: bokkyo

                        Has anyone tried Shanghai Mong, the Korean-Chinese place that replaced Kum Ryong? I hear the owner also has a soon dubu restaurant in (I think) Fort Lee.

                        1. re: squid kun

                          yeah i tried it, i think hyo dong gak is better and cheaper, though they do have the jampong with the ja ja myun (i.e. half and half)

                        2. re: bokkyo

                          Hyo Dong Gak is a Korean Chinese restaurant, if you go here (it's worth a visit) stick to the dishes that you wouldn't recognize from a Chinese menu.

                        3. If you're feeling adventurous, you might also try the haejangkuk at Yang Pyung, on 33rd St. It's a beef and tripe soup that Koreans like after a night out (or the morning after).

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: kimcheater

                            Good dumplings and goat jungol, too.

                            1. re: kimcheater

                              I don't think I've had haejangkuk w/tripe, but I have had it with chunks of blood. Don't let that turn you off (I always take out the blood). It's a deliciously bracing soup and it's one of my favorites.

                              1. re: kimcheater

                                Oo, is that really good here? I love haejangkuk. Supposedly good after a hard night's drinking

                                1. re: kimcheater

                                  yeah i like that place, get the budae chige...its good there

                                2. I haven't been in a few years, but I think they bill it as the house specialty. Then again, I know a lot can happen in a few years ... Han Bat and Cho Dan Gol, for instance, used to be a lot better. Still, this post is definitely inspiring me, I might have to make a run this weekend. I'll report back if I do.

                                  1. Try So Kong Dong Tofu in Fort Lee just across the GWB

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: foodite

                                      at one time (1998 or so) so gong dong was so good, i told my out-of-town friends that it was the best soondooboo jjigae i'd had outside of korea. even better than anything i'd had in LA. seriously.

                                      but sad to say, it's a shadow of its former self these days - riding on its reputation as it slides into mediocrity, yet still packing in the crowds (the fort lee branch is still better than the pal park branch, for what it's worth). i think that's at least partially due to the overall poor quality of soondooboo jjigae in the ny/nj area at the moment, because even at its worst, so gong dong blows away all the manhattan pretenders like cho dang gol or seoul garden. and don't even bother ordering this stew at a "big" korean restaurant that serves a little of everything; only a soondooboo specialist can make this stew properly.

                                      by default, i'd say go to cho dang gol if you don't want to leave manhattan, but i say that only as a last resort. seoul garden is pretty lousy, don't even bother. i'm always puzzled by the positive reviews of this place, but it's probably because the 32nd street scene is so poor.

                                      as for a "general" 32nd street restaurant recommendation, i'd go with choong moo ro (by default). it's no great shakes, but i thought it was decent - way better than dae dong, won jo, kum gang san, kang suh, kun jip, etc. for what it's worth, i do have korean american friends who think kun jip is fine for the neighborhood, but i don't like it at all.

                                      for korean-style chinese in the area, go to hyo dong gak.

                                      1. re: surly

                                        I'm gonna throw in an objection here....

                                        Seoul Garden is anything but "pretty lousy" - I find the Soondubu to be TOPS out of any soondubu I have ever had in the city, flushing, seoul and bergen county. So Kong Dong in Ft. Lee is my #2 favorite but I agree things have slipped a notch, although the cucumber pachan remains glorious.

                                        To anyone who has not had soondubu, or has been disappointed in the past, give Seoul Garden a chance........ I agree with johnnyappleseed - it's addictive, especially if you get it spicy.

                                        1. re: Diana182

                                          sorry but we're going to have to agree to disagree. to each his or her own, but i really can't recommend this place.

                                          1. re: Diana182

                                            Seoul Garden has decent soondubu especially the haemul soondubu but anything else there is really pretty lousy. The only time I like to go there is for soondubu at lunch time. I once ordered the bokumbop there and it was full of those frozen cubed carrots and peas...gross.

                                      2. Throwing in a 3rd for Seoul Garden's spicy soondobu. Though I haven't tried Cho Dang Gol's.

                                        1. I personally like Daedong (really close to Kunjip). Their Crab Jigae is great; a lot of other places don't do it or skimp on the crab.