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Best Korean Stews and Soups in Manhattan?

As the title suggests, I'm looking for the best Korean soups and stews in Manhattan (I'm just visiting so can't do extensive research on my own!) and was looking for some suggestions. My favorite is soon dobu chi gae, but I'm open to all types. I'm from Oakland where the Korean is amazing, but would like to try it out on the East Coast as well.

I've searched the boards, but most of the results are older, and as Korean restaurants seem to change in terms of quality rather quickly, I thought I'd start a new thread.

I remember reading about a place that made their own tofu and specialized in stews. Anyone know the name?

Thanks for the help!

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  1. the korean food scene in manhattan ranges from awful to mediocre; nothing is particularly good. if you're willing to travel to flushing, queens or palisades park/fort lee, nj, you can get the good stuff. i've never had korean food in oakland/the east bay so i'm not sure how the food in manhattan's k-town would compare with your experiences at home. but as much as i criticize the food in k-town, i really can't recommend any manhattan korean restaurants outside of the neighborhood. there are a bunch of korean places that have opened up downtown in recent years - many of them catering to the trendy crowd - but unless you're looking for a scene or are committed to eating in those neighborhoods, don't bother.

    as you probably know, manhattan's k-town is located mainly on 32nd street between broadway/5th ave/madison ave, but also includes sections of 33rd, 35th, and 36th streets, and to a lesser extent 30th and 31st streets, between 5th and 6th avenues.

    the tofu specialist in manhattan is called cho dang gol. it's located on 55 w. 35th street between 5th & 6th avenues. i don't think it's that great but it's the best place for soondooboo jjigae in manhattan by default. some others on this board will hype up seoul garden, which is another soondooboo specialist located on w. 32nd street between broadway and 5th avenue, but i've always thought their jjigaes were bad.

    most of the restaurants on 32nd street are of the all-purpose variety, meaning that they serve barbecue, bibimbap, and various jjiages, among other things. i've thought for some time that choong moo ro is the best of the bunch, but a fair number of my friends (who are korean like myself) like kun jip better. i don't agree with them, but fwiw the two places are located across the street from each other. if you like your food prepared in the north korean/pyongyang style, you might like dae dong myun ok, also on the same block. i'm not a huge fan of that place either, but at the very least i can definitely recommend it over other places on the block such as kum gang san (horrible), won jo (ditto on most nights), shilla (blah), and kang suh (used to be all right but haven't had a good experience there in several years).

    han bat (35th st between 5th and 6th aves) and woo chon (36th st between 5th and 6th) can be decent on some nights, below average on others. personally, i'd rank these places somewhere in between choong moo ro and dae dong/kun jip. all of these are better than the other places i mentioned.

    for sullungtang, go to gam mee ok, which is also on 32nd st. sullungtang is the house specialty there, but they do make a handful of other dishes, including bin dae dduk, soondae, bossam, and bibimbap. i always thought their soondae was the best thing on the menu but i haven't had it in a while.

    and there's a haejanggook specialist called yangpyung on w. 33rd st between broadway and 5th avenue. they're actually a mini-chain; i think they have branches in LA and DC as well. i've never liked the manhattan branch but if you're in the mood for haejanggook i can't imagine that anyone else in the borough would make it better. their other stews and soups are only fair.

    1. Seoul Garden for spicy tofu soup.

      Cho Dang Gol is also know for their stews.

      1. Any comments on Bann in Worldwide Plaza? Friends have made a reservation there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: timbrel2

          didn't like bann at all. would rather eat on 32nd street.

          1. re: timbrel2

            yes, please do not go to bann if you're interested in eating korean food. totally overpriced and not worth your time. as HOON said above, seoul garden is the soondooboo place in ktown. really bad ban-chan though. actually, kunjip has good soondooboo and good ban-chan.

            http://foodabee.blogspot.com

          2. I like that small whole chicken with glutenous rice in a soup bowl thing at Han Bat.

            1 Reply
            1. re: randumbposter

              you're referring to sam gye tang. never had it there, but i could see that dish being good there as well. very nice during the winter and/or when you have a cold or hangover.

              if you ever make it out to flushing, there's a place called hansol youngyang nutrition center that makes a really good version of this.

            2. I always thought the soon dubu at Seoul Garden was good.

              1. soon dubu at Seoul Garden is good, but their selection of ban-chan usually makes me go elsewhere like kum gang san or kun jip.

                1. I agree with everyone else. For Soondubu, you have to go to Seoul Garden. It's basically what they're known for.

                  http:/damnedgoodfood.blogspot.com

                  1. i'm a CHO DANG GOL regular. i think its a bit more expensive than typical k-town, but i wouldnt really say better overall. they are most known for their house made tofu, so they have tasty tofu stews. they also have good panchan, stone bowl crispy rice side and various pancakes. nice staff too. meat dishes like kahbi are better elsewhere.

                    1. Thanks so much, this is very helpful! Will report back on the results.

                      1. Surprised no one mentioned Gan Mee Ok (sorry, I don't know how they anglicize the spelling). It's my favorite place in Koreatown, and specializes in sullungtang, the meat soup with a white broth and noodles. Especially good at 4 a.m.

                        1. mentioned gam mee ok already. yes, they specialize in sullungtang and are still one of the better places to eat in k-town, though they've definitely declined since the '90s. personally, i've liked some of their other dishes better on recent visits. but this is still the place to go late at night in the neighborhood.

                          1. we just had some really good food at Woo Chon (36th betw 5th/6th), a codfish/tofu dish and a stew with amazing, delicious pollack roe. And bbq of course.