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ham-ji-bak, short review

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went to this place for a lovely mother's day dinner (good thing we had reserved a table, it was jam-packed, with a line out the door by 6:30pm).

both my sister and I have been there before, and had their well-known pork belly bbq (thick, unmarinated and uncured pork belly in huge slices, grilled, served w/ lettuce, thinly sliced daikon, vinegar and soy powder, etc. seeing as we were with our health-conscious parents, we just opted for pork bulgogi, and various items off the menu. the meal was excellent, filling and festive, had a great time.

- pork bulgogi (a bit salty, but absolutely delicious, nice crust on the meat from the marinade)
- kimchi with pork and tofu (basically a bit repetitive of the bbq we got, but that's okay. had some duk in it too, quite tasty, but we couldn't finish it)
- kalbitang (clear short rib soup with some turnip/veg, absolutely tender beef and quite delicious broth)
- seafood pajun (crispy, seafood flavor permeated and throughout, and just delicious. it's always better in a restaurant just because when I make it at home, I just can't bring myself to fry as much as restaurants do)

as for the banchan, great stuff; they gave us a miniature bo ssam which was nice, some great tofu, a few different vegetables, a few different salads, all kinds of stuff. I like their trimmings for the bbq (the romaine, the daikon, scallion salad and various dipping sauces and powders). they also gave us kimchi chigae which I found a bit too sour for my taste, but I know that's how its supposed to be. very tender chunks of beef in it tho, delicious.

we didn't end up finishing all the food so we stopped by H-mart after to pick up some duk that could be thrown into the kalbitang along w/ some more broth, and also into the jaeyook kimchi bokeum (kimchi with pork and tofu) for a hearty meal the next day.

seeing as there are so many other korean places in this area of upper northern boulevard, I'd like to try the sam soo place (not sure of the name). I also like the chicken place (they serve hacked up chicken in a huge circular grill thats built right into the table) along with a great hangover stew (has spam, sausage, tofu, kimchi, etc.) not sure of the actual name of this place, or its dishes, but its just before that overpass on northern, around 190th street or so.

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  1. there's actually 2 ham ji bahks. one is in murray hill near the LIRR murray hill station - i like this one better. the 2nd location is on northern blvd near bell blvd, where the old tony roma's used to be. this place is good if you are with a large party and the parking is a tadbit easier here than murray hill.

    i love sam gyup sal - the thick slices of pork that you grill. it's so fatty though, and i try not to have it more than about 3x a year. that's usually the only thing i will have at ham ji bahk, since it's their specialty.

    their banchan i always felt was very good - their spicy tofu is excellent and i wish i could recreate it at home, but they must use like homemade tofu or something.

    san soo kap san is the bbq place across the street from carvel near boston market. i hear the kalbi is very good here.

    the place near the overpass you speak of is more like 164th st... not 190th. :-) there's a bunch of chicken kalbi places around there - there's one up the road near the LIRR station parking which i hear is good. the one that's on northern blvd near OTB and the korean drinking place, duck's butt, is also a long standing restaurant and i hear is also good.

    i just can't comment b/c i'm not a fan of chicken kalbi - if i'm going to eat kalbi, give it to me as red as it gets :-)

    glad you enjoyed your meal. honestly, i can't think of any other place that does sam gyup sal as well as ham ji bahk.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Linda

      ya I should have mentioned, I went to the one at northern and 210th street, and not only is there a murray hill one, but also one near springfield blvd and the LIE, but I haven't seen it yet, or been there.

      1. re: bigjeff

        yes - you are right! there is a 3rd one on the LIE eastbound service road. i also don't know anyone that has been to this location. i'm assuming it's fine.

        1. re: Linda

          "...also one near springfield blvd and the LIE..."
          Linda actually posted this info on another thread, pertinent to Korean Fried Chicken and the soon-to-open Kyo Chon on the crnr of Horace Harding and Springfield. I work right in that area, Oakland Gardens, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that there is no Hamjibak on the two blocks of the service road that straddle Springfield. I wish I were wrong, but I've eaten pretty much everywhere in that area, and am there every day. The two Korean establishments on that strip, not counting Kyo Chon, are a restaurant called Samdado, and a Korean/Chinese place that specializes in noodles. There are other Korean establishments, a nail salon, a supermarket, perhaps some others, but no restaurants. I so wanted this to be true that I also did a web search and turned up no other addresses apart from the first two mentioned. I would gladly eat crow here, however, so if either of you can get me some landmarks, or an address, please do.
          P.

          1. re: Polecat

            hi polecat, i just had dinner at samdado down the way, and you're right! there's no hamjibahk there anymore. :-( i was so confused - i remembered there was a hamjibahk there recently. i had a conversation awhile ago with someone that lives in oakland gardens (right across the LIE) and we agreed we should check out that outpost. i'm thinking that the new korean market there with the green awning is where the hamjibahk might've been.

            sigh! at least there's a kyochon chicken opening! how exciting (albeit pricey for the amount of the food you get).

      2. re: Linda

        I also prefer the Ham Ji Bahk near the Murray Hill Station. The kimchi jigae is the best in Queens!

        1. re: mushimushi427

          thats funny, when we went a couple of months ago, we randomly ordered kimchi chigae with our bbq and we were all like this is surprisingly good

      3. hey does anyone know which place is the chicken place that serves the hacked up chicken in a huge circular grill built into the table? and where exactly is it? (sounds like 190th and northern)

        1. Here are two other useful threads on this area:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/248134

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/247773

          1. This sounds great. Are you sure tho that it wasn't pork in the kimchee jigae though? I have never had it with beef. It's probably my all time favorite dish in the world. Esp with rice cakes. I like it good and sour! Thanks for the detailed review.

            1. This is a great thread, and I'm trying to figure out where these places are (using the CH places function). It brings up one location, but not the Murray Hill location, it seems. Does anyone have specifics, or know which of the different spellings used in this thread is the right one? Thanks

              -----
              Hahm Ji Bach
              45-30 Bell Blvd, Queens, NY 11361

              5 Replies
              1. re: rose water

                Ham Ji Bak
                41-08 149th Place, corner 41st Avenue
                Flushing, NY
                718-460-9289

                Best, best, best kimchi jigae

                -----
                Hahm Ji Bach
                41-08 149th Pl, Queens, NY 11355

                1. re: mushimushi427

                  Great, thanks so much!

                  1. re: mushimushi427

                    Oh yeah? My favorite thing in the world. Does it have rice cakes? Pork belly?

                    1. re: prunefeet

                      Most of the time there are rice cakes and pork. Tho I do not know if it's pork belly. Try it. It's tangy, spicy and wonderful.

                      1. re: mushimushi427

                        This is literally my favorite dish on the planet, hands down. I will, thanks for the suggestion.