Jackson Heights Korean: Mi-Dang & Pajunia
There's a strip of Korean restaurants and stores on Broadway between the 74th Street station and 76th Street including a Korean Chinese restaurant I tried Friday evening called Mi-Dang. I spotted Mi-Dang last week while driving around, and today while visiting with a friend (for a jajangmyeon fix) I stumbled across a brand new restaurant called Pajunia, open less than a week.
It's a tiny triangular spot, with only a couple of tables, an interior counter, and an exterior window that opens onto Broadway, making this very similar to street food. The grill, where most or all of the cooking is done, is below the outer sliding window.
The menu is small at the moment, but the owners, possibly a husband and wife team, plan to offer more dishes once they get organized. Right now there are only a few over-rice dishes and what they translate as Nut Cake but Koreans call Hotteok and what they call Original Korean Hotteok on their sign (in Korean). Hotteok look similar to Chinese bing but are sweet, round pancakes with a chewy texture and a hint of bitterness from the walnut/peanut mixture. An order of four is five dollars and I scarfed down my half share in a matter of minutes. This is an addictive snack. As far as I know, the only other place offering these is Daheen Wang Mandoo on Northern Blvd, but I haven't tried theirs yet.
We didn't attempt any food, having eaten a bowl of pretty good jajangmyeon next door (great, chewy noodle texture but a sauce that could have used a little more depth) and a plate of spicy red breaded beef --similar to American Chinese orange beef but with a spicy kick and better preparation. There was a bit too much corn syrup but possibly I could ask for it a little less sweet next time. It's a delicious guilty pleasure nonetheless.
It seems that there's a nascent Koreatown forming in the nexus of Jackson Heights/Woodside/Elmhurst, notably this strip, but also a couple of newish Chinese-Korean restaurants on Woodside Avenue that I haven't yet tried, and all the other older, scattered businesses including the Han Ah Rheum on Woodside Ave, Sik Gaek, the Korean supermarket in the parking lot across from Dera, and many others.
Some photos on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/536/sets...
Mi-Dang: 75-14 Broadway, Jackson Heights
Pajunia: 75-24 Broadway, Jackson Heights
Thanks for the report!
I usually do not like Korean desserts, but LOVE hotteuk. You're right -- it is difficult to find in NYC. When I was in LA, used to get it all the time from the stand outside K town's California Market. In NYC, there was a stand outside the Union Street H-Mart in Flushing that sold it as well. The nice thing about the stand was that you could just order one. Haven't been to the Union H-Mart in a long time so not sure if it's still there.