Bonjuk serves one thing and one thing only, Korean rice porridge.
The real K-town in New York City is in Queens, stretching for about five miles from Northern Boulevard and Union Street in Flushing all the way out to Manhasset. This vast K-tropolis is lined with dozens of BBQ restaurants, kimbap joints, large Korean supermarkets, fried chicken spots, a store that sells Korean stone beds, and even a Korean-run Third Wave espresso bar. There are so many places it would take an entire lifetime to document them all. Today C+M’s K-tropolis takes a look at Bonjuk, a Korean porridge specialist. (more…)
This shop features many Korean products, including soy bean paste.
I like the fact that there’s a Korea-town in Manhattan. I used to visit it with a Korean girlfriend, back in the day. She taught me all about soju and BBQ and first introduced me to Kunjip. So I have a certain fondness for Manhattan’s K-town, but I’m here to tell you that the real K-town in New York City is the stretch of Northern Boulevard that runs from Flushing practically all the way to Long Island.
I say this not just out of Queens pride, but because it’s true. There’s a seemingly endless number of Korean restaurants of all kinds—BBQ, sushi, kimbap, several live octopus joints, Korean-Chinese, even a porridge specialist—that I have yet to wrap my mind around. There are also plenty of markets ranging from supermarkets to small shops that sell all manner of ingredients imported directly from Korea. As my buddy Joe McPherson of ZenKimchi Koreaan Food Journal pointed out after a visit, “So, New Yorkers, that stuff you say that you can’t get is out there in Flushing.” Indeed it is Joe, indeed it is.
Which came first the chicken or the shredded omelet?
It’s hard to say which of the many, many bowls of samgyetang—Korean chicken ginseng soup—to be had in Flushing’s sprawling K-town is the best. The way I look at it is, the one that’s in front of me billowing chicken vapors toward my feverish brow while the broth still bubbles is the very best at that moment in time. This belief certainly held true at Bang Ga Ne a spot on Northern Boulevard where I stopped in for a $14.36 bowl of the medicinal soup on the recommendation of my friend Dian.
Chicken ain’t nuthin but a bird.
Topped with shredded omelet and green onion the presentation is one of the more elegant ones I’ve seen. Beneath that flourish find an entire baby chicken stuffed with glutinous rice, garlic, Chinese dates, and of course, ginseng. Be sure to add in some of the sea salt and pepper, as the broth itself contains little if any seasoning. Some places also use chestnuts as part of the stuffing, Bang Ga Ne does not. It was not missed at all. The broth was soothing and warming and the chicken itself was delicious. At the end I was left with a pile of chicken bones and a somewhat clearer head. It was the very best bowl of samgyetang I have had this winter. I have a feeling it will not be the last.