Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Three Cheap Korean Food Finds in Manhattan's Koreatown

Finding cheap Korean food in Manhattan is not easy. Aside from Worrijip on 32nd Street, where else can you go for a reasonably priced Korean meal? I understand that since Korean restaurants must pay for the banchan, these side dishes must be reflected in their prices. This has led to an effort to find some reasonably priced sit-down Korean restaurants. Since my search has been conducted during the dead of winter, it has led me to two tasty discoveries, that is soon du bu jigae and the venerable bibimbap. There is nothing better to eat in the cold weather but to glow in the warmth of foods that are traditionally hearty and keep your body temperature high. Soon du bu jigae is a tofu stew made with silken tofu in a broth that may be made of anchovies. An egg is typically cracked in the bowl and is cooked by the residual heat of the stone bowl. The second dish, sure to heat you insides, is stone-bowl bibimbap. There are many permutations of this, some sans the stone bowl. The best thing about the stone bowl, besides keeping your rice hot is that an inner crust forms at the bottom. It's delicious if you could peel it off with your chopsticks at the end of your meal. The classic bibimbap contains beef and an assorted variety of seaweed and vegetables mixed with a red bean sauce. This is absolutely delicious and warming.

As for the restaurants I can recommend in Koreatown, I recommend Cho Dang Gol and BCD Tofu House. As with all my recommendations, this is seen through the twin lenses of price and quality. At both locations, you could get a soon du bu jigae for under $11. The bibimbaps range from $11 to $13. There are very few restaurants of better value when the quality of preparation and ingredients are considered.

As for my last value meal recommendation, Arirang, a restaurant located on the second floor of an office building, specializes in hand made noodles and rice flakes. Most dishes are $9.95 and are served as a soup and are delicious. $9.95 may not sound cheap but each bowl can easily serve two people.

So there is my rundown of cheap Koreatown sit-down restaurants. I'm sure there are others and would love to know of more!

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