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Flushing’s Korean-Chinese Cuisine: Not Your Average Takeout

November 9th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Flushing’s Korean-Chinese Cuisine: Not Your Average Takeout

Korean-Chinese cuisine is different from your standard Chinese takeout. It isn’t trying to fool anybody into believing that it’s authentic; instead, this cuisine is Korean-style Chinese food characterized by its rich noodle and spicy stir fry dishes. Flushing, Queens is known for its diversity and fusion cuisine and its Korean-Chinese options don’t disappoint.

F.E.E.D. or Flushing’s Everyday Eats, Damn! is a series that highlights different restaurants in Flushing, Queens. Today we’ll be visiting Chinese House Restaurant on Murray Hill. Known among Koreans as Joong Guk Jip, this restaurant serves Korean-Chinese cuisine. We’ll be eating jajangmyeon and jjampong and ending the night with a sweet treat.

F.E.E.D. Episode 1 – Chinese House Restaurant from Liz Kim on Vimeo.

Chinese House also serves several different stir fry dishes like mapa dubu and crisp Korean-style fried chicken coated in a spicy sweet sauce. If you’re in the mood for something a little less aggressive, Chinese House offers a variety of milder dishes that aren’t spicy. But hey, a little pain for a lot pleasure ain’t bad.

Chinese House is on a street that is lined from end to end with restaurants. Despite the competition, it stands out among the residents of Flushing.The ambiance is casual and the staff are friendly. They’re more than happy to explain the spice level of the dishes and (pro-tip!) if you show up near closing, you may get a few extra servings of dessert. Don’t worry, you can burn it off later.

Address: 149-08 41 Ave Flushing, NY 11355

Tags: Fast Flushing · Foodie Files

Flushing’s Korean-Chinese Cuisine: Not Your Average Takeout

November 9th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Flushing’s Korean-Chinese Cuisine: Not Your Average Takeout

F.E.E.D. Episode 1 – Chinese House Restaurant from Liz Kim on Vimeo.

F.E.E.D. or Flushing’s Everyday Eats, Damn! is a series that highlights different restaurants in Flushing, Queens. Today we’ll be visiting Chinese House Restaurant on Murray Hill. Known among Koreans as Joong Guk Jip, this restaurant serves Korean-Chinese cuisine.

Korean-Chinese cuisine is different from your standard Chinese takeout. It isn’t trying to fool anybody into believing that it’s authentic; instead, this cuisine is Korean-style Chinese food characterized by its rich noodle and spicy stir fry dishes.

On today’s episode we’ll be eating jajangmyeon and jjampong and ending the night with a sweet treat.

Address: 149-08 41 Ave Flushing, NY 11355

Tags: Fast Flushing · Foodie Files

Just Off the 7

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Just Off the 7

https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/justoffthe7/

“Secrets of the 7,” one of the my five categories, is not displayed on my blog because the three blog posts I published fell under other categories.

Tags: Uncategorized

Roosevelt Avenue: Flushing’s Response to Korean Cosmetics Demand

October 19th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Roosevelt Avenue: Flushing’s Response to Korean Cosmetics Demand

Once you step off the 7 train, be sure to exit not from the staircases in the middle of the station but from the station’s entrance and you’ll find yourself on Roosevelt Avenue. No, you haven’t been magically transported to the streets of Hong Kong or Seoul. Like its food, energy, and noise, downtown Flushing’s shopping scene also seems to be straight out of an east Asian metropolis. Businesses are stacked on top of each other and the garish signage extends into the street.

Another bonus? Purchases at Korean cosmetics stores always come with coupons and free samples. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Another bonus? Purchases at Korean cosmetics stores always come with coupons and free samples. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

According to the Visit Korea Committee survey, the items tourists most want to purchase when traveling to South Korea are beauty products. Roosevelt Avenue delivers the South Korean shopping experience without needing a passport. “[Downtown Flushing] is the only place where you can find all these [Korean] beauty brands clustered together,” said Susan An, an employee at Skin Food. “And because Korean culture seems to be so popular today, we’re getting a lot more traffic from people outside of Flushing looking to try out things they’ve never tried before.”

Sisley/Shiseido: The oldest of the bunch, Sisley is on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue. Unlike the other Korean cosmetics stores there, they sell products from both South Korean and other Asian brands. However, their high-end brand name inventory also means steep prices. For example, products from SK-II, a Japanese skin care brand, can easily run you a couple hundred dollars. And although SK-II is now sold in mainstream department stores like Macy’s, Sisley carries a wider variety and often offers different package deals.

    Skin Food - Makeup counter or farmer's market? Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Skin Food – Makeup counter or farmer’s market? Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Skin Food: Just a few stores down from Sisley is Skin Food and as its name suggests, Skin Food aims to create products with the nutritional values of food. Their products consist only of natural ingredients. “[The employees] wear aprons because we want the consumer to feel like they are in a farmer’s market,” An said. With names like Tomato Jelly Lip Tint and Agave Cactus Cream, you feel as though you’re ordering lunch rather than looking for lipstick or lotion. Their prices range from $10 to $60.

Club Clio: Across the street from Skin Food is Club Clio and they might appeal more to the night club enthusiasts. The staff dress head to toe in flashy black clothing and killer heels and a constant stream of dance music flows out onto the street. Club Clio’s prices are slightly lower than Skin Food’s and range from about $2 to $40.

“I love that I can see these products in person rather than taking a risk on Amazon or eBay,” said Jennifer McLaughlin. She lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn and had trouble finding the cosmetics shops she came to love while teaching in South Korea. Now she comes to Flushing to stock up on all her favorite brands. “It’s just makeup at the end of the day, but I think that the experience of hearing music that’s in a foreign language and the unique signs sort of create this cultural experience that’s hard to find elsewhere.”

The stores listed above are just a few of the cosmetics stores you’ll find on Roosevelt Avenue. It may be hard to choose so pick whichever cardboard cutout of a K-Pop star (all the stores display them out front) screams to you the most and walk in. And with the holidays coming up before you know it, not only can you pick up something for yourself, but a trip to downtown Flushing will also give you plenty of ideas of gifts for friends and family.

Tags: Fast Flushing · Shop Central

Roosevelt Avenue: Flushing’s Response to Korean Cosmetics Demand

October 19th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Roosevelt Avenue: Flushing’s Response to Korean Cosmetics Demand

Once you step off the 7 train, be sure to exit not from the staircases in the middle of the station but from the station’s entrance and you’ll find yourself on Roosevelt Avenue. No, you haven’t been magically transported to the streets of Hong Kong or Seoul. Like its food, energy, and noise, downtown Flushing’s shopping scene also seems to be straight out of an east Asian metropolis. Businesses are stacked on top of each other and the garish signage extends into the street.

Another bonus? Purchases at Korean cosmetics stores always come with coupons and free samples. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Another bonus? Purchases at Korean cosmetics stores always come with coupons and free samples. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

According to the Visit Korea Committee survey, the items tourists most want to purchase when traveling to South Korea are beauty products. Roosevelt Avenue delivers the South Korean shopping experience without needing a passport. “[Downtown Flushing] is the only place where you can find all these [Korean] beauty brands clustered together,” said Susan An, an employee at Skin Food. “And because Korean culture seems to be so popular today, we’re getting a lot more traffic from people outside of Flushing looking to try out things they’ve never tried before.”

Sisley/Shiseido: The oldest of the bunch, Sisley is on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue. Unlike the other Korean cosmetics stores there, they sell products from both South Korean and other Asian brands. However, their high-end brand name inventory also means steep prices. For example, products from SK-II, a Japanese skin care brand, can easily run you a couple hundred dollars. And although SK-II is now sold in mainstream department stores like Macy’s, Sisley carries a wider variety and often offers different package deals.

    Skin Food - Makeup counter or farmer's market? Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Skin Food – Makeup counter or farmer’s market? Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Skin Food: Just a few stores down from Sisley is Skin Food and as its name suggests, Skin Food aims to create products with the nutritional values of food. Their products consist only of natural ingredients. “[The employees] wear aprons because we want the consumer to feel like they are in a farmer’s market,” An said. With names like Tomato Jelly Lip Tint and Agave Cactus Cream, you feel as though you’re ordering lunch rather than looking for lipstick or lotion. Their prices range from $10 to $60.

Club Clio: Across the street from Skin Food is Club Clio and they might appeal more to the night club enthusiasts. The staff dress head to toe in flashy black clothing and killer heels and a constant stream of dance music flows out onto the street. Club Clio’s prices are slightly lower than Skin Food’s and range from about $2 to $40.

“I love that I can see these products in person rather than taking a risk on Amazon or eBay,” said Jennifer McLaughlin. She lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn and had trouble finding the cosmetics shops she came to love while teaching in South Korea. Now she comes to Flushing to stock up on all her favorite brands. “It’s just makeup at the end of the day, but I think that the experience of hearing music that’s in a foreign language and the unique signs sort of create this cultural experience that’s hard to find elsewhere.”

The stores listed above are just a few of the cosmetics stores you’ll find on Roosevelt Avenue. It may be hard to choose so pick whichever cardboard cutout of a K-Pop star (all the stores display them out front) screams to you the most and walk in. And with the holidays coming up before you know it, not only can you pick up something for yourself, but a trip to downtown Flushing will also give you plenty of ideas of gifts for friends and family.

Tags: Fast Flushing · Shop Central

Shopping in Downtown Flushing – Cosmetics

October 19th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Shopping in Downtown Flushing – Cosmetics

Once you step off the 7 train, be sure to exit not from the staircases in the middle of the station but from the station’s entrance and you’ll find yourself on Roosevelt Avenue. No, you haven’t been magically transported to the streets of Hong Kong or Seoul. Like its food, energy, and noise, downtown Flushing’s shopping scene also seems to be straight out of an east Asian metropolis. Businesses are stacked on top of each other and the garish signage extends into the street.

The Korean cosmetics stores entice customers with coupons and free samples.

Another bonus? Purchases at Korean cosmetics stores always come with coupons and free samples. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

According to the Visit Korea Committee survey, the items tourists most want to purchase when traveling to South Korea are beauty products. Roosevelt Avenue delivers the South Korean shopping experience without needing a passport. “[Downtown Flushing] is the only place where you can find all these [Korean] beauty brands clustered together,” said Susan An, an employee at Skin Food. “And because Korean culture seems to be so popular today, we’re getting a lot more traffic from people outside of Flushing looking to try out things they’ve never tried before.”

Sisley/Shiseido: The oldest of the bunch, Sisley is on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue. Unlike the other Korean cosmetics stores there, they sell products from both South Korean and other Asian brands. However, their high-end brand name inventory also means steep prices. For example, products from SK-II, a Japanese skin care brand, can easily run you a couple hundred dollars. And although SK-II is now sold in mainstream department stores like Macy’s, Sisley carries a wider variety and often offers different package deals.

Skin Food - Makeup counter or farmer's market? Photo courtesy of

Skin Food – Makeup counter or farmer’s market? Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Skin Food: Just a few stores down from Sisley is Skin Food and as its name suggests, Skin Food aims to create products with the nutritional values of food. Their products consist only of natural ingredients. “[The employees] wear aprons because we want the consumer to feel like they are in a farmer’s market,” An said. With names like Tomato Jelly Lip Tint and Agave Cactus Cream, you feel as though you’re ordering lunch rather than looking for lipstick or lotion. Their prices range from $10 to $60.

Club Clio: Across the street from Skin Food is Club Clio and they might appeal more to the night club enthusiasts. The staff dress head to toe in flashy black clothing and killer heels and a constant stream of dance music flows out onto the street. Club Clio’s prices are slightly lower than Skin Food’s and range from about $2 to $40.

“I love that I can see these products in person rather than taking a risk on Amazon or eBay,” said Jennifer McLaughlin. She lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn and had trouble finding the cosmetics shops she came to love while teaching in South Korea. Now she comes to Flushing to stock up on all her favorite brands. “It’s just makeup at the end of the day, but I think that the experience of hearing music that’s in a foreign language and the unique signs sort of create this cultural experience that’s hard to find elsewhere.”

The stores listed above are just a few of the cosmetics stores you’ll find on Roosevelt Avenue. It may be hard to choose so pick whichever cardboard cutout of a K-Pop star (all the stores display them out front) screams to you the most and walk in. And with the holidays coming up before you know it, not only can you pick up something for yourself, but a trip to downtown Flushing will also give you plenty of ideas of gifts for friends and family.

Tags: Fast Flushing · Shop Central

Roosevelt Avenue: Flushing’s Response to Korean Cosmetics Demand

October 19th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Roosevelt Avenue: Flushing’s Response to Korean Cosmetics Demand

Once you step off the 7 train, be sure to exit not from the staircases in the middle of the station but from the station’s entrance and you’ll find yourself on Roosevelt Avenue. No, you haven’t been magically transported to the streets of Hong Kong or Seoul. Like its food, energy, and noise, downtown Flushing’s shopping scene also seems to be straight out of an east Asian metropolis. Businesses are stacked on top of each other and the garish signage extends into the street.

Another bonus? Purchases at Korean cosmetics stores always come with coupons and free samples. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Another bonus? Purchases at Korean cosmetics stores always come with coupons and free samples. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

According to the Visit Korea Committee survey, the items tourists most want to purchase when traveling to South Korea are beauty products. Roosevelt Avenue delivers the South Korean shopping experience without needing a passport. “[Downtown Flushing] is the only place where you can find all these [Korean] beauty brands clustered together,” said Susan An, an employee at Skin Food. “And because Korean culture seems to be so popular today, we’re getting a lot more traffic from people outside of Flushing looking to try out things they’ve never tried before.”

Sisley/Shiseido: The oldest of the bunch, Sisley is on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue. Unlike the other Korean cosmetics stores there, they sell products from both South Korean and other Asian brands. However, their high-end brand name inventory also means steep prices. For example, products from SK-II, a Japanese skin care brand, can easily run you a couple hundred dollars. And although SK-II is now sold in mainstream department stores like Macy’s, Sisley carries a wider variety and often offers different package deals.

    Skin Food - Makeup counter or farmer's market? Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Skin Food – Makeup counter or farmer’s market? Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Skin Food: Just a few stores down from Sisley is Skin Food and as its name suggests, Skin Food aims to create products with the nutritional values of food. Their products consist only of natural ingredients. “[The employees] wear aprons because we want the consumer to feel like they are in a farmer’s market,” An said. With names like Tomato Jelly Lip Tint and Agave Cactus Cream, you feel as though you’re ordering lunch rather than looking for lipstick or lotion. Their prices range from $10 to $60.

Club Clio: Across the street from Skin Food is Club Clio and they might appeal more to the night club enthusiasts. The staff dress head to toe in flashy black clothing and killer heels and a constant stream of dance music flows out onto the street. Club Clio’s prices are slightly lower than Skin Food’s and range from about $2 to $40.

“I love that I can see these products in person rather than taking a risk on Amazon or eBay,” said Jennifer McLaughlin. She lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn and had trouble finding the cosmetics shops she came to love while teaching in South Korea. Now she comes to Flushing to stock up on all her favorite brands. “It’s just makeup at the end of the day, but I think that the experience of hearing music that’s in a foreign language and the unique signs sort of create this cultural experience that’s hard to find elsewhere.”

The stores listed above are just a few of the cosmetics stores you’ll find on Roosevelt Avenue. It may be hard to choose so pick whichever cardboard cutout of a K-Pop star (all the stores display them out front) screams to you the most and walk in. And with the holidays coming up before you know it, not only can you pick up something for yourself, but a trip to downtown Flushing will also give you plenty of ideas of gifts for friends and family.

Tags: Fast Flushing · Shop Central

Kissena Park – Flushing’s Best Kept Secret

October 18th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Kissena Park – Flushing’s Best Kept Secret

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park may be New York City’s second largest park but the lesser-known Kissena Park  (164th St & Oak Ave Flushing, NY 11358) boasts breathtaking foliage, a lake perfect for fishing, playgrounds, and plenty of fitness facilities. Tucked away in Auburndale, Kissena Park is just a short Q34 bus ride away from Main Street. But once you step onto the tranquil, open grounds, it’s hard to believe that you’re even remotely close to the chaos and sensory overload of Downtown Flushing.

Kissena Lake - Tranquility at its finest.

Kissena Lake – Tranquility at its finest. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

“The bulk of Kissena Park was bought by New York City in pieces from 1907 to 1947,” said Beverly McDermott, 71. She is the plucky president of the Kissena Park Civic Association who fiercely guards the grounds with her trusty golden retriever, Jasper. According to McDermott, Kissena lake was purchased from William T. Janes whose father-in-law ran an ice cutting and manufacturing company on the lake. Samuel Bowne Parsons, a horticulturist and amateur Indian expert, named the lake after the Chippewa word kissina meaning “it is cold.” Over the years it has undergone many renovations and today it’s home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, including snapping turtles, ducks, herons, and egrets.

Kissena Park - home to over 100 varieties of trees.

Kissena Park – home to over 100 varieties of trees. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Much of the park’s tree groves and 65 acres of its land was acquired by the City from Parsons’s personal nursery after his death. “Many of Parson’s trees were used for the construction of Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park,” said McDermott. In addition to breathtaking tree-lined paths, Kissena is home to New York City’s only public bike track and also features tennis and handball courts and a golf course.

“Kissena Park is like a little slice of nature that I think the people who live here really need — there is something for everybody,” said Sam Kim, 43. He’s lived in Queens for over 20 years but only began frequenting the park after getting a dog about seven years ago. “I started coming just to give Andy a quick walk and after a while, you see some regulars and there’s this sense of camaraderie,” he said. “The space motivates you to exercise and take a breather from work.”

Kissena Park - come for the foliage, stay for the puppies and bonus jam sessions.

Kissena Park – come for the foliage, stay for the puppies and bonus jam sessions. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

You also never quite know what you’ll find at the park on any given day. A free tai-chi class, a bridal party or quinceañera photo shoot, and even an impromptu karaoke session are just some of the surprises that await. Weather permitting, Kissena Park is heaven for dog lovers. On this particular Sunday, breeds from the tiniest chihuahuas to the cuddliest St. Bernards were ripe for the petting.

“Central Park is always going to be the superstar but Kissena definitely holds its own,” said Akaash Patel, 30. He lives in Manhattan but his parents live in Flushing so he visits as often as he can. “Main Street is overwhelming and I think that Kissena is a side of Flushing that people don’t expect,” he said. After you’ve stuffed yourself silly with pho, dim sum, and Korean barbecue, walk it off and wind down at Kissena Park — Flushing’s best kept secret.

Tags: Off the Beaten Path

Kissena Park: Flushing’s Best Kept Secret

October 18th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Kissena Park: Flushing’s Best Kept Secret

Kissena Lake - Tranquility at its finest. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Kissena Lake – Tranquility at its finest. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park may be New York City’s second largest park but the lesser-known Kissena Park  (164th St & Oak Ave Flushing, NY 11358) boasts breathtaking foliage, a lake perfect for fishing, playgrounds, and plenty of fitness facilities. Tucked away in Auburndale, Kissena Park is just a short Q34 bus ride away from Main Street. But once you step onto the tranquil, open grounds, it’s hard to believe that you’re even remotely close to the chaos and sensory overload of Downtown Flushing.

“The bulk of Kissena Park was bought by New York City in pieces from 1907 to 1947,” said Beverly McDermott, 71. She is the plucky president of the Kissena Park Civic Association who fiercely guards the grounds with her trusty golden retriever, Jasper. According to McDermott, Kissena lake was purchased from William T. Janes whose father-in-law ran an ice cutting and manufacturing company on the lake. Samuel Bowne Parsons, a horticulturist and amateur Indian expert, named the lake after the Chippewa word kissina meaning “it is cold.” Over the years it has undergone many renovations and today it’s home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, including snapping turtles, ducks, herons, and egrets.

Kissena Park - home to over 100 varieties of trees. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Kissena Park – home to over 100 varieties of trees. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Much of the park’s tree groves and 65 acres of its land was acquired by the City from Parsons’s personal nursery after his death. “Many of Parson’s trees were used for the construction of Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park,” said McDermott. In addition to breathtaking tree-lined paths, Kissena is home to New York City’s only public bike track and also features tennis and handball courts and a golf course.

“Kissena Park is like a little slice of nature that I think the people who live here really need — there is something for everybody,” said Sam Kim, 43. He’s lived in Queens for over 20 years but only began frequenting the park after getting a dog about seven years ago. “I started coming just to give Andy a quick walk and after a while, you see some regulars and there’s this sense of camaraderie,” he said. “The space motivates you to exercise and take a breather from work.”

Kissena Park - come for the foliage, stay for the puppies and bonus jam sessions. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

Kissena Park – come for the foliage, stay for the puppies and bonus jam sessions. Photo Credit: Liz Kim

You also never quite know what you’ll find at the park on any given day. A free tai-chi class, a bridal party or quinceañera photo shoot, and even an impromptu karaoke session are just some of the surprises that await. Weather permitting, Kissena Park is heaven for dog lovers. On this particular Sunday, breeds from the tiniest chihuahuas to the cuddliest St. Bernards were ripe for the petting.

“Central Park is always going to be the superstar but Kissena definitely holds its own,” said Akaash Patel, 30. He lives in Manhattan but his parents live in Flushing so he visits as often as he can. “Main Street is overwhelming and I think that Kissena is a side of Flushing that people don’t expect,” he said. After you’ve stuffed yourself silly with pho, dim sum, and Korean barbecue, walk it off and wind down at Kissena Park — Flushing’s best kept secret.

Tags: Off the Beaten Path

The First Thing You Should Eat in Flushing – Dukbokki!

October 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on The First Thing You Should Eat in Flushing – Dukbokki!

Cheap food and sanctuary from the wet weather.

Kimgane Restaurant: Cheap food and sanctuary from the wet weather. Photo credit: Liz Kim

You’ve stepped off the last stop on the 7 line and somehow survived the crush of people. Somewhere amid the incomprehensible signage, blaring car horns, and businesses stacked four high, you need to find a place to get away from the rain and satisfy your hunger. Chances are anybody you ask will be able to direct you to the massive Flushing municipal parking lot and just across the street from it is Kimgane Restaurant (3912 Union St, Flushing, NY 11354).

Pronounced Geem-ga-neh, the name roughly translates to Kim’s Place. Kimgane might be a taste of home for many Koreans, but the staff happily cater to their diverse clientele. The menus are written in both Korean and English and the walls are splashed with images of the different dishes along with their names. Often people forgo the menu and simply point at whichever plate looks most appetizing.

Once you arrive, you’re seated practically on top of the table next to you and the atmosphere is a curious mix of the standard Flushing level chaos coupled with the coziness of grandma’s kitchen. Kimganae is considered a boon-shik-jip, or snack house characterized by low prices (nothing is over $10) and generous portions. To many foreigners, boon-shik meals are the gateway drug into Korean cuisine. Some popular Kimganae dishes are marinated beef, pork, or chicken served alongside rice, gimbap (think of it as sushi’s distant cousin), and ramyeon (Korean-style instant noodles beefed up with extra toppings). 

Jessica Balkissoon, 22, lives in Forest Hills and occasionally comes to Flushing with friends when she’s craving Korean. As she expertly grabbed a small square of pickled radish kimchi, she fondly recalled her first time at Kimganae’s. “I jumped right into the deep end by not getting what most people order here,” she said. “I wanted real street food so a friend suggested duk-bok-ki. The chewiness is surprising but once you get past that it’s delicious.”

Scary? Or scary delicious?

Duk-bok-ki: Scary? Or scary delicious? Photo credit: Liz Kim

Duk-bok-ki may not be the deep end for a country known for eating live baby octopi, but it is one of the most popular Korean street foods and at its most basic consists of soft glutinous rice cakes and fish cakes that are all simmered together in a thick spicy sauce made from Korean red pepper paste. Other versions may come with a hardboiled egg, vegetables, or noodles. Back in the motherland, carts manned by middle-aged women are usually set up near schools or busy streets. Ladles full of duk-bok-ki are served in paper cups and are eaten with toothpicks. This dish is so loved that there’s even a town devoted to it.

Kimganae also serves several varieties of duk-bok-ki and Balkissoon’s favorite comes with baby shrimp and octopus. Andrew Hyun, a waiter at Kimganae, can vouch for duk-bok-ki’s popularity. “People seem a little scared of it at first because it’s so red and steaming but once they have a taste, they love it; they suffer through the pain,” he said. (This intimidation may also come from Andrew’s tendency to give first timers an are-you-sure-about-this look when they order the dish.)

When there’s nothing but umbrella to umbrella pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks of Downtown Flushing, nothing soothes the soul quite like the prospect of cheap, quick comfort food. Kimgane Korean Restaurant is a glimmer of hope on an otherwise dreary, rainy Saturday afternoon. It’s just the tip of a delicious iceberg but for now grab a seat and have some duk-bok-ki… if you dare.

Tags: Fast Flushing · Foodie Files

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