Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kunjip Korean Restaurant

We've been to several Korean restaurants in Manhattan's Korea town, like Shilla Korean Barbeque, but Kunjip (West 32nd Street) is the only restaurant where returned to on several occasions, mainly because of their really great menu selection (not all listed online) and also because there was always a line out the door. By far the busiest, most popular restaurant on the "Korean street." They're open 24 hours a day and like most restaurants offer free delivery.

Our eyes popped out when we were handed their menu. It's always best to eat at Korean restaurants during lunch time to take advatnage of their lunch specials. Kunjip's lunch specials are Monday-Friday 10 am to 3 PM. Also, it's worthwhile to spend a bit more for combination offerings.

We loved Kunjip's banchan (side dishes). You know Kunjip is a real Korean restaurant that heavily caters to Korean clientele by looking at their banchan size and selection (as opposed to the Korean restaurants in the East Village / West Village / Union Squre areas.

This type of kim chee is one of my favorites. It was delicious.

This salty, hot egg dish is classic, at-your-grandma's house Korean comfort food.

This healthy rice is one of my mom's favorites. The flavor kind of throws me off since I prefer white rice, but it doesn't taste so bad when you mix it with the soups.

This was very good Pajan. Note the wonderful crispy edges.

Soon Dae (Korean blood sausage) is one of my favorite Korean dishes, which for some reason isn't offered at all Korean restaurants. So I was happy to find it at Kunjip even though it wasn't the best I've had. It was good enough to satisfy me!

Not sure what the proper spelling of this dish is but it's pronounced fhe-da-pa. It's rice mixed with sashimi, vegetables, and hot sauce. This was just okay, mainly because their sashimi didn't quite taste fresh.

Chigae - another Korean comfort food staple. This was spicy enough to make you blow your nose several times during the meal, but not too overbearing.

Kunji's Sulungtang (mild beef soup) was not bad. Perfect soup when you're feeling under the weather but don't want to aggravate your stomach with spices. I was a bit disappointed that the soup didn't come with other intestines/animal parts (like the marrow) that I've had with other Sulungtan. Then again, the soup was affordable so I can see why they kept it very basic.

We've also tried Kunjip's Dduk Boki (very good) and Duk Mandoo Guk (not bad, not great). So to summarize, the few things we tried on Kunjip's menu we'd rate average to above average. Again, not the best Korean food we've had (i.e. like in L.A.), but Kunjip was the best we had in New York City. It was too bad that we didn't have more time to explore the great Korean food options in Flushing, Queens.

And the perfect way to end the meal. We love this cinnamon drink. But why do the restaurants always give such a small shot?

One thing we have to note is that soon after we ate our final meal at Kunjip, we popped into a discount jewelery store owned and operated by a really nice Korean family (some of the nicest people we met while in the city) that talked story with us and gave us a great discount. One of the workers who was about our age recommended another Korean restaurant in Korea town that we didn't have time to try, but he also added that he didn't like Kunjip because they use MSG. There's no way for us to know how he knows this but we probably wouldn't have eaten there all the times we did if we had this conversation with him when we first moved to NYC.

Well, in addition to Kunjip, there's a ton of other Korean food places to try on the same street if you don't have time to make it to Flushing. This Korean mart pictured below was great.

The well known "dumpling lady" in Korea town that's supposed to make phenomenal dumplings for your viewing and tasting pleasures.