Thursday, June 27, 2013

Asian Inspiration


Mandoo Bar
Handmade Mandoo
A recent episode of CNN's 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown' was filmed in LA's Koreatown, and the fact that Korean food is not as well known as other Asian cuisines was discussed as the host tried a variety of delicious looking Korean dishes. I decided its time for me to dive into trying Korean food as well. So i took the train to Herald Square and walked down two blocks to New York's Koreatown, which stretches itself on W. 32nd Street between Broadway and Fifth Ave. My first stop was at 'Mandoo Bar', i think the ladies making handmade dumplings in the window is what made me try out this place. Mandoo are dumplings in Korean cuisine, and in Mandoo Bar they serve them with pickled radishes, which i think is an amazing combination. The dumplings are very dry so the radish chutney not only adds the much needed sauce element but tons of flavor as well. Not sure if I'll go back to this place, but it was definitely worth a try.
New York Kom Tang
Haemul Jjigae
Korean Side Dishes
Next i headed to 'NY Kom Tang'. Their Seafood Stew (Haemul Jjigae) was just what i needed. The texture of tofu in a well balanced broth was really pleasing to the palette. The seafood in the stew was catfish, octopus, shrimps, clam and squid. The octopus was a little overcooked and rubbery in texture, otherwise I had no complaints. In Korean Cuisine every dish is served with an overwhelming number of complimentary sides. With my stew i got seven accompanying side dishes each with a distinct flavor ranging from sweet to sour. These include Kimchi (vegetables fermented in vinegar) and Japchae (glass noodles stir-fried with chopped vegetables). These sides along with white rice add depth to the Stew and make a simple meal look like a feast... definitely two thumbs up!

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