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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Food Gallery 32: Korea House and Boon Sik Zip (New York, NY)

Kimbaps from Boon Sik Zip

On another* recent lunch run I picked up a tray of bulgogi kimbap from Boon Sik Zip (stand #1 in Food Gallery 32), a hefty, substantial, meal-sized roll filled with bulgogi, carrot, imitation crab, pickled daikon, omelette and broccoli. Boon Sik Zip offers many other varieties of kimbaps -- premade, but freshly rolled at lunchtime -- including ones filled with tuna (canned, not raw); vegetables; and yes, of course, good ol' American processed cheese food, which became a popular filling somewhere in the history of kimbaps. I'd venture a guess that like budae chigae and SPAM kimbap, cheese kimbap traces its provenance to the Korean War and the presence of processed cheese rations on U.S. army bases.

* Previously documented meals from Bian Dang, O-De-Ppang and Korea House available through the looking glass. Just click on the links. :)

Unlike Japanese maki, kimbap isn't usually made with vinegar or sugar in the rice. The rice is seasoned with salt and sesame oil. Boon Sik Zip's The medium grain rice was a very good texture and the ratio of rice to fillings was perfect, to my tastes. Bulgogi, imitation crab, omelette, vegetables and pickle were in good balance. I would order this again without hesitation. (If memory serves, it was only about $6.)

Bulgogi Kimbap from Boon Sik Zip

Kimchi chigae from Korea House (stand #4 in Food Gallery 32) was also pretty good, made with good, ripe, pungent napa cabbage kimchi. The soup included a generous amount of kimchi; three or four small pieces of excellent quality, tender, lean pork (unusually lean; many cooks use pork belly in this soup); three or four pieces of rice cake; and two slices of firm tofu. Kimchi chigae is a very basic Korean comfort food type of dish, meant to use up leftovers and this homey version hit the spot on a cold, rainy autumn day. Some people may take issue with the low ratio of meat to other ingredients, but I personally enjoy a less meaty version, though a bit more tofu would've been welcome.

Kimchi Chigae from Korea House

The kimchi chigae came with good, medium grain white rice and two panchan: one of squid (cooked and non-fermented), daikon and carrot; the other kimchi. Squid was a bit tough and rubbery and more sweet than hot, but I was impressed this panchan was served at all. Many takeout and fast food Korean places in NYC serve only (less expensive) vegetable-based panchan, if that.

Squid, Daikon and Carrot Panchan

The house kimchi was just standard issue Napa cabbage kimchi, but it got the job done. I had it as a satisfying afternoon snack with the rice.

Korea House Kimchi

Another two items down; only 6,274 dishes in Food Gallery 32 left to try. ;)


Food Gallery 32
11 West 32nd Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 967-1678

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