Calling All Koreans

As many of you know, we at Off The Broiler are huge fans of Korean food. But we realize that we’ve only scratched the surface of one of the most under-appreciated Asian cuisines represented in the United States.

This summer, we’d like to find the very best in Korean Food in the New York Metro Area (Manhattan, NJ, Queens) . However, we have a little bit of a problem — we don’t speak Korean, and many of the best Korean places in the area aren’t English-friendly. We could eat at restaurants at random, but there are so many (especially in Bergen County and Queens) that we wouldn’t know where to start.

Our objective is to find the Korean BBQ places that still use charcoals, the very best mandoos, and other specialty Korean restaurants that we might not be aware of but would benefit Off The Broiler readers. To do that, we need guides that speak Korean and know the best restaurants in the area. If you can spend a weekend afternoon/evening with us eating at your favorite places, please send an email to Or tell us where to go and what to order!


18 Responses to Calling All Koreans

  1. MetroDad says:

    As a fellow foodie, I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for awhile. And although I’d love to join you for some Korean food one day, weekends are a pretty busy time for us. However, I’ll shoot you an e-mail with some suggestions. Hope you enjoy them!

  2. seisei says:

    Hi Jason,

    I’m a huge fan of all of your Korean food posts! I would be HONORED to take you somewhere, but I feel a bit limited in scope–my area of familiarity is Koreatown in Manhattan, though I’ve always believed the best eats were in Fort Lee or Flushing. Feel free to contact me if you need a bilingual guide, or some recs/company for K-town.


  3. Harry says:

    Ohhh….two blogs I immensely enjoy converging…weird.

  4. synaesthesia says:

    If this is the place that I am thinking of They have really good soondooboo chigae. Mmm…

  5. Leslie says:

    if you run across any Cambodian restaurants, can you let me know? The only one I’ve been to was in McLean, VA but it closed. I can’t find any in metro NY.

  6. Jerome says:

    For the best korean bbq i’ve had that still uses charcoal would be in palisades park. The place is called oojung but you can’t tell because it doesn’t have the name spelled out in english. Best directions I can give you is that it’s on broad ave. where everythig else is and it has a green awning with red trim. Give it a try, you definitely won’t regret it.

  7. BJS says:

    The best tofu stew anywhere has to be at SO KONG DONG TOFU, 130 Main Street, Fort Lee.

    And, Gah Mi Oak on Fort Lee Rd (or Main St.?) has an excellent bibimbap that’s served in an iron bowl.

  8. tracey says:

    Jason if this turns into something of event preportions I would love to join in. We recently posted some photos of dinner at Keo Ku in Parsipanny on that other site.

  9. Jay says:

    I agree with BJS that Gam Mi Oak has the best bibimbab .. Zen Zen on Bergen Blvd along with the more crowded Somun-nanjip on Broad Ave. in Palisades Park have the best BBQ in NJ Koreatown..
    Among the Koreans though, the most popular restaurant has to be Kunjip in 32nd St. Manhatten..where the food is closest to Mom’s cooking (non BBQ) as evident with the always long lines there.

  10. anon says:

    This is a little unusual and not something you may like, but Soo-San-Shi-Jang in Murray Hill, near Flushing, has the best Korean-style sashimi, fresh from the fish tanks, still flipping and alive on your plate. Their live octopus is particularly good. And if available, their “anago” sashimi is something you can’t find at most Korean sushi/sashimi places in the U.S. but is a favorite among real hard-core Korean sashimi fans in Korea. Be warned though, it is extremely hard-core Korean, but I think this is the best Korean seafood place in all of the east coast areas. Oh, they also give you tons of free banchans that are quality, like grilled fish, I’d totally go just for the banchans. You should order the set menu (usually for 4, 6 or 8 people, depending on the size of your group), and order live octopus and anago as separate entrees. I’d LOVE to see your review of this place. Might be better to go with a Korean as they may try to jip you on the banchans. Your table should be completely packed with free banchans twice over, otherwise you’re not getting the correct “service”.

  11. Katie says:

    I know of few good places in Fort Lee. Definitely recommend Sokongdong as well.
    There’s only tofu and small order of ribs (cooked at the kitchen) so you really don’t need a guide for this place.

    Try out Picnic on 239 Main street. They have the best kim-bab (Korean style sushi roll) and duk-bok-gi (rice cakes cooked in spicy sauce) It’s sort of like all the foods that the Korean kids enjoy for snacks. Not sure about their English levels though..
    The food is on display as well so it should be easy to order.

    Madangsui has pretty good BBQ on 1269 Palisade Ave. They only offer charcoal on the evening hours so avoid lunch. They offer ribs without the sweet sauce as well so it might be a different experience. Their banchan is not that great, but the meat is good quality. Definitely leave room for nang-myun (cold buckwheet noodles in cold broth or with spicy sauce) afterwards. It’s a great refresher after eating beef.

    I also had good BBQ experience at Chung Moo Ro on 10 W 32nd. You should order the sam-gub-sal (pork belly) instead of the usual ribs here. They don’t offer charcoal but still worth the experience. Eat the pork belly with grilled kim-chi and they’ll think you are from Korea! Both bbq places speak reasonable levels of English, so you should be fine.

  12. Cindy says:

    Hi my favorite Korean restaurant in Manhattan is Cho Dong Gol on 35th Street between 5th and 6th. Everything is delicious…esp anything with tofu. As a Korean American I find it to be fairly close to homestyle cooking. For bibimbap, I do like Gam Mi Oak as well because it’s the only place I know where the bibimbap is warm yet not served hot stone bowl style. Kunjip is my go to restaurant when Cho Dong Gol is closed or too packed. Sometimes they have raw soysauce pickled crab on special and it’s awesome. I love going to Woorijip on 32nd as well just for takeout. They have stews and soups and meats and sides. It’s a great place to eat when you’re on the go. If you can get to Queens, there are so many excellent places on Northern Blvd (the stretch from Flushing to Bayside).

  13. iang says:

    Jay and Cindy have the right idea, hard to beat most of the places in Manhattan around 32nd between 5th and 6th and you get quite a selection. I like Woorijip a lot too… and Natural Tofu… heck they just opened a pinkberry and one of the bakeries has something like dippin dots ;)

  14. […] have been meaning to do a foodie blog for quite sometime but what really prompted was a posting on Off the Broiler. So this site is a direct response to the […]

  15. nora says:

    won jo in manhattan’s korean town has the best bbq. they use charcoal and in addition to the lettuce wrap- they also give you a rice wrap for the meats too!

  16. […] Mecca of Northern New Jersey. Always Hungry, written by Snoh, was a direct response to my “Calling all Koreans” inquiry a few weeks ago, and it looks like he’s off to a hell of a start  — […]

  17. tigerborn says:

    If you go to Gam Mi Ok in Fort Lee, try the dogani muchim (cow collagen with onions and spicy red pepper) with a bowl of sullongtang (oxtail soup with white rice and noodles. Add green onions and sea salt to taste). Also, try their soo yook (thinly sliced beef brisket and tripe with green onions) Check out Woo Jeon on Route 1 South in Edison for the Korean barbecue. They serve fabulous panchan (side dishes) and if you’re a regular customer, the owner has been known to throw in a free side dish of whole deep fried fish as a “courtesy”. China Star in Edison has decent Korean-style Chinese food (check out their tang soo yuk, “Korean-style sweet and sour pork”, kangpoonggi, “Korean-style General Tso’s chicken” and chajjangmyun, noodles with black bean-minced pork sauce.

  18. slpernie says:

    Here are some of my favorites:
    best kim bab and kalbi dosirak (lunch box)- picnic, main st, fort lee
    best sam kyup sahl – place next to myung dong kal kook soo, broad ave, pal park
    best marinated galbi – don’s bo gam, 32nd street, across from todai sf buffet
    best seafood side dishes (i.e. steamed shellfish/mussels/clams with noodles) – sik gaek, cliffside park
    best jja jang myun – mandarin, broad ave, pal park
    best mandoo – mandoo bar, bergen blvd, pal park
    best sullung tang – gam mee ok, main st. fort lee
    best sam gye tang – small rest across from gam mee ok, main st, next to china star/ambullette rest area.
    best shabu shabu – shabu zen, bergen blvd, pal park

    here are just a few off the top of my head. send me an email at if you have any questions. what you should know about korean restaurants is that most of them are very specialized and if you go to a specific rest you should prob order their speciality. Most korean bbqs have sam kyup sahl (bacon cut of the pig) but I would rather order it from a sam kyup sahl jun moon jum (speciality place). although i live northern nj i think that flushing, queens probably has the best korean while manhattan is pretty slim pickings.



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