On cold rainy days away from home, I want a taste of Jersey. For me, that means Korean food.
The Korean community in the Triangle is relatively small, but it is growing steadily, and a few restaurants have popped up to support the local taste for home style Korean dishes. During my stay in the Raleigh-Durham area I found two that I enjoyed.
Chosun Ok Korean B.B.Q
2105 E Highway 54, Durham NC
Chosun Ok Restaurant
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Chosun Ok dining room.
My spicy Seafood Tofu soup (soondoobu jigae) with accompanying banchan.
Steamed Broccoli with a spicy sauce on top.
Hot and Spicy Squid with Kimchi Stir-Fry.
Yuke, the Korean version of beef tartare, served with Nashi Pear slices, raw garlic and cucumber. This is dressed with raw egg and gochujang, the traditional hot red pepper sauce.
I enjoyed my meal at Chosun Ok, and I thought that even with only a small Korean population to support it, the food was really good. I was also surprised to find a lot of regular locals (non-Koreans) eating here as well. You don’t see that in Jersey.
Vit Goal Korean Tofu Restaurant
2107 Allendown Dr #101, Durham, NC 27713
Chosun Ok isn’t the only Korean restaurant in town. Vit Goal, which is only a couple of blocks away, specializes in the soondoobu jigae soups almost exclusively. And because they are a specialist in tofu soups, they do it extremely well. And guess what — the owner is from Palisades Park, New Jersey — my hometown Korean food mecca. How cool is that?
Why, I actually feel not so bad about making an absolute pig of myself this evening.
The Carte de Tofu.
Boricha, hot barley tea.
An out of towner enjoying his Galbi (beef short ribs)
Vit Goal is even smaller than Chosun Ok. I love the wood accents, it makes you feel nice and cozy on a cold rainy day.
An appetizer order of Japchae sweet potato starch noodles with beef.
The main event, my spicy mushroom tofu soup, which comes out BOILING hot in a stone bowl.
The banchan selection is small compared to our New York and New Jersey mega-Korean places but it’s made fresh in-house and still very good. The owner also makes Kimchi fresh every day. Normally, Kimchi is usually fermented for several weeks, but that’s not possible down South. Fresh Kimchi, while less common, is nice though, it’s crunchier and she makes it spicier to compensate for the lack of fermentation.
Marinated Beef Bulgogi, which is cooked in the kitchen rather than at table. Still quite tasty and went great with the soup.