There's a lot going on in South Korea right now. Thanks to the country's growing economy, its pop culture--including movies, music, television dramas, and fashion--has surged across Asia (and in turn has driven record numbers of tourists to South Korea). This cultural trend is called Hallyu ("Korean wave"), and it's coming to America. Korean singer Rain, often compared to pop star Justin Timberlake, recently performed in two sold-out concerts in Madison Square Garden and will appear in an upcoming Pepsi commercial with American singer Christina Aguilera. Meanwhile, Hollywood is remaking many popular Korean movies, including Il Mare, which was recently released as The Lake House and starred Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves.
To introduce Hallyu to Americans, the Korean Cultural Service, an organization that represents South Korea's Ministry of Culture & Tourism, has teamed up with three other Korean organizations to produce a map of Korean restaurants in New York City. This handy guide lists top restaurants in Manhattan, plus romanized translations and descriptions of popular menu items. Download the printable map at koreanculture.org.
We've reprinted some of the menu translations--and where you can sample these dishes.
Bulgogi: Thinly sliced ribeye of beef marinated in soy sauce
Bibimbap: Steamed rice served with assorted vegetables, beef, and hot pepper paste sauce
Dolsot bibimbap: Steamed rice served with assorted vegetables, beef, and hot pepper paste sauce in a heated stone bowl
Galbi: Grilled boneless short ribs in soy sauce
Haemul-pajeon: Seafood and green onion pancake
Japchae: Clear glass noodles sautéed with beef & mixed vegetables
Kimchi: Spicy, lightly fermented vegetables (usually cabbage); served at every meal. The national food of Korea!
Kimchi-jjigae: Kimchi stew
Mul-mandu: Boiled dumplings
Naengmyeon: Cold buckwheat noodles
5 Korean Restaurants in New York City
Note: All of these restaurants are located in Koreatown (generally between 32nd and 36th Sts, between Broadway and Madison Ave.)
1. Gahm Mi Oak
43 W. 32nd St., 212/695-4113, bibimbap $12
2. Han Bat
53 W. 35th St., 212/629-5588, haemul-paejeon $12
3. Kum Kang San
49 W. 32nd St., 212/967-0909, bulgogi $20
4. Man Doo Bar
2 W. 32nd St., 212/279-3075, mul-mandu $8
5. Yoo Chun
5 W. 36th St., 212/563-3737, naengmyeon $10