by Veronica Chan
Every month or so I hop onto the 7 train and make my pilgrimage to Flushing, Queens. A standard trip to Flushing includes a trim at my usual Asian salon (where they pump up uncensored hip-hop beats and Cantonese pop ballads) followed by dim sum lunch at the restaurant next door.
Beyond what is immediately surrounding the subway station is entirely foreign to me. Once past the six block radius around the subway station, the density of Chinese storefronts gets substantially sparse, eventually disappearing altogether and splitting off into various ethnic enclaves.
Deep into Korean territory in Flushing, I went to see the filming of a segment for one of my favorite TV shows, No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. While driving further away from familiarity, the urban landscape changes significantly, as signs that were once all in Chinese begin to be outnumbered by those in Korean. The short segment that was being filmed is for a future episode featuring the outer boroughs of New York. Accompanying Anthony, as his guide to the Korean cuisine of Flushing, is David Chang of Momofuku, who is fittingly Korean American.
Our final destination was Sik Gaek. The Korean restaurant’s interior cleverly mimics the streets of Seoul, furnished with corrugated metal roofs, street lights, a flashing traffic light, and cleavage bearing posters advertising a popular brand of soju (Korean hard liquor).
Sitting two tables away from Anthony and David, we begin our feast:
Monkfish in a piquant kimchi stew with shrimp, bean sprouts, and scallions
A steaming mountain of Alaskan crab legs, clams, shrimp, and sea snails
Raw octopus minced into pieces, still wriggling, drizzled with sesame oil
Hand-cut noodles cooked in the water that was used to steam the seafood. The mild soup is typically accompanied by a side of kimchi
Cucumber infused soju, the lunch beverage of choice. Julienned cucumbers are soaked in the metal pot of soju and left to steep before serving
A mid-meal action shot of Anthony and David
16129 Crocheron Ave
Flushing, NY 11358
( 718 ) 321 – 7770
Cross-posted on http://www.vchancancook.wordpress.com