A Seoulful Lunch

March 2, 2009

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).

Sik Gaek Interior

Sik Gaek Interior 2

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One Fish, Two Fish, Fin Fish, Shell Fish

February 29, 2008

By Wendy Chan

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Food and travel are two of my favorite things in life. I am very grateful that I get to enjoy opportunities to travel and do culinary explorations abroad, integrating my personal passion with my professional endeavors.

My recent trip to Seoul was a remarkable experience and fulfilling on numerous levels. One very memorable part of the itinerary was the tour of the Fish Market in the center of Metropolitan Seoul with direct sight of Trump’s new luxury buildings a freeway’s width away.Fresh (translation: still swimming in tanks) seafood always commands a premium in Asia, because of the insatiable demand for everything still kept alive. This is well illustrated with Seoul’s multiple football field-sized fish market’s ingenuous retail-wholesale persona. Vendors have aquariums that almost rival any top aquariums around the world, as they have a wide assortment of fin fish, crustaceans, shell fish, and even questionable worms-like invertebrates that are considered delicacies to the natives. Read the rest of this entry »