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).