It’s like fate, as I was talking to Newdie Mag contributor Megan Kojima while she is on vacation to South Korea I walked past Mokja Korean Restaurant. Suddenly it hit me: I should challenge that ****** **** (amazing lady) to find a better version of the same dish. Korean food in Korea vs. Korean food in New York. Come at me bro (Sis?).
Now Megan may seem to have a leg up actually being in Korea, but I was in Astoria. Astoria is a neighborhood in New York City known for amazing Greek food as well as other ethnic foods. Still, I wasn’t in Korea but I trust my New Yorkers to make a good meal.
The gloves were off. I stretched my jaw muscles. I lifted my menu several times for a workout. I was ready to go in fighting. One problem…I have never had Korean food before. I’ve had Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc, but never Korean. I had to ask my opponent for help before the match even began. I basically stumbled over the ropes trying to get into the ring. That is exactly what would happen if I tried to get into a real wrestling ring too.
Megan suggested kimchi fries and hot stone bibimbap. Her favorite is beef bulgogi in bibimbap but since it was my first time I wanted to take it all in (not a sex joke) so I ordered the combo with beef bulgogi, spicy pork, and chicken in the bowl. It was served with a side of miso soup…which is Japanese, but I’ll throw it into the competition since it was included.
Round 1 – Kimchi fries
Growing up in Louisiana when we would eat seafood we would mix together mayonnaise, ketchup, and hot sauce. A lot of other places do this for different types of food and it has caught so now Heinz is producing a version without the hot sauce called Mayochup.
Now, I don’t know what the sauce is supposed to taste like, but it pretty much tasted like the spicy mayochup concoction. It was pretty good and the onions and sesame added another welcomed layer of flavor. As good as it was, I think being in Korea, Megan might get a leg up on this one.
Round 2 – Miso soup (Even though it’s Japanese)
I’ve had miso soup several times before, but this one was absolute perfection. From the first bite (…or is it sip? Soup is confusing) there was a burst of flavor in my mouth. The spice level was just right and I did not want to stop eating.
I think the only way Megan can top this one is to scootch on over to Japan and have a tub full of the same miso soup that she can bathe in. Maybe they do…I’ve never been to Korea but it sounds like a wonderfully delicious spa day to me.
Round 3 – Hot Stone Bibimbap
Bibimbap on this! As the steaming hot stone bowl arrived it almost looked too pretty to eat. Orange, yellow, red, white, brown, purple shoved into their respective parts of the sizzling bowl. It felt like a colorful version of food tetris.
I tried the beef bulgogi first and the sweetness with a subtle hint of spice it was a perfect opener to this strange black bowl I was eating out of. Next up was the spicy pork. I felt a bit lied to. It wasn’t that spicy but nonetheless pretty good. Then came the chicken and it tasted like…chicken. The tofu also tasted like chicken. Just kidding! The tofu tasted like nothing. Tofu almost always tastes like nothing.
All in all the meal was pretty darned good. Is it enough for my meal in New York City to beat authentic Korean food? Find out here