By Faith Rein
As an adopted Korean American I had only experienced the cuisine of my heritage through Kimchee.
My parents who were Caucasians tried as they could at that time to have me exposed but being one of the first orphans from Korea to arrive in NY it was challenging.
Fast forward to 2019 and Korean’s are everywhere. Everyone is everywhere and our world has become rich with diversity.
The culture, the customs, and the food.
No matter what language you speak or how you look the food crosses all boundaries.
Korean BBQ is amazing. It can be intimidating. Believe me, as someone who looks like she should speak fluent Korean fact is I only speak fluent BBQ.
This is not your 4th of July BBQ.
Samwon Garden Korean BBQ has brought the oldest Korean BBQ from Seoul, Korea to NYC and the USA.
Koreatown in NYC is amazing. I particularly like to walk down 32nd and see people that look like me.
I haven’t seen this many Asians in one place since Crazy Rich Asian’s.
K town is a small block in Manhattan filled with Korean BBQ, karaoke. Korean Makeup, bakeries and of course the best H Mart.
Now they tell me Flushing has the best Korean – better than Korea town. The commercial part of Korea town is there but who cares. The food is good. It’s also NYC, everything is commercial.
Samwon Garden is a step above the touristy typical get-in getting out BBQ. Samwon is at 37 W. 32nd street Lovely inviting décor and friendly service.
They are not slow but they don’t rush you.
Customer service is very important to them.
The food speaks for itself.
Galbi beef – the most beautiful cuts of beef.
This is what they are known for. Kobe is nice compared to this – Galbi beef is amazing. Like comparing Toby Flenderson to Jim Halper.
We started the evening with appetizers pork mandoo…Korean potstickers. I opted for fried.
Delicious. Crispy wrappers and filling was a perfect balance complemented by the dipping sauce delicious enough to drink by the glass.
Korean chicken is hard to pass by. Suggested by our waitress we had 1⁄2 soy dressing and garlic sauce and 1⁄2 hot spicy dressing.
Double fried of course the Korean way.
Dak Nalgae Twigim.
Now I try Asian chicken everywhere I go. Since falling in love with Bon Chon and this double fry cornstarch technic I find Bob Chon my favorite fast-food chicken.
Real Bon Chon. Even when it’s not at their best and that can happen from day to day… it still surpasses any other fried chicken to date.
Samwon Garden accepted this challenge that was in my mind and defeated Bon Chon. Not an easy task at all.
The crispy skin was crunchy but wasn’t over fried. The moist tender meat on every wing and drumette was perfect. The soy garlic dressing was light and balanced.
The spicy chicken had a slight kick at the end with an explosion of flavors hitting my palate like an Oscar Peterson jazz rendition. sharp and smooth.
Then the beef.
Bulgogi marinated sliced rib eye with all the fixings…beautiful broth and tender meat. slowly dropping an egg in for dipping.
This gorgeous grill was hot enough to make a sizzle of the Samwon Galbi Beef short ribs. Korean short ribs are cut across and marinated beautifully.
This is not my grandmother’s short ribs that looked like chucks for a stew.
This one is cut thin and with a delicate marinade that brings out the best of this exquisite beef. The many dishes.
Banchan – side dishes of any Korean BBQ meal is by far my favorite thing.
Everyone gets a set of maybe 10-12 small sides. Pickled cabbage, kimchee, pickled radish/turnip.
Red bean paste, Fresh Asian slaw, onions s and any of the fixin’s you every had seen at a BBQ…the Asian kind.
Sustainability and sensibility is part of Asian culture.
Not overfeeding but leaving guests satisfied.
We ate everything put before us. Not because we were starving but because we couldn’t resist. Every flavor invoked trying another and then another. Like a bad habit, you couldn’t stop.
The joke about eating Asian food that your hungry in an hour…it’s an American thing.
Gorging yourself until you are stuffed and bloated. That’s what we do. Large portions that could feed a family of 6 would be plated for 1.
Korean BBQ offers these small dishes to accompany the main. Beautiful cuts of beef are served in portions that are satisfying and not over indulgent. You could order 1⁄2 a cow I suppose but there was just 2 of us and there are starving children in Iowa.
Patience, calm and serenity is part of this meal.
Taking the time to savor a meal and the company you are with.
No technology at a Korean table. You have to use your hands for food and maybe the occasional instagram post.
But that’s part of this generation.
Enjoy the food. Share the food. Document the experience but don’t forget to feel the experience and create memories.
Share food not posts.
OK, you should share the posts but only after you have licked that last piece of sauce up.
Take that last bite that your table-mates are fighting over.
Savor every tasty smell and sight you are experiencing.
Make your moments memories.
From the Samwon Garden website:
Samwon Garden is one of the oldest Korean BBQ restaurants in South Korea. They have been established as a barbecue house since 1976 and have kept our traditions for over 45 years. The barbecue & Korean Food recipes have been passed down from one generation to another to bring a traditional & quality Korean dining experience. Samwon only uses the highest quality of ingredients & authentic Samwon Garden recipes. Experience one of South Korea’s best traditional Korean BBQ’s at Samwon Garden BBQ.
Growing to be the best global restaurant company by top talent and top brand
I make today’s meal only once in my lifetime more special and comfortable.
We will always do our best to impress customers with cleanliness, friendly service and the best taste in all stores.