Koreatown Eats NYC – KumGangSan

For a proper meal, we headed back to koreatown, because we had both been wanting to go back to KumGangSan. We had gone here together a bunch of years back and had remembered how good it was. We had a bit of a wait though, but it was worth it. The place has two floors and lots of tables, but it was absolutely packed. And you’re talking about a street that is chock full of other korean restaurants. Yet on a tuesday night at 7, this place was still packed. You know that’s a pretty good sign. Oh, and the thing I love about koreatown is that so many of the restaurants are open 24 hours as day! It’s a dream!

Holy banchan! Marinated spicy squid, which almost seemed raw or nearly raw. Two different kimchis, one was regular, but was a bit watered down, and the other one was an actual watery style kimchi. Broccoli and imitation crab meat, and some mystery fungus dish at the bottom. We’re thinking it’s a mushroom of some kind.

Spicy squash, a savory eggplant, two different types of tofu (one was bluish?!?), some type of mystery sliced root, and a salad.

I really loved this salad! It had some kind of dressing that I absolutely fell in love with, yet I can’t really describe what it tasted like. I couldn’t distinguish its main flavor. But it was awesome. I wish they’d bottle it.

We got some kimchi fried rice. Kimchi fried rice isn’t nearly as kimchi-y as you’d think it would be. It’s actually quite mild, not at all spicy, and a bit nutty. It’s basically just a fancy rice, in case plain old rice doesn’t do it for you. This one had meat in it, but it was tiny little bits of meat and there was barely any in it. You can get it with chicken or veggies too. It was good and as you can see, a huge portion.

The dish that we came back for – the ojingaboekum. I’m all about this squid dish at most korean restaurants I go to. And I remember coming here before and absolutely loving and devouring it. As before, it didn’t disappoint. There’s tons of hunks of meaty squid in a spicy, sweet, and savory sauce. Yes, it’s all three of those flavors. There was also a few slices of rice cake in there, as a little added surprise. But it was only a few, as in maybe 5. I wish there had been 50! This dish is just particularly good here. Can’t describe why, it just is.

For dessert, we were given complimentary samples of this ice bean thing. The placemats at the tables were hocking a few different products that KumGangSan makes, including this ice bean stuff. What is it? Well, as A described, “it’s like science in your mouth.” That’s what it is. It’s fruity and icy, and then in your mouth, it turns into a creamy yogurt type consistency. Very sciencey indeed. Made by the power of sugar and chemistry. So it has the word bean in it, and it does have a slightly bean-ish aftertaste, so it must be made from something involving beans, and not regular dairy.

The service here is ok, nothing stellar, just standard korean restaurant service. One thing to note, you will stink like korean bbq after you eat here. The smell is everywhere and it will seep into every crack and crevice on you, and of course, your clothes. So you will smell like this until you wash yourself and your clothes.
Kum Gang San on Urbanspoon

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