10 Korean Food Pairings And Where To Enjoy Them In New York City

Korean food | © Geoff Peters/Flickr
Korean food | © Geoff Peters/Flickr
Photo of Jessica Yoon
25 November 2016

Korean cuisine packs a punch with unfamiliar and unconventional flavors, but properly complemented foods and drinks make up some stellar dishes. It’s become the cultural norm for certain flavors to be paired together, so don’t spend any more time trying to decipher menus. We profile 10 popular Korean food pairings and let you know where to find them in New York City.

Naeng Myun And Kalbi (Cold Noodles And Korean Barbecue)

Restaurant, Korean, $$$
Korean BBQ
Korean BBQ | © Thomas sauzedde/Flickr
Head to Flushing’s Murray Hill for some cold noodles and Korean barbecue at Han Joo Chik Naeng Myun & BBQ. ‘Cold’ flour noodles are served in an icy, tangy broth with cucumbers and a boiled egg on top. The classic way to enjoy this pairing is to start with beef short ribs and use the cold noodles as a means of cutting the grease. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant offers this delicious combination and provides a totally new experience with a crystal grill.

Chi Maek (Fried Chicken And Beer)

Restaurant, Korean, $$$
Fried chicken and beer, or Chi Maekis a go-to Korean favorite. Chi Maek combines the ‘chi’ from chicken and the Korean word for beer, maekju. For a variety of chicken and beer combinations with tons of flavor, look no further than Bayside, Queens. Korean restaurant Chimac not only offers a variety of fried chicken and beer combos but also offers a variety of Korean fusion dishes as well. With a wide array of choices to mix and match, you’re sure to find a winner no matter what you pair.

Dubu Kimchi Jeyuk Bokkeum (Spicy Kimchi Pork Stir-Fry And Tofu)

Restaurant, Korean, $$$
For something less meaty but just as filling with a savory kick, try the kimchi jeyuk stir-fry with tofu at Muk Eun Ji. This restaurant isn’t particularly well known for being budget-friendly, but kimchi (pickled cabbage) is an essential Korean food, and the restaurant’s name, ‘Muk Eun Ji,’ translates to ‘aged-kimchi.’ Here, kimchi is stir-fried with marinated jeyuk (pork) and served on top of soft dubu (tofu) for a spicy, tasty combo that melts in your mouth.

Bibimmyeon And Mandu (Mixed Noodles And Fried Dumplings)

Restaurant, Korean, $$$
Also called bibim (mixed) guksu, there are multiple ways to get your noodle fix with this dish. The noodles are served with a spicy, tangy sauce with fresh vegetables and crispy fried dumplings. Where can you find such an incredible combination? Try it at Dae Sung Kal Kuk Soo Restaurant in Flushing, where the dumplings are served with a special sauce that makes the combo all the more delicious.

Pahjeon And Makgeolli (Scallion Pancakes And Rice Wine)

Restaurant, Korean, $$$
Pahjeon (scallion pancakes) and makgeolli (rice wine) serve as another classic food-and-drink pairing that’s lasted through the generations. In fact, a Korean saying exclaims, ‘When it rains, it’s pahjeon and makgeolli time!’ Because of its incredible simplicity, this is a common combination to make at home. But if you’re in the mood to dine out, Soju Haus is a delicious alternative. You can find this combination in almost any barbecue/traditional Korean restaurant, but if you’re feeling adventurous, here’s a recipe to try for yourself.

Dakgalbi And Makguksu (Spicy Marinated Chicken And Chilled Buckwheat Noodles)

Restaurant, Korean
Chuncheon, Korea is famous for their chilled buckwheat noodle dish makguksu (think the cold noodle’s cousin), which pairs perfectly with dakgalbi. Dakgalbi is essentially a stew of marinated chicken, cabbage, and rice cakes. The best place to find this unbeatable pairing in New York City is Doraon 1.5 Dak Galbi, which translates to ‘the return of marinated chicken 1.5.’ Take the Q13 from Flushing Main Street Station and take a peak at the lesser-known side of Flushing on Northern Boulevard before settling down for a filling and flavorful meal.

Go Deung Eo And Doeng Jang Jjigae (Mackerel And Fermented Bean Stew)

Restaurant, Korean, $$$
Korean stew-Kimchi jjigae-01
Korean stew-Kimchi jjigae-01 | © by miyagawa/WikiCommons
Mackerel is a popular fish used in Korean cooking, and when there’s mackerel, fermented bean stew is sure to follow. While the stew doesn’t sound very appetizing, chances are if you’ve been to a Korean barbecue restaurant, you’ve had it before and loved it. This semi-spicy stew is served in black ceramic pots with a distinctly deep, salty flavor, served with cubes of tofu. Try it for yourself at Muk Eun Ji, where the combo is found as a lunch special.

Jokbal And Bossam (Pigs’ Feet And Boiled Pork Belly)

Restaurant, Korean, Contemporary, Fusion, Sushi, $$$
Korean cuisine involves a lot of boiled meats, and jokbal (pigs’ feet) paired with bossam (boiled pork belly) is a favorite. The meats are wrapped in cabbage or perilla leaves with garlic, onions, kimchi, and sauce to create a ssam (wrap) at Tang. Tang is an authentic Korean restaurant on Northern Boulevard that not only offers this pork pairing but also has a wealth of Korean and Asian dishes on their menu.

Jjajangmyeon, Mandu And Tangsuyuk (Black Bean Noodles, Dumplings And Sweet & Sour Meat)

Restaurant, Korean
Korean-Chinese food is the popular choice for Korean celebrations such as moving house or graduating. Jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles), mandu (dumplings) and tangsuyuk (sweet & sour fried meat) is a popular trio at Korean-Chinese restaurants. Try this culinary favorite in Bayside’s You Jjajang, Me Jjamppong (jjamppong is a spicy, seafood noodle soup).

Kim Ddeok Sun (Rice Rolls, Spicy Rice Cakes And Blood Sausages)

Restaurant, Korean
Say ‘Kim ddeok sun’ to any Korean, and you’ll have an instant connection. Kimbap, ddeokbbokki, soondae is the quintessential Korean snack and a crowd favorite amongst both kids and adults. If you haven’t tried ddeokbbokki yet, chances are you’ve seen it on a Korean menu. For an authentic Kim Ddeok Sun, head to Chung Moo Rollrice & Dongas on Main Street, Flushing. Locals call this restaurant their ‘grandma’s house’ because of its friendly operation and delicious, home-style Korean cooking.

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