East­ern In­flu­ence

As kim­chi has crossed over into main­stream Amer­i­can eat­ing, Korean food has never been more pop­u­lar in Bos­ton.


As kim­chi has crossed over into main­stream Amer­i­can eat­ing, Korean food has never been more pop­u­lar in Bos­ton. Here’s where to eat and drink.

Ev­ery­one loves the spicy sweet­ness and gar­lic pun­gency of Korean food, served with a panoply of ban­chan that con­trib­ute salti­ness, crunch, sugar, and chile burn. Korean food has never been more pop­u­lar in Bos­ton.


Look­ing for Seoul food to beat the win­ter blues? At Cam­bridge’s iconic Korean bar­be­cue palace, you sit around a grill ta­ble and cook your own meal—meats, fish, poul­try, and veg­eta­bles— which you into roll into let­tuce wraps then dunk into dip­ping sauces. Try the galbi (short rib), bul­gogi (rib eye), pork belly, and beef tongue. The ex­ten­sive menu also of­fers non-bar­be­cue items— soups, stews, noo­dles, rice dishes and sushi. Reg­u­lars rave about Koreana’s ex­cel­lent rice flour pan­cakes, stuffed with seafood, kim­chi and bits of veg­etable. 158 Prospect St, Cam­bridge. 617.576.8661


This is where to head for Korean home cook­ing. The fam­ily op­er­ated, 16-seat, no-frills, East Cam­bridge restau­rant serves up dishes in gen­er­ous por­tions with a gar­nish of pride. Try the dduk-bokki rice cake smoth­ered in carmine red sweet and spicy pep­per paste, the kim­chi fried rice, or ji­gae tofu stew (ei­ther with kim­chi or miso-like daeng-jang). Beef bul­gogi (with rice, veg­eta­bles, fried egg, and in­cen­di­ary mix­ing sauce) is bar­gain base­ment priced at 10 dol­lars. 847 Cam­bridge St, Cam­bridge. 617.714.3232


You’ve never had fried chicken un­til you’ve had Korean fried chicken, which was in­tro­duced to Bos­ton by in­ter­na­tional chain Bon Chon Chicken in All­ston six years ago. The chicken is deep-fried plain, dipped into bat­ter and fried a se­cond time, which ren­ders out the fat and makes the skin taste like ba­con. Brushed with soy-gar­lic sauce or not-ashot-as-Buf­falo hot sauce), this mirac­u­lously non-greasy chicken gives new mean­ing to KFC. There’s also a sushi counter. 123 Brighton Ave., All­ston. 617.254.8888


If you’re into home­made Korean noo­dles, you can slurp your way to hap­pi­ness at Buk Kyung’s two area lo­ca­tions. There is a de­li­cious se­lec­tion of jam­bong spicy noo­dle soups, ja­jangmyum (noo­dles smoth­ered in sweet black bean sauce with pork and pota­toes) and gang­ja­gang (noo­dles topped with spicy black bean sauce and seafood). If you don’t want to wear din­ner home on your shirt, ask your server for scis­sors to cut the long noo­dles into eas­ier-to-eat seg­ments. Buk Kyung is also known for its ex­cel­lent man­doo—stuffed, steamed and pan-fried dumplings. 9 Union Square, Somerville, 617.623.9770; 151 Brighton Ave., All­ston, 617.254.2775


Beef stock takes cen­ter stage here, where the main dish is se­olleong­tang, a cen­turiesold soup made from slow sim­mered ox bones, and served with brisket, mar­row, beef ten­don and noo­dles or rice, de­pend­ing on your pref­er­ence. Be­fore to­day’s celebrity em­brace of “bone broth,” Kore­ans es­teemed se­olleong­tang for its health­ful ben­e­fits and deep, long cooked fla­vors. Or­der your soup solo or in com­bi­na­tion with Korean culi­nary sta­ples like bul­gogi and kalbi. 1245 Com­mon­wealth Ave., All­ston, 617.505.6771


If you’re in town for the long haul and want to dine on Korean at home? H Mart in Cen­tral Square, Cam­bridge, and Re­li­able Mar­ket, in Union Square, Somerville, have all the in­gre­di­ents and many ready-to-eat dishes that sat­isfy knowl­edgable and in­ex­pe­ri­enced Korean palates, alike. Each store boasts shelves of im­ported Korean and Asian food­stuffs, large pro­duce de­part­ments, fresh fish, poul­try, and meats, as well as dozens of pre­pared main dishes, ban­chan sides, and mul­ti­ple va­ri­eties of kim­chi. H Mart, 581 Mas­sachusetts Ave., Cam­bridge, 857.209.7247; Re­li­able Mar­ket, 45 Union Square, Somerville, 617.623.9620

Bibim­bap is a tra­di­tional Korean rice dish topped with meat and a raw egg. Buk Kyung has a great one.

Korean BBQ short-ribs

Korean fried chicken

Korean bul­gogi

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