Adventures in Eating & Cooking
I went to Flushing with my mom today, and we ate out as we always do when my dad’s not around complaining about spending too much (yep, typical Asian dad). Since my mom had a craving for Korean food, we went to our usual Flushing Korean restaurant: Jangtuh Sut Bul Gui Inc. (no website for this one)
The environment was pretty typical for a nice Korean restaurant, with some traditional touch. It was certainly clean and spacy enough. But what really impressed me was the kindness of the manager. She let us switch from regular bibimbap to stone-pot bibimbap (which is sizzling and tastes so much better) even after my mom started mixing it up, and gave us an extra bowl of rice to top.
First up came the banchan (a bunch of small Korean appetizers usually served with rice), which was also free (I think this is usually served without charge at most Korean restaurants though).
My personal favorites were the cold eggplant (bottom row, 2nd column) and the potato carrot curry thing (bottom row, last column). (No, these are not the actual names.) The eggplant was quite sweet, spicy, and flavorful; the potato thing reminded me of Japanese curry, only spicier. The kimchis (spicy picked vegetables) were also pretty good, but I’m very partial to kimchi!
The banchan came with sticky rice, which is probably the most delicious rice in the world. Korean sticky rice however, is not made Chinese sticky rice (my favorite type of rice, usually found wrapped in bamboo leaves). Rather it is made with purple rice (and perhaps some Chinese sticky rice) cooked with extra water and some red bean. The end result is quite delicious, and I happily ate most of it without banchan.
As mentioned earlier, we ordered the dolsot bibimbap (served in a sizzling stone pot).
To eat this bibimbap, you must add the special spicy Korean sauce and mix well! (Same concept with the Dunkin’ Donuts iced lattes, see earlier post…) I believe the waiters gave us less spicy sauce than the usual amount since we weren’t Korean, but I viewed this as a good thing since spice is an easily overpowering flavor. The blend of rice, vegetable, and meat was great! The fact that the bibimbap was sizzling hot also added to its flavor. I have one major complaint though: I barely found any of the chewy rice bits usually clung onto the surface of the pot (one of the best parts of dolsot bibimbap!) .
I picked the kimchi jun (pickled vegetable pancakes), since I remembered how delicious the ones at Woo Ji Rip were.
I was happy to see how large the portion was, since the price was about $14. The waittress brought it out hot and steaming, like a pizza just out of the oven. It was also cut into slices like a pizza, and she served us each a slice.
The kimchi jun itself was mediocre. It was crispy on the outside, soft and mushy on the inside, just like it’s supposed to be. However, I thought there was not enough kimchi pieces inside the pancake itself (perhaps because the manager knew that we were Chinese), so the flavor was not very consistent. There were the doughy pancake parts, and the sour kimchi parts. I think I would actually prefer the kimchi jun at Woo Ji Rip if they were fresher.
But if you come to Jangtuh Sut Bul Gui Inc. I strongly recommend their pajeon (seafood pancake), which I ate there last time. It was a lot better than their kimchi jun (the reason I ordered kimchi jun this time was because of the good impression their pajeon left me). The pajeon here has a delicious pancake consistency that mixes well with the soft seafood bits.
Conclusion: Best thing today was dolsot bibimbap, generous delicious banchan, decent kimchi jun but awesome pajeon, nice environment, friendly service!!, average prices. I can’t say much about how it compares to other Korean restaurants around Flushing, but I’m pretty sure the other places would be more expensive. I personally like Koreatown’s Korean food best (32nd St.)