Adventures in Eating & Cooking
Two days ago I was eating and reuniting with some friends at Boka down in East Village. It’s a decently priced Korean restaurant that is according to Unnie, pretty authentic and serves great bon chon chicken (fried buffalo-wing-like chicken, except a lot less sour & spicy, but a lot more sweet and savory).
The four of us split a platter of soy garlic bon chon chicken (with both legs and wings). I thought it was some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. Each piece of chicken was coated with a crunchy exterior of sweet garlicky goodness. Underneath that was another softer layer of savory skin. And finally the chicken meat was tender, although bland in comparison to its exoskeleton crisp. Still it was something amazing, even better-tasting than the bon chon sold at BonChon Chicken itself (but I haven’t been to BonChon for awhile, so I my judgment may be clouded).
This order came with a dish of sweet Korean pickled white radish cubes, good for nibbling on to clear the greasiness from the chicken. The cool sweetness of the radishes complemented the fried hot bon chon nicely.
Unnie ordered the soup for us: odeng tang (fishcake soup, light enough to be a broth). Personally, I love the light seafoody taste of any fishcake soup, so I enjoyed this dish a lot, especially since the flavor was dense while the soup itself was not. (Too much dense soup makes me feel sick.) The fishcakes were delicious, as fishcakes tend to be. They were definitely not cheap fishcakes, but their quality did not impress me.
Last was a favorite of Unnie and mine: kimchi jun (pickled vegetable pancake)!
It was a lot better than the kimchi jun at Jangtuh Sut Bul Gui Inc., but surprisingly a step underneath the cheap ones at WooRiJip. This is because WooRiJip puts the most kimchi into their pancakes and is slightly more flavorful. However, it beats the fried-doughy kimchi jun at Jangtuh by far. Boka’s kimchi jun is also served piping hot with complementary sesame red chili paste soy sauce mix. The sauce went well with the pancake, but I preferred to eat it without condiments to relish the actual sourish savory fried flavor.
Conclusion: Boka is a place I would go back to again. It’s got a nice classy-cafe-ish environment, which seems to attract many NYU students (I’ve seen them sitting around). The bon chon chicken’s quite tasty, and Unnie really knows which side dishes to order! The odeng tang and kimchi jun were delightful as well. After splitting the bill among four people, it cost $7 each, not bad at all.