In K-Town, I'm a Seoul Man


I was treated by an old friend of mine and his beautiful Korean wife and three equally beautiful children to a Korean feast at Kang Suh in Koreatown on 32nd Street in Midtown Manhattan. Fortunately for me, the kids were ravenous and we ignored the waiter's continued protestations in Korean that we ordered way too much food.

There was an unending variety of banchan, Korean side dishes, including two varieties of spicy kimchi-cabbage and radish. A very good quality sushi platter, served on a plate the size of Captain America's shield, disappeared before the grill in the center of the table could even get warm. While the waiter used her childproof scissors to snip both raw beef and pork bulgogi into strips and place them on the barbecue grill with long chopsticks, I was served my favorite dish: yook hwe. I've written previously that this raw beef dish served with Asian pear, spicy sauce, and uncooked egg, would make any steak tartare fan swoon.

The grilled meats wrapped in cabbage leaves with bean paste, raw garlic cloves, and onion made me consider giving up flour tacos in favor of lettuce the next time I go out for Mexican. We added fuel to the fire and added kalbi, beef short ribs, to the grill.

We were at the point of bursting when my friend's wife ordered a comfort dish from her childhood. Dogani Moochim is a platter of gelatinous, unidentifiable, quivering boiled meat served with soup on the side and soy sauce. Emboldened by the infamous challenge that only makes me more curious — "You won't like it" — I tore off a hunk of meat with my chopsticks, dipped in sauce and tasted. It was very reminiscent of pig's feet, which I adore and to which I am equally guilty of taunting my dinner guests that they "won't like it."

The suspense killing me, she finally revealed that it was slowly-boiled cow knee, which when spoken quickly sounds like a Korean dish, COWNEE. Like pig's feet, it is favored for its high collagen content which is said to promote smooth skin. Delicious and cosmetically-enhancing too.