Traveling doesn’t always mean hopping on a plane. I took the train into Manhattan recently. A friend wanted to experience Koreatown for the first time.
- Arrive at Grand Central Terminal.
- Take the # 6 Brooklyn bound (downtown) train.
- Get off at the 33rd street stop.
- Use the 32nd street exit.
- Walk from E32nd street to W32nd street.
As you walk from E32nd to W32nd street, you become engulfed in all the hangul (Korean script) signs. Transport yourself out of New York City for just a moment in time. Now it’s time to explore.
One of the best ways to enjoy a different culture is eating their food. The options for food are unending and quite overwhelming at times. Every restaurant has colorful pictures displaying their options and you forget which ones you’ve already passed. The options don’t end at the storefronts. Gaze up and realize that you have floor after floor of more wonderful eats waiting for you.
I chose Jongro BBQ for this trip. It’s located at 22 W 32nd St Fl 2, New York, NY 10001. Step out the elevator and enter a small Korean village. Jongro is the name of an area of Seoul where many palaces are located.
Some of my friends ordered different types of raw meats. These were cooked on the table in front of us. Choose from marinated or non-marinated versions. All their beef is wet aged for a minimum of three weeks.
Choose from rib-eye, center-cut short ribs called kalbi, as well as a variety of pork. The selections were endless. Take a look at their 8-page online menu.
The rest of the group, including myself, ordered individual dishes. I chose the seafood pancake (below), haemul pajeon in Korean.
The food was delicious and the ambiance very unique. Make a reservation. After 5pm it is packed! Then it was on to after dinner snacks.
After Dinner Snacks
If you’re looking for a quick snack, try the French-Asian fusion bakery Tous le Jours. They have lots of pastries and breads to choose from.
Food Gallery 32 is a great spot for after dinner desserts. There are three floors of shops that sell everything from ice cream to Korean fried chicken.
My taro and matcha swirl ice cream (above) was great. The same shop also sells milkshakes. Right across the hall they sell Bungeoppang. It’s a fish shaped cake similar to the Japanese pastry Taiyaki.
There are popular Korean skincare brands like The Face Shop and Nature Republic. Other shops sell a wide variety of skincare brands from different brands. Also check out Besfren Beauty for all things k-beauty.
While we were waiting for our table we visited some of the other floors in the building. We visited a korean spa on the 4th floor and a karaoke bar on the 7th floor. So, we made karaoke reservations at Karaoke City for some after dinner fun.
Karaoke City has a wide variety of songs to choose from. Expect English, Spanish and of course Korean songs. The prices are fairly reasonable. Choose between private rooms or singing at the bar.
Anytime you’re in Manhattan, take a trip to Koreatown. You won’t regret it.