I’ll start the first of my restaurant reviews with my favorite Korean spot, Hahm Ji Bach. Located deep within Queens, in one of the most vibrant Asian communities in the city…it’s a trek even from the last stop on the 7 line (Main St, Flushing). If you’re driving though, you’re in luck. Valet parking is on the house.
It is a rare establishment that serves up authenticity alongside hospitality so that even a stranger to the cuisine or the culture wouldn’t be intimidated. You walk in and are immediately greeted with a round of “Yobosayo!” from all the waitresses. Among the seated are Korean families, students from nearby colleges, and groups of buddies from all across the racial spectrum.
The menu is massive. But the one thing you’ll see on every table, aside from a plethora of banchan (small dishes, including lots of pickled vegetables, fresh greens and if you’re lucky, soft shelled crabs). are the bbq pork belly (daepae samgyupsal). Since I keep halal, I can’t share what makes this dish so ubiquitous. But for the pescatarian, the chilean sea bass cooked in kimchi, the broiled mackerel, seafood dolsot bibimbap (rice served in a hotpot) are all winners. Be weary, though, if you can’t handle the spice. Towards the end of my meal, I was wiping my nose and taking a gulp of ice water after every bite. I’ve never had food that hurt that bad, taste so good.
Dessert is limited to a small bowl of pumpkin slush and some slices of pineapple, served at the end of the meal to every table. Nothing to write home about, but definitely unique to this place.
Best part? It’s such a good value! Entrees range from $15 to $25 and include all these freebies.