Last weekend, I had a chance to swing by Electric Lemon , a restaurant that had been open for just four days. …
Pop quiz! Where is the largest Asian shopping mall on the East Coast?
Did you guess New York City? Because it’s not. Neither is Philly. In fact, it’s not even in a major city—it’s in Falls Church, Virginia, a city located about ten miles away from Washington DC.
There are a lot of Korean restaurants in Maryland. In fact, nowadays, there are restaurants specializing in almost everything: Korean BBQ, desserts and coffee, Korean-Chinese food, Korean bars and bar food, etc… And you may pass by Jongkak, one of the few restaurants remaining in Baltimore’s Koreatown, and think it’s your typical Korean restaurant—after all, it doesn’t look particularly special from the outside. But it truly is a unique and special place: as far as I’m aware, there is no other Korean restaurant in Maryland that allows you to cook your BBQ over charcoal fire or “soot-bool” (숯불) as it’s known in Korean. That alone is worth a trip to Jongkak.…
About thirty minutes outside of Baltimore lies the community of Ellicott City. It’s home to a sizable Korean population—in fact, in 2017, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan dedicated a stretch of Route 40 as “Korean Way.” There are over 166 Korean-owned businesses there and the influx of these businesses has been recognized for revitalizing this stretch of highway. There’s even talk now of designating it as an official Koreatown.…
This past Sunday, I went to Bethesda to visit one of my favorite restaurants in the area: Q by Peter Chang. Although I’ve been there many times now, I didn’t really know what to expect on this particular visit: it was a special event celebrating the Lunar New Year.…
If you lived in Ellicott City and craved Vietnamese food or pho at some point in time, chances are you’ve eaten (or at least heard of) Pho No. 1 simply because it’s one of the OG pho places in the area. The restaurant, located in the Westview shopping center off Baltimore National Pike, opened around the time pho started becoming popular.
The menu at Pho No. 1 is very extensive–there are well over 100 menu items, ranging from starters like spring rolls to rice dishes to, of course, pho.…
Food memories are a strong and beautiful thing. A small bite or a fleeting scent is enough to transport someone to an earlier time. It’s true for everybody, but perhaps as diners, we overlook its importance in chefs and cooks as well. That’s why the Hubei Tasting Dinner at Q by Peter Chang was special.
Last week, I had the pleasure to attend the first of many Saigon Summers popups that Chef Helen (@miss_hailan) has been organizing in New York City. While she’s worked at some of New York’s best and well-known restaurants, Helen has a passion for sharing Vietnamese food; this dinner allowed her to share this love with friends and strangers alike.
For this dinner, Helen brought in friends from all over the US to collaborate. She brought in Chefs and friends from Las Vegas, Seattle, and San Diego for an epic Vietnamese collaboration dinner. I especially appreciated how your “typical” Vietnamese foods like pho and banh mi were not on the menu. I don’t know much about Vietnamese food, but this dinner really opened my eyes to the delicious flavors and textures of Vietnam. I really need to learn more.
This first dish, bo tai chanh, was simply amazing. Tender beef eye round, watercress, fried shallots, peanuts, lime vinaigrette. Holy crap this was good—and it set the stage for the rest of the dinner.
A lotus root salad (goi ngo sen) was next. Loved the bright flavors and the textural contrast with the cracker.
Baby clams with sesame rice crackers (hen xuc banh trang) were next.
Banh beo, steamed rice cake, was next.
Bo Kho, braised short ribs, rounded up the savory dishes. And this was just comfort in a bowl, much akin to a hearty beef stew.
And dessert was che suong sa hat luu, a tapioca dessert. I could have had like ten more of these… they were that awesome.
The talented chefs:
Anyways, Chef Helen is continuing to do popups in NYC so definitely follow her instagram (@miss_hailan) to keep up on any new popups. Plus she’s just a kind and awesome person and someone I respect very much—she’s hustling really hard to open a Vietnamese restaurant in LIC soon. It’s going to be good.
It’s not a fancy place. In fact, you could be forgiven for driving past To Sok Jip without a second thought. After all, it’s a small building with white, wooden paneling and a slightly faded pink awning that lists off menu items in Korean. But people will line up and wait for a seat at one of the ten or so tables here because the food here is just that good.
I got the grilled croaker fish (actually, it came with two!) and the doenjang jjigae. I took a sip of the steaming, bubbling soup and wow. Just blown away. It’s a soup I’ve had thousands of times and still, To Sok Jip’s made me stop and smile. This. This is Korean comfort in a bowl.
Do you remember when the Iron Man movie first came out? It was followed by Hulk, Thor, and Captain America movies… and then BAM! They all got together and formed The Avengers, a superhero supergroup. Well, “Avengers” is what comes to mind when I think about Chef Ho Young Kim’s incredible popup at Atomix.