Lined with busy shops bearing Korean-language signs, Palisades Park's Broad Avenue is the "epicenter of life in Korean New Jersey," according to food blog Serious Eats. Nestled on this bustling strip is Hanbat Restaurant, the sister location of the Michelin-recommended Manhattan eatery of the same name. Hanbat's menu reveals its chefs' commitment to traditional Korean cuisine: iconic ingredients like kimchi and L.A. kalbi or marinated beef short ribs help chefs add their distinctive flavors to select dishes, and the barbecue section spotlights everything from grilled brisket to duck. The dishes' presentation also adds to this deeply rooted sense of authenticity: in addition to serving rice in hot stone bowls, chefs also stir-fry a couple of entrees tableside, incorporating pork belly, vegetables, and a choice of seafood into the mix.
With more than two decades of experience peddling authentic Korean cuisine, the culinary whizzes at Gam Mee Ok ladle out a cornucopia of tempting appetizers, traditional beef entrees, and exotic liquors squeezed from rice. An appetizer of freshly steamed dumplings or flaky seafood pancakes commences duos' chew-a-thons and are intended to be split between two people, much like the responsibility of rearing a perforated child, before guests receive two shareable entrees. Grilled beef short ribs come backed by special soy sauce in the wang galbi, and the japchae showcases sautéed beef tossed with glass or sweet-potato noodles and soaked in soy cream. Bibimbap, a mix of shredded beef and vegetables over rice, comes in a sizzling stone bowl (dolsot bibimbap) or au natural. As they dine, twosomes can sip on exotic spirits such as bottles of Korean rice wine, sake, vodka-like soju, or liquefied poltergeists.
Nestled in the heart of Manhattan's Koreatown and resting in the shadow of the Empire State Building, Hyo Dong Gak dishes out an extensive menu of Chinese delicacies along with beer and soju. Bustling Midtown lunchers stop in to gobble up quick meals of pepper steak or fried rice before heading back to their corner offices, cubicles, and work-from-home blanket forts. Evening patrons can make a tasty dinner of Singapore-style fried noodles and spicy seafood soups. Though the bill of fare presents familiar Chinese-style plates of sweet-and-sour chicken and sautéed string beans, it also features cuisine not often found in fast-food joints, such as crispy whole fried fish, Szechuan-style lobster, and jellyfish.
Shanghai Mong's eclectic menu of flavorful soups, texture-rich pho, and shareable starter plates entices appetites with broad-spectrum cooking styles served up 24 hours a day. Like a hot air-balloon expedition during the rainy season, the bill of fare takes diners on a whirlwind tour of Asia, with detours by colorful Vietnamese and Korean noodle dishes before dropping by China's fried rice and tenderloin chop steak in spicy szechuan sauce. Plates entice the eye with vibrantly colored spices coating the crispy duck, glazed with a sweet soy-plum sauce, and Mara beef with fresh green beans and bright jalapeños. As diners clack onyx-hued chopsticks or clink glasses of authentic Chinese liquor, deep red accents cocoon guests in a soothing ambience, as flickering chandeliers cast a low, golden light on the feastings and set a stage for finger-puppet operas.