Monday, October 06, 2008

Gahm Mi Oak

Seol Long Tang

With longer nights, falling temperatures and the impending end of the global financial system, times have never been more appropriate for some good ol' comfort food to soothe the soul. In my case whenever I'm feeling particularly down either spiritually and/or physically I invariably turn to my gastronomic roots, and seek some good Korean food.

Among my favorite cold weather Korean comfort foods is the classic soup Sul Long Tang, and perhaps no place in the city does it better than Gahm Mi Oak in Midtown. While Gahm Mi Oak offers a handful of other dishes as well, most everyone comes for the sublime milky broth that is at the heart of Sul Long Tang. The broth is derived from the slow boiling of ox bones over the course a day. Once the broth is done, rice, somyun noodles, and slices of beef are also added. To add the final touch, each table in Gahm Mi Oak also has bowls of roasted sea salt (add sparingly), black pepper and green onions for garnish.

Of course as in nearly every Korean experience, the meal is never truly complete without the addition of kimchi, and here is another area in which Gahm Mi Oak excels. As a counterpoint to the soup, the kimchi served here is of a slightly more aged and more pungently fermented than the kind you would typically be served. To indulge in this pairing of old stinky kimchi with simple beef broth is an truly an epiphany of the Korean gastronomic experience. Thus upon making your order, your server will return to you with a large bowl of KkakDuKi (Daikon KimChi) and BaeChu KimChi (Napa), and then ceremonially cut it into more manageable pieces.

As mentioned earlier Gahm Mi Oak has a handful other menu items, and a quick visual survey of fellow diners, will reveal that the handful of other menu items (SoonDae Sausage, BoSsam, and the ever present BiBimBap, which my aunt swears by) also sell quite well. For myself and my wife a bowl of Seol Long Tang and a good helping of KimChi are more than enough, but knowing that the BinDaeDuk (Mung Bean Pancakes) here are wonderful (think Korean latkes, but made with mung beans, and filled with veggies), I had to order some as well.

A serving of Seol Long Tang makes a great hearty meal and at $8.50 a pop (24/7), a great value as well. As the weather gets colder, and world seems to become ever gloomier, order some soup, and soothe your Seoul ;)


Gahm Mi Oak
43 W. 32nd St.
New York, NY 10001