Thursday, March 04, 2010

Flavors of Chung Moo Rollrice

Dduk BoKi
Dduk Boki

Every now and again, the most wonderful transcendent joy can found in the most unexpected places. For example, last night my wife and I went to Flushing short on time and awash in hunger. With a little over half an hour on our hands, our plan was to simply get something fast before moving on to our next engagement. As luck would have it we found ourselves near a tiny Korean snack shop, Chung Moo Rollrice & Dongas.

Previously we had been to Chung Moo before, but only to pick up some of their fried goods, which include all of the following dipped in battered and perfectly fried: sweet potatoes, squid and little rolls of rice and glass noodles wrapped in kim. What we got was always well made, but fairly average, so we weren't really expecting much. However this was the first time we actually grabbed a table, and perused the rest of the menu.

As this was what Koreans would consider our native fast food, the menu was primarily composed of BoonShik Jip (Snack Shop) classics like noodles, dumplings, and (as the bizarre translation of the house's name suggests) kimbap and tonkatsu. Always ones to err on the side of what's least likely to be screwed up we went with Korea's most common street food classics Dduk Boki (Rice Cakes in Red Pepper Paste) and KimChee ManDoo (KimChee and Meat Dumplings).

Since the room only seats about 12 people, and half the space is taken by the service counter/kitchen we only needed to shout our order to the auntie. Immediately upon ordering, another auntie brought us two bowls of complimentary o-Deng (aka o-den or kamaboko) broth. It was from that point on that we was instantly transported back to the streets of Seoul where most anywhere you're bound to run into Korea's prolific street food. We would find that these foods are Chung Moo's stock-in-trade and the Ah-jum-mah (Korean phrase for Auntie) and her assistant have done well to represent the scene here in NY.

Hye with BoonShik
Hye with BoonShik

Almost as soon as I washed down my first gulp of o-deng soup (which is also the complimentary drink of the street in Korea) we were brought our Dduk Boki which was cooked perfectly al dente while its the kojuchang sauce was just the right balance of spicy and sweet. Meanwhile our KimChee Mandoo was also cooked with care so that it was perfectly crispy but not greasy. As accompaniment we were brought a the typical Korean soy sauce dip (soy sauce with a bit of pepper, red pepper flakes, etc), however as they do "back home," we just dipped our dumplings into the Dduk Boki sauce. The sauce is also perfect for any of the other fried items on the menu as well.

While my wife and I partook silently and in contemplative wonder of the most humble and common of Korean foods, we observed a parade of all the colors of Queens come through to order take out on their way home from work. Then as other customers finished and moved on, which would eventually include us, Ah-jum-mah asked if the food was okay. We were sure to let her know we loved it, and to keep up the great work.

KimChi ManDoo
Fried KimChee ManDoo

Chung Moo Rollrice & Dongas
(충무김밥 & 돈까스)
39-04 Union Street
Flushing NY 11354.

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