Korean Food Blossoms in Western Queens

The Korean food scene in Flushing is rich, authentic, and unmatched elsewhere in New York, but it's not the only one in Queens. A much smaller Korean enclave, stretching from Sunnyside to Elmhurst, boasts groceries, barbecue houses, Korean-style Chinese restaurants, a bean-curd specialist, and a pub or two.

The latest action is on Broadway in Elmhurst, where a newcomer called Pajunia offers a hard-to-find street treat called hotteok (pictured), Peter Cuce reports on Chowhound. Translated as "nut cake," it's a wheat-flour pancake filled with a sweetened mixture of crushed peanuts, walnuts, and sesame and sunflower seeds, griddled to order. "This is an addictive snack," he says: chewy and sweet, with an agreeably bitter note from the nuts, great with tea or coffee. As its name suggests, Pajunia also plans to make pajun, Korean-style savory pancakes. Not yet, though. For now this mom-and-pop shop is sticking to hotteok, a couple of noodle dishes, and generous rice plates with bulgoki or spicy pork, chicken, or squid.

A few doors up Broadway, Peter adds, a Korean-Chinese restaurant called MiDang makes pretty good jajangmyun with terrific, chewy noodles (though its black bean sauce could be deeper in flavor) and spicy, sweet fried beef, similar to American Chinese orange beef but with chile kick and better preparation. "It's a delicious guilty pleasure," he says.

Pajunia [Elmhurst]
75-24 Broadway (between 75th and 76th streets), Elmhurst, Queens
718-651-2879

MiDang [Elmhurst]
75-14 Broadway (between 75th and 76th streets), Elmhurst, Queens
718-672-0100

Discuss: Jackson Heights Korean: Mi-Dang & Pajunia

Photo by JH Barbee