Culturemap

Hooni Kim Serves Up Free Korean Cuisine to NYers

Danji chef Hooni Kim is serving up Korean-inspired sliders to New Yorkers during the entire first week of a Mobile Kitchen launched by the Korean Food Foundation.

To boost awareness of and interest in Korean cuisine, the Korean Food Foundation launched a mobile kitchen to offer complimentary Korean fare at various locations around NYC. It opened in Bryant Park (on 40th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues) on Monday, April 18th and will continue weekdays through Friday, through May 20th from 11:30AM to 2PM.

The Foundation has partnered with the Korean Restaurant Association in Manhattan to develop the Mobile Kitchen’s rotating menu. By featuring a different Korean dish each day of the week, passersby will have an opportunity to sample a range of Korean flavors and become acquainted with various Korean restaurants in the New York area.

Danji chef Hooni Kim is serving Bulgogi filet mignon sliders during the first week of the Korean food awareness campaign.

“I want to show New Yorkers that the Korean flavor palate is vibrant, welcoming and enjoyable,” said Chef Hooni Kim, “and I hope to encourage trial by those who may not be familiar with Korean cuisine.”

Kim opened his 36-seat Danji restaurant in mid-December in the the Hells Kitchen area (on 52nd between 8th & 9th Aves.) to serve up small plates of traditional and contemporary versions of Korean dishes. His menu includes items like japchae, barbecue pork belly sliders and fried rock shrimp tempura. He got his experience at local institutions Masa and Daniel. He has described his food as Korean flavors with French technique.

“Most of the great chefs are classically French-trained,” he explained to Village Voice. “The only cuisine where that doesn’t apply is with Asian food, where they have their own techniques but not scientific recipes. Information is passed down from within the restaurant and from one generation to the next. With Korean food, you’ll have dishes that everyone is familiar with, but in every restaurant, they taste different.”

The Danji concept embodies Kim’s preference for serving small plates instead of entrĂ©es.

“It’s a lot more difficult [to do small dishes],” Kim explained. “The average courses for a two-top is five to six, not including dessert. In a normal restaurant, it’s four dishes at most. Sometimes I’ll have two people eating 11 dishes. It’s more difficult because plating takes time. But for me, this is the way I like to eat. I’d rather taste seven to eight items than two or three. A portion size [at Danji] is eight bites with four bites per person.”

After the first week of the Mobile Kitchen’s tour, the menu will transition to more traditional dishes like Bibimbap, Bulgogi and Japchae that promote the sense of physical wellbeing and spiritual harmony that knowledgeable diners have come to associate with Korean cuisine. The dishes will be prepared by New York City Korean restaurants Kum Kang San, Kang Suh, Don’s BOGAM, B-Bap, Kunjip and several others.

In addition to sampling some of New York’s most authentic Korean cuisine, diners will also have the opportunity to win a range of prizes by submitting photos of themselves in front of the Mobile Kitchen and sharing their love of Korean food via the Taste of Korea NYC Facebook Page.

For additional information on the Korean Food Foundation’s Mobile Kitchen, including daily locations, menu items, participating restaurants and chefs and photo submission contest, visit www.Facebook.com/TasteofKoreaNYC.

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