Koreatown, New York, NY
Review by MaceVindaloo, Diana
You can go through the buffet line and look at all the colorful and sometimes unusual dishes being presented, either hot or cold. There is a name and description for each, but there are a lot, and it's a good way to get a little bit of something so you can just try a mouthful. That's sold per pound (or any increment of a pound), so mix and match all you like. Offerings include seaweed with sesame seeds, batter-fried tofu cutlets, bulgogi (Korean style beef), Korean spicy chicken, sushi rolls, smoked and marinated mackeral and other fish, soba noodles (buckwheat), glass noodles, dumplings ... many dishes from many countries, actually. It's not just Korean; for instance, their spicy chicken tasted much like Chinese General Tzo. You get a plastic container (which serves as a covered bowl) of seaweed and miso soup, too.
If you prefer, you can buy most of the same food packaged and left at room temperature. It's a lot quicker and neater, especially if you already know what you want to eat, instead of sampling.
And there is also a "noodle bar" where you can mix and match offerings, all served with noodles. It can be a soup, or served in a bowl "dry" so it's more like a spaghetti.
The food is very good, and there are big tubs of cold water with dispensers and styrofoam cups available. You can get a lot of food for not much money; the best deal is probably the noodle bar, and the buffet is not so great, since you find yourself with more than a pound of food that you can't eat all in one meal (unless you are sharing). It's not terribly expensive, just you tend to take too much, so you end up paying $8.99 when you might have thought you had under a pound. Unless you like that sort of thing, of course. And it's a common complaint for many "weigh-in" buffets.
You can also buy packages of candies and things which must have some nostalgic value for people who grew up in Korean households. And you can get sodas, milk, etc., too. If you lived nearby, this might be your neighborhood snackbar?
The biggest issue with Korean food, even in Koreatown, is that it's not really Korean all the time. Very often, it's Americanized, or more Japanese, perhaps. Or it looks like that. So if you expect Japanese sushi or dumpling, you may be disappointed. Or if you thought you'd get spaghetti, you might wonder why it's in a bowl with soup? You might have to re-set your expectations to zero, and just enjoy the culinary wandering around!
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