Single Serving: Bokkumbop (Fried Rice) at Tong Samgyeop Gui in Flushing, Queens

by James Boo on October 27, 2011 · 8 comments

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Rice is rarely this audacious. Jinro is rarely the right choice. At a modest Korean restaurant in the far reaches of Queens, the rare thrill dormant in both staples springs to life in one sizzling sitting.

Containing white rice soaked in a spicy marinade, a portentous mixing bowl greets the happy diners at Flushing’s Tong Samgyeop Gui with the scents of chili paste and sesame oil. For $2 a bowl, the mixture inside is gently plastered onto hot domes of cast iron. The resulting dish, known simply as bokkumbop (“fried rice,” but listed here as “bibimbap”), is best ordered after a full serving of Tong Samgyeop Gui’s excellent pork belly, a full course of meat, vegetables and banchan that leaves behind a savory film of juices and seasoning for the rice to absorb as it develops a crust.

After flipping this layer of rice to caramelize the other side, the staff toss handfuls of dry, roasted seaweed atop to heighten the mixture’s most satisfying flavors. Diners scrape the completed dish off the griddle in browned yet rosy chunks, each grain popping with a bottomless feeling of satisfaction. Korean food has never tasted more comforting, and for once, another shot of soju sounds just about right.

After all, the next train back to Penn Station is just another hour away.

Tong Samgyeop Gui
162-23 Depot Rd.
Flushing, NY 11358


BlondeBomber October 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

It’s always these little , off the beaten path places that are the best places to eat in New York. I was JUST in Flushing and looking for a new join to eat in, too! Damn! Where was this place when I needed it. I guess I know for next time. Thanks for sharing

JO October 27, 2011 at 2:03 pm

my dream is to be able to relax and go to a different korean place on northern blvd every saturday night. That seaweed is a good idea.

Vinicultured October 27, 2011 at 2:20 pm

This is perhaps one of the most noble of all fried rice dishes. Another variation on this theme is to order, at places that have these on their menu, a chul pan of some sort. For instance, in Annandale, Virginia’s Honey Pig ( they offer a number of chul pans. These are mixtures of meat and/or seafood, cabbage, bean sprouts, green onion, onion, spices, chili paste, etc., that you fry up on a dome-shaped grill as you had mentioned. Then, once you’ve eaten all you can, you ask the server to bring you some fresh rice, which they mix with the remaining fried stuff and top off with freshly-cut dried seaweed. You let this fry for a while until it gets really freaking hot, and portions are crisp.

I recently got the beef and octopus chul pan, which was pretty darn tasty. I would highly recommend it!

James Boo October 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Vinicultured – Next time I’m in VA, we gotta make a group trip to the Honey Pig. I can’t wait to enjoy more Korean fried rice!

The Examiner November 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Hey Vinicultured, you should try the Korean fried rice at bon chon chicken, also on little river turnpike in annandale, maybe a mile east of honey pig. I would have to say their fried rice is better than honey pig’s, granted you can’t walk drunkenly to a nori bang next door, but still…

Vinicultured November 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Hey, The Examiner! I’m familiar with Bon Chon chicken and their delectable, delectable wings. I wasn’t aware they served fried rice, but now it’s on my radar. Thanks for the heads-up!

James Boo November 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Please say there’s a pc bang next to the nori bang.

Vinicultured November 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I’ll bang on your PC (muscle). What?

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