March 02, 2014

Restaurant: Buk Kyung I, Somerville, MA

Buk Kyung (Somerville) is the place to go for Korean-Chinese food in the Boston area. I'm not being casually racist here--what I mean by this is that the main draw for food here is what you would call "Chinese food" in Korea. I've heard it called Korean-style Chinese, Chinese-style Korean, or even that these flavors are what's traditionally eaten in Northern China.

I wouldn't say that Buk Kyung is the same as going to a restaurant in Korea. But it's pretty close and takes a spot as one of the better Korean restaurants in Boston. There are two Buk Kyung restaurants in the Boston area: the one in Somerville (I) and one in Allston (II). Though the Allston location is a little more convenient in terms of public transportation and parking, the food actually is slightly different in taste, and I prefer the Somerville location. The Somerville location recently remodeled, and now has a more similar interior to the Allston counterpart.

Banchan - Korean side dishes. Marinated cucumber salad, radish kimchi ("ggakdugi"), napa cabbage kimchi, picked radish slices and raw onion, jjajang sauce (for dipping onion)
There's a never ending debate when you enter a Korean-Chinese restaurant--should I get jja jang myun [짜장면] or jjam bbong [짬뽕] (pictured below). Jja jang myun is a noodle dish that comes in a black sauce that is made with pork and veggies. Jjam bbong is also a noodle dish, but comes as a spicy broth with lots of seafood. Though the two are very different, the debate will rage on: jja jang myun or jjam bbong? They're so popular that in many restaurants in Korea, you can order a set of both, so you won't have to choose. Both dishes can also be served over rice and are then called jja jang bab [짜장밥] or jjam bbong bab [짬뽕밥].

Though I never would have expected it, jja jang myun was a favorite of nearly all of my American friends who have spent lengthy times in Korea. Though the black sauce may be intimidating, it's fairly mild and comfortably savory.
Gan Jja Jang [간짜장] - Noodles in black bean sauce

Jjam Bbong Bab [짬뽕밥] - Spicy seafood soup, served with rice and glass noodles

Buk Kyung I
9 Union Sq 
Somerville, MA 02143
Price: $$
Taste: 4.5/5
Service: 4/5
Value: 4.5/5
HHR Rating: Great Korean-Chinese food. Tastier than the Allston counterpart.

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