I used to think of rice cakes (떡, or dduk) as tofu’s chewier cousin. Bland and painfully uninspiring. But Arang*, a Korean gastropub located in Flushing at 161-16 Northern Boulevard, casts doubts on this worldview:
|Kimchi Jaeyook Ddukboki.|
$17 for half portion.
$25 for full portion (pictured above).
—In seriousness, the "KJD" (김치제육떡볶이와 치즈, or kimchi jaeyook ddukboki) takes the “cake” for certifying that rice cakes can be the crowning achievement of a menu with other formidable cheesy and/or carnivorous offerings, two of which are pictured below.**
$9 Kimchi cheese fries (gimchigamjatwigim, or 김치감자튀김).
Beef tempura meatballs (sogogitwigim, or 소고기튀김).
$10 for half portion (pictured above).
$19 for full portion.
This shouldn’t surprise many Manhattanites. Before Arang set up post in Flushing, the KJD made up 70% of menu sales at the original 9 West 32nd Street Arang location for going on eight years.
And you might very well be converted too; that instant you bite into your first #kimcheese-y pillow. Each slightly-oversized puff of dduk sits in a sizzling bed of cheese, kimchi, and pork. Yet, the dduk retain all of their exquisitely airy texture.
Heavenly rice cakes aside, there's plenty else worth savoring at Arang. Service couldn’t be better; Sunny expertly guides you through the menu to best pair up your day’s cravings with the menu’s offerings.
From left to right: Helen, Sue Song, and Sunny Lim.
As for décor, this establishment is nothing short of a labor of love. Someone tasked each and every wall fixture, choice of lighting and color temperature, accent material, and piece of tableware a role in creating the moody interior whole.
|First floor, or "gastro" level.|
|Second floor, or "pub" level.|
And let’s not forget the alluring stairway lady creature seguing your party between floors or bidding you adieu on the way out:
|"Hello. See you."|
May Flushing Food suggest: Did you read the first four paragraphs?! While Arang is a gastropub, staff note that patrons will come here just for the dduk.
* During the Joseon Dynasty, arang meant "beloved". Also, arang is a play on the traditional Korean folk song, Arirang. In the song, the singer sings to her significant other (ari = sweet; rang ~ sir).
** Sorry, couldn't resist the pun opportunity.
Media: Helen Y.
Gadget: Sony® Cyber-shot™ DSC-RX100M2