•    Restaurants and Karaoke   

    Restaurants

    Without a doubt, the majority of the businesses running along Korea Way are restaurants, mainly featuring Korean barbecue. These restaurants preserve the Korean tradition of grilling your own food over an open flame. Many of these restaurants have gas or charcoal grills built right into the tables, or they provide portable stoves for diners to use at their tables. Using these grills, diners have the ability to cook chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, squid, corn, etc… at their own leisure and prepare their own dishes. If they don’t wish to barbecue their own food, they can simply order dishes prepared by chefs.

    Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes, or banchan, that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Kimchi, which is a popular dish of fermented and spicy vegetables, is usually served at every meal. Korean cuisine usually involves rich seasoning with sesame oil, doenjang (fermented soybean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, and gochujang (red chili paste). The food made available in these K-Town restaurants are prepared much the same way that they are in Korea. First generation Korean immigrants with feelings of nostalgia have the freedom to taste the food of their homeland, while second and third generation immigrants get to experience the true Korean culture their parents and grandparents have left behind.

    Although Koreatown primarily attracts people, young and old, of Korean decent, many Americans also dine at these restaurants. When Koreans first immigrated to New York City, they only put up signs in Korean, intending on only doing business with other Koreans. However, nowadays most signs are in Korean and English, welcoming people from all cultures. Korean cuisine is gaining popularity across the country, as well as around the world.

    Frozen Yogurt – Pinkberry & Red Mango

    Koreatown houses both a Pinkberry restaurant and a Red Mango Restaurant. These two frozen yogurt chains were founded by Koreans, and thus have made their way into this neighborhood. Pinkberry was founded by Korean Americans Shelly Hwang and Young Lee in January 2005, and was first opened in California. The chain spread across the United States as it gained popularity. Pinkberry’s menu consists of Original, Green Tea, Pomegranate, Coffee, and a few seasonal favors which include Coconut, Passion Fruit, and Chocolate flavored frozen yogurt style desserts, in three sizes: Small (5fl oz), Medium (8 fl oz), and Large (13 fl oz). Other products offered include Shaved Ice, with fresh fruit or green tea, a fruit parfait, and two types of smoothies.

    Unlike Pinkberry, Red Mango first opened up in South Korea, in 2002. Its first store in the United States opened up in July 2007 in Los Angeles California. Making swift progress and gaining popularity, it branched out and made its way to New York City. The flavor lineup, similar to that of Pinkberry, consists of Original, Green Tea, Pomegranate, Tangomonium, the new, limited-edition Madagascar Vanilla flavor, and three Probiotic Iced Teas. In addition to Korea and the United States, Red Mango currently has stores in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and South Africa.

    Karaoke

    Although karaoke originated in Japan, Karaoke bars are quite popular in Koreatown, as well as in Korean culture in general. The existence of karaoke bars allows for Koreans to sing to and enjoy Korean music, in addition to indulging in alcohol. Karaoke is just another way for Koreans to preserve their native culture by keeping alive the music of their homeland. This is perhaps the most popular form of entertainment that attracts people to Koreatown.