Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cute Kitty Lotion, Fried Chicken, and Kim Hyun Joong: Ktown NYC!

Besides the fact that living in New York City ups the chances of my life becoming like a kdrama, another awesome part about living in NYC is that I have access to Ktown via a short subway ride. This Ktown is actually quite small, but that doesn't mean it isn't packed full of fun and interesting Korean experiences. Last weekend I convinced my Korean friend to take me on a field trip for some awesome food and fantastic shopping. So here is Part 1 of a little travelog of my adventures in Ktown. I didn't have time to try it all, so look forward to a posts about Korean karaoke and a Korean spa.

First, I took a little walk down the main street and found myself an adorable Korean cosmetics store called The Face Shop. Guess who I ran into! If it wasn’t Kim Hyun Joong, himself. It’s so funny to actually see Korean stars I recognize advertise products here in America. Aren’t we cute together? It’s just too bad that he was stuck to the window and had that logo across his face because I really wanted to pose next to him if he had been a cardboard cutout.



Once in the store, I was greeted by a Korean guy who asked if I needed help. I told him that I write a blog about Korean dramas and he was pretty excited saying, “Oh, you watch those sometimes!” I asked him where the cute stuff was, since that’s mainly what I’m a sucker for when it comes to Asian products, and he showed me these.


So cute! I had to get myself a kitty lotion because I can’t resist cute kitty stuff. It smells distinctly Asian, which I’m not sure why I think this, but it’s this light floral scent that I’ve found a lot of Asian products smell like. Also, it made my skin very soft, which is surprising from something packaged so cutely. Usually you sacrifice quality for cute packaging, but it seems Korean have mastered both. I browsed the facial products and found a lip mask. I’d never seen a lips mask before so I decided to give it a try, mainly because I thought it was cute too. I tried it, and it was kind of difficult to keep on my lips for the recommended 20 minutes, so I ended up getting impatient and wearing it for more like 3 minutes, but I woke up in the morning and my lips were definitely softer. I even asked the 5 year I nanny and she agreed that they were very soft. I’ve always heard that Korean skin products were the best, and now I believe it.

Then I went next door to a Korean shop named Koryo Bookstore. This place was Korean crazy magic! It had everything you could want in terms of kdrama/kpop idol gear. Just look at the mugs, posters, and even kdrama dvd rentals!




I really wanted the Lee Min Ho mug but when I saw these Lee Min Ho postcards I knew they were the better choice. I really feel like I need to share the Lee Min Ho love, so the first 3 people to message us with your address on Facebook, which there is a link to in the top right corner, will receive a special Lee Min Ho postcard and maybe even some stickers! Don’t worry, I promise not to sell your info, or send you other ridiculous solicitations, or drop in and expect you to feed me dinner (although I wouldn’t say no to an invitation). This is purely for amusement purposes only.

Luckily my friend came to meet me and I had to leave the shop before I impulsively bought anything else. I really wanted to get some Korean magazines, but didn’t have time. Next, we headed over to Mad for Chicken, an amazing Korean fried chicken place that he recommended. I took more photos along the way, trying not to embarrass him too much by looking like a crazy tourist. I saw Red Mango, a Korean frozen yogurt place, and they were playing this spinning game outside to win food. It struck me as especially Korean since they always have contests like this in kdramas. I didn’t stop to play, which I now regret.


When we arrived at the Mad for Chicken, there was strangely Louis Armstrong music playing and pictures of Harlem artists on the walls. My friend was surprised at how different and Americanized it was since the last time he visited. That was kind of sad to me, but once we got the food, it didn’t seem to matter. The chicken was the best fried chicken I’ve ever had! We got soy flavored and spicy flavored and they were both awesome. They were perfectly crispy and meaty, and the flavors were distinctly Korean. We got a little carried away with the chicken, so I ended up taking it home and eating it the next day cold, which turned out to be even tastier.


We also got a seafood pancake that was delicious. I tried my best to eat it with chopsticks, but despite my friend’s best efforts to show me on multiple occasions the proper way to use them, I was a failure. It doesn't help that Korean chopsticks are made of metal so they are even more slippery than wooden ones. He gave me permission to use my fingers, and I did, with only a little shame.


Last, we went to a really swanky Korean lounge. The atmosphere reminded me of somewhere a rich chaebol womanizer would meet girls. The mood was really chill and relaxing. The waitresses were very beautiful, and I think they could give some of the kdrama actresses a run for their money, and the bartenders were pretty hot.



By the time we were done at the lounge, the shops were all closing so I didn’t have anymore time to go and buy things I shouldn’t be buying. I didn’t even have time to go to a Korean grocery store to buy some crazy snacks to try. I bought my mom an assortment for Christmas, which included a lot of interesting flavors, such as spicy squid, but didn’t try them myself. I’ll be heading back to Ktown soon and will write about Korean snacks later.

Hopefully this post has inspired you to seek out your own nearest Korean shops, or make a visit to NYC’s Ktown. If you ever come, let me know, and I will definitely go back to that chicken place with you! Also, are there any Korean snacks you’ve tried that you recommend? Comment below.

22 comments:

  1. Sounds awesome! Look forward to reading more of your Ktown NYC experiences...does that store with Kstar memorabilia sell on-line? Oh, well better if they didn't-would spend a fortune! For another Ktown experience, I recommend Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown show where he goes to Ktown in Los Angeles. He was taken around by Facebook artist, David Choe. The first food place they visit is Sizzler! Too funny ;)

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    1. It looks like they do sell online. Here's the site but it looks like it's all in Korean! http://www.nykoryobooks.com Hopefully you've learned some from watching all those kdramas ;) I'll have to check out that show!

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  2. "he was pretty excited saying, 'Oh, you watch those sometimes!'"

    If only he knew, eh? ;)

    Looks like you had a great time! I'm jealous of your proximity to such fabulous Korean goods...

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    1. Yeah, I can't help but tell all the Koreans I talk to about how I love kdramas! They're usually pleasantly surprised. Wouldn't it be fun if all the kdrama bloggers met up to go to Ktown together? The store owners would probably be a little confused by the overly enthusiastic group of American women :)

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  3. Very fun! Thanks for sharing your experiences and all the photos, too! Fighting!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully you get to go someday :)

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  4. Don't give up with chopsticks! Eight years ago I'd never held a pair in my hands... then I married a Chinese/Korean (American) guy. We went to China and I made myself use them for 3 meals a day for 2 weeks. I wasn't a pro by the end, but I was A LOT better and didn't feel embarrassed anymore in front of my in-laws. I'm definitely a pro now, which sounds dumb, but it definitely makes a white girl feel cool! Buy a wooden set of chopsticks to use at home and make yourself use them all the time, especially for eating easy things like sticky rice and ramen. My 15 month old is already learning to use chopsticks with these little kid training chopsticks. They are SO cute, you could totally buy them at any asian market. If your fingers are small you could totally use them too!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I feel like I get pretty decent at them only to totally back peddle after not using them for awhile. I suppose that eventually using chopsticks becomes like riding a bicycle and you never really forget how. I just need to practice until I get to that point! I bet your kid is adorable with those little chopsticks :)

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  5. Great fun - thanks for sharing we love'd reading this

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  6. When you go to Ktown again, you may want to check out www.soompi.com and search for korean slang and korean ramen. The slang words are hilarious with examples of how they can be used in English phrases(like Nah Bul Nah Bul meaning BLAH BLAH BLAH). The favorite korean ramen listing is descriptive and made my mouth water. Hope this info makes your life closer to a Kdrama ;)

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    1. That sounds amazing! I think I might go back this weekend so I'll check it out before I do :)

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    2. I wrote this post based on the Soompi article on Korean Ramen you mentioned. Thanks for the tip! http://kdramafighting.blogspot.com/2013/05/getting-to-know-korean-ramen-taking.html

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  7. My preschooler rocks the chopsticks better than me too although im not bad compared to my husband, which is of course what really matters. I'm from St. louis and i dont think we have a ktown but i guess i cant complain since ive lived in Seoul. We do have a couple good international markets. I cant get korean ramen there which is sad - but as long as i can get pocky, ill survive.

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    1. Yeah why is that kids are just naturally better at picking up stuff? Why were you living in Seoul? Bet that was fun!

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  8. oh wooow!!!! u r no. 1 fan of kdramas...:) :) dats so awsum...u shud've taken me wid u...:) :P anyways..hope u enjoyed 2 ur heart's content...wish u all d best 4 future.. :) :)

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    1. Thanks! It's been a lot of fun spending time in Ktown! Best of luck to you, too.

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  9. Lol! I am lucky enough to live in a Asian section of Orange County, CA where we have tons of Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean chain stores. One Korean supermarket has a Face Shop in it and the first thing I did when I saw the life-sized cardboard cut-out of Kim Hyun Joong in front was to snap a picture with him. The shop assistant took the picture for me and thanks to my interest in kdramas and trying to rock some 'thank you's" in Korean, I got a 10% discount on a powder I bought there! Lol, kdrama does come in handy! :)

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    1. Nice! I'll have to try that next time!

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  10. Love this post....OMG..It made me want to go straight to K Town to get some cool mugs or something! Also, this may be my one chance to bump into Kim Hyun Joong. At least a poster of him. :) I'm laughing out loud because since starting to watch K Dramas 3 months ago I compulsively tell almost every Korean I meet that I love KDramas. I also have a desire to eat ramen from a lid!

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    1. I just went to The Face Shop in Chinatown in NYC and they actually have a cardboard cutout of him! I totally took a picture with my head on his shoulder smiling up at him like a creeper :] You should go if you're near NYC!

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  11. Do they still sell Kpop stuff there?

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