The hearty pork stew known as gamjatang is Korean soul food, and CitySpoonful has found a great, gutsy version at Geo Si Gi in Flushing. It's the house specialty, served bubbling hot over a gas burner: a ruddy soup full of greens, chunks of potato, and pork on the bone, seasoned with herbs, seeds, and chile and bean pastes, and offered with seafood, curry, and other add-ons. A variation with aged kimchi and rice cakes (muk eun ji gamjatang) is meaty and earthy, "deeply satisfying and very filling."
But it's more about porky richness than spiciness, so heat-seekers might want to try pan-fried pork and kimchi (dubu kimchi jeyuk bokkum), whose addictive, intensely flavorful sauce balances chile fire, kimchi tang, and oniony sweetness. CitySpoonful (who blogs about Geo Si Gi) also describes an exemplary kimchi pancake (pajun), dense and soft, crusty at the edges, and finished with a surprise: a thin topping of fried egg. Dinner closes with a savory flourish: fried rice cooked in the remnants of the gamjatang with sweet, nutty sesame oil and a heap of seaweed and vegetables. "We left satisfied," CitySpoonful says, "from the tips of our tongues to our warm, full bellies."
Polecat was also in the neighborhood recently, hungering for a more modest meal: kimbap, or Korean rice rolls, to go. But instead of hitting his usual spot, Song's Family Food, he dropped in at the newish Rolly Kimbab, just a block up Northern Boulevard. Good move. Besides the standard fillings—squid, Spam, kimchi-and-cheese, and a decent spicy tuna—Rolly stuffs kimbap with pastrami or steamed pork belly, both of which "really punched forth with great flavor." And the rice itself stands out with "good body, good flavor, which makes a difference."
In addition to kimbap, Rolly rolls massive stuffed rice balls, the size of softballs. "Soft as they are," Polecat says, "you could break windows with these things, hold up gas stations, plot world domination. They're huge." They're also pretty tasty. He enjoyed one filled with imitation crab and another, dubbed The Bomb, that's covered with dried seaweed and stuffed with pickled jalapeños. These puppies are "meals unto themselves," Polecat adds. "They're good, but it's the kimbap I'll go back for. By the way, Song's isn't bad either, so it looks like we have a real kimbap war happening on the Boulevard."
Geo Si Gi [Flushing]
152-28 Northern Boulevard (between Murray and 154th streets), Flushing, Queens
Rolly Kimbab [Flushing]
163-16 Northern Boulevard (near 163rd Street), Flushing, Queens