When I’m craving Korean dishes, I head over to Shin Okubo – Tokyo’s Little Seoul. In addition to the many restaurants and cafes, many women and girls visit Shin Okubo for its K-Pop goods. These stores stock photographs, CDs, and anything related to Korean Pop stars. If you come across a store with a large crowd of girls inside (and sometimes lining up outside), it’s probably a K-Pop idol store!
– One of the many K-Pop idol shops in Shin Okubo –
– Another smaller K-Pop idol shop –
My husband and I skip the K-Pop stores and beeline to our favorite Korean Chinese noodle shop, Shinjuku Hanten. You can watch the chef preparing and cutting the fresh noodles through the shop window.
– Chef and waitress waiting for noodles to cook –
This shop specializes in jajangmyeon (noodles topped with a thick black soy bean paste and pork) and jjamppong (noodles in a spicy soup topped with vegetables and seafood) – two of my favorite LA comfort foods!
– My combo dish, ready to be eaten! –
– Side dishes of raw onion with black soy bean paste and picked radish –
After a fulfilling lunch, we head over to Seoul Ichiba, which is a small Korean grocery store off of Okubo Dori. The house specialty here is the packaged samgyetang (a healthy soup made with chicken, rice, and ginseng and simmered until the meat falls of the bones). If you’re lucky enough to reach the store before it’s sold out, it makes an easy meal on a lazy day. Just pour it into a pot and heat it up on the stove! When they’re available, I stock up on a few and keep them in the freezer. There’s nothing better on a cold, winter day!
– Seoul Ichiba Market in Shin Okubo (Source: Metropolis) –
Shinjuku Hanten, Okubo 1-11-1 Shinjuku, 03-3200-0124, Open 12pm – 6am daily.
Seoul Ichiba, Okubo 1-16-15 Shinjuku, Open 10am – 11pm daily.