Posted on 3/19/2015
by: Luis Yanes
Taking walks can often make you think of your life and contemplate if you made the right decisions. Should I have applied for that job? Should I have spent all those years getting my bachelors/masters? Should I have had that milkshake 2 hours ago, even though I'm about to have a big dinner shortly?
Ah, the complex thoughts that our heart endures. Honestly, I find myself doing this a couple of times a week, and that's how we learned about Mokja. This great Korean restaurant opened up shop Mid January 2015, and since then has been quite the buzz around our neighborhood of Astoria. So, lets get started and let me tell you what our experience was like!
We started off with some KFC (Korean Fried Chicken, not your western Kentucky Fried Chicken joint!). We had about 20 of these and shared them with 6 friends, which was the perfect amount as a starter. Since variety is the spice of life (pun intended), we tried two kinds of glazed wings– Spicy Korean Sauce and Soy Garlic Sauce which also comes with a side of pickled jalapeno radish. They were the right combination of crunchy, juicy, and tender. A little warning though, the spicy red chilies they use are EXTREMELY hot, so be careful if you are sensitive to spicy foods! Perhaps your best alternative will be the Soy Garlic Sauce flavor which had a great savory, slightly sweet flavor.
One of the first main dishes we tried was the Hot Stone Bibimbap, which interestingly enough seems pretty authentic since it is cooked in a stone bowl, and served with Miso Soup and Spicy sauce options. You can have several varieties- Chicken, Vegetarian, Bulgogi (beef), Spicy pork, Shrimp, or Spicy Shrimp. The chicken Bibimbap was brought to the table still sizzling hot from the stone bowl, making the rice at the bottom crunchy and keeping your plate warm. With the miso soup, and combination of vegetables and meat made the dish extremely flavorful (if you want it spicier, just add more spicy sauce!). As a side note, the Bibimbap bowl is perhaps a little too warm, actually it was like touching hot glass which was just molded into a bowl, so don’t touch it, ‘cause you ‘gonna get burned. HOWEVER, if you are careful and eat like an adult, then you should be safe!
The next dish that was tried was the BBQ Gochujang Pork Belly, which came with its own assembly kit to make our own ssäm (wraps made from leafy vegetables, for example, lettuce). This was probably my favorite, since it involved not only eating your creation, but the assembly can change the outcome of the textures and flavors of the dish, so I’m all about it! So if you are a picky eater, or not a picky eater, you can choose among your choice of scallions, ssamjang sauce, sautéed onions, rice, and Pork Belly-the choices are all yours! The star of this dish is definitely the Pork Belly, which is marinated in Gochujang sauce, then grilled to give it a great charred flavor. Grilling the marinated Pork Belly caramelizes the Gochujang sauce (made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt-thanks for teaching me Wikipedia!) and definitely adds another flavor profile to the pork.
Mokja is located in 35-19 Broadway, Astoria NY 11106. A close walk from the N or Q toward Ditmars (Broadway stop), and R (Steinway stop) will guarantee that your hunger needs will be met. Got additional questions? You can contact them at 718-721-0654. They also deliver!