Some people call it Koreatown, some say K-Town. But unlike the Koreatowns in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Manhattan’s Korean enclave isn’t much of a neighborhood; in fact, it is just a single block of 32nd Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue.
Few Koreans actually live here. There isn’t much residential space on the block or in the surrounding area. But K-Town has become the cultural center for New York’s growing Korean population.
At ground level you will find an assortment of shops, newsstands, banks and hotels, but the street is dominated by dozens of Korean restaurants and cafes. This area is busy 24/7 and if you are in the mood for an inexpensive prepacked lunch box, a stylish sweet snack, a traditional barbecue or an elegant dinner – regardless of whether you are a vegetarian, a seafood fan, a calorie counter or a lover of bloody red meat – you’ll easily find something to suit your taste and your budget.
Don’t miss the eggless scallion pancakes at Woorijip, the cold acorn noodles (yes, they’re made from acorns) at Hangawi, the freshly-baked cakes and buns at Koryodang Bakery or the green tea frozen yogurt (so addictive it is affectionately called crackberry) at Pinkberry. If the day is sunny, you might prefer to sit outside at the tables on the plaza to watch the busy social scene.
Once your craving for Seoul Food is satisfied, remember to look up. The higher floors of the buildings on this block are packed with businesses that cater to the needs of the Korean community, offering herbal medicines, spas and beauty treatments, tutoring and language lessons, employment and travel agencies, tattoo parlors, internet cafes and raucous karaoke bars.