Seoul Pancake brings new fusion K-food to NYC

June 19, 2015

 

Seoul Pancake (3)

(Courtesy of Han Kim)

(Courtesy of Han Kim)

(Courtesy of Han Kim)

By Angelina Widener, Korea Times intern reporter

If someone says “pancakes,” the first thing that comes to mind is a sweet breakfast meal from childhood. However, on the other side of the world, different types of pancakes are available as a savory dish with all kinds of flavors.

Inside a food stand at the LIC Flea & Food market in New York, you’ll find an introduction to Korean-style pancakes, also known as jeon.

Seoul Pancake originated from Owner Han Kim’s desire to do something new with Korean food, something that would help promote its diversity and tell the world that there is much more out there than just bibimbap and bulgogi.

The idea came to him a few years ago while visiting a flea market, where he realized that out of all of the vendors, none were selling Korean food.

“I saw the vendors with food from different countries at the market, but I saw no Korean food vendor so I wanted to do something Korean,” he said.

He chose Korean pancakes because it is one of the foods he is most familiar with.

“When I was home, my mom always cooked me Korean pancakes, pajeon (scallion pancakes) and kimchi jeon (kimchi pancakes), every night so I thought it would be a good idea for me to do something that’s a little different,” he said.

So what kinds of pancakes can you find at Seoul Pancake?

The food offered is a fusion between Korean and American pancakes. The base is the homemade Korean-style pancakes from a Kim family recipe, which comes in three flavors: kimchi, scallion or potato.

In an effort to please the sometimes-difficult and picky American palate, toppings such as bacon, calamari and mozzarella cheese are also available.

Other items on the menu include a choice of two dumplings, vegetable or spicy vegetable, and a refreshing sweet pumpkin rice drink, also known as sikhye.

The small food stand started in April at the market and so far has had a positive response from customers, he said. Although mainly locals attend the market, Seoul Pancake already has its regulars who come back every weekend for pancakes and dumplings.

He saw proof of its popularity two weeks ago at the World Fair Anniversary Festival, where his food sold out within the hour.

As of today, Seoul Pancake is only available on weekends. It’s going to keep its part-time status for around a year, attending different festivals and events around New York to see how things will go, Kim said.

A full-time commitment, with a food truck or a store, is not completely out of Kim’s mind, but at this point it is still early to embark on a full-time journey. He’s planning to take things as they come, one Korean pancake at a time.

The price range for the food at Seoul Pancake is around $6 to $9. Kimchi, scallion and potato pancakes without toppings is $6 for 2 pancakes; toppings include bacon and calamari for $2 and mozzarella cheese for $1.

A sweet version of Korean pancakes filled with nuts and brown sugar, hoddeok, will be available at the Queens Night Market on June 20.

Upcoming events include the Electric Zoo music festival that will take place in New York Sept. 4-6.

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