During recent trips back to his native South Korea, Hooni Kim, the chef and owner of Danji and Hanjan (a pandemic casualty), noted that there was a banchan shop in practically every neighborhood. But not back home. “Every New York neighborhood deserves a banchan shop,” he said. The shelves of this new store are lined with dozens of kimchis, pickles and other side dishes, the meaning of banchan, that are essential to a Korean meal. Some basics like gochujang and soy paste are imported from Korea, but just about everything else is made in-house by staff from Hanjan with ingredients from local farms. The shop also stocks banchan sets to get beginners started. His wife, Catherine, runs the shop while he’s in the kitchen. He plans to open a small tasting-menu restaurant, Meju, in the fall and is thinking of adding satellite shops in other locations.
The Little Banchan Shop, 5-28 49th Avenue (Fifth Street), Long Island City, Queens, 718-806-1636, littlebanchanshop.com.
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