Tucked away in Midtown Manhattan is Koreatown, a microcosm bursting with the vivacity of a culture that originated on the other side of the world. Koreatown consists of a few blocks but contains many iconic aspects of Korean daily life. Here you can sample Korean barbecue, sing at a karaoke bar, relax at a spa, try Korean desserts, and have a boutique shopping experience.
Korean BarbecueKorean Barbecue
One of the most iconic and well-known features of Korean culture is its incredible food. Korean barbecue has become the clear favorite among Americans, with the national dish bulgogi being the most popular. One of the most highly-rated Korean barbecue restaurants in Manhattan is the Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, where you can have tender, marinated meats cooked fresh right before your eyes. You can also feast on banchan, succulent little side dishes that diversify your palate.
Image by Adam Kuban / Flickr
Health and Skincare are a big part of Korean culture, and you can experience the best of this lifestyle by pampering yourself in a traditional Korean spa. Though these treatments are considered luxuries by many Americans, most Koreans integrate them into their regular beauty and wellness regimen. Beauty and wellness are two cornerstones of the Korean culture and are highly valued and pursued.
Consider getting the deluxe experience by scheduling a massage and facial, after taking a bath and using the sauna. Premier 57, which will reopen in April 2017, is where you can spend the entire day bathing, relaxing, eating, and enjoying beauty treatments.
If joining a communal bath is outside of your comfort zone, you can opt for a massage spa-like Yakson House, where you can get facials, massages, and other beauty treatments to brighten your skin and leave you feeling revitalized.
Karaoke, aka the Noraebang: Let your stress go, the Korean way!Karaoke, aka the Noraebang: Let your stress go, the Korean way!
In America, we usually restrict singing to the shower or when we are in our cars with the windows rolled up. Koreans, however, have fully embraced the stress-relieving power of becoming your superstar in the noraebang, or karaoke room. Here you can grab a few friends, rent a private karaoke room, and sing to your heart’s content.
Koreans like to go out to karaoke rooms anytime they need to let off some steam. It is also customary for coworkers to go out and socialize after work, and the noraebang is the perfect place to let loose and see the fun side of one’s cohorts.
This entertainment comes with outstanding service as well. A host or hostess will take and deliver your drink and food orders, as you and your friends select songs and sing your favorite tunes. In Manhattan, try out Karaoke City, which is both a sports bar and a Karaoke lounge.
See for Yourself!See for Yourself!
Koreatown offers much more, and only being there in person will give you the complete experience. You will discover incredible aspects of the Korean culture and develop a deeper appreciation for America’s melting pot.