During recent trips back to his native South Korea, Hooni Kim, the chef and owner of Danji and Hanjan (a pandemic victim), noticed that there was a banchan store in almost every neighborhood. But not back home. “Every neighborhood in New York deserves a banchan store,” he said. The shelves of this new store are packed with dozens of kimchis, pickles and other side dishes, meaning banchan, which are essential to a Korean meal. Some staples like gochujang and soybean paste are imported from Korea, but just about everything else is made in-house with ingredients from local farms and some Hanjan’s staff. The store also stocks banchan sets to help beginners get started. His wife, Catherine, runs the shop while he is in the kitchen. He plans to open a small tasting menu restaurant, Meju, in the fall and is considering adding satellite stores 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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