The main streets to hit are Cambridge Street and Brighton, Harvard, and Commonwealth Avenues, where you’ll find a wealth of traditional Korean cuisine. Based on meat, rice, and vegetables, ingredients like sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and cabbage can be found in many dishes. Some of the more well-known are kimchi (spicy, fermented cabbage typically served at every meal), bibimbap (mixed rice bowls that your hipster friend can’t get enough of), and seolleongtang, or ox bone soup.
Seoul Soulongtang is the place to go for seolleongtang in Allston-Brighton. The bones simmer for so long, the broth develops a near-milky consistency. Throw in some brisket, bone marrow, thin flour noodles, and salt and scallions to taste, and that’s how they hook ya.
Then there’s Bibim on Harvard Avenue, owned and operated by mother-son duo Ed and Young Kim. Ed told the Boston Globe he moved here about a decade ago when he was 18 and studied biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Knowing his mother, Young, always dreamed of having her own restaurant, he decided to help her make it a reality. And now it’s one of the most highly regarded spots in town, serving up dukboki (rice cakes in hot pepper sauce) and what they’re most known for: patinbingsoo, a dessert consisting of red beans, shaved ice, mochi, ice cream, and sweet syrup. The Globe wrote, “Nothing at Bibim has been Americanized and the heat hasn’t been turned down either.”