Good thing CD was having friends over to watch the Filipino boxer, Nonita Donaire Jr., fight Mexico’s Montiel ’cause, otherwise, I’m not sure I would’ve ever made it all the way out to Flushing for this Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup ($17.95), aka Samgyetang, at Arirang.
It’s a small hole-in-the-wall joint where you might expect some good home cooking. Right when you walk in, the hyper older Korean woman immediately pushes the Samgyetang on you. Service is definitely both slow and rushed at the same time, but somehow you’re able to forgive them for it.
The soup comes out in a steaming hot stone bowl (awesome on a freezing day like the day we went). Before I could get a proper photo, the same woman rushes over, takes the ladle and stirs it all up. It was like a tornado just swooshed on by, and nothing landed in our individual bowls. I ended up serving both me and JM.
There was definitely a lot of stuff going on in that one bowl: whole chicken (game hen?) with bones and all, chunks of fresh garlic, sticky rice, stalks of ginseng, black sesame seeds, scallions, one ball of chestnut and salt and pepper that you add to your liking.
But all I tasted was garlic.
After a while, the sticky rice soaked up most of the broth so that it became even more like a Chinese congee. JM said it reminded him of a Filipino dish as well. (Which came first, eh??!)
I think it was good and soothing, but JM and I both would’ve preferred a larger broth-to-other stuff ratio. What would’ve been even better was if they brought out a huge pot for the $17.95 price tag.
And, again, for me, it might as well have been called garlic soup. Could it have been a winner if I loved and could handle garlic? Not so sure. One thing’s for sure, though: I think I could’ve also knocked out Montiel just by breathing on him.
137-38 Northern Blvd (near Main St.)
Flushing, NY 11354