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A dark cast iron platter filled with pale intestine meats and green scallions on top.
Gopchang Story’s famed intestine platter, ready for grilling.
Erika Adams/Eater Boston

Where to Eat Korean Food in Boston

Allston has long been the local hot spot for Korean restaurants but newcomers are testing the water elsewhere

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Gopchang Story’s famed intestine platter, ready for grilling.
| Erika Adams/Eater Boston

Boston doesn’t have a Koreatown in the same way that Los Angeles and New York City do but it’s got Allston, a young and bustling neighborhood packed with casual and fun Korean dining options. Harvard and Brighton avenues are lined with great Korean restaurant after great Korean restaurant. Kimchi fried rice? Check. Galbi and bulgogi on an open flame in the middle of the dinner table? Check. Crispy fried chicken wings? Double check.

Lately, Boston has also been attracting Korean-based restaurant groups to set up shop, such as Gopchang Story, a barbecue place that specializes in grilled beef intestines. But in neighborhoods such as Cambridge and Somerville, you’ll also find mom-and-pops that have been around for a generation or two. Here are ten of the best — some more traditional, some leaning in a more modern or fusion direction. Go eat all the banchan you can handle.

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Kong Dog Restaurant / Kong Pocha

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This newly opened Korean corn dog joint underwent a quiet revamp late last year. It returned with new interior design and an expansion of its menu offerings, adding a number of hearty dishes typically offered at pocha, which refers to covered food and drink stalls that line city streets in Korea. It now feels like a place where you and your friends could hover over a simmering pot of budae-jjigae alongside a plate of Korean cheese nachos while catching up with beer and soju. For the regulars who have been coming to this place since its opening, don’t worry: corn dogs are still available.

Buk Kyung

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Buk Kyung has been a stalwart in the heart of Union Square, offering hearty and delicious Korean bites. The tofu kimchi jaeyook — a spicy pork dish — is reliable, as is the naengmyeon, which is a dish of cold buckwheat noodles served with thinly sliced beef, daikon radish, cucumber, and a boiled egg served in a chilled beef broth. On a cold day, try the mandu soup.

Tofu kimchi jaeyook at Buk Kyung Somerville
Tofu kimchi jaeyook at Buk Kyung in Somerville.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater Boston

Koreana

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This Cambridge Korean barbecue spot is a short walk from Central Square in Cambridge. On weekends, groups of dinner-goers form lines that go around the block in the otherwise quiet neighborhood. The restaurant offers a range of classic Korean barbecue cuts, such as prime short ribs, pork belly, marinated chicken, and more.

Kaju Tofu House

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There’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of simmering tofu soup or a savory bibimbap on a cold winter day. If you feel undecided, the combo options let you pair a classic such as galbi or bulgogi with a soup, which is plenty if you’re hungry.

An exterior of a restaurant with red brick walls and white signage with red lettering.
Kaju Tofu House in Allston.
Erika Adams/Eater Boston

Myung Dong 1st Ave

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This late night spot is a solid choice for a little after concert pick-me-up, as it offers decent Korean snacks until late. Watch K-Pop videos on the televisions, eat delicious ramen or “hangover cure” haejang-guk, and get faded on the soju watermelon.

myung dong 1st ave
The most dangerous drink in the city.
Myung Dong 1st Ave/Facebook

Bonchon Chicken

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National Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon has consistently been the go-to for many Boston folks’ fried chicken fix. The wings and drumsticks are dredged in a thick batter and fried twice, then dressed in various Korean-style sauces that range from mouth-numbingly spicy to garlicky and sweet.

Gopchang Story

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If you’re starting to feel bored with grilling brisket and pork belly, try intestines and other offal meats, opening up a whole new world of underrepresented foods in Boston. At Gopchang Story, a South Korea-based chain that’s expanded internationally in the past decade or so, you’ll find charred beef intestines that are chewy and crispy on the outside.

A dark cast iron platter filled with pale intestine meats and green scallions on top.
An intestine platter ready for grilling at Gopchang Story.
Erika Adams/Eater Boston

Hanmaru Restaurant

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This classic Korean restaurant has seen businesses come and go on Harvard Avenue, one of the most competitive strips for restaurants in Boston. Its signature menu item is the gamjatang, a type of soup made by stewing the backbones of pigs for many hours. At Hanmaru, you can order your gamjatang spicy or plain; you can also choose from a number of add-ons, such as sliced beef and fish balls, to go in the soup.

Naksan BBQ

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For the diehard Korean barbecue fans, Naksan is a must-visit. This relatively new restaurant brought charcoal grilling to Boston’s Korean barbecue scene, which adds an extra layer of smokiness to the juicy meat. When the weather is bitterly cold outside, be sure to order warmed makgeolli (unfiltered Korean rice wine) to wash down the meal.

Haju Kitchen

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Though there’s a higher concentration of Korean establishments in Allston, Haju Kitchen in Fenway is right in the heart of Boston and offers satisfying bites of Korean comfort food. It has all the classics covered: the soft and chewy tteokbokki that’s dressed in a mildly sweet and spicy sauce, the nourishing seafood soondubu soup, and the pork bulgogi served on a sizzling hot plate.

Kong Dog Restaurant / Kong Pocha

This newly opened Korean corn dog joint underwent a quiet revamp late last year. It returned with new interior design and an expansion of its menu offerings, adding a number of hearty dishes typically offered at pocha, which refers to covered food and drink stalls that line city streets in Korea. It now feels like a place where you and your friends could hover over a simmering pot of budae-jjigae alongside a plate of Korean cheese nachos while catching up with beer and soju. For the regulars who have been coming to this place since its opening, don’t worry: corn dogs are still available.

Buk Kyung

Buk Kyung has been a stalwart in the heart of Union Square, offering hearty and delicious Korean bites. The tofu kimchi jaeyook — a spicy pork dish — is reliable, as is the naengmyeon, which is a dish of cold buckwheat noodles served with thinly sliced beef, daikon radish, cucumber, and a boiled egg served in a chilled beef broth. On a cold day, try the mandu soup.

Tofu kimchi jaeyook at Buk Kyung Somerville
Tofu kimchi jaeyook at Buk Kyung in Somerville.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater Boston

Koreana

This Cambridge Korean barbecue spot is a short walk from Central Square in Cambridge. On weekends, groups of dinner-goers form lines that go around the block in the otherwise quiet neighborhood. The restaurant offers a range of classic Korean barbecue cuts, such as prime short ribs, pork belly, marinated chicken, and more.

Kaju Tofu House

There’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of simmering tofu soup or a savory bibimbap on a cold winter day. If you feel undecided, the combo options let you pair a classic such as galbi or bulgogi with a soup, which is plenty if you’re hungry.

An exterior of a restaurant with red brick walls and white signage with red lettering.
Kaju Tofu House in Allston.
Erika Adams/Eater Boston

Myung Dong 1st Ave

This late night spot is a solid choice for a little after concert pick-me-up, as it offers decent Korean snacks until late. Watch K-Pop videos on the televisions, eat delicious ramen or “hangover cure” haejang-guk, and get faded on the soju watermelon.

myung dong 1st ave
The most dangerous drink in the city.
Myung Dong 1st Ave/Facebook

Bonchon Chicken

National Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon has consistently been the go-to for many Boston folks’ fried chicken fix. The wings and drumsticks are dredged in a thick batter and fried twice, then dressed in various Korean-style sauces that range from mouth-numbingly spicy to garlicky and sweet.

Gopchang Story

If you’re starting to feel bored with grilling brisket and pork belly, try intestines and other offal meats, opening up a whole new world of underrepresented foods in Boston. At Gopchang Story, a South Korea-based chain that’s expanded internationally in the past decade or so, you’ll find charred beef intestines that are chewy and crispy on the outside.

A dark cast iron platter filled with pale intestine meats and green scallions on top.
An intestine platter ready for grilling at Gopchang Story.
Erika Adams/Eater Boston

Hanmaru Restaurant

This classic Korean restaurant has seen businesses come and go on Harvard Avenue, one of the most competitive strips for restaurants in Boston. Its signature menu item is the gamjatang, a type of soup made by stewing the backbones of pigs for many hours. At Hanmaru, you can order your gamjatang spicy or plain; you can also choose from a number of add-ons, such as sliced beef and fish balls, to go in the soup.

Naksan BBQ

For the diehard Korean barbecue fans, Naksan is a must-visit. This relatively new restaurant brought charcoal grilling to Boston’s Korean barbecue scene, which adds an extra layer of smokiness to the juicy meat. When the weather is bitterly cold outside, be sure to order warmed makgeolli (unfiltered Korean rice wine) to wash down the meal.

Haju Kitchen

Though there’s a higher concentration of Korean establishments in Allston, Haju Kitchen in Fenway is right in the heart of Boston and offers satisfying bites of Korean comfort food. It has all the classics covered: the soft and chewy tteokbokki that’s dressed in a mildly sweet and spicy sauce, the nourishing seafood soondubu soup, and the pork bulgogi served on a sizzling hot plate.

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