The most popular ZenKimchi picture on Flickr this year

For the past few years the soothsayers have predicted Korean food’s popularity, and now it is starting to come true. It hasn’t hit the world in the way the big promoters intended, but it’s happening. People are eating kimchi because they’ve developed a taste for it–not purely for its supposed health properties. Makkoli hasn’t hit it big outside of Japan, but soju is picking up, along with the dark horse bokbunja. More “big” Korean restaurants are popping up, and young chefs are modernizing the cuisine for the fine and casual dining public. And let’s not forget that Korean tacos led the way to this year’s biggest movement–gourmet food trucks.

At ZenKimchi, we’ve been following the trends, keeping up with print articles as well as web sites and even Twitter buzz. There has been a significant pick up this year. Let’s break it down, along with what’s happened in a very good year for Team ZenKimchi.













Memorable Meals and Drinks (in general)


  • 11 Madison Park (New York)
    • Foie gras cookie
    • Smoked trout custard
    • Duke’s Martini
    • The soft pork belly with a crispy roof of skin
    • Best service ANYWHERE
    • Wishing the Koreans at the next table a happy Chuseok in Korean
  • Namu (W Hotel)
    • Omakase sushi and that look on EJ’s mouth when she understood why we love food so much
  • Mystery Italian restaurant (New York)
    • The cheese plate with the illegal cheeses–my tongue still tingles, Elaine!

The Rest

In New York

  • 10 Downing
    • Roasted bone marrow
  • Bleecker St. Pizza
  • PDT
    • That bacon infused whiskey cocktail
  • Gray’s Papaya
    • I need that hot dog again
  • L’Ecole
    • By-the-book classic French and so satisfying
  • M. Wells Diner
    • Pickled pork tongue with mustard
    • Cuban sandwich
  • ma peche
    • Duck terrine banh mi
  • Ploy Thai
    • Intensely flavored–that dish that’s posted on their wall
  • The Pony Bar
    • Superfriends beer–so much hops it was like drinking a Christmas tree
    • Elaine’s observation: “Good looking people don’t really go to beer bars, do they?”
  • Ray’s Pizza next to Katz’s Deli
    • My savior on a drunken walk home

And elsewhere

Deceased Restaurants

Smith 先生

USO Canteen

Leo’s Deli

Uncle Don

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Joe McPherson founded ZenKimchi in 2004. He has been featured and sourced in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CNN, KBS, MBC, SBS, Le Figaro, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Harper’s Bazaar Korea, The Chosun Weekly, and other Korean and international media. He has consulted for "Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain," The Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, the PBS documentary series “Kimchi Chronicles,” and other projects in the UK, Canada, and Australia featuring celebrity chefs such as Gizzi Erskine and Gary Mehigan.Mr. McPherson has written for multiple Korean and international publications, including SEOUL Magazine, JoongAng Daily, The Korea Herald, Newsweek Korea and wrote the feature article for U.S. National publication Plate magazine’s all-Korean food issue. He has acted as dining editor for 10 Magazine and was on the judging panel for Korea for the Miele Guide.He spoke at TEDx Seoul on Korean food globalization, at TED Worldwide Talent Search on the rise of Korean cuisine, and in New York City on Korean Buddhist temple cuisine. The company ZenKimchi International organizes food tours for tourists and corporations and acts as a media liaison for foreign and Korean media and local restaurants and producers.
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