You are reading

New Food Store Specializing in Korean Side Dish “Banchan” Opens in Long Island City

A new store that specializes in Korean side dishes known as “banchan” has opened in Long Island City (Photo: James Song)

Aug. 11, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

A new store that specializes in Korean side dishes known as “banchan” has opened in Long Island City after much delay.

The store, called Little Banchan Shop, opened Saturday on the ground floor of 5-28 49th Ave., a three-story-mixed-use building near Andrews Grove Park.

The owner of the establishment, Hooni Kim, 50, has taken over a 2,000-square foot space inside the building which was previously a kids indoor play area.

Little Banchan is the second establishment owned by Kim, a Long Island City resident who is originally from Korea. He has operated Danji restaurant in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan since 2010. His wife also works in the business, and they have a 13-year-old son.

The 49th Avenue location was expected to open around 14 months ago, but delays in obtaining permits and equipment from overseas hampered Kim’s initial plans. Nevertheless, Kim said he is glad that his store is finally open.

Kim said that banchan is hugely popular in Korea and he wanted to bring the side dish to Long Island City. Banchan comes in the form of seasonal vegetables and barbecued meats.

“Basically, every family in Korea has a fridge stocked with at least three or four different types of banchan,” he said. “Some big families have 12 different kinds of banchan in the fridge.”

Kim said that banchan is typically served with a hot bowl of rice and at least one entrée.

“It makes Korean dinner quick and easy to prepare,” said Kim, noting banchan has also become popular with everyday Americans.

“I think that’s pretty attractive to people these days like young working parents who want to be able to prepare a very healthy meal prepared in a short space of time.”

Little Banchan offers around 70 various types of banchan which come in the form of seasonal vegetables and barbecued meats. Kim said banchan has unique flavors since it is often made with fermented sauces and seasonings like soybean paste, soy sauce, red bean paste and red pepper paste.

Kim sources his vegetables from local farmers while the business only uses hormone-and antibiotic-free meats. Ingredients for the company’s sauces and seasonings are imported from Korea.

The banchan are prepared inside a kitchen at the rear of the premises and then packaged in transparent pouches which are displayed in open refrigerators at the front of the store.

The banchan are displayed in open refrigerators at the front of the store (Photo: James Song)

Hooni Kim, pictured, is the owner of Little Banchan (Photo: James Song)

Little Banchan offers hot prepared takeout meals which go on sale at noon and at 5 p.m. every day. The meals include Korean-style fried chicken, bibimbap, and BBQ meats. The store also offers Korean seaweed products known as gim and drinks such as imported Korean coffee.

The store focuses mainly on takeout and delivery although there are four high stools inside the store where customers can consume hot food and drinks, he said.

Kim said that being forced to eat from home during the pandemic convinced him to open Little Banchan. He said he got fed up with eating takeout from restaurants given the food loses its quality during delivery.

“Our lives changed because of the pandemic, and I don’t eat out as much anymore, so I wanted to provide a service where our food is exactly the same quality as the food you experience at a restaurant.”

He said that banchan offers a solution to this problem given it is refrigerated and has a shelf life of a few days.

“Every town in Korea has a banchan store and I thought ‘why not have one in Long Island City,'” Kim said.

“Healthy food, delicious food, everybody deserves it.”

Opening hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Customers inside Little Banshan (Photo: James Song)

Some of the items on offer at Little Banshan (Photo: James Song)

email the author:
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Mayor announces new 9/11 memorial will be built in Whitestone to honor fallen service members from Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts

Queens will be home to the city’s new memorial dedicated to the 99 service members from the borough who lost their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq following the events of 9/11, Mayor Eric Adams announced during a Fleet Week kickoff reception at City Hall on Thursday morning.

The borough of Queens was chosen because it is home to the largest number of post-9/11 service members who were killed in action during those conflicts. Queens is also home to the highest population of living veterans than any other borough.

Two men sentenced to life imprisonment in murder-for-hire of perceived business rival at Flushing karaoke club

The president of a Manhattan-based construction company and a California man were sentenced to life in prison in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday for orchestrating the murder of a businessman at a Flushing karaoke bar in 2019.

Qing Ming “Allen” Yu, 55, of Oyster Bay, and Zhe “Zack” Zhang, 35, of Arcadia, Calif., were convicted by a federal jury in October following a two-week trial for the contract killing of 31-year-old Xin “Chris” Gu, who worked at Yu’s company before becoming his business rival. The jury found the defendants guilty of murder-for-hire and murder-for-hire conspiracy for hiring a hitman to gun the victim down outside the Grand Slam KTV bar on Fowler Avenue

Cheering CUNY’s Class of ’24 for perseverance, talent and grit

May. 23, 2024 By Félix V. Matos Rodríguez

CUNY’s impact on New York is never more visible than during commencement season, when we celebrate the achievements of some 50,000 students who earn degrees at our 25 campuses each year. Behind each one of those graduates is a story of aspiration and perseverance, and together they tell the interconnected story of CUNY and New York.

NYPD identifies pedestrian struck by police vehicle on Van Wyck, AG launches probe

The NYPD revealed the identity of the 22-year-old man who was struck and killed by one of its highway patrol vehicles on the Van Wyck Expressway in the early morning of Sunday, May 19.

Ervin Zacarias Agustin, 23, of Ormonde Boulevard in Valley Stream, was running across the highway just after 4:30 a.m. when he was struck and killed by a marked NYPD vehicle near Archer Avenue. The highway patrol car had its lights and sirens activated when it crashed into the Long Islander in the center lane as he attempted to cross the Van Wyck from east to west.