Kim’s Kitchen is located on a stretch of Route 309 that I imagine is blinked and missed regularly. It’s on 309 North just after the 378 junction. If you do manage to stumble upon it by accident or head there on purpose you will find a genuinely good restaurant with authentic Korean food, excellent service, and a homey atmosphere that would usually exist in the kind of place involved in serving biscuits, grits, and gravy. Kim serves Kim Chi, Bi-Bim-Bap, and silkworms. (And a bunch of other, awesome things)
(Note: You are going to catch me using the word “authentic” on posts like this with great frequency. I’m doing that because – when you find the real deal – you should acknowledge so people can go and experience it as well. There is a lot more to the culinary world that the dotted suburban landscape of glowing Applebee and TGI Friday and Ruby Tuesday signs – and you should go and see it.)
The meal began with the arrival of complimentary starters. This is par for the course at a good Korean restaurant. In Kim’s Kitchen we got Kim Chi, seaweed salad, a pickled root vegetable, and a very American salad with nuts, apples, and blue cheese. It took me seconds to get my fork into the Kim Chi. I love it. It’s genuinely good for you and it tastes amazing. It’s made by fermenting cabbage with kochukaru, fish sauce, daikon radish, and whatever other awesome things the chef uses in their unique recipe.
I decided to order the Kim Chi Fried Rice for lunch. My coworkers ordered Korean pork, and Bi-Bim-Bap, respectively. While we waited for Kim to serve us food, she brought us a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka. It was water but she said “Here, Vodka” laughed and walked back to her range. That was the sort of endearing and hilarious touch that makes a place feel homey without the place needed to force itself to remind you that it is – in fact- homey.
The meal started with the arrival of dumplings. (I am obsessed with nearly every ethnicity on earth having some pasta/pastry filled product.)
Kim Chi Fried Rice: rice, fried up with kim chi and topped with sesame oil and Kim’s rendition of the dish was beautiful.
My coworker’s Bi-Bim-Bap was intense and beautiful. It’s the kind of dish that looks like it tastes like a thousand things and you want to savor each one and usually you can – in every bite.
He became an adventurous eater that afternoon and ordered one of the included components as a salad that featured silkworms. Check that out:
My other coworker ordered Korean pork. Cooked brilliantly, spicy, and delicious.
Let’s get out there and check out places like Kim’s Kitchen. The more we support these places, the better the culinary scene in the Lehigh Valley will become. Writing this made me think back to the film “Food Inc”, there is a scene where someone says something along the lines of everything we buy at the store is a vote.
We are voting every time we eat. Every restaurant we dine in, every store we shop in, every market we buy in – we are voting for those places to exist. I understand that there are busy times and frugal times when not every great vote can be cast but when they can be – make sure they are cast for good things. Let’s knock off the chain restaurants and processed foods. Go to Kim’s Kitchen and get the Kim Chi. It’s affordable, crunchy and funky and spicy and delicious, and it’s right here in Center Valley.