I was introduced to this interesting restaurant by my friend late last summer. I’ve already been twice and I’m planning to visit there again soon. The restaurant is well-known in the Russian community for serving Korean-Uzbek cuisine, which I’d never heard of before. After I got home I read that Stalin moved thousands of Russian ethnic Koreans to Uzbekistan in 1937. So this food is Russian-style Korean food.
It’s in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn and called “Cafe At Your Mother-in-Law.” Why “mother-in-law?” There was an old Asian lady working in the kitchen, so I assume she must be someone’s mother-in-law.
I saw only 4 people working in the restaurant: 2 males and 2 females. Nobody seemed to speak English well except for 1 man who took a customer’s order. Even he was reluctant to talk to me. The old lady and I could communicate thanks to the man’s interpretation though. She is Korean but was born in Uzbekistan. She doesn’t understand either Korean or English. I had so many questions to ask her but I didn’t want to impose, but when she talked to me, her face was full of smiles.
The outside is pretty plain looking, and there were not a lot of customers. Almost all of them were Russian.
The green chili peppers are filled with a meat mixture, coated in flour batter and pan-fried, which is really authentic Korean style cooking!
I asked the man who took my order what their most popular dish was. He said: “Guksu.” I couldn’t believe my ears. He said Korean guksu?
Guksu is “noodle soup” in Korean. They use the same name! The guksu they serve is a little different from authentic Korean style. It was served cold, for one. The thin noodles were chewy and the broth was made from chicken or beef. The broth by itself was very tasty. On top of the noodle soup, they put seasoned cabbage strips, cucumber, egg, beef, and dill. I loved it! I’d love to go back to the place to taste their guksu again.
Uzbek plov was lamb and rice. Basically it was stir-fried rice with lamb and vegetables, and it was too greasy for me, more Russian than Korean.
They called this “hye of fish” and it was vinegar fermented raw tilapia fish. I can guess the seasoning sauce is made with vinegar, hot pepper flakes, onion, garlic, and sugar. Delicious!
It was a great place and the price was good. I recommend you check it out if you’re interested in some unusual Korean food! It’s fascinating how my Korean ancestors ended up living in Uzbekistan and they kept Korean food in their lives, while integrating it with local Russian style cuisine.