Blog

Korean-Uzbek Cuisine

By Maangchi

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.

Cafe mother in lawThe outside is pretty plain looking, and there were not a lot of customers. Almost all of them were Russian.

pepperThe green chili peppers are filled with a meat mixture, coated in flour batter and pan-fried, which is really authentic Korean style cooking!

kuksuI 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.

plovUzbek 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.

hye of fishThey 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!

cardIt 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.

Advertisement

23 Comments:

  1. brucelee NJ My profile page joined 1/11
    Posted January 19th, 2011 at 1:51 am | # |

    I definitely want to check this place out.

  2. dismag Brooklyn, NY My profile page joined 12/10
    Posted December 6th, 2010 at 1:25 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi very happy that u visited that place. Few details Gugsu broth is actually just a broiled but cooled water mixed with sugar, soy souse, vinegar, salt, sesame seeds and dill also some people put minced garlic, tomato and cucumber for taste. I can say that the dishes we still cooking at home sound almost the same with Modern Korean food.

  3. julesgules Silver Spring, MD My profile page joined 11/10
    Posted November 29th, 2010 at 10:42 pm | # |

    Maangchi! I love your blog and have made a few recipes from it. I recommend it to all my korean and non korean friends. I just saw this entry and was absolutely thrilled that you have found this side of Brighton Beach. I was born in the former soviet union in Tajikistan and a lot of my family still lives in Tashkent, Uzbekistan right now. I will tell my cousin about this place as she frequents Brighton Beach often. If you are ever in the MD/DC/VA area, we would love to have you over for some traditional Korean/Russian GUKSI! I am not the best at cooking it but my mom is very good. We will introduce you to a really large population of Korean Russians in this area. There are a lot of us here and we are all 3rd and even 4th generation Russian Koreans. So glad you are exposing people to the other side of Korean heritage.

  4. min California My profile page joined 5/10
    Posted November 18th, 2010 at 10:08 am | # |

    Thank you Maangchi for sharing your fotos, experiences, recipes, and cultural culinary history. You are an excellent teacher with full of motivation, enthusiasm, discipline, and dedication. And you are so full of heart. Truly unique! I’m trying to find a way to meet you. Keeping my eye on your blog :D With much fondness.

  5. AsianFoodLover Atlanta, GA USA My profile page joined 10/10
    Posted November 4th, 2010 at 11:07 pm | # |

    Wow, this is really interesting!! Learn something new each day!! Another restaurant on the list to try when I go to NY!

  6. unchienne Georgia, USA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 10/08
    Posted November 2nd, 2010 at 6:20 pm | # |

    Wow, talk about a fusion that I never expected. How fantastic that this cusine not only survived but is well loved in the area.

  7. Nadya My profile page joined 10/10
    Posted October 31st, 2010 at 2:49 pm | # |

    Hi Everyone !
    I am Korean, who was born and raised in Kazakhstan. My grandparents was deported from Dalnii Vostok region in 1937. Unfortunately, I don’t speak Korean, but I cook Russian style Korean food -))
    Thanks Maangchi for your post and your recipes.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 31st, 2010 at 3:01 pm | # |

      Nadya, that’s another fascinating story! Where are you living? If you live in NY, please let me know. We should visit the restaurant together. Have you heard about the noodle soup “guksu”(pronounced as gook soo)? Nice meeting you and welcome to my website! You are one of the descendants of the greatest Korean immigrants in Russia.

      • Nadya My profile page joined 10/10
        Posted October 31st, 2010 at 3:14 pm | # |

        Hi Maangchi !
        I recently moved from Kazakhstan to Calgary. Yes,guksu or guksi is a very popular Korean dish among Russian speaking Koreans. Nice to meet you too !

  8. mongolnomad My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted October 29th, 2010 at 6:35 am | # |

    when i was in tashkent uzbekistan i was very surprised to find a neighbourhood full of korean restaurants. i remember having lunch at a more fancy korean restaurant there and the food was great, especially the choices of banchan they gave me!

    i have always theorized that a lot of the koreans may have moved from north korea to work in the former soviet union and then just stayed there after the fall of the ussr, sort of like a lot of vietnamese in places like czech/slovakia, east germany, etc.

  9. Yussi Buenos Aires My profile page joined 8/10
    Posted October 28th, 2010 at 10:41 am | # |

    Surprisingly appreciate the richness of various cultures together for food, and have not forgotten where they came, very informative and interesting, thanks!

  10. glacierkn WI, US My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted October 28th, 2010 at 7:42 am | # |

    Thanks for this cultural post Maangchi! I love learning about different cultures and especially about their cuisine.

  11. reginochka My profile page joined 10/10
    Posted October 27th, 2010 at 11:18 pm | # |

    i myself represent Koreans from Central Asia, and honestly, i have never seen those peppers being stuffed with meat…its kinda weird and new to me :D

  12. powerplantop Louisiana My profile page I'm a fan! joined 6/09
    Posted October 27th, 2010 at 1:31 pm | # |

    The history of the Koryo saram is very interesting. Its simply amazing they were able to keep some of the Korean customs alive for so long.

  13. bo Hawaii My profile page I'm a fan! joined 7/10
    Posted October 27th, 2010 at 12:33 pm | # |

    Wow… Korean cooking is really branching out! Russian/Korean and Mexican/Korean ….. K-power!

  14. Moxiesoup Atlanta, GA My profile page joined 7/10
    Posted October 27th, 2010 at 11:27 am | # |

    My husband is Korean, and my family’s heritage is Lithuanian so I just love this! We’ve eaten pierogies with a side of Kimchi in this house before ;)

    • unchienne Georgia, USA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 10/08
      Posted November 2nd, 2010 at 6:21 pm | # |

      I know what you mean. My mom and I both love to eat KFC with kimchi and rice. She even puts kimchi on her hamburgers, but that’s where our tastes detour. LoL

  15. JulieVeg MA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 5/10
    Posted October 27th, 2010 at 10:54 am | # |

    Looks really interesting.


Leave a Reply

Views: