Friday, December 11, 2009

Korean restaurants in the news

dolsot bibimbapImage by churl via Flickr

Korean food is vibrant and a great source of vegetables and soy, but at least two restaurants have been fined for sanitary code violations recently by health inspectors.

The Record today reports a $960 fine for Gam Mee Ok Restaurant in Fort Lee, one of my favorites for its unique kimchi service and its stone-bowl bibimbap. Two issues the inspector noted were "storing beef in stagnant water" and the "staff's failure to wear gloves when handling hazardous foods."

Madangsui Restaurant, also in Fort Lee, was fined $285 on Nov. 10 for defrosting meat on the floor and not covering it.  This was a real surprise, because it  has always boasted of serving fresh beef and is the only Korean barbecue restaurant I've been to that offers prime beef, the highest USDA grade.

I've long been concerned about the "mystery meat" served at many Korean restaurants, so much so that we started buying free-range, grass-fed Australian beef and preparing barbecue at home, with rice, kimchi and other side dishes.

Maybe the lesson of these fines is to avoid eating meat altogether. With soft-tofu stews, spring-chicken soups and other non-beef  selections, that's easy to do at Korean restaurants.

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