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Tired of the usual choices near my Hackensack home, me and a friend stopped for lunch yesterday at Manna, a Korean fusion restaurant in Teaneck. Fusion? Think Korean dumplings served with french fries, a kimchi taco or a bulgogi burger.
Manna, which serves "modern Asian cuisine and frozen yogurt," hews close to tradition with such basics as bibimbap (rice with vegetables, fried egg and ground beef) and gimbap or kimbap (rice and vegetables rolled in dried seaweed). Many items are served as a complete meal with miso soup, salad, side dishes and water or soda -- $5.99 to $8.99. (Photo: Bibimbap with a raw egg, not at Manna.)
Manna is family friendly, offering a traditional American breakfast, including pancakes and bagel with cream cheese, and such sandwiches as fried whiting and PB&J.
The casual setting and menu invite both lovers of Korean food and people who have never tried dining on the spicy side. You order and pick up your meal on a tray at the counter, and sit where you like. Only the view is pedestrian -- traffic flying by on Teaneck Road.
I ordered the bibimbap meal -- hold the ground beef ($7.99). Steamed rice, bean sprouts, vegetables, salad greens and a fried egg came in a steel bowl with a mildly spicy sauce on the side. I also got Korean pickles, more salad, noodles in mayo and seltzer. I asked for kimchi, and received a small dice of radish. With bibimbap, you squirt on the sauce, mix up everything with a spoon and dig in.
A terrific lunch, and I didn't miss the meat.
Manna, 1168 Teaneck Road, Teaneck;
201-357-8782. Closed Sundays. Parking in rear.