by Rebecca Frankel
One thing I found lacking in Richmond’s food scene when I moved down here this fall was the limited supply of Korean food. Back in Northern Virginia, Korean food is everywhere. It is easily one of my favorite types of cuisine. So you can imagine the absolute euphoria I experienced when I heard that a pop-up Korean place was opening in Jackson Ward on N. 2nd Street, just a few blocks from where I live! JKOGI is a take-out restaurant that serves up Seoul street food favorites like kimchi pancakes, korean chicken wings, kimbap, and bowls.
It is a very small space, with nowhere to sit. That’s fine, since everything there is to-go anyway. They were offering little samples of their kimchi pancake and fish cakes. I decided to go with the bulgogi kimchi kimbap, which was $7.50. Kimbap looks a lot like sushi, with the ingredients wrapped up in seaweed and sticky rice, but is actually more like a sandwich. My kimbap was bulgogi kimchi, so it contained ribeye beef, kimchi, some egg, and sweet radish. You get ten pieces, which is really quite filling. The beef, kimchi, and radish taste so perfect together! It’s so fun to eat too. You can pick them up with chopsticks, but I personally just like to pick them up with my hands and pop ‘em into my mouth.
The guy who works there is very friendly, and chatted with me and my friend about the best places to get Korean food in Annandale, Virginia. The wait didn’t feel very long at all. The walk home was torture, though, because I couldn’t wait to stuff my face. I also got one of the Korean soft drinks that they sell for $1.75. I got the Milkis Banana drink and it was really sweet!
A few days later, I thought it would be a good idea to get some of their food delivered. I can say it was all for the review, but really I wanted an excuse to eat more Korean food. When getting delivery there is a $12 order minimum. So I got myself one of their bowls. I chose spicy pork belly with rice, kimchi, pickled radish, carrots, bean sprouts, and don katsu sauce. That cost me $9. Then I added the kimchi pancake for another $5. The food came in about 20 minutes, so not bad. I will try to put into words how completely amazing that pork belly bowl was. The pork belly was so flavorful and just the right amount of spicy. Add the tangy kimchi and pickled radish and you have near perfection. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit since I have a special love for Korean spicy pork, but seriously it made my dreams come true. The kimchi pancake really hit the spot too.
JKOGI has brought everything we love about Korean street food to Richmond with a variety of menu options and affordable prices. It would be a stand out place even in Annandale, which is basically Little Korea. I will definitely be ordering from them again, especially during a late night study session, since they deliver up until midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays. If you are new to Korean food, kimbap or a bowl are great introductions. JKOGI is definitely not a place to miss.