About Buk Kyung
First off: what exactly does "Buk Kyung" mean? The oft-mispronounced moniker -- the -uk in "Buk" contains a long oo sound -- translates to "Beijing" in Korean. This name signifies the Chinese influenced dishes Buk Kyung specializes in, and is renowned for. Many of our patrons come to our restaurant knowing what they are going to order in advance, and there is rarely an order without "the big 4". The unsuspecting diners that wander in soon become acquainted with these dishes in a matter of minutes as they see servers delivering plate after plate and bowl after bowl of similar courses to nearby tables.
Which leads us to the next inquiry: what are those dishes? The four in question are the Tangsuyook, Ganpoongki, Jajangmyun, and Jambong. The former two dishes are meant to be community dishes and are presented in large platters comprised of deep fried pork, beef, chicken, or shrimp bites and smothered in either a tangy, sweet & sour sauce or a sweet, spicy one. The latter two are noodle dishes: Jajangmyun is known for its sauce - a hearty mixture of ground black beans, potatoes, zucchinis, and pork. Jambong consists of a brimming bowl of mildly spicy and hot broth filled with seafood & vegetables. Of the four, the Jajangmyun may be the most acclaimed dish as Buk Kyung is often referred to as a "jajangmyun jib", or "jajangmyun house".
The owners of Buk Kyung, realizing a void in Massachuetts of a "jajangmyun jib" opened their first store, Garden House, in Lawrence in 1994. In order to prepare for this grand venture, the proprietors, Mr. and Mrs. Lee spent over a year traveling back and forth from Boston to Seoul to acquire the knowledge and skills entailed for not only owning and managing a restaurant, but also to master the recipes (and yes, secret ingredients!) that would be featured in their future restaurant.
Garden House had its humble beginning as a cozy 24-seater, but soon took over an adjacent Spanish grocery store to seat about 60. During this time, word began to spread of a husband-and-wife team that made not only decent, but delicious, Jajangmyun and other dishes that had been lacking in other Korean restaurants. Their long-awaited success made the owners realize opening a store in Boston would be desirable for its location and higher population of Korean families. To the dismay of the people in the North Shore area, especially the Korean church congregation in Andover, the Lee's sold their beloved Garden House and opened the first Buk Kyung restaurant in Somerville in 1998. Due to the restaurant's steadfast quality, the frequent diners of Garden House began, and continued, commuting into Boston to satiate their cravings.
The "Buk Kyung Faithful" is what prompted the Lee's to open a second location in Allston in 2003. Located a 5-minute walk from the Harvard Avenue t-stop, and coupled with its close proximity to Boston University and other colleges, Buk Kyung II attracted a younger, diverse demographic. To this day, the Lee's still oversee the day-to-day operations and can even be seen in the kitchens making the dishes themselves.
For the "Faithful", our deepest gratitude for your continual support. And for the novices - what are you waiting for? Trying new foods can be daunting, but also an exhilarating and rewarding treat. If daily homemade noodles don't suffice, then perhaps a quote from The Boston Globe on Jajangmyun will do the trick: Looks like an oil spill, tastes like heaven.