People visiting Manhattan always want to know the best places to eat. As a “local,” friends always ask me cool places to go when they come to town. New York has some of the world’s best restaurants so to have a bad meal while you’re visiting is sinful. (Especially for me, a fat girl trapped inside a thin frame dying to break free) The problem is that the touristy areas often aren’t that close to the best restaurants. Take for instance the Penn Station/ Macy’s area, tourists flock here, especially during the holidays (many locals too) to get their shop on and see the classic Christmas windows. The problem is, this area is essentially the armpit of the city to be avoided by locals at all costs unless going to a concert or to Macy’s really. The area is mostly filled with awful dining options: one generic and unmemorable counter-service restaurant after another, serving up pre-made sandwiches made days before.
But low and behold, a fun and unique option in the otherwise desolate area of Mid-Midtown—Food Gallery 32. An actual fun food experience. Here! Quelle shocke! Technically it’s located in Koreatown but this place feels like you’ve actually hopped a plane to Seoul. Food Gallery 32 is a food court housed in one large room, packed with individual vendors, each stuffed into their own stalls. The ambiance is modern, fun and space-agey. I half expected the food service staffers to be wearing silver space suits.
Food Court 32 serves up fresh sushi, bibimbap, noodles, bulgogi, dumplings and stews. The quality of the food here really surprised me. I mean no offense, I frequent K-Town rather often as I work near here but many of the restaurants have been far from wonderful. The sushi is all freshly rolled behind the counter right within your view, which is more than I can even say for Whole Foods. There is even a self-serve Red Mango in the front if you need a place to have a seat and take a shopping break and escape the crowds. There are three floors, the first houses the food stalls, the second has plenty of spillover seating and the third features a dessert bar, which dazzles guests with cheesy Korean music videos.
Check out this awesome little gem in Manhattan’s Koreatown the next time you’re stuck shopping and hungry near Penn Station.