ethnic oasis web

This piece is the first in a series of appetizing articles exploring  a variety of dining options for Emory students. Keep reading Student Life for more tasty suggestions. 

Let’s face it, we’re all trying to expand our list of favorite restaurants, but that’s not always an easy task.  For me, there’s not much better than taking a break to eat a quality meal, especially when the opportunities to do so are few and far between.  Most all of us deal with budget restraints, transportation problems, and the stress that comes with being an Emory student.  We’re tired. Freshmen frequent the “free” (read: you were forced to pay for it so you feel guilty not going) DUC and sometimes Zaya. Occasionally they trickle into Cox where sophomores and the upperclassmen that still have meal plans dine unenthusiastically.  We can only eat at the “Asian” food station so many times, you know.  Yes, of course there’s the Village, but it doesn’t quite feel special to eat there anymore (did it ever?).  Just getting outside a half-mile radius of the campus is a start.

So take a mini vacation from campus for a bit and enjoy the 20-minute drive to Hankook Taqueria (here’s where it pays to know someone with a car… or have one yourself).  Combining a Taqueria, which means “taco shop” in Spanish, with Korean food gives the feeling that this restaurant should be similar to a failed Guy Fieri experiment.  However, I assure you, a man stuck in the 90s with spiky bleached hair and chrome sunglasses is not manning the grill – thank goodness.

You might pass the place if you are not careful, but don’t let the plain exterior fool you – save your judgment for the food.  If you’re not skeptical already, you probably will be by the time you look at the menu.  You’ll probably think, “what kind of chef combines hoisin tartar sauce, soy sesame vinaigrette, kimchee fried rice and jack cheese in a fish burrito?”, but trust me it works.  Again, save your judgment until you try it.  From burritos to tacos to quesadillas, Hankook uses the skeleton of common Mexican and Southern American dishes but adds traditional Korean ingredients to make something unique.

Jordan Brustein, a Goizueta senior, now reluctantly admits eating the pulled pork tacos has usurped his previous favorite hobby of hot yoga.  Even I have to break my strict no fried food diet for the Ko-kuma – tempura fired sweet potatoes.

Even Food Network personality Alton Brown raves about the food!  On an episode of “Best Thing I Ever Ate: Bang for the Buck,” Brown praises the chef of Hankook Taqueria, Thomas Lee, for “cranking out some of the best, cheap street food in Atlanta.”

Although everything is fantastic, the bibimbap is the best dish in my opinion.  For only seven dollars, you get a bowl packed with beef, vegetables, and a fried egg over rice, which is more than enough for one person.  It’s great to share, just make sure everyone can handle a little heat since the chili sauce on top has some kick. To get the most of your dining experience, go with a group of three or more.  This way you can sample a variety of dishes. Why not, when tacos are only $2.25, and the most expensive thing on the menu is $7.50? It’s so cheap, you’re practically stealing.  Get a few tacos, a bibimbap, an appetizer or two and just relax for a bit.  And if you’re over 21, throw a beer into that equation since it’s BYOB as well.

After your lunch or dinner, stop in Midtown on the way back if you have the time.  You’ll surely have some extra spending money left over for some shopping or entertainment. When you just can’t eat the orange chicken at Cox or the teriyaki chicken and rice mixture at the DUC any longer, get yourself in a car and head over to Hankook. Make the effort to get away for a bit and enjoy a delicious meal with good company; we can all use a little break.

– By Ethan Samuels 

Photo by Jordan Feltes

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The Emory Wheel was founded in 1919 and is currently the only independent, student-run newspaper of Emory University. The Wheel publishes weekly on Wednesdays during the academic year, except during University holidays and scheduled publication intermissions.

The Wheel is financially and editorially independent from the University. All of its content is generated by the Wheel’s more than 100 student staff members and contributing writers, and its printing costs are covered by profits from self-generated advertising sales.