16 Ways to Celebrate Korean American Day in Chicago

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January 13 marks the first arrival of Koreans to the United States in 1903. Now known as Korean American Day, the holiday celebrates the immersion of Korean culture and influence in the states. Explore Korean culture in Chicago and celebrate this January 13.

FOOD

BONCHON

This Korean restaurant offers Korean fried chicken as its staple, wings or boneless made with Bonchon Signature Sauce. The restaurant also offers starters such as bulgogi fries, Korean tacos, or takoyaki, a dish of fried octopus dumplings. Other main dishes include assorted rice and noodle bowls.

KIMCHI POPI

Kimchi Popi serves noodles, rice bowls, and Korean soups, such as Soondubu. For a quick Korean fix, try one of their snacks, like the Honey Twist Snack or Pepero.

PERILLA CHICAGO

Perilla is named after a plant native East Asia, known to be very adaptable and growing vigorously on any soil. The name is an homage to the restaurant owners’ parents who are first generation immigrants who rooted themselves on new soil, providing the foundation necessary for the next generation to live and succeed. The food at Perilla is centered around a communal dining experience, inspired by Korean flavors and ingredients, with a twist on many traditional classics. Don’t forget to check out the mural byChris Chanyang Shim, a portrait of Michelle Obama wearing a traditional Korean red hanbok.

HAN MI JEONG

The main dish served at Han Mi Jeong is the Korean jeongol, a hot pot of meat, mushroom, seafood, and other ingredients. Han Mi Jeong also serves a variety of soups and appetizers such as seafood, kimchi, or cheese pancakes.

SSYAL

Recommended by the Michelin Guide, Ssyal serves authentic Korean food such as Samgye Tang, a hen soup, or Bibimbap, a rice dish with a variety of toppings. Ssyal also serves Korean alcoholic beverages.

CRISP

Crisp is best known for its chi-maek, a Korean dish named “chi” for chicken and “maekju” for the Korean word for beer. The food is a dish of Korean fried chicken, though you’ll have to bring your own beer to pair with it.

GROCERY STORES

JOONG BOO MARKET

If you want to take a stab at making your own Korean dish, Joong Boo Market is an Asian grocery store of authentic Korean and Pan-Asian products, carrying everything from meat and seafood to liquor to houseware.

H-MART

Discover H-Mart, a beloved Chicago gem (born in New York City) with West Loop and Niles locations. Explore a world of flavors with fresh fish, exotic produce, hundreds of noodles, exquisite kimchi, and delectable treats from the food court and Paris Baguette bakery.

GANGNAM MARKET

Beyond everyday essentials, explore a delightful fusion of traditional Asian flavors, including the latest addition, Gangnam Taco. From authentic Asian dishes at the vibrant food court to a diverse range of handcrafted beverages at the bar, Gangnam Market invites visitors on a captivating journey of flavors, making it more than just a store—it’s a haven for food enthusiasts seeking memorable experiences in Chicago.

SHOPS

ARITAUM

This Korean beauty store located in the Civic Center Plaza in Niles is the go-to stop for the newest K-Beauty trends. With over 50 locations across North America, Aritaum sells brands such as IOPE, Sulwhasoo, and Laneige, a popular brand for lip masks.

CHOC CHOC COSMETIC

This Korean cosmetics shop has everything from the latest trends to small business brands. Here, you’ll find skincare, makeup, hair, and body care products, with an easy to use website that helps you decide what cosmetics will work best for you.

K-POP OF CHINATOWN

If you like K-Pop, Korean pop music, or want to get more acquainted with K-Pop culture, stop by K-Pop of Chinatown. Located in Chinatown for more foot traffic than Koreatown, K-Pop has CDs, DVDs, T-shirts, stickers, socks, and more for K-Pop bands such as Big Bang.

CULTURE

KOREAN CULTURAL CENTER OF CHICAGO

The Korean Cultural Center is dedicated to teaching Chicago about Korean history and culture. Stop by this non-profit organization in Wheeling, Illinois and explore Korean art, history, and education. The center hosts a variety of activities throughout the year, from cooking classes to local artist exhibits to photography shows.

KOREAN LANGUAGE CLASSES

The Chicago Korean Education Center in Wheeling, Illinois is focused on implementing Korean language education into over 100 Korean language schools in Chicago, as well as several American elementary and secondary schools. The Chicago Korean Education Center also offers Korean language classes for adults in person and online.

EVANSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY CHILDREN’S BOOK LIST

To celebrate Korean American Day, the Evanston Public Library has put together a collection of Korean children’s books. Check out the list and read a few books this Korean American Day.

DANCEN

This Korean bar has an array of Korean alcoholic beverages. Stop by to try soju, Korean grain alcohol, including soju cocktails. Taste makgeolli, Korean rice wine, alone or in a cocktail as well. Pair your Korean beer with some Korean food for an enjoyable evening out, such as ddeukbokki, a spicy rice cake.

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