When it comes to deciding what’s for dinner, it’s always a challenge. “What are you in the mood for?” “I don’t know, what are you in the mood for?” is the consistent without fail back and forth that I encounter. The pressure is always on me as the resident “foodie” to make the call and it’s not always the best position to be in, especially when everyone is getting hangry.
I have a running list of restaurants I want to go to, which you might think makes the decision making easier. It doesn’t. Most recently faced with the “what’s for dinner?” challenge, I bypassed the list completely and decided Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen in Troy was the place to go,
Korean food is not something I am always down for, but rather something I crave every once and a while. So when I felt the urge to get some bibimbap it was a no brainer to make the drive to Downtown Troy to try a place I had been seeing and hearing about for a while.
Lit up from the outside, white lights lined the trees as red tables and chairs sat beside the two separate entrances, one for the bar and one for the restaurant. Sunhee’s instantly felt welcoming. As I walked in, a group of women sat chatting, a couple helped themselves to the vat lemon water, and a man reading his book smiled as his meal appeared in front of him. Past the dining room was the counter where the friendly staff was waiting to take our order. We took a look at the menu, but I had already decided what I wanted. I opted for bibimbop, adding beef and a fried egg. My boyfriend, never one to shy away from spice, ordered the spicy pork rice bowl and we shared an appetizer of mandoo, otherwise known as meat and vegetable dumplings.
After placing our order I took a look at the various Korean items and Sunhee’s paraphernalia available for sale before finding our way to the candlelit table of our own choosing. A selection of dark stained wooden tables filled the dining area, some larger, some smaller, creating a special space for any sized group. Just the two of us, we sat down and I admired the decor. Candles and vases of flowers (fake, but still pretty) were upon each table.
Not long after we ordered, our food was delivered to us along with silver chopsticks and spoons. I was happy to dig in, breaking my egg yolk and mixing in the hot red pepper gochujang sauce. From place to place there are always a few differences as far as bibimbap ingredients. This bowl included fiddlehead, spinach, bean sprout, shiitake mushroom, carrot, turnip, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and a side of kimchi, along with the fried egg and beef I added. These ingredients I should mention, all come from a local farm in Cambridge, New York.
Unlike the other bibimbap I have tried in the past, this dish was served in a ceramic bowl. The last few times my bibimbap meals were served in hot stone bowls, that continued to steam long after the meal had arrived. This change in dishware meant that the rice bowl wasn’t quite as hot as I would have liked it, but was as filling and flavorful as I was hoping for.
Only after we had devoured our meals did I learn that at Sunhee’s there is also an outdoor patio. A huge missed opportunity on my part, as summer winds down and outdoor seating becomes a thing only dreams are made of here in Upstate New York.
On a quiet night in Troy, this small little restaurant was busy and bustling, something I am always happy to see at the local businesses I visit. As we were leaving I overheard that Sunhee’s was hosting a kimchi hot dog night, just one of the many unique events this kitchen partakes in. Korean food continues to be a rising presence around town and while the picky eaters might find the flavors and unfamiliar ingredients intimidating, I promise you it is something worth trying.