The JC - Oh Honey Bakery ....
I read about a new spot in my hood called Honey Bakery Kitchen in a blog post. I was intrigued, because according to a quick Google Map search, I realized it was only two and half blocks from where I work.
But it would take me more than a year later to venture there. And again (see previous post on Harry Street Coffee), I was missing out on a great spot to have lunch on those days when I don't pack my lunch.
But this semester I have a nice two-hour break, so during a recent sunny day I ventured down Bergen Avenue and found Honey Bakery. I had seen the Korean and Russian menu online andI thought it was fusion -- like a Korean American married a Russian and they decided to open a cafe. Well, that's just part of it. In this case the Korean American did marry someone from Uzbekistan -- but the Korean is also from Uzbekistan, or at least that's where her family is from. They are part of a small Korean community from the post-Soviet states called Koryo Saram. Did you know there is a large Korean community living in the former Soviet states? Many immigrated to the United States. And it just so happens my show, Asian American Life on CUNY-TV, recently featured Koryo Saram. (See the video below produced by my awesome senior producer, Maria Yip Lord, for more on the little-known history of Koreans in the former Soviet Union.)
So back to Jersey City. Honey Bakery is a small, quaint spot, with calligraphy designs on the wall, and just a few table and chairs. The owner, whom I chatted up, was very nice and I was so excited to tell him that we were featuring Koryo Saram on our show. (I was so excited, I forgot to pay! Don't worry, I eventually did.)
The menu includes a mix of popular Russian and Korean dishes like Vareniki, a Russian-style pierogies and Bulgogi, a popular Korean marinated beef dish. I decided to go healthy and ordered the vegan Borsch (red beet soup) and a glass of the lavender, homemade Kombucha. Both were delicious. I'm used to hard-core Kombucha and this one was very easy to drink and tasted so good. (Hmmm .. makes me wonder if there was sugar? -- But never mind, I'm off my sugar detox and I'll be back for more. Hey, I might just order a cookie to go with it too!)
Yes, do not forget the bakery part. There are Russian pastries, cookies, cakes, chak-chak (an Uzbek honey cake) and bread! My only wish was that they were open earlier for coffee -- but hey there's Harry Street Coffee just a few doors down (see previous post).
Honey Bakery Kitchen is located at 673 Bergen Avenue in Jersey City.
See our story on Koryo Saram below!