Ssam BBQ Debuts at Hester Street Fair

One of the many things we love about the Hester Street Fair, which launches for the season this weekend, is its function as birthplace for new food businesses.

The dak galbi "ssamwich" from Ssam BBQ.

The dak galbi “ssamwich” from Ssam BBQ: free-range organic chicken, marinated and smothered, topped with spring onions and sweet potatoes.

Many of Hester Street Fair’s fledgling businesses have graduated to brick-and-mortar stores; some while still maintaining booths at the popular weekend festival that was born in an unused lot on the grounds of Seward Park Co-op in 2010.

For its fifth year, the fair expands back to its original format of operating both Saturdays and Sundays through October. With it comes another round of fresh faces, chefs and bakers who will set up shop to try their ideas on an audience that has proven a good testing ground for artisan food of all kinds, from popsicles and ice cream sandwiches to tacos and lobster rolls.

Working with her boyfriend, Ian Jones, and her mother, Regina Kim, Claire Kim is launching Ssam BBQ, a concept built around traditional Korean barbecue. Their menu is tailored for easy consumption as stand-up street-food, and created with all-natural farm-sourced meats free of antibiotics and preservatives. Many of the offerings are also organic.

Dishes include: galbi (beef short rib in a soy-based marinade), dak galbi (stir-fried spicy chicken) and daeji bulgogi (spicy pork). Each can be eaten three ways: wrapped in lettuce like traditional ssam, on a baguette as a sandwich or in a bowl over rice. 

“We wanted to create a simple and concise menu that made it nearly impossible for someone not to enjoy,” Kim tells us.

Find Ssam BBQ at the Hester Street Fair every weekend, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.