So I was absolutely set on blogging bi-weekly. But then my back issues happened and I got busy learning Korean, teaching my kids, going to Japan…
A quick update on my back-I have seen the doctor twice, and will probably be going soon to see him again because while it has gotten better, it still hurts, and it’s quite ridiculous that I cannot sit for more than 30 minutes at a time without pain in my lower back.
Anyway! A while ago, I was asked for a post about food. I figured that this would be an easy way to ease back in to blogging. I have many blog posts floating about in my mind (Chuseok, Japan, No Gun Ri & Grace… to name a few) but first, food!
The food here is incredibly cheap and quite delicious. Dishes are often spicy, and while I do not love “hot” spicy, Jordan can probably attest to their deliciousness. Now, I will admit that I have had intense cravings for the likes of a delicious, juicy cheeseburger. I have been taunted regularly by the restaurant “Jin & Kino” that apparently has pretty good cheeseburgers. They are literally NEVER open. Last Friday, I actually saw lights on and could smell something mouth-watering, but when I went up the stairs, they told me that they would be open “next week.” They weren’t.
Anyway. While I don’t remember all of the food that I’ve eaten, I have eaten a lot of delicious food and I’m going to try to list some of it here and give some description.
1. 반찬 banchan, or, side dishes. This link here has a pretty good description. They come free, no matter what. At least that’s what I’ve encountered so far!
2. 김밥 kimbap is Korean sushi. It’s quite tasty. It’s a really easy “to go” option. While waiting at a restaurant for take out one afternoon last week, I actually watched a woman making some kimbap. It took her about one minute to make it, and I was absolutely fascinated.
3. 비비밥 bibimbap consists of rice topped with sautéed vegetables, chili paste, and beef or other meat, sometimes with the addition of a raw or fried egg. My favorite way to eat bibimbap is in a stone bowl. It’s called 돌솥비비밥 (dohlsoht bibimbap.)The bowl itself is really hot, so be careful not to burn yourself! When it’s brought to the table, be sure to mix all of the veggies, meat, rice, mean and egg together–but leave a bit of rice on the bottom–it will cook more and get crunchy–it’s like a special treat after you finish the rest of the food. Also, most people use a spoon rather than using chopsticks to eat this particular dish–it’s hard to pick up rice with chopsticks once you’ve mixed it with other things.
4. 만두 mahndu. mahndu are dumplings. There are many different ways to make dumplings (pierogies are actually a type of dumpling-fun fact!). I’ve eaten mahndu many different ways here in SK, and so far, I’ve enjoyed all of them. My favorite are 고기만두 (gogi mahndu) which translates to meat dumplings… The particular restaurant that I enjoy them from is incredibly close to my house.
5. 돈가스 dongaseu is fried pork cutlets and is hands down one of my favorite dishes here in South Korea. I particularly enjoy 치즈돈가스, or cheese dongaseu. It’s the fried pork cutlet but with a slice of cheese between the pork and the breading. mmm… The restaurant that I get this dish at most often actually serves the dish with two tater-tots which make me unreasonable happy.
6. 삼겹살 samgyeopsal is BBQ pork. It’s definitely not eaten like BBQ pork in the US but it is quite tasty all the same. It’s actually quite fun to eat. You can eat it on its own but the way I enjoy eating it is using a leaf-typically a piece of lettuce-adding the meat, sometimes rice or other bits of tasty food, and then stuffing it into my mouth.
7. 볶음밥 bokkeumbap is fried rice. The fried rice place near our house is awesome. For about $4.00 you can get enough to feed two people and still have leftovers. Sadly for me, the fried rice seems to frequent the spicy side so I don’t eat it as often.
8. 불고기 bulgogi is a dish of thin beef slices marinated and grilled on a barbecue. It’s delicious.
9. 라면 ramen consists of quick-cooking noodles, and is typically served in a broth with meat and vegetables. I know my peeps in the US are thinking about the cheap packets of ramen or “Cup ‘o’ Noodles” which are a cheap, tasty, quick meal-if you’ve never had ramen in Asia. It’s absolutely delicious. And I will never be able to eat a “Cup ‘o’ Noodles” without my tastebuds weeping for want of real 라면.
Bonus: Kobe Beef. In October, the SK YAV site headed to Japan to acquire official, fancy visas for Jordan and I. We spent five days there, exploring the cities of Osaka and Kobe. While we were there, we heard that we MUST try the Kobe beef because it’s supposedly the most delicious beef in existence. I admit, it was pretty tasty. But I don’t know that it was the most delicious burger I’ve ever had.
Finally: The pictures! I don’t have photos of all of them, but here are the photos that I do have!
돌솥비빕밥 stone bowl bibimbap
치즈돈가스 cheese dangaseu