Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Traditional Korean Lunch

The appetizer: I'm still not quite sure what this is, but it didn't tast bad! I think it might be made from soy and gelatin (the brown bits) and then was tossed into a cucmber salad of sorts. I forgot the name of the dish, but it was pretty good!

Update: I have since discovered that it is actually an acorn-based gelatin. Interesting!



Alllllllll the side dishes... and I'm still not sure how to correctly eat them. I didn't want to look silly by eating them the wrong way, but I probably did regardless. Actually, the thing in the front that looks like soup was delicious- cold radish kimchi; not too spicy, and very refreshing! Almost like eating a savoury watermelon.


This is one half of the table, and as you can see, it was completely covered! My rice was so perfectly cooked; it was delicious.


These were the piece de resistance. Potato pancakes with chili peppers, served with a nice soy sauce. Honestly, I want to learn how to make these. They were sooooooo good, like spicy fried potatoes, and the soy was great with the chili flavour.

The 2nd piece de resistance: Bulgogi. From my "Learn Korean" textbook, I now know that "gogi" means meat in Korean. I'm not so sure about the "bul" part. My only guess is that it must mean "scrumtralescent" in Korean, because this dish was to die for. I guess Bulgogi is kind of like galbi, in the sense that it comes sizzling to your table and it's really well marinated and spiced, but I think the meat in bulgogi (which is very good beef) is chopped and mixed with different flavours and then fried up. It was so good; my mouth is watering even as I write this.



Kerri and Ally's sister with our elaborate spread.


Me, Ally, and Kerri. Seriously, look at all the food! And I'm proud to say we ate most of it. Except I didn't eat from that plate of vegetables to the left. Can you guess why? Bibimbap. Even though it's nice and colourful, there's just something not right about that dish!


Kerri and Ally's sister enjoying our meal.


Annnnnnd for dessert: non fat frozen yoghurt, topped with delicious fruit and granola! A perfect way to feel not so guilty about all that food we had just consumed.

Last week while sitting at my desk planning my day, my friend Ally who works at the front desk of the school approached me and asked if I would like to have lunch with her, her sister, and Kerri in Gangnam on the upcoming Saturday. Gangnam is a really nice neighbourhood in Seoul where one can find American Apparel, Body Shop, and other fine shopping venues (my brother will be glad to hear that I bought his birthday presents here). I was excited because I hadn't been to Gangnam before and had heard it was really nice, and I was also quite honoured because this was my first invite out by one of my Korean friends.

Ally asked me if there was a particular kind of food I liked or disliked and I told her ANYTHING but kimbap. Or bibimbap. I can't do either; just thinking about them makes my stomach turn. Oh, bibimbap is a conglomerate of raw vegetables nicely arranged over a bowl of rice, topped with red pepper sauce and a fried egg. You're supposed to mix everything all up and enjoy, but I just can't do it. It's either the raw vegetables with the hot rice and runny egg yolk, or just the taste, but I threw up after eating it for the first time.

When Kerri, who had also been invited to lunch, and I arrived in Gangnam I was a little nervous when Ally and her sister told us we were going for traditional "healthy" Korean food because I haven't been overly impressed by the taste of Korean food up to this point. But, never wanting to offend or be rude I said I would enjoy Korean food very much and off we went!

When we got there, Ally's sister did all the ordering and it seemed she ordered a little bit of everything. From what I've gathered so far, traditional Korean meals are all about sharing from several different dishes. This rings true when we go out for Galbi (Korean BBQ) and the table becomes littered with all the side dishes which are being shared, and the lunch with Ally and her sister were no exception. The table was so crowded with so many side unknown side dishes and three or four main dishes that I barely had room to maneuver my chopsticks. Check out the pics!

4 comments:

Debo Hobo said...

It all seems quite delighful. hmmm...

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