Posts Tagged Yum

Kim chi

Korea is known for their spicy kimchi.  It is served with every meal, and if you ask any Korean they will tell you their grandmother makes the best kimchi.

To make kimchi you must have a kimchi pot.  This is a pic of old upside down kimchi pots of different shapes and sizes.  You get the point of what they look like.   That’s my little head in the middle…

The ingredients must soak first.  While walking in the night market of Dongdaemun we ran across this giant tub of cabbage being prepared for kimchi.   I thought it was hilarious they used a crate of soju bottles on top.   Onions will be chopped and added.  In the bowl to the right, you can’t see, there is a huge pile of red pepper powder, salt and some other ingredients I couldn’t recognize.

Once the cabbage is drained and spices are added, it will be placed in a kimchi pot and buried in the ground.

Kimchi can be eaten right after making, but is best when it ferments for at least 2 weeks.  I have heard that some kimchi is left as long as a few months.  Originally, kimchi was made to be consumed in the winter months when the crops weren’t in operation.

There are over 100 different kinds of kimchi.  The most common is made from cabbage.  Other varieties include radishes, cucumbers, bean sprouts or onions.   My favorite kind is cucumber.

That´s A Lotta Kim Chee! Kimchi at Kimbap Chunguk! So Many Kimchis

Kimchi is definitely not for everyone, but you can’t come to Korea without trying it a few times.  Every restaurant has their own special recipe and it tastes different every time I eat some, which is quite often.  A good way to eat kimchi is hot, cooked on a grill.  Soo good.


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Chicken is Good

The bright orange sign calls my name on a nightly basis.

Chamnara Hof (hof = pub)

Just around the corner from our apartment, is a pub that serves the best rotisserie chicken.   I’d go as far as saying it’s the best chicken I have ever eaten.

<– close up view

First off, I’d like to say that I love eating with two forks.  Most places in Korea do not even have forks, but this place gives you two!  It’s the easiest way I have ever eaten chicken.  I love this idea and will probably use it in my own home at one point or another.

The entire rotisserie chicken is cooked to juicy, golden brown perfection.  Then it’s chopped up into random chicken bits and served on a wooden board.

Served on the side is honey mustard, salt and Yom Nyom.  The yom nyom sauce is as close to BBQ sauce you will find in Korea.  Sweet and spicy.  I love it, but Seth doesn’t… so it’s definitely a personal preference kind of thing.

The best part of Chamnara’s yummy chicken is that we can eat an entire chicken on our break.  We have 40 minutes for dinner, some nights, and this is a wonderful place to grab a quick bite to eat.

This place is super fast.   :razz:

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Weird Chocolate Ice Cream

I normally don’t eat chocolate ice cream.  In fact, I normally don’t even like chocolate ice cream.  But for this, I had to experience it first hand.

Wrapper.  From the outside, it looks normal.  Except the turtle looks a bit like he’s trying to get frisky with that tiny circle guy.  What??

Looks like a peanut.  Super funny.  Almost too cold to handle.

The ice cream is encased in a balloon.  I have never seen anything quite like this.  Never.

You cut the tip of the balloon and then after the ice cream melts a bit, it squeezes out the top.  But to really eat the ice cream, you have to suck on the balloon.  Soo strange.

:razz: Empty balloon.  Shrunk and shriveled the ice cream has been eaten.  Not bad, but I wish it came in different flavors other than chocolate.  A good coffee or caramel ice cream in a balloon would make me happy.

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Good Mexican Food

Who knew?  Good Mexican food does exist in Korea.  I have had plenty of half-hearted Mexican dishes and a few pathetic imitations, but finally I know where I can get a great enchilada.  On The Border.   This place is in Sinchon off of exit 4, just around the corner.  It’s really close to the subway.  Prices were moderate to high, but when you haven’t had cheese in a few weeks, it doesn’t matter how much you have to pay.  Their margarita selection was quite amazing too.  I will definitely be going back.

Oh, and the best part was that they served cheese dip.  It doesn’t quite compare to the white cheese dip with jalapeno pieces, but it will do just fine.  This was more of a melted Velveeta concoction with a can of Rotel mixed in for flavor.

The chicken enchiladas were wonderful. Also covered in the cheese sauce, these hit the spot.  Now, add in some black beans and rice… it’s the perfect meal.  I didn’t realize how much I missed black beans until I had the option of ordering them.  Yum.

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Good Food… Good Times

I love to discover that there is yet another amazing place to dine in Sanbon.  It’s hidden away in the basement of a giant building near the subway station.  Once inside the restaurant you are surrounded by deep hues of red and purple, curtains hang around many of the tables, candles are lit, pillows line the floor, a crystal chandelier hangs over a small pond full of shiny rocks, and the smell of food makes you salivate.  Sadly, I don’t even know the name of this restaurant.

This place is wonderful in that it brings all the food out in various courses.  The food just keeps coming and coming.  If you want more of one of the courses, they’ll bring out more of that course.  It’s great.   We ate salad, potatoes, pineapples, 3 types of beef, chicken curry and grilled teriyaki chicken.  There was soo much food that we only ordered more of one of the beef dishes.  The spices were unique in that I couldn’t even begin to describe them.  I will be going back to this place for sure.

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Sam Gyup Sal

When the door opens, the smell makes me salivate.  Instantly I go from comfortable to starving.  It is time for delicious food.  Sam gyup sal translates roughly to mean 3-layered pork belly… or “bacon”.  This stuff looks like yummy bacon, but it’s not cured, so it’s extremely different than the bacon we’d eat back home for breakfast.

One thing I love about Korea is getting to cook our own food on the tables.  There is a small restaurant called ‘Don Day’ extremely close to our apartment that we frequent because the sam gyup sal is fabulous.  The menu is simple, but it is a very filling and satisfying meal.

Put the meat and kimchi on the grill.

Now the meat sizzles and cooks.

Once it cooks, cut up the meat and kimchi into bite size peices.  We always throw garlic and onions on the grill too. YUM.

Now roll it up in lettuce and enjoy.  YUM.  :razz:

The aftermath… a dirty grill.

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Uncle Tomato’s

A new restaurant has opened up between our apartment and work.  How convenient.  It’s called Uncle Tomato and it is meant to be an Italian restaurant.  The menu does have spaghetti and serves pasta with various meats, but it doesn’t look anything like an Italian bistro and serves things like breaded pork chops.  Nana’s Kitchen came to mind when I entered this establishment.  We were surrounded by ruffled curtains, ceramic cow figurines, pink doilies and white scalloped lamp shades.

It was the giant red sign that made us drool.  It was a 1 + 1 rib meal deal for only 23,000 Won (~$20).  Who can resist BBQ ribs, french fries and a salad?  We couldn’t.  Pork BBQ ribs aren’t exactly Italian cuisine either… but nothing in Korea ever makes perfect sense, so it’s OK.  Seth’s face is priceless.  He hates when I take pictures of him and I made him smile for this … so he looks really funny, I think.

Surprisingly, our meal looked very similar to the picture on the sign.  Usually that never happens.  Needless to say these were the best ribs we have eaten in a long time.  The BBQ sauce tasted like BBQ sauce… and not some horrible concoction of Korean fusion cooking.  The sides were pickles that almost tasted like dill pickles but not quite and jalepenos.  Strange combination.  The picture on the right is Seth’s plate… he didn’t lick the plate clean, but he did eat the entire rack of ribs.   Three ribs remained on my plate… and actually that’s my tomato that I threw on his plate.

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Ode to Mexican Food

Oh how I’ll miss your cheesy goodness.  Your jalepeno green sauce always made me soo happy.  And when your taquitos crunch in my mouth, I swear, I’m in heaven.

Ahhhhh, its the little things in life that make me happy...

Ahhhhh, it's the little things in life that make me happy...

Why do friends and Mexican food work so well together?  I’m not sure, but I hope that never changes.  I had such a wonderful evening with everyone at Rio Grande.  So far, I have found nothing that compares to this cheap Mexican food.  The very few Mexican restaurants we have found over here are not only expensive, they don’t even have sour cream.  What kind of Mexican place doesn’t have sour cream?  Sour cream makes me happy.  My dad still thinks it’s hilarious to plop sour cream on my nose.  He has taught this evil little trick to Seth… so it will haunt me forever apparently.  But in Korea, I am safe… no sour cream will find it’s way to my nose.  At least there is a silver lining.

Besides friends, the only other perfect combination with Mexican food would be margaritas.   :mrgreen:

Lime margarita on the rocks

Lime margarita on the rocks

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7 Korean Condiments I Use Most

If you know me, then you probably know my love of condiments.  I usually choose my food by what condiment I’m in the mood for.  Here in Korea, they have some of my favorite condiments… but most of them are very different. I can’t find a good Honey Mustard, forget about finding Seedy Mustard.  I miss my Old Bay spice.  Soy Sauce in Korea ALL contain stupid wheat, so I’ve been relying on people to send me some.  It’s been good, in some ways, because it makes me rethink my cooking methods and branch out into new ways of cooking.  I am very happy to learn different styles of making food.

Korean cooking aresenal

Korean cooking arsenal

1. Chili Sauce – sweet and sour sauce basically… good on most everything, even my eggs

2. Red Pepper Paste – This is Seth’s because it has wheat… but he adds it to his rice and anything he wants to make spicy… Koreans add this to about everything

3. Corn Syrup – a must in making Korean dishes, to make sauces… it’s not like Karo

4. Mayonnaise – more natural than what we get at home… fresher… comes in these squishy container bottles and tastes awesome on my “fake fries”

5. Sesame Oil – another must in Korean cooking… it’s more of an addition to a finished meal rather than something to cook WITH… good stuff

6. Sesame Seeds – add to any dish and it adds a little nutty flavor… never really used them before now, but I love them

7. Curry Paste –  (not Korean, but the best I’ve ever eaten) I find it in this little foreign food market… I’ve been making the most yummy chicken curries because of this stuff

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Sushi is Yummy

Koreans say that sushi was a stolen idea.  They say that Japan took their idea and told the rest of the world it was their own.  I have no idea where sushi originally came from… but I love it all the same.  Thank you to whoever it was that decided to roll various vegetables and meat in rice and seaweed…. genius.

Kimbap is the Korean version of what I would call sushi.  It is very simple.  When I think of sushi I think of the Dragon Roll or Philadelphia Roll…. or any sushi dipped in wasabi mixed with soy sauce.  Somedays it’s the wasabi  that I crave and not even the sushi.

Kimbap isn’t as flashy as sushi… but still very tasty.  It’s also very cheap.  I can get an entire kimbap roll for about $1.  There’s even a 24 hour place on the first floor of the apartment building… it comes in handy.

Kimbap RollsKim BapKimbap

Here in Sanbon there is a really good sushi restaurant that serves “California Sushi”.

Seth even tried Octopus sushi....

Seth even tried Octopus sushi....

It’s weird because here in Korea they put these strange sauces on every sushi roll.  The roll on the right (what a typical roll looks like here)  is covered in shredded cabbage, almonds, and a sweet sauce.  The roll that is behind the octopus is covered in a mustard sauce, fish eggs, and avocado.   Sometimes I get this green sauce that I thought was going to be a wasabi sauce at first… turned out to be a kiwi pineapple sauce.  This is not quite like the Spicy Tuna Roll that I love soo much back home… but I haven’t been to Japan yet, so I don’t really know what “real” sushi is, as of now.  It’s on my list of things to see/eat while I’m over here.

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