Monday, January 4, 2010

Lady Gorilla's Korean Smorgasbord - Korea

Bad Gorilla's sister, Lady Gorilla, is currently working in Korea and decided to share one of her recent dining experiences with us.  It seems the meal she discusses below is like what all the Wine-O's experience at The Melting Pot, but much more authentic.  Hopefully we will get some more posts from Lady Gorilla and the rest of her friends in Korea before their time is up.

"Korean barbeque is very traditional. It pretty much just consists of a ton of side dishes and meat that you cook yourself on a grill. Everyone gets their own plate of greens to put the galbi (beef) or samgyeopsal (pork) on as it cools, and then you can put the greens in your lettuce wrap. Korean Mickey Mouse's ears are just a spicy sauce that you can put on the meat and in your wrap. So first you throw on the meat to the grill, and then whatever else you want heated up. Kimchi is really yummy warm, and grilled garlic adds an extra bite to your lettuce wrap...or Korean taco. You take a lettuce leaf, put some rice or greens in it, add some spicy sauce, put in some grilled garlic, onions, kimchi and then galbi or samgyeopsal. Then you stuff your face, as my Korean co-teacher, Jonathon, is about to do! Some side dishes that come is a seaweed soup, a very spicy tofu soup, and a sort of korean crepe thing. Its all delish...except for the seaweed soup, I'll never like it.

Shabu-shabu is another fabulous Korean dish. Its a spicy broth that is heated to boiling. Then tons of veggies are added; lettuce, mushrooms, carrots, tofu, cabbage, onions, and many others. Then a huge plate of beef is brought out, which another fellow teacher, Ashley, is very eager to eat. Sometimes its in little individual rolls that you can stick in the boiling soup yourself with chop sticks, or a plate of beef that you just throw into the soup. The broth is so hot that the beef cooks in about 30 seconds or less. Then you dip it into various sauces and eat. The soup with all the veggies you just put into your own bowl and eat. You can also add the beef to the soup and eat it that way. You can also add kimchi to the soup to heat it up. Additionally, you can add noodles to make the soup even better. Once almost all of the soup has been eaten by very hungry teachers, a nice ajumma (middle aged/old korean woman, very nice and small and adorable) comes, and depending on which restaurant you are at in my neighborhood, they make rice porridge or fried rice with the left over veggies. Both the porridge and the fried rice are equally delish.  Both the galbi, samgyeopsal, and shabu-shabu are best washed down with a few bottles of soju.

These are just typical side dishes that you'll get at any gimbap place. Gimbap is a Korean seaweed roll, not sushi as it has pickled cabbage, ham, some type of fish substance, usually crab, carrots, spinach, cucumbers, and sometimes tuna. You can order many different varieties of gimbap, the list is never ending. At these tiny hole in the wall restaurants, you can get many different things from home made ramen, bibimbap, fried port cutlets, tons of spicey soups, bulgogi, and dumplings. As for the side dishes, the yellow stuff is pickled radish, which is actually kind of yummy, you get used to it. Kimchi is also always on the plate, and then the third item is different every time you go. Sometimes its fried cucumbers, others is a type of fish thing, which is yummy as well.

Thats all I have so far from Korea. The weirdest thing that I've eaten is chicken feet. It was too spicy for me, and it was kind of too crunchy as well. I don't think I'll be eating it again.

Anyong Haseyo!

Lady Gorilla

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