Friday, May 27, 2005

Meet my friend dak-galbi

닭갈비 / dak-galbi (stir-fried chicken with hot sauce and veggies)

This is definitely one of my all-time favourite Korean dishes. Basically we've got diced chicken, hot sauce, and some veggies. Most places around Korea also have additional toppings you can add like cheese, rice pasta, and noodles.

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At a lot of 닭갈비 / dak-galbi restaurants the waiters/waitresses will constantly come back and stir the food for you. But my girlfriend and I usually take-over and do it ourselves. Now that I think of it, my girlfriend is the one that does...she doesn't let me near the spatula.

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Mmm. Stirred up a little and starting to smoke and sizzle. The smell is friggin' awesome by this point.

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Looks good enough to eat now eh? It is. But we should add one more thing...

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Cheese. The taste level just went up exponentially. Gotta love cheese.

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I love the taste of the chicken, hot sauce, veggies and cheese. I'd say this is one of the more foreigner friendly dishes in Korea. Similar to a chicken cheese stir-fry you can make at home.

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This is the money shot. Hot, spicy cheesy. We are still talking about food right?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

First post - Welcome to Korean food

Welcome to my little corner of the 'net. I'm hoping to introduce a little bit about Korean food to the rest of the world and show that it's not just all kimch'i and rice. I promise lots of photos of Korean food and hope to hear from others who enjoy Korean food as much as I do.

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(ch'ung-kuk-jang / 청국장 / fermented bean paste, veggies, and rice)

Kimch'i / 김치

If you know anything about Korean food it probably revolves around kimch'i / 김치 (spicy fermented cabbage). I've found people to fall into four categories regarding kimch'i:

  1. Love at first taste.
  2. Late-bloomers who learn to like it over time
  3. People who tolerate it and eat it only when offered
  4. Haters. People who can't stand the taste, smell, sight, well you get the idea
I'm a number 2 - late-bloomer. My own story with kimch'i starts back in 2002 while I was living in Ottawa. I stumbled on a small Korean grocery store/restaurant that sold it homemade.

This was a few weeks before I had settled on coming to Korea and I figured this would be a quick way to get a little taste of the culture. After making some small talk with the smirking Korean woman behind the counter, I headed home to dig in. One word: NASTY.

Cold. Spicy. Fermented.

After biting into thast first spoonful I couldn't figure out why someone would want to eat something that is both spicy and cold. I only managed to get halfway through the container over the course of the next 2 weeks. Still gives me the shivers.

That first taste of kimch'i / 김치 seems like a million years ago. I can't believe I'm still here in Korea eating the stuff on a daily basis. I'm one of those weird expats that keeps the stuff in a container in their fridge (I'm lucky enough to have my future mother-in-law give me the homemade stuff - no pre-packaged factory fermented cabbage for this guy!).

Goch'u / 고추 (Spicy red pepper)

Another food you must make friends with in Korea is the spicy red pepper. It's eaten raw, dried, stewed, ground into get the idea.

Here are some fine looking examples:

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(goch'u / 고추 / red-peppers)

I shot this picture in Insa-dong / 인사동, a traditional area in Seoul / 서울. Lots of good restaurants here for the visiting tourists. But the prices are a little higher than where the locals eat.