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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Kimbap looks like a sushi roll. It contains steamed rice, strips of spinach, carrots, pickled radish, egg, and spam, and is rolled into dried seaweed. My favorite one is the tuna kimbap. These are normally 1000 won, so under a dollar, but the tuna is usually 2500 won.

Another one is a street food that is popular among the kids is boong-uh bbang. They are fish-shaped treats. The batter and filling is poured into a fish mold, which works sort of like a waffle iron. The most popular “fish” is one filled with red bean paste. Red bean paste tastes exactly like it sounds – not very sweet, although the koreans love it. So instead I get the less popular flavor, which tastes like a warm vanilla custard. It is a nice snack to grab while on break at work 🙂

Another street food I thoroughly enjoy is Ddeokbokki. It is rice noodles, fish paste slices (not as gross as it sounds), and a spicy sauce.

I should have mentioned this one first, since it is served with each and every meal – Kimchi. It is definitely an acquired taste. I didn’t like it at all when I first got here, but I have gotten used to it. It is cold, fermented cabbage in a spicy sauce. It is very difficult to do breakfast worksheets with the kids, since when you ask them what they eat for breakfast, they tell you “kimchi and rice!” I like putting it in my soup at school. This makes me “very korean” as my coworkers point out.

Dak galbi is a stir fried spicy chicken dish. In a big pan, they mix chicken, chili paste sauce, cabbage, sweet potato, onions, and rice noodles. It is cooked in front of you. It is a very spicy dish. If you go to a good place, there are a lot of veggies, otherwise it’s a lot of questionable pieces of chicken (picture a lot of skin) and mostly cabbage.

Here are some Korean dishes I have sampled and/or become obsessed with.

I tried “live” octopus the first few weekends I was here. They take an octopus, and chop it up alive, then serve it on a dish in little pieces. It is still squirming on the plate. It was more of a novelty – something fun to try. The pieces still have suction capabilities, so while you’re eating, the pieces can stick to your tongue or mouth. There isn’t much of a taste to it – it tastes like the oil/seasoning you dip it in.

Something I thoroughly enjoy is gamjatang, or pork spine soup. You get about three pieces of spine bones, with the meat still attached. You pull the meat off the bones, add rice, the green weeds, and soy/wasabi sauce. The place I go to in my village serves the meal with a side of pickled garlic. It is a lot of different flavors, and delicious. If you have more people, you can order the kimchi gamjatang, which has kimchi and potatoes mixed in with the soup. A bit spicier, but it always does you right.

Something I always crave when I’m tired or sick is Shabu-Shabu. They bring you a big pot with broth in it, and you mix in a bunch of (I call them) weeds. Sometime, there are mushrooms, tofu, and dumplings thrown in the mix. You cook it in the broth with roast beef. After a pot or two of the veggies and meat, they bring out some noodles that you add to the mix. Usually on the table is a soy/wasabi sauce you can mix in with the veggies and meat. After you finish all the soup, they put bop (rice) into the big pot and cook it.