10 August 2011

Hanguk-eumshik makes me happy!

Well friends, I did it.  I've gone and been to Korea!  And thanks to some wonderful people there, I got hooked up with the most amazing Korean food (한국 음식/hanguk eumshik) and can die happy now.  Except I need to go eat some more before that!

A few highlights from the trip:

1. My camera died on the first day (this just about killed me...so all photos here are courtesy of my friends.)
2. I discovered 순대 (sundae), and I absolutely love it!!
3. I was reassured that yes, my doenjangjjigae and kimchi do taste like the "real" thing.
4. I ate so much.  But I could've kept eating.
5. I learned how to eat 게장 (kejang, a.k.a. raw crab...it is SO good, salty and reminds me of uni), sampled 머리고기편육 (meorikogi pyeonyook, a.k.a. pressed pig's head that's sliced and eaten cold dipped in ssamjang...and wouldn't you know you actually eat the bone running through the meorikogi pyeonyook?!), but I drew the line at eating 번데기 (beondegi)
6. I bought myself a pair of Hyun Bin socks (if Gil Ra Im liked Oska enough to wear Oska socks, I should at least get some Hyun Bin socks, right?  Anyone seen Secret Garden and understand what I'm talking about?)
7. I had the most delicious 육회 (yook-hoe, raw beef) and the most soft and tender 낙지볶음 (nakji bokkeum, stir-fried octopus in gochujang sauce) ever, a credit to the chefs at the Blue Ribbon-winning 역전회관 Restaurant in Seoul.
8. I got to spend time with some really special people.
9. I dipped my toes into Cheonggyecheon.
10. One hot afternoon, while browsing through a traditional market, I had some really refreshing 식혜 (sikhye, a sweet rice drink).
11. I got to wear a hanbok and frolic about the Korean Folk Village.
12. I ate a meal where there were more banchan than I could possibly have imagined could fit on the table.
13. I got to eat kimchi at every meal of the day!!
14. I realized I seriously need to learn Korean--my food vocabulary is a good start, but it just doesn't cut it!

And now, dear readers, a few glimpses of the food....

Lunch at 사리원 (Sa-ri-won) Restaurant:

만두전골 (mandu jeon-gol = Korean dumpling stew, "before" pictured above)
깍두기 (kkakdugi)
열무김치 (yeolmu kimchi = green radish tops with hot green pepper slices in juice and shaved ice over the top)

만두전골 (mandu jeon-gol) looking about ready to eat....

Dinner at Hanbang Samgyetang Restaurant:

삼계탕 (samgyetang)

Lunch at 두부마을 (Tofu Village):

콩국수 (kong-guksu = noodles in a cold soybean milk). This milk was specially made from dark soybeans, giving it a grey/blue color.

김치두부 (kimchi tofu)

Lunch in Yongin (restaurant name unknown):

토종순대 (to-jong sun-dae = traditional-style sundae)

In this dish (which turned out to be one of my favorite new eats from this trip), casings of pig intestine are stuffed with cabbage, kkaenip (perilla leaves), 당면 (dangmyeon/starch noodles), and blood, then steamed (I think) and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It has such a soft and luscious texture, a rich and satisfying flavor, and with all the iron in this dish, the Korean girls I was eating with explained that it is great for people with anemia! Delicious and good for you too!

The food was amazing, and I know I'll have to go back.  Korean food has got to be some of the best food in the world!


Unknown said...

Erica - I love everything you listed here,including 번데기 which I grew up eating. I am not sure about no. 6 though. lol. It sounds like you covered a lot in a short period of time. Definitely jealous! Oh who is that model in hanbok? That's a gorgeous photo of you! I am glad to hear you had a great time there.

Anonymous said...

Are you back??? I can't believe your camera died. I can't believe you bought Hyun Bin socks... funny! I get it though... he was hot in SG. I feel a little less icky liking him than Kim Hyun Joong since he actually looks like a man versus a boy... anyway, it sounds like you ate a lot of great food. Sundae is not something I ever liked, but I ate beondegi as a child in Korea. But I couldn't bring myself to eat it again when I was in Seoul. Since I've been watching so much KD, I've been really craving Korean food and wishing I had someone to practice Korean with... anyway welcome back!

shee shee said...

erica... you amaze me. so glad you had fun in korea!

erica said...

^_^ thanks you guys!

Angie said...

You look so pretty in hanbok!

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