Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Chic Korea OR Seoul Train

Ben (and vicariously Nate) here. Checking in from Seoul, South Korea, where it's cold and windy.. almost makes me miss the weather in Minneapolis.
Mixed stone bowl

We got into Busan on the 8th and spent a few days wandering around the shopping and eating districts doing exciting things like shopping and eating. Most notable dishes were a giant kalbi set (aka yaki niku, aka a bunch of meat you cook over a fire at your table), one of the best waffles ever, and pickled pigs feet salad.

Kalbi: Wandering through the streets of Busan we found ourselves outside a restaurant filled with people, from which wafted 20 foot truckload of yaki nikuthe sweet aroma of meats cooking over an open flame. Given that a packed restaurant is the international sign of a good meal, we decided to investigate. Walking around the front we noticed that there was another restaurant across the street with the exact same sign, across another street was a third restaurant. Three of the same kalbi restaurant at one intersection, all packed with people: definitely a sign of good food to come.

We sat down, looked at the menu and pointed to the cheapest set 22,000\ for what turned out to be more food than we could dream of eating: chicken, pork, marinated beef, and a platter of seafood the size of a small city.

WAFFLE OF DOOM!Waffle: Street food strikes deep at our hearts and stomachs with its sweet, sweet dagger of deliciousness. One of the best waffles either of us has ever had was found in the middle of an intersection of one of the pedestrian areas. Relatively thin, this waffle was crisp and lightly browned on the outside (for that sweet caramelized flavor) but still soft on the inside. If a sweet waffle batter was not enough, a thick whip cream is spread onto one side, then citrus honey slathered on top of that. Fold the waffle in half and wrap it in a napkin, that's it.

Waffleman creams (and honeys) the waffle, then we cream (and possibly honey) our pants.

And on a slightly less delicious note - Pickled Pigs Feet Salad:

Pickled Pigs Feet SaladHaving followed the lesson from the packed Kalbi joint, we walked up to a full restaurant that we otherwise knew nothing about hoping that a good meal would be found inside; the pictures outside looked good enough, some sort of meat salad (and we all know growing boys like us need to eat our vegetables).
Through the normal routine of pointing at the characters in the menu that matched those on the picture outside we got a wide variety of pickles and soup delivered to our table along with a massive, meat-topped salad. The server put on plastic gloves, poured on the dressing and started mixing the delicious-looking meal.
After a couple bites we found ourselves wondering, "What is this strange cut of meat?" After a couple more bites Nate sat back and said "Hmm.. I think it's pigs feet. It's got that nasty, formaldehyde, gelatinous, and satisfyingly chewy skin."

IMG_4105Pigs feet. Pickled pigs feet to be specific. After a few more minutes of eating I was pretty sure that whatever pickling agent was used on the pigs feet was also attempting to preserve my stomach in a similar fashion. Needless to stay I wasn't a big fan of the pickled pigs feet scene, I was nearly on the verge of painting the sidewalk a nice shade of pigs feet on the way home, but was able to contain my "enthusiasm" over such pickled porcine parks.

Besides the stomach ache that I had for the next 24 hours I managed to survive the pigs feet, but I don't think I'll be going back for more anytime soon. According to a friend of Nate's we went to the single best pigs feet restaurant in Korea, so at least I know I had the best and hated it.

That's the news from Korea - for now. We're headed for Taiwan in a few days to hopefully get our hands on some Chinese food and maybe a bowl or two of noodles. Hope everyone is having a good time in our absence and eating some good food. The beer here sucks, so drink a good one for us, just don't tell us about it or we'll be really jealous.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

fucking jealous about the waffles, not so much about the pigs feet.

eat a waffle for me if they are again readily available.