Sunday, April 25, 2010

ZenKimchi's 100 Korean foods you gotta try (from 2008)

Since finishing up my work for my second semester of teaching here, I've had more time to poke around on the Internet. While looking up some information on Mary eats for my toast post, I happened to revisit her posting of ZenKimchi's "100 Korean foods you gotta try" (from 2008, original post by ZenKimchi, on September 16, 2008, can be found here)

I was not new to Korean food when I moved here. I've been a long time fan of kimchi since my dad introduced it to me when I was a kid. Then, while living in Seattle and D.C., I learned more about the cuisine by exploring the markets and restaurants in both places. A decent number of these are things I tried before I came to Seoul. Currently, I'm looking to expand my horizons even more. I thought posting this list now would be a good way to both get a sense of what I've tried so far, and prioritize my "to-eat" list for my time here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Toast (토스트)

Before I moved to Seoul, the word 'toast' evoked something like this:

Now, I've added a new association:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flight of the Condorchords

I've been informed that the song I was taken with in G&B the other night was 'El Condor Pasa', originally a Peruvian song but famously covered by Simon and Garfunkel on 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'.

And now for some cross-linguistic word association; Wikipedia tells me that "El Condor Pasa" means 'flight of the condor'--> Flight of the Conchords!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail..."

Last night, after a semi-successful afternoon of shopping, as it neared dinnertime and the sum total of my food consumption for the day was a grilled cheese sandwich at home and a late afternoon snack of kalbi mandu from Mapo Mandu, I was desperate for something to eat. On top of this, it was starting to rain. While on line 2 heading towards home, I thought of something.

Some time back, a coworker of mine had recommended a goulash place in Hongdae, on the hill next to the park where the Free Market is held on Saturdays, in one of the alleys there. At that moment on the subway, tired, hungry and wet, it sounded perfect.

At G&B (Goulash and Bread), for 3,500 won (they used to have a sign advertising 2,500 but everyone in the place last night was paying 3,500...) you get all-you-can-eat rolls, goulash, and coffee. I was full after two bowls and rolls.

The rolls were large, crusty, and fresh, and the goulash consisted of a peppery, tangy tomato broth holding chunks of potato, carrot, and tender beef, and additionally seasoned with caraway seeds.

It's run, as far as I can tell, by a friendly middle-aged couple, and it seemed popular: the cozy space was packed with six people in addition to me, on a rainy weekday evening. I leisurely ate my goulash, listened to a medley of melancholy ballads (in English, Mandarin, and other languages), and enjoyed two cups of coffee. The title of this post comes from one of the songs, which I'd never heard before. Other lyrics included: "I'd rather be a hammer than a nail; a forest than a street..."

I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a cheap, tasty, and filling meal. Thanks again, L!

L'atelier doux review (thanks to ZenKimchil)

A little shameless self-promotion...

ZenKimchi dining published a quick review of mine a couple of weeks ago, for an Italian restaurant in Apgujeong called L'atelier doux. You can read the review here

Saturday, April 3, 2010

First street sweet potato in seoul (it's about time)

All winter I'd been wanting to purchase a roasted sweet potato off the street, just like I did during the chilly months when I was living in Shanghai. The months passed without my craving being satisfied, and the weather had nearly become too warm for it when, last Tuesday, M and I were walking around Apgujeong in the late afternoon and I spotted a vendor and decided to get one:

These were actually steamed. They were really sweet, caramelly (for lack of a better word), and delicious.

At 1,000 won for one I think they were kinda spendy (about double what I paid in China) but then again it was in Apgujeong.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Spring!

@ a cafe in Hongdae

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Seoul Cooking: Tomato sauce with anchovies and celery leaves

Since we're on Easter break, I'm at home for the day and didn't feel like going grocery shopping. With the remaining can of stewed tomatoes left in our pantry, I decided to make some pasta sauce for lunch. At the last minute, I threw in some of the leaves of the celery that we bought around Daelim station this past Sunday before they went off.

The result might be considered the Italian-Chinese cousin of my gochu chamchi spaghetti sauce. The celery leaves and lemon, both last minute additions, melded with the other ingredients to create a vibrant, tangy sauce that offset the saltiness of the anchovies (and even though I did add salt to this, you certainly don't need to). "Zesty" would also be an apt (albeit overused) descriptor. It was not unlike the spaghetti puttanesca that I had at l'atelier doux in Gangnam earlier this week.

Tomato sauce with anchovies and celery leaves

1 can (28 oz) stewed tomatoes, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic
1 medium-large onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 small or one large celery stalk, minced
1 2-ounce can anchovy fillets, finely chopped - Being a salt fiend/anchovy lover, I used the whole can, but you could just as easily use half or three quarters of the can
3 generous handfuls celery leaves, chopped
lemon zest, 1/4 of a lemon
2-3 generous squeezes of fresh lemon juice
red pepper flakes (I used gochukaru), to taste
ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Then add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is soft and the garlic starts to brown (I like that toasted flavor). Add the chopped celery during the last few minutes of cooking the garlic-onion mixture. Next, add the tomatoes, anchovy, hot pepper flakes and black pepper. Simmer until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put a large saucepan of water on to boil. When the water boils, add your pasta of choice and cook until al dente; drain and set aside. If the sauce isn't finished yet, mix the cooked pasta with a little olive oil so it doesn't stick together. When the sauce has thickened, add the celery leaves, stir, and cook for a few minutes until the flavors start blending. Finally, stir in the lemon zest and juice. To serve, toss the pasta with the sauce until coated and top with remaining sauce. Makes approximately 4-5 servings (depending on how saucy you like your pasta).


I was so excited to share this that I started writing this entry before I was finished eating it!


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