Yesterday afternoon, in the midst of an epic and cathartic trans-continental G-chat with an old friend, I decided to take up Seoul Eats on his offer (via mailing list) of dinner in Insadong. I've been meaning to get in touch with him for quite some time regarding the cooking classes at O'ngo Food Communications, but scheduling and studying and etcetera have conspired against me up until this point.
So last night, we met up at his cooking school where I met another new friend and we enjoyed some coffee (real coffee!) and a food-centric chat before heading off to the restaurant.
Before getting to the restaurant, we had to make a detour because Dan had gotten cheated out of a 야채진빵(yachae jin ppang/vegetable steamed bun), at a nearby 만두 (mandu) shop the day before (I forgot to take a picture of the sign, so the name escapes me...). Instead of a savory meat-and-veggie bun, he received a red bean one. As someone with a salt tooth who is frequently disappointed by the overwhelming number of sweet foods disguised as savory here (case in point: garlic bread at Paris Baguette), I could appreciate his frustration. However, all three of us benefited from the oversight: The fluffy bun was stuffed full of ground pork and sweet cabbage and my favorite, short lengths of transparent noodle, with a hint of ginger in the mix.
The oysters were served on a bed of strips of dried radish (무) tossed in a spicy red sauce. Though I'd sampled this before, I previously thought it was strips of fruit, not radish. Dan explained that the radish is cut into strips and then dried before being used in this dish, which imparts a sweetness to the vegetable. This was my first time having bo ssam with oysters; the fresh taste of the oysters cut through the fattiness of the meat. With just a little ssam jang and a slice of raw garlic, it made a great ssam(wrap).
Since we were going for tofu, I had expected something lighter than what we ended up ordering. Bo ssam is something that I can't eat more than a few times a year, as it's so heavy. Overall though: Good food, comfortable atmosphere, and interesting company. I'm glad I answered that email.