My birthday was a couple weeks ago, but I was on campus nearly all day long that day. So, on 12 April, I went with two of my friends from Scholars (Megan & Yael) to a Korean barbeque/restaurant for lunch as a late celebration.
While I love many Asian cuisines, I haven't been able to venture much into Korean food, so this was a treat. I thought that I'd be able to use some of what I'd learned in class at the restaurant, spend some quality time with friends, and try some new foods to boot.
Once inside, we took forever trying to decide what to order! Almost everything on the menu looked delectable. Megan decided on Jap Chae, Yael ordered Bibimbap, & I settled on Duk Mandoo Guk.
Because Megan and Yael didn't order soup, they both received small bowls of a dish similar to miso soup. I tasted a bit, and though it did have bits of tofu, it was much less salty than miso, which I liked. Here's a shot of it. If any of you happen to know the proper word for it, please let me know! It's been driving me nuts.
A few minutes later, Megan's jap chae (잡채)
arrived! It's vermicelli noodles with chicken and lots of veggies :-D
Then my dduk mandu guk (떡만두국)...
Beef broth with dumplings, strips of beef, rice cakes, eggs, onions, noodles, and a bit of sliced seaweed on top. Heaven in a bowl :-D
And Yael's bibimbap (비빔밥)...
Beef strips with veggies, rice, and a fried egg. With seaweed to garnish :-D She got the kind in the hotpot, which kept everything nice and warm.
These cute little dishes, called banchan (반찬), are side dishes served with every Korean meal and shared by every person at the table. At the far end and going clockwise are sweetened potatoes, then fish cakes, kimchi, bean sprouts, lettuce, and squash. I tried everything except for the fish cakes (I'm very particular about seafood; the flavor is delicate), and my favorites were kimchi, bean sprouts and the potatoes.
A closeup of the potatoes. They were so yummy!
And some closeups of my soup. Here's a rice cake slice.
A bit of egg
A dumpling! This was my favorite part, besides the broth and the egg. The dumpling was filled with...meat.
And egg :-D
Ooh, and the noodles! Cellophane, to be precise, which is one of my favorites. In the background, you can see some of Yael's bibimbap.
We each tasted a bit of each other's food, and we enjoyed everything! After the meal, our waitress brought us these cute little bowls filled with a sweet rice water. It was a pretty good palate cleanser, methinks. (Random factoid: Yael, who is from Madagascar, told me that there's a similar drink in her country. Apparently they let the rice cook until it sticks to the bottom of the pot, then they pour water into it. She said that it tastes similar to this.)
Afterwards, we walked a couple doors down to the Shilla bakery, and I bought a slice of rainbow cake, which I ate at home later. It was good, but it was definitely a different type of sweet than I'm used to. The cakes we eat are heavier and much sweeter. This was very airy, light, and had a sane amount of sugar in it.
All in all, I really enjoyed my first venture into Korean food! I look forward to going again, and even trying some at home :-D
Do you like foreign food? What's one of your favorite types of cuisine? Do you normally eat it out at a restaurant, or do/can you make it at home, too? Have you ever tried Korean food?