01.03.2012 19 °C
Many times the "ethnic" food available in North America often doesn't truly represent the foods ethnic origins. Korean BBQ is becoming widely available across North America, though it does not truly represent the gastronomic delights of Korea. A big part of our adventure has been getting out and enjoying some of the delicious, and sometimes terrifying, cuisine.
Bap is a traditional dish of steamed rice and is a staple in many Korean’s diets. It is usually short grained rice combined with many other items such as beans, chestnuts, or barley.
Guk, or soup, is also a common site in meals, and is served alongside Bap. Some other dishes that we have been eating consistently include Jjim and Jorim (simmered meat), Namul (vegetables), Jeotgal (seafood fermented in salt), Gui ( BBQ’d meats), Jeon (pan-fried pancake), and Mandu (dumplings.) These foods are all delicious and we have been really enjoying them! Also, we have had the … um… pleasure of trying some of the more … exciting foods because when in Korea, do as the Koreans do. These local delicacies include Dakbal (chicken feet), Gejang (raw baby crabs), Gopchang (BBQ intestines), Beondegi (Silkworm larvae), and finally the best for last, Sannakji, which is live octopus. Jodi couragesly offered to try the Sannakji. After seeing the look on her face as she put the still wriggling tentacle in her mouth, Jillian and I opted to leave that experience to the imagination. Instead, Jillian graciously offered to try a local beverage, Soju. Soju is an alcoholic beverage that is similar to vodka, but sweeter. She drank four pretty quickly so we had take the fifth one away or we would have been carrying her home. For the record, Jillian drinking is quite… entertaining .
Silkworm larvae YUM!
We have also learnt some etiquette about dining in Korea. Respect for elders is important here, and when we have an opportunity to eat with them, we were told to wait for them to sit and eat before proceeding, and to wait at the table until they are done. Eating soup before the rice and sides is also considered good manners. Andrea made a dive for the rice when first sat, and we had to... ahem... ever so politely tell her to behave and eat the soup first. When it comes to drinking, it is considered polite to let others fill your glass instead of doing it yourself, and vice versa. Finally, chopsticks and other utensils should be clean of food at the end of the meal. This we all had no problems with!
Our bellies were full, we had amazing experiences and nary a Korean barbecue in sight.