Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Korea trip!

Wow it's been ages since I last blogged! The past few months seemed to have whizzed by so busily with uni, hospital and work. I've had 9-5 days, 5 days a week, then work or gym afterwards so I basically had no time to try new places. How terrible! I've also been to Korea a couple of times because my great granny was ill so I also have Korean culinary delights to share with you all!

Choo-uh-tang. According to the dictionary, the eel in this is called a 'Chinese muddy loach'. It's a small eel-like looking thing that's high in iron. In Korea, people are quite conscious of their health and often have dishes such as these to rejuvenate their health.

Chung-gook-jang. Made with grounded fermented soybeans, it's a stronger dish than the dwen-jang-jjigae families normally eat. Because of its strong smell and flavour, there are many Koreans who can't eat this which is quite unfortunate because I personally love this! This soup also has special health boosters - protects against various cancers, strokes, and dementia, strengthens the liver, regulates the blood pressure, good for the skin etc. I'm not sure how many of these you'll need to eat to see this effects but it feels good knowing that you're eating something healthy :)

Baskin Robbins. Korean Baskin Robbins has very interesting flavours you wouldn't see elsewhere. This one is called 'My Mom's an Alien'. Among the vanilla/chocolate ice cream are little chocolate balls. Oh so good

One of the things I miss the most about Korea are their pizzas. The bread is soft and chewy, the cheese is stringy, and there are so many flavours to choose from! My personal favourite - the sweet potato pizza. The Pizza Huts sell them with a hill of sweet potato around the circumference. Yum!

These noodles are made with buckwheat. They also serve buckwheat tea which has this lovely roasted flavour that warms you up straightaway. 

My aunt ordered the spicy one - no soup, just veggies to mix with.

The owner knew my grandpa so she gave us free mandoo (dumplings) :)

My aunt's dog. So adorable.

At home, we like to gather around and grill meat then wrap them in various leaves with sauces and other marinated veggies in them.

After we grill the meat, we put the sweet potatoes in the fire. They are the best when they are roasted straight from the fire. Super sweet and crunchy.

Some of the things I bought at a rest stop. There are rest stops every 5 km or so along the highways to prevent fatigue and accidents.

Brown rice + chamma, a potato like vegetable.

Boong-uh-bbang. It's so weird trying to write the words in English. These are originally fish-shaped red bean cakes they sell on the streets. Here, they used pastry instead so it was crunchy and buttery. I ate them all by myself :p

Restaurants in Korea give a lot of banchan (side dishes).

Mixed rice + chung-gook-jang.

You mix some of this spicy octopus stir fry with the rice. It was very, very spicy so the owner gave us a carton of this sweet milky drink.

Korean-Chinese restaurant. They had a dragon in the middle.

Sadly, I didn't take many photos here so I only have one dish to share - tang-soo-yook. They're basically fried pork pieces and veggies with a sweet and sour sauce.

This restaurant made me feel like I was at a traditional hay home.

They had rooms for every group. Like any other restaurant, they had a lot of side dishes. We grilled meat (which isn't really special so I didn't upload any photos) and the guys had buckwheat noodles to finish off as is custom.

Ox tongue and ox stomach. I wasn't brave enough to try.

Baskin Robbins family pack.

More grilling.

This place is famous for their kal-gook-soo, noodle soups. We got the bossam which are steamed pork bellies to share. You grab a piece, add some kimchi and maybe some tofu.

The noodle soup. The soup is made from seaweed and clams so you get a beautiful, deep flavour from the broth. This bowl, as you can see, is humongous and we ordered two bowls of these. As expected, we couldn't finish it.

Seafood! This was the first time eating live octupus. They were stills squirming when they brought it out. I thought it wouldn't be difficult to eat but it was deliciously coated in sesame oil so it went down very easily.

Abalone. Chewy and delicious. In the small plate are the intestines.

The main dish! Seafood soup. Mussels, abalone, clams, calamari... The soup was my favourite as it was spicy and glutinous.

Seafood jjigae.

After we finished the meal, they used the remaining soup to fry some rice. They press it down so the bottom sticks to the pan and becomes extra sticky and crunchy.

This was at the airport waiting for our flight. The golden bowl contains yook-hwae, raw beef. The side dishes were quite impressive.

You put the rice with the raw beef and veggies and mix them with the spicy chili paste. It's a type of bibimbap.

My mom got the galchi-jungshik. Jungshik means set in Korean. Galchi (hairtail) is that flat piece of fish.

My dish was the nuh-bi-a-ni jungshik. Nuh-bi-ani is a royal dish they used to eat inside the palace. It's a marinaded grilled meat dish that tastes similar to galbi.

This is only a fraction of what I ate! Thanks to my family for making sure I was happy and fed :) I really do live to eat.

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