Friday, March 26, 2010

Harkening Korea - The Food

I have a very low tolerance for picky eaters.

I'll be honest and truthful here - I judge. I know it's not right, but I cain't help myself.

We have an ironclad rule in this house - you have to try one bite. Unless you're Daddy and we're serving peas or other various lentils.

Every house needs one double-standard.

I have had Korean food locally and it's darn good. It's vegetabley and tangy with a kick in the pants, to boot.

Plus, jeez Louise, it's always served atop white rice. Name a person who abhors white rice and I'll call you a fibber right to your face.

So I was honestly excited for this new, authentic, culinary adventure.

I was positive that I would return home whistling Dixie about my love for Korean food. I felt a little prematurely smug about it all.

Emphasis on "premature".

In the end, it just didn't do much for me.

Call me a fool, I prefer my Dunkin' Donuts sans curried lentils.

What we noticed most distinctly was that every restaurant appeared to serve the exact same things. Granted, our understanding of the menu was limited to sporadic photos and limited broken-English phrases, but there did not appear to be a great deal of variety.

All of that being said, the food was certainly edible. We did our best to remain true to the Korean way. We ate in divey basement-level haunts and for the most part, we cleaned our plates.

We did not clean the seaweed soup bowl, but we're not here tonight to talk about bowls.

I'd like to introduce you now to my trusty friend, Bibimbap. It's not that there's anything wrong with her, she's just lacks pizazz. She's a little bland. She, like all of 'em, are served with a red hot pepper paste, which adds more heat than flavor. And still, bland, I tell you. Bland.

(I know you're probably thinking that the above picture looks good and I will say, it was the best Bibimbap go-round of the entire trip. But still, it was, well, you know.)

Then there was the whole issue of the chopsticks.

I truly do not know the affliction that makes it impossible for me to complete tasks thwhich require a bare minimum of coordination. I cannot roller skate. I cannot do a proper cartwheel. I surely to goodness cannot eat with chopsticks.

Only trouble is, there was no alternative. So I embraced the challenge and provided Cory with hours of dining entertainment. He'd pull up his chair, grab a bowl of bland, and taunt me with his mad chopsticks skills.

Spicy seafood stew, anyone? It'll put hair on your chest.

On our last night in the city, we walked a few blocks down so I could buy my last cup of beloved Orange Citron tea, then we bought a bag of miniature, nut-shaped cakes from this street vendor. They were like tiny, piping-hot cupcakes without the frosting, which may not sound too fantastic, but to us, on that night, they were a perfect last hurrah.