Monday, April 30, 2012
Back in LA now. This dish is actually from a couple of months ago, so here it is now:-)It's a collaboration of Donabe Steamer, "Mushi Nabe", and Kyoto-style (shallow) classic donabe, "Kyoto Ame-yu".
I made lotus root & shrimp dumplings first. In a bowl, I mixed some grated lotus root, minced shrimp, shio-koji, and katakuriko (potato starch), and shaped the mixture into balls and steamed in Mushi Nabe.
Then, I made hot pot with sun-dried mushrooms, vegetables, and these steamed dumplings.
So wonderful. Wow, these dumplings were outstanding. I'm too tired today to write the full recipe, but I will try to do so sometime later.
Happy donabe life.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
We both gained so much weight in the past few days with all the delicious food in Seoul, so we decided to eat something light as our final meal. We walked to a local porridge restaurant for a quick brunch.
This place has been run by husband and wife owners for over 20 years. They make traditional Korean porridge dishes.
I ordered their signature abalone porridge. Very nice flavor, and it was almost healing. I enjoyed it very much.
In the final hour, we did a last-minute final shopping at the gourmet floor of Lotte Department Store. So much fun.
In this trip, I had a new discovery and I drank it every day during my stay in Seoul…it’s Oksusu Suyeomcha. Oksusu (corn) tea is common is Korea, but instead of corn kernels, corn silk (hair) is infused in this tea. It’s supposed to have even better health benefits than regular corn tea, and you can find it in plastic bottle at any convenient stores. The flavor has real deep corn flavor, and I got totally hooked by it! During this trip, I bought Oksusu Suyeomcha every day. I wish I could buy it in Tokyo or LA, too.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
It was already our last evening in Seoul in this trip. For our final evening, we took a subway down to Noryangjin to visit Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market. The market was only a few minutes walk from the station. My jaw dropped when I came down the stairs to see the huge market with dozens and dozens of seafood vendors…it was such a dynamic view!
There are about 700 vendors and 3,500 people work in this gigantic space. We started walking and got so excited to see so many fresh live seafood everywhere. It seemed few tourists come to this market, so it was hard to find vendors who can talk either Japanese or English.
This market is open for both wholesale and public. There are also restaurants inside, where you can take your purchases and have them cooked to dine there. So, we wanted to by different kinds of seafood to take to a restaurant.
From one vendor, we found a small-size live hirame fish, so we bought it and asked to make it into sashimi (the whole fish was only 20,000 won – about $18!). From another vendor just across from him, we also picked up jumbo shrimp, abalone, and clams (all alive, too).
But, we were not brave-enough to pick up these guys… So, later I found out these unique-looking creatures are called “gaebul” in Korean, and they are a type of warms live in the ocean or in the sand. The translation of “gaebul” is “dog testicle”! No wonder, why those vendors were giggling when I asked them what they were. Korean people normally slice it and serve sashimi-style with kochujang. Next time, if someone serves me, I would like to try.
Our purchases were handed to an employee of a restaurant just by those vendors, and we were taken to the restaurant. We were not sure of all the rules/ procedures, so we just let ourselves follow the flow of whatever happened!
Just upstairs of the market outside, there was the restaurant. It looked quite from outside. But, once we entered, the restaurant was packed with all the people and it was so noisy! Wow, this place was so lively.
We ordered a bottle of makgeolli, and started our sashimi appetizer. It was obviously so fresh and pure…the fish was alive just several minutes ago! Abalone was served sashimi-style, too (with its guts). Shrimp was grilled with salt, and the clams were boiled, although I tried to ask our waiter to use the clams in jjigae. They all tasted great!
With the carcasses of the hirame, jjigae hot pot was made and brought to the table. We started cooking it on the over-used beaten-up table-top burner. How fun! Since we still had a good amount of leftover hirame sashimi, we added them to the hot pot, too.
Woooow…deep amazing flavor! We were just moaning over this rich broth. To finish, we ordered a bowl of rice and made our own “shime” ojiya (soupy risotto). We moaned even deeper…so good.
For the entire evening, the restaurant remained to be super busy and loud. Everybody looked so happy and also drunk! Korean people love to drink…many empty soju bottles at every table. My kind of people. We saw no non-Asian people in the entire night, and also it seemed like we were the only tourists in the entire restaurant or the market. All the others looked to be local Korean people. So it was definitely an adventurous night for us to put ourselves in such a hard-core local place. We loved it so much and we definitely want to come back here next time.
Monday, April 23, 2012
We took a subway line to go over the river to Apgujeong-dong district, which is a trendy fashon and shopping area in Gangnam district of Seoul. Just a short walk from the subway exit, there was Sawore, which is a very popular restaurant among locals. Their specialty is “boribap” which is steamed barley. In Seoul, I heard that more people are into healthy organic food with a lot of vegetables. The word “well-being” is even a buzz word there now. So, this traditional and rather humble boribap dish has become a new fashion among new generations in Seoul.
We both ordered their most popular Gondrae Boribap lunch set. We also ordered one seafood pancake. Everything arrived all at once and our table was filled with so many colorful dishes. Boribap lunch set is completely vegan, so only the pancake was non vegetarian. They also have meat and fish items in the menu.
It was one of the best Korean pancakes I’d had. I loved the fact that there were more vegetables than flour in it, and it tasted really fresh and fluffy. Array of banchan (small dishes) were all fresh and tasty, too.
Boribap came with pretty leaf vegetables on top. A plate of toppinggs was served separately, so I put them over the rice with some kochujang and mixed to make my own bibimbab. The set also came with doenjang jjigae (Korean miso soup).
At the end, another dish was brought to our table (also included in a set). It was boribap in broth.
Everything tasted really great, and I totally enjoyed such a nutritious high-quality meal for my “well-being”! The restaurant was so packed with seemingly all local people. There was a huge wait line which stretched to outside of the restaurant. Wow, this place must be really popular. The set was only 9,000 won (about $8)…how do they do that? I think if this restaurant opens in LA, it would become a huge hit, even at a double price for the set menu.
After lunch, we walked in the neighbor area for some nice shopping.