Sunday, November 02, 2008

Arirang My Be-eell-eels, Arirang My Bells!

i don't understand why i kept asking the waitress for the name of the dish i was munching on even though i know i won't be able to memorize any of it. you see, my right hand is busy clutching the stainless steel chopsticks and picking up pieces of meat, garlic, kimchi, bean paste, onions and stuffing them inside a lettuce leaf that i held in my left hand. by the time i'm done stuffing the lettuce it resembled a small-sized fist.



to my discomfiture, mr. park (i know, almost half the korean population is named mr. park) kept on insisting that i stuff the whole thing in my mouth as he noisily slurped up his noodles. dyos mio. kahit si darna hindi kakayanin eto! (click on read.more for more pictures and korean gastronomic adventures)

oh... very nice very nice! put more, more! very good for digestion! kim young sil (yes, the remaining population is named kim) coached me in the art of choosing which kimchi compliment each other. except that the often time chili-li-hot-hot kimchi can cause IN-digestion or aggravate your almoranas.

young sil educated me in the art of chopstick hygiene, insisting that stainless chopsticks are much more sanitary as they can be wiped down with alcohol or cleaned with detergent. plastic gets melted when you try to pick up barbecued meats off the flaming grill and wood absorbs the detergent or food sauce. i didn't bother arguing the point that the only wooden chopsticks i use are the disposable ones that almost always don't split in half, leaving you to do a sort of pick-up sticks game with your food. besides, my teeth hurt when i try to bite into my steel chopsticks. a habit that i have when am choosing which food to go for next.

as for korean cuisine, it's all about kimchi. i mean we had more than nine kinds of kimchi (fermented vegetables and meats in chili, vinegar, salt, and baechu spices) that got laid out on our table. seaweed, octopus, potatoes, radish, lettuce, leeks eeeeks and eeeews are just some of the kimchi samplers. but kimchi really is just an extender of the meal. noodle and soup are usual staples as well as rice (though surprisingly, the meal we had didn't have any rice served).


more importantly, koreans are fond of barbecues but their method usually have an open mesh on top of a flame where you throw in assorted meats. aside from the well seasoned and flavored pork barbeque, they ordered pork cutlets that looked like medallions laid flat on an iron skillet that's tilted ever so lightly to let the fat drip into a small dish. these are the assortment of meats that one stuffs inside the lettuce leaf together with the chili bean paste, garlic bits, green chili, onions and kimchi-one-to-a-million.


despite our hearty refusal to order more food (actually, i was on the verge of getting violent) mr. park ordered this curiously black noodle dish that looked suspiciously like spaghetti and topped with onions stewed in oyster sauce, soy sauce and garnished with potato chunks and bits of pork. korean pasta negra. i was hoping that the black color is not a result of anything burning.


i was expecting to sample some jhamphong (not the lucky me version) and bulgogi - korean dishes that very well define the pinoy idea of korean food. in the end though, it was good that we didn't get these dishes as it allowed me to explore other treats.

if you get over the fact that i am just kidding, the food is a real interesting array of texture, flavors and rituals that is the usual characteristic of asiatic dining. i am not sure i'd willingly head back to a korean restaurant, but at least this gives me a good appreciation of our friendly korean colleagues :)


Arira
Corner Banilad Road,
A.S. Fortuna St.Mandaue

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if you have to order korean, try the bibimbap. guaranteed great korean dish.

- mr. park

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