Friday, August 31, 2007

the food experience in korea

we went to this sashimi restaurant right on the coast
for our final retreat meal. we entered and walked
downstairs into basically a huge aquarium. we sat on
the floor at long, low banquet-style tables and as we dined on
plates and plates of raw fish, we saw the fishies
swimming by us and looking out at us with their sweet
little fish eyes. it was too much for me. i had one
piece of sashimi and that was it. i ate my rice...and
pumpkin... and felt somewhat disturbed by the whole
situation. to top it off, the restaurant was
decorated with blinking xmas lights, garlands, fake
evergreen branches and big xmas bells hanging from the
florescent lights. i felt like i was in the strangest
see barbara below, ready to embark on the gigantic, steaming hot bowl of fish soup resting on the propane burner!! (the red stuff on top is red pepper paste - VERY, VERY spicy)
check out the little dishes of nibbles that were brought to the table right off the bat and continue to be refilled throughout the meal. one cannot go hungry in korea!
during our weekend retreat, we were taken out for very
high end, gourmet korean meals...all of these meals involved sitting cross-legged on the floor at a long, low tables with hundreds of tiny bowls and dishes of food! everyone shares
everything. no germ-phobia here. i have
yet to try the whole, crispy anchovies...or
the whole, giant sardine-like fishies in hot red
pepper paste. don't know if i'll ever get to those.
as far as traditional korean meals, i'm sticking to
the sesame leaves, bok choy, kim chi, pumpkin,
chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, whole raw garlic cloves,
noodles, and RICE. and as far as street food, i'm
loving the kimbap - which is basically a vegi sushi
roll....and dol sot bibimbap - which is a big HOT bowl of
veggies, rice and a raw egg cracked on top which as it
is stirred in it fully cooks (thank god, those of you
who know me, know how i feel about RUNNY egg!).
and there is no dessert to speak of here after meals.
one is served a plate of fruit or a sweet chilled
cinnamon, brown sugar drink with floating pinenuts that aids digestion. it is actually quite
good, but needless to say i had to run down to the
family mart and pick up a pint of haagen daas for $8.
i was desperate.

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