I’m coming up on the 9 month mark here in Korea. Life here has gotten really normal and routine these days. I think I’ve settled in really well, almost to the point where I’m starting to get a little bored. This week I haven’t had to teach at all because of a big test that the students have today. I keep telling myself I should update this, but I haven’t had any motivation because not much has happened lately. I did decide that I’m going to renew my contract and stay another year. I’ll get to come home sometime in January or February for a nice long visit though, so I’m really looking forward to that. All I can think about is all the food I’m going to eat when I get back to Texas. So, I decided I wanted to write a post about all my favorite foods here in Korea to remind myself how great it is here!
First: Dakgalbi – There are different variations of this dish, but the one I like the best is with chicken marinated in chili paste. It comes out with vegetables (mainly cabbage), and you cook it at the table in a huge pan. You can also add in different things like noodles and rice cakes. I usually order it with ramen and cheese. You can get different spice levels, but even the basic one is still really spicy. I love it!
Samgyupsal – This is pork belly that you cook at the table on a grill pan. My favorite restaurant near my apartment has all different types: pepper, herb, curry, wine, barbecue etc. It comes out raw looking like really thick pieces of bacon. You let it brown on both sides and then then cut it up before letting it get crispy. When it’s finished, you just grab some with your chopsticks and eat it, or put a few pieces in a leaf of lettuce with onion, garlic, and bean paste. I love making the little lettuce wraps. So delicious!
Jajangmyeon – This is one of the Korean-Chinese food dishes. Basically, it’s noodles, with a sweet/tangy black bean sauce with some vegetables.
Shabu shabu – This isn’t really Korean, but it’s very popular here and I didn’t even know it existed until I came here. But, it’s one of my favorite things to eat in Korea so I have to include it. Again, there’s different meats you can use, but I like getting the beef. It comes with a huge plate of raw vegetables and different types of sauce. You also get a bunch of pieces of dried rice paper. In the middle of the table there’s a pot with boiling broth. You add in the meat and whatever veggies you want and let it cook. The thin beef cooks really fast. Once the meat has cooked you can start eating. First, you get a piece of the rice paper and soak it in hot water. Once it’s completely soaked, you take it out and lay it out on a plate. Then, you grab some meat from the pot with your chop sticks and put it in the middle of the paper. Add some cooked and raw veggies and sauce. Then, you roll it all together to make a spring roll type thing. After all the meat is cooked they bring out noodles to soak up the leftover broth. After you eat those, they bring out rice that soaks up anything left behind and it ends up being a rice porridge after it cooks for awhile. So, you get a delicious and filling three course meal for super cheap (11,000won or about $9).