A Happy Accident: Jeyuk 제육볶음

Jeyuk

Time to wipe the cobwebs off my blog and start writing again. It’s been a while. How one maintains a travel blog after years of travel comes to a halt has floated in and out of my mind lately, but I’m not going to dwell on it too much and just see where things go. 

Last weekend we were supposed to have a potluck dinner with our friends and I was going to make “Korean Pork Bulgogi Baozi” from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Baozi or bao is more of a Chinese dim sum dish and I was intrigued by the title of the recipe. Bulgogi in my experience is usually a beef dish served over rice. I didn’t realize until I started cooking that I was most definitely not making bulgogi, but jeyuk -something I haven’t eaten since living in Seoul. Read more

Making Dak Galbi in the USA

dak galbi

If you follow my blog, then you know I think dak galbi is the most fantastic Korean dish EVER. I love it.

I love it so much in fact, that I’ve written about why it’s my favorite, the time we drove to another city just to eat dalk galbi in its hometown, and feasting on dak galbi in Los Angeles.  That’s three posts all devoted to one dish… and here’s a fourth.

I’ve finally tried to make dak galbi at home in the US and I was successful! There were only two small flaws in my cooking experience. The first is that I didn’t get ddeok because I couldn’t find it at the Asian grocery stores nearby. I plan on making it from scratch sometime, but that will have to wait for a different day. The second issue was that we didn’t have a dak galbi pan. Usually, dak galbi is cooked on a large flat pan in the middle of a table at a restaurant. We are fairly limited right now in our cooking equipment so I did it in a deep wok. This certainly cooked everything, but I didn’t get crispy bits like I would have had I used a flat shallow dak galbi pan.

For those of you interested in making awesome dak galbi at home, here’s a recipe I created from about seven different recipes I found online. I made this for just Dave and myself. I had one serving for dinner, Dave had two. Then we had some leftovers for lunch the next day. I would say it serves four if you aren’t feeding really hungry men.

Here’s my recipe for dak galbi! Read more

Dining on Dak Galbi – Stateside

dak galbi

What’s my favorite Korean dish? Dak galbi. Dak galbi. DAK GALBI! 

Yes, I might be a little over enthusiastic, but it’s seriously delicious. If you haven’t tried it, then you can’t judge. I love the occasional daeji galbi, but I consider that a once every two weeks kind of dish. Bulgogi is fantastic also, but doesn’t possess that special something that entices and excites me like dak galbi does. It’s a little more run-of-the-mill. Now dak galbi on the other hand, is just down right delicious, exciting and addictive. Read more

Noodle Panic

pad thai noodle panic

Noodle Panic [nood-l pan-ik]

noun

A sudden overwhelming fear or anxiety that emerges right before one leaves Thailand due to the belief that such delicious dishes might not be had again for a very long time. This results in behavior that includes irrational purchasing of any and all food that passes by or that the sufferer comes across. When such attacks of Noodle Panic arise, it is best for the sufferer to be supervised by a loved one and for their wallet to be looked after. Symptoms include: an inability to keep conversation, darting eyes, perspiration, shortness of breath, a slight dizzy feeling, trembling, and the desire to spend an unlimited amount of money on food.

Origin: The first case was diagnosed on a night train on February 12, 2012 by David Domagalski. While attempting to play cards, his usually sane girlfriend, was overcome with anxiety due to the fact that she was unsure when she would ever eat such delicious Thai food in Thailand again. This resulted in a very distracted card game as countless vendors walked the train car aisle selling noodles, snacks, and beverages. Despite her lack of hunger due to an impulsive Pad Siew purchase earlier that day, she repeatedly asked David if she should buy things, to which he smartly replied no. If the person suffering from a Noodle Panic attack is encouraged, an entire budget can be blown and more food than they can eat will be bought.

A Seoul Kitchen: Cooking in Korea

This is my first time living abroad with a kitchen. I’m thankful for what we have, but it is still a challenge. I’ve only had one good kitchen in my renting history. I dream of the day when I have a nice oven, a dishwasher, a nice stove top where four pots/pans can comfortably fit at once, and plenty of well lit counter space.

Cooking in Korea has proven to be a bit of a challenge. We are lucky to be one of the few apartments in our building with a full size refrigerator which we keep fully stocked. The rest of our kitchen though is the same as everyone else’s here. We have a large sink and two small pieces of counter space, a quarter of which is taken up by a dish drying rack.

We don’t have a dishwasher, which is no big surprise, but we both long for the day when we don’t have to spend a half hour or more a day washing dishes. Most of our kitchen storage is out of my reach, which means that before I begin a cooking endeavor I need Dave to get my ingredients and utensils down for me, so I don’t have to climb on the counter. All of this is a little inconvenient, but not necessarily challenging.

The challenging part is Read more

Road Trip! The Furthest I’ve Ever Traveled for a Single Meal

I’m not sure what the furthest or longest I’d ever traveled for a meal was before Saturday, but I know it wasn’t three hours one way. It’s monsoon season in Korea right now, which means the weather is muggy, hot, and rainy. The forecast for this past weekend did not look good, so we contemplated taking a two hour subway ride out of Seoul to the city of Chuncheon to eat dak galbi (click here if you don’t know what dalk galbi is). Chuncheon is where dak galbi originated and is supposed to have the best dak galbi restaurants in Korea. We’ve been wanting to go there for a long time since our absolute favorite dish is dak galbi, so we figured we should take a day trip there. Read more

The Infamous Mushroom Soup Restaurant

Neither Dave nor I are huge mushroom fans, so when we first arrived in Korea and were told that directly across the street from our apartment is an incredibly famous mushroom soup restaurant, we weren’t overcome with excitement. We watched the restaurant fill up night after night from our living room window. We weren’t gung-ho about giving it a try because of our lack of enthusiasm for mushrooms, but everyone raved about it so much and it was so close that we had to try it. Now it’s one of our favorite restaurants and staple foods in Korea. Read more

Making Hoddeok (Stuffed Pancakes)

Hoddeok

Hoddeok is one of the tastiest things I’ve had in Korea. This stuffed pancake is a great street-food to eat on a cold winter’s day. The dough can be sweet or savory and the filling is made from brown sugar and nuts. Beware fellow girls with long out-of-control hair: ONLY EAT HODDEOK IF YOUR HAIR IS UP! The filling tends to ooze out and before you know it, you will have hardened sugar clumps in your hair if you don’t pull it back. It happened to me on multiple occasions; don’t let it happen to you!

While Dave and I were grocery shopping a couple weeks ago, we came across a hoddeok mix. I was ecstatic because we love hoddeok and thought it would be nice to make it whenever we get a craving. Read more

Dak Galbi aka My Favorite Korean Dish

When I first visited Korea, a year and a half ago, I fell in love with a dish called dak galbi. The friends I was staying with were kind enough to let me drag them to eat it every few days. I was obsessed, and upon my return to Korea, the love I have for dak galbi has only gotten stronger. Dave is now equally as passionate about dak galbi as I am. I can’t imagine anyone not adoring it.

i love dak galbi
The red thing I am wearing is one of the very handy bibs they give you, so you don’t destroy your clothes with the spicy red sauce.

The restaurants that serve this dish are solely devoted to making dak galbi. The tables are equipped with a large round pan in the center and a gas burner underneath. The amount of table space you have is fairly limited and it is quite crowded if you go with more than three people, but certainly doable.

marinated dak galbi chicken
marinated chicken

Basic dak galbi consists of marinated chicken, cabbage, green onions, potatoes, onions, ddeok, and the special red spicy chili sauce they marinate the chicken in. Ddeok are known as “rice cakes” in English, but they aren’t the crispy cracker-like rice cakes you are probably thinking of. They are solid, glutinous, penne pasta shaped, flavorless by themselves, and made from rice. We always order ramen and extra ddeok to go in our dak galbi. There are different things you can add to your dak galbi order, such as cheese, but Dave and I like our typical order so much that we haven’t tried to mix it up yet.

dak galbi

dak galbi

Dak galbi is spicy, in fact it’s probably just on the verge of being too spicy for me. Because of this, it is imperative that you drink beer while you eat this dish. Water doesn’t neutralize the spiciness as well as beer does. If I didn’t drink beer while eating dak galbi, I probably would never finish the meal.

cass beer

dak galbiIf you are still hungry after you have finished the deliciousness in front of you, order some rice to soak up the yummy remnants stuck to the pan. The staff will scrape down the pan as they stir fry the rice with more spicy sauce. I’ve only been hungry enough at the end of dak galbi to do this once. Between the beer and the main course, I’m usually much too full to attempt to eat more. Dave and I haven’t been eating dak galbi every few days, but it’s definitely hard to get through the week without having it once. We’re addicted.

All done!