September 3, 2003

Korean Food: First Time

I've been remiss. A couple weeks ago, Michael took me out to try a Korean restaurant. The place is called simply: Korea and Japan, and serves traditional dishes from both cuisines.

I ordered Bul-Go-Gi, which was described in the menu as thin sliced barbecued beef with special house sauce. I rather thought it would be a safe place to start, and expected it to be somehow similar to other Asian barbecued dishes. However, I had to admit that its taste was entirely unique. I quite enjoyed it. Not to be entirely safe, I also decided to try an appetizer, which I believe was on the specials list: the basic description amounted to cold squid noodles. It was, um...interesting, and I felt adventurous for having tried it.

Michael had Stone-Bowl Bi-Bim-Bob, a mix of rice, vegetables, and (I think) beef in a spicy sauce that's served in a flaming hot stone bowl. When the dish is received (with a raw egg on top), the customer stirs it to combine the ingredients. The food is bound together as the egg cooks - yep, that's how hot the stone is. The excitement is listening to the rice crackle as it roasts when hitting the side of the bowl. I got a taste, and I again, despite having eaten many other varieties of Asian food, had a singular, and yummy, experience.

As for ambiance....well, the restaurant is in a strip mall, and from the outside, it doesn't look like much. The interior, though, is very cosy and neatly decorated. I'd definitely go there again.

Posted by Jennifer at September 3, 2003 10:38 AM

The best little places can be found in strip malls. There used to be a traditional Hungarian place in a tiny storefront in Milford, where my mom lives. It's gone now, but it was great.

I want to try the squid noodles! I love squid.

Posted by: jenn at September 3, 2003 10:47 PM

Keep trying Korean food, it's really fantastic. Bulgogi varies from place to place, largely I think depending on the quality of the meat used to prepare it. You might also try Kal-bi, which is similar to bulgogi, but which uses short ribs cut along the length of the rib into thin slices.

Dol Sot Bibimbop is one of my favorite lunch dishes; it sounds like what you guys had. It's a superheated stone bowl, filled with rice, then topped with lightly cooked vegetables (zucchini, carrot, mung bean sprouts - at least where I've had it) and then minced beef and an egg. I used to eat it bit by bit, but then the hostess at the restaurant I go to showed me how to do it. Like you say, you mix everything together. She says the best part is the crunchy rice that forms on the bottom of the bowl. Good stuff when you add the chile-bean paste sauce.

Posted by: Robert at September 4, 2003 11:00 PM
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