Making every bite count

13 February 2007

Mmm, Korean food

On a cold, slushy night like this one, Korean food is perfect. Kristin, her man friend and I headed to Riverside tonight after I got done at the Big E. He's going to Korea in a month, so he wanted the low-down on life as an ESL teacher and he'd never had Korean food.
Kristin, who's newer to Cinci that I am, had been there. Surprisingly, she stopped there once when she didn't want to go home for her dinner break.
I had dolsot bibimbap, like a Korean salad in a giant stone pot. They put a sunny-side up egg on top, and you mix in kochu jang (hot pepper paste) and stir the whole thing up. The rice on the bottom gets crispy and delicious! Yum!
Riverside serves traditional ban-chan (side dishes) with each meal -- nine of them. Tonight: kimchi, spicy spinach, sesame spinach, spicy radish, mushrooms, cucumber-crab salad, spicy cucumbers, sweet potatoes and something else. I can cook Korean fairly well, but the side dishes are tough. I never make more than one or two... it's such a treat to get so many at once.
Greg, Kristin's boy toy, wanted to try soju, the traditional Korean liquor. At $16 (instead of $2 or less at restaurants in Korea), we opted against a bottle of it.
We used to buy bottles and bottles of the stuff (at 88 cents each in the store), along with random juices and sodas and mix it all up in a five-gallon bucket at Monique's house. We'd usually party till well past dawn, and Shan and I'd spend the entire next day recovering at Monique and Jen's apartment. Soju is wicked, wicked stuff. Even a sip of it makes me sick now.
When I dated Joon-Hui, I learned to drink it like Korean men did: at room temperature and in shots, bottle after bottle. One night we went out for sushi and had three bottles. Ugh. That's when I stopped trying to keep up with locals. (After, I just tried to keep up with the expats, which proved dangerous enough to my liver!)
So, kids, beware the soju. It's potent stuff.
Sunday I went to Wild Oats to get some spices and soymilk. Random, but c'est moi. I bought turmeric, curry and garam masala. I mixed a teaspoon each of those, along with two cloves of garlic and some cumin and added it to the inside of a spaghetti squash. Yum. A quick, easy lunch for a few days.
My diet right now, if not my life and this entry, is spicy.

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