Pictured above is a typical meal at a Korean restaurant that we got for less than $20 US. In terms of some of the other Korean cuisine we have tasted this past week, what we got this time was pretty tame. We had something the other day that was four different parts of a cow — stomach, liver, intestine, and lord only knows what that last one was — served raw and without seasoning. Could it get anymore primal? Anyways, this here is from a restaurant called World Duck in Gwangju, and I’ve tried to identify all the different components with numbers to give a better understanding of it all.
1. A very common spinach lookalike that I’m guessing grows everywhere. Served pickled and spicy.
2. Pickeled and hard boiled quail egg smothered in roasted jalapeno. Surprisingly good.
3. Jerkified minnow fish. These are as salty as they are popular and go well with beer. The texture is a little sharp and takes some getting used to.
4. Grass clippings with bean dip and sesame seeds.
5. Roasted garlic cloves, eaten straight up. Bad breath is of no consequence.
6. Unknown sauce that didn’t pair well with anything.
7. Pickled onion maybe? I wasn’t a fan on this one
8. Fresh sliced garlic.
9. Bean dip. Delicious.
10. Mustard. Boring.
11. Kimchi (fermented cabbage), and there are many different kinds. Six out of eight students in my class said it was their favorite food. It tastes rotten to me, but I still eat it because its fucking everywhere.
12. Peanuts in a vegetable oil that taste like… um… peanuts in vegetable oil.
13. An unknown pickled pancake substance. I might have enjoyed it more if I knew what it was.
14. The MAIN COURSE!! Sliced duck. Most Korean restaurants have a gas or charcoal burner built right into the table, so the meal is actually cooked by you. Hence, the need for all those side dishes to keep you occupied while your meat cooks.
15. Lettuce / Sesame Leaf / Jalapeno pepers. Place the sesame and lettuce leaf on top of one another and pack it with the fresh cooked meat. Slap on some bean dip and roll it all up like a fat doob before stuffing the whole wad in your mouth. Don’t be afraid to combine different elements from the side dishes with your main course!