Sunday, October 16, 2011

Food from Gyeongju

It has been a long time, no?

We spent our summer in Seoul and despite my physical limitations, we were somehow able to travel to Busan, Gyeongju, and Andong.  While in Gyeongju we didn’t book a hotel beforehand and ended up staying at a really dilapidated, stinky, gross hotel.  I didn’t even want to dare try the food, so I made the MR drive us out onto a row of restaurants that we had passed by earlier in the day.

This restaurant was just about to close their doors, but the owner must have seen the desperation on our faces because she turned the lights back on and told us to come on in.  THANK GOODNESS. Honestly, looks can be so deceiving.  As we sat down to eat, I couldn’t help but notice the old, rickety windows, the wallpaper coming apart at the seams, the stains on the floors and tables and the tiny, gnat-like bugs flying overhead.  I was almost about to suggest to my family that maybe we should leave and find someplace else but the graciousness of our host was too much to turn down so we sat and ordered the chicken soo-yook, and two kalgooksoos.

 

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While we were waiting, the owner came by and gave us our first course, mook moochim – on the house.  She told us that the mook was made by her and even the vegetables were grown right outside in the backyard.  It was absolutely perfect!  I’ve never tasted mook so good.  It was the perfect texture and our hungry stomachs were so grateful.

 

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My little brother had never tried dong-dong-joo before so we ordered this for him.  This was also made at the restaurant.  Dong-dong joo leaves a nasty hangover and the taste really takes getting used to.  Needless to say, no one finished it and this whole thing was pretty much left over.  =P  Twenty-one years old – we are no longer…

 

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The kalgooksoo came out and it was SUPERB!  The broth was made of chicken, but you couldn’t smell any of the meatiness (which sometimes gives me a headache) and the noodles were also homemade and just really chewy and delicious.  We were in foodie heaven.

 

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After being so thoroughly impressed with the food, we decided to go ahead and order some potato jun (which I will post a recipe of one day).  Once again, everything was homemade and this was perhaps the best potato jun I’ve eaten in my life.  It was even better than my current favorite – Gobawoo.

 

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And finally, the main course came out.  It was chicken soo-yook (basically chicken soup) made of an organic chicken.  I’m not sure if you’ve tried Korean-style organic chicken soup but usually the meat is very gamey and has a distinct odor to it.  That was not the case at all with this soup!  My husband – known for NOT liking chicken, devoured this and ate second and thirds.  In the middle of the meal Munchkin loudly declared, “This is the BEST chicken I ever ate!”  It really was GREAT.

 


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Garlic jjang-ah-chi.  Also homemade and delicious.

 

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The sticky rice which consists of chestnuts, red beans, and other types of beans.  It is a perfect accompaniment to the chicken.

 

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Cucumber salad – Korean style.  Fresh, crispy, and all home grown.

 

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This was the aftermath of our meal.  Four adults and one child.  It’s almost embarrassing how much we ate.  =P

 

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On the way out the owner pointed to the side and I saw her stash of ingredients.  The picture on the left is where they make all their dwen jang, gochu jang, soy sauce, etc.  I took a picture of the restaurant door since it was too dark outside to get a decent picture of the restaurant.  I hope we have the opportunity to visit this place again in the future. 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

So that was ONE highlight of our trip to Korea this summer.  There were many other highlights but I’ll save them for a later post. 

We are now back home and Munchkin has entered the first grade.  He is growing leaps and bounds and the maturity he has shown in these last couple of months is astounding.  He is bringing home excellent grades and is adjusting well to a new classroom, teacher and new friends.  I’m so thankful that I have a loud, bubbly, energetic, fear-no-one, I’ll-try-anything-once type of kid. 

He recently asked me, “Mommy, can I go sky diving?”

“I think you’re a bit too young for that baby.” I replied.

“No!  I can be attached to your chest and go with you,” he countered.  Allrighty then. 

That’s the kind of kid I have.  =P 

18 comments:

  1. I am so glad you went to Korea and made memories with your family. I even more glad you are sharing them with me.

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  2. that mean sounds unbelievable!!! Thanks for sharing - it's always the hole in the walls type places that have the best food! :) Keep the posts coming!

    Claire

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  3. oops meant to say that meal (not mean)

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  4. Welcome back! What a great story! I love when you find delicious gems in the most unexpected places! And it made my heart warm to hear how the shop owners stayed opened for you!

    I discovered your blog while looking for great Korean recipes a few months back ... and I'm in LOVE! Thanks for sharing such great recipes!

    Sending you good thoughts for a speedy recovery! Looking forward to hearing more about your culinary adventures!

    Hirono

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  5. Sounds like you had a great time in Korea!!! We have missed you and I've thought of you often these past couple of days. Hope all is well with you. I can NOT believe munchkin is in 1st grade already...remember the days of their babyhood and now our kids are all so GROWN UP! :( xoxoxo

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  6. That mook moochim looks amazing, as does the potato jun!

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  7. I think the korean cuisine is very interesting! Beautiful images!

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  8. Hello, readers

    I've stopped by to let people know about an exciting competition run by Koreataste.org. They are giving away great gifts in October and November so join the site to win $1000 worth of prizes. http://www.koreataste.org/forums/topic.php?id=589&replies=4#post-1251

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  9. Really interested in your blog! I love all the dishes here. So yummy!

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  10. wow all of this looks so incredibly delicious. the chicken soup, divine. That rice...omg, never seen anything like it. It looks like really great dduhk. And the color of that mook and the greens look so fresh. And yumm potato jun...Must track this restaurant down when I'm in Korea.
    And Munchkin sounds like an awesome kid! you should totally take him skydiving ;p
    such a great post!! I can't believe you traveled to all those places. truly amazing~~~
    xoxo

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  11. I like to try the potato jun. Never tried it!

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  12. discovering Korean foods / blogs :)
    from Turkey
    hugs

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  13. omg these look so yummy! Glad your back and resting/healing/living life. I can't wait for you to be back to cooking again!

    You are amazeballs!

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  14. hello!

    nice blog, it has helped me with my cooking a lot, thank you!

    ... and yes, f**k cancer.


    Greetings from Germany by a 2nd generation Korean.

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  15. love your entries! please make a cookbook! :)

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  16. Sometimes it is better just to spend the time with your family than to blog. I love reading what you post but family always comes first. :) I' am glad you had a wonderful trip. :)

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  17. Good food brings people together. Finger food is best suited for all occasions, it is light and people love eating it.

    zonia

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  18. Omg! these look so yummy…glad your back and resting,healing and living life. I can't wait to be back to cooking again. Keep posting!

    zonia

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