Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My love affair with Sundae (not ice cream)

I'm going to be completely honest with you (if only for a moment): Korean food, in general, is a repetition of a few ingredients done in a few different ways. This isn't to say that it's bad, but with so few ingredients there are very few original ideas coming out of the Korean kitchen that don't incorporate foreign ingredients.

On days when I feel put off by the tart flavor of Deonjang (된장) or have had enough of rice and kimchi, I often stroll the carts lining most every street in search of my favorite guilty pleasure -- Sundae (순대). Sundae is only strange if you don't realize that every culture has it's own blood sausage. The English have black pudding, Americans eat hot dogs (the epitome of mystery meat). The only real difference is the flavor. Korean Sundae is peppery with a very meaty quality reminiscent of taking a bite out of a living Buffalo.

My absolute favorite way to enjoy Sundae is on a griddle with noodles, cabbage and liver. The Sundae becomes crisp and charred, as do the other ingredients. There's nothing like walking out of a restaurant having gorged yourself on the blood of an animal. It's rather manly (but using the word 'rather' is not). 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Burger B great, chocolate b good.

Finding a good burger in Seoul is kind of difficult. I've been to a few of the recommended places, mostly all located in Itaewon, but I've always left with a kind of "meh" aftertaste. Either the patty isn't seasoned well enough or the bun just falls apart in your hands. It is with great pleasure that I announce the best burger in Seoul: Burger B in Hongdae.

On both trips to Burger B, I've been thrilled by the juiciness of the meat and the crisp vegetables. The Mushroom Burger (above) is served with whatever the hell those are, but they're not your typical white mushrooms. The Original BBB burger (below) has a "deluxe" patty, crispy toasted bun, and Tilamook cheddar cheese(!). Not to mention the fries, which are also crispy and fresh. It's in Hongdae, if you come out of Sangsu station and walk straight from exit three, it's on the left hand side.

After a burger, why not go get your chocolate on at Cacaoboom? Further down from Burger B, nestled in an alleyway that seems to have a surplus of cute cafes and chocolatiers, this small artsy shop is home to one of the most comforting deserts ever, the "chocolate bed."

Basically a slice of extra-thick, buttery and crunchy toast, slivered almonds, creamy chocolate that might've been a very rich pudding and a cold glass of milk, all for 6,000 won. I can imagine this being even better on a hot summer day, but even on one of the colder Spring days it felt like home (if my home was made of all things right with this world).

Cacaoboom is probably one of many chocolate shops in the area, but from what I've experienced here -- including the small piece of chocolate they gave complimentary that tasted like cinnamon and nutmeg -- they are top notch chocolate craftsmen and women. They also have chocolate fish, which I think are just fantastic. Who ever heard of a chocolate fish? Not this guy! Ha ha.

Note: I flipped the image horizontally.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chicken? In my neighborhood? Get outta here!

No really, get out. Your sweet smell is enticing me to eat you, and as you know I cannot. My Oriental Medicine practitioner has forbidden me. But if it's mind over matter, I'm screwed.

This post isn't even about that chicken, because I have no pictures. I do have pictures of the sesame chicken I made the other night, though.

Not a bad thing, Korean fried chicken. In fact, it's delicious. However, like most fried chicken, it's probably not so good for you. This was pretty simple.

I'm going to start writing about the restaurants I go to. I for whatever reason have neglected writing in general and so whoop here it is.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oyster Po' Boy and more hot plate loving.

I've been a big supporter of the Robot Loving Act of 2029 since its inception in 2029. From my perspective, a robot should be used only in construction, in computing, and also for terrifying Paulie. It's a good thing, then, that my hot plate is not a robot, but a simple machine dedicated to serve only one purpose: to produce heat energy in order to fry the hell out of whatever is sitting on top of it. Because if it was a robot, I may have made a pass at it by now. I may have already made a pass at it. I'm not sure.

Tonight, in my never ending quest to discover just what I can do with a hot plate (besides sexually assault it), I wanted to find out if it can sustain ample heat to fry up some oysters. I believe, having eaten the results, that it can.

These oysters were 2,500 won ($2.00) from the E-Mart. After snipping the tip off of the plastic sleeve they came in, the fresh scent of the salty sea filled the room. It's such a fresh smell and probably my favorite smell of any food item. It immediately turns a dank dungeon-like kitchen in to a dank dungeon-like kitchen under the sea, which I'm told adds a magical charm or something.

For this recipe, I adapted a traditional fried oyster recipe to suit what I had on hand.

To fry the oysters, you will need:

1 sleeve of oysters (about 10 - 12)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp kochu flakes  (hot pepper flakes)
1 egg
1 tsp water
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
oil for frying

Mix the milk, kochu, egg and water together and whisk. Add the flour, bread crumbs, salt and pepper together and mix. Heat the oil to around 360 degrees or until it's hot enough (I have no thermometer, so I just threw them in when it was "hot enough", which is a technical term). Fry for three minutes in batches of four or five.

Remoulade sauce (very much an invention of what I had on hand, not very traditional)

1/4 cup mayo
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp kochu flakes
1 tbs pickle relish

Spread the sauce over a sliced, six inch piece of baguette. I used a garlic baguette I got from Paris Baguette. Baguette. Add lettuce and the oysters. Eat. Enjoy.