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My love of a country’s cuisine often determines my love for the country. And let me tell you… I’m lovin’ me some South Korea. I arrived in Korea with very limited experience with the cuisine. I had only been to a Korean BBQ once in my life, and while the experience of cooking meat at the table was quite unique, the flavors of the vegetables and sauces that exploded in my mouth were just too foreign to me.
Hence, it took me awhile to get into the Korean food in Korea. I spent the first couple of days in Daegu, South Korea eating “very” American things- fried chicken, McDonald’s, sandwiches. I had to put a stop to this soon because I was not going to return back Korea, having not experienced this wonderful diverse, healthy cuisine. Eventually, I fell in love with Bibimbap and all its vegetables, ate a nice share of fried chicken, and spent hours in Korean BBQ’s.
Along the way I took a TON of pictures. Welcome to my South Korea Foodamentary.
My introduction to Asian cuisine on my trip started with Japan Airlines. I was served the Bento box above on a 1 hour and 45 minute flight from Tokyo to Seoul. I think they called the rice mixture on the left Bibimbap…
My friend Gary and I had this fried chicken on the first day of the World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea. The women’s marathon had just finished and after a half of day without food I was ‘starvin like marvin’. I remember walking up a hill and telling my friend…I gotta eat!!! Eating this meal was my first experience with Chicken & Hof (beer joints) in South Korea. The actual chicken was amazing. It kinda reminded me of Popeyes chicken because it was so crispy and flaky. I swear after we ordered it the manager dumped some chicken in the fryer, essentially double frying it! I also learned that an eight piece in Korea is NOT an eight piece in America. The chicken pieces were cut much smaller than the “natural” pieces in the U.S. In the end, I must have paid $16 for my share of an “eight” piece and one beer. EXPENSIVE!!!
One day in Daegu, Korea I had a strong craving for anything similar to an American breakfast.I figured I could get something at a cafe. The city of Daegu, South Korea seemed to be full of cafes everywhere. There were so many cafe chains that Starbucks wasn’t even the best. My personal favorite in the entire country was a chain called Davinci Coffee. When I went to the cafe, I noticed that they were advertising this big fat piece of… bread? They had garlic “toast”, ice cream “toast” and my personal favorite and that above – honey toast. I ate a buttered three inch thick piece of toast with honey and whip cream. The stuff was so good that I ordered another one! Can someone explain to me the origin of toast? Because where in American can you find toast this thick?
TIME FOR SOME KOREAN FOOD!!!!!
Okay…noticing that I was not eating enough Korean food, I made a decision to eat more Korean food at midnight one week into my Korean trip. Where can you get Korean food at midnight in Daegu, South Korea? Kim Pasa! Kim Pasa is a 24 hour chain of cheap Korean food that on average costs about $3. Below are a couple of things that I ate at Kim Pasa, my introduction to Korean food.
After a full night of partying a friend and I stopped into Kim Pasa. I would describe the dish above as a “pimped” out spicy “cup o’ noodles.” In addition to the ramen noodles and spicy sauce, it had scallions, cabbage and a lil’ bit of meat. They went perfect with the kimchee below and prevented me from having a hangover the next day.
After eating at Kim Pasa, I was bold enough to try anything!! I even picked up this unidentifiable object from the concession stand at the track stadium.
After tweeting out a picture, a friend told me it was dried squid. I was able to eat about three bites but it wasn’t quite my thing. Perhaps I should have bought this:
For the equivalent of a $1.60, I could have bought this chicken leg from the corner store!
In Part II of my Korean Foodamentary, I’ll tell you about my incredible lunch at a Buddhist temple!