Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Welcome Change

My stomach and I have had a challenging relationship with Korean food. Armed with a plentiful supply of pepto bismol, we have tentatively tried a variety of dishes and the results are often just tolerable. Tolerable for my stomach. Tolerable for my palate. I am therefore delighted to report my love of dol-sot bi-bim-bap. I have probably eaten it 6 out of 7 days for the last month. Granted, this obsessive consumption is partly due to my lack of imagination. When it comes time to order lunch or dinner at work, I am always at a loss for what the options are and happily resort to dolsot bibimbap. The secretaries giggle and would probably roll their eyes if they weren’t so polite.

Bibimbap means “mixed rice” and dolsot means “stone pot”. Put it all together and you get a burn-your-fingers-it’s-hot! stone bowl filled with rice, an assortment of vegetables and topped off with an egg. You add a healthy dollop of gochujang (a spicy Korean condiment made from glutinous rice powder mixed with powdered fermented soybeans, red chili powder, and salt) and stir everything up. I deliberately leave a layer of rice on the bottom of bowl so that it gets crunchy by the time I finish eating everything else. It’s satisfying and healthy and I probably don’t tire of it because of its simplicity.

The Bibimbap progression:


The bibimbap looks carefully put together, with its neat sections of kim (dried seaweed), lettuce, carrots, zucchini, roots and sprouts. This restaurant is the only place that does the heart-shaped egg; some places will fry the egg and others might just crack a raw egg on top.



Gochujang


At first, I was not all that impressed by the resulting mixture. I'm sure I thought, "Oh please, are you kidding me? This is famous Korean food?!" But now I'm getting hungry just looking at the picture...

2 Comments:

Blogger AG said...

I have always really liked these too. Do you like the bulgolgi? I love it.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Enjoy reading your experiences. Much more pleasant than the vocal ethnocentric sufferings of others expat blogs. I've been there, but you just can't rant in public. Dol-sot is also my wife's favorite, other safe foods for her are Dak-gui (Grilled chicken), Chap-Che, and the pancakes you like too. Gun-mandu and the ginseng chicken soup is great.

5:33 PM  

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