Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Ode to Orange Food

Seoul, 6-12 Oct 2012

Since coming back from Korea, I've been missing the orange-coloured food there (and indeed, most of the traditional dishes were!).

Chatting with my oldest friend, we came up with the idea of organising a travel-culinary themed gathering-- everyone to cook one dish related/memorable to their time abroad.

We were so pleased with this interesting idea! And what good food there was as well! There was a  yummy cabbage rice (nicked named "giam cai png") from time and money starved student days in Oz, mussels-from-brussels, egg parmagiana from Bella Italia, and very good Asia Lor Bak and  Balinese satay!

I was two hours late, so i didn't get a chance to cook my Korean inspired orange food, instead sponging off the fantastic cooking prepared for others!

But since I had all the ingredients for Budae Jjigae (or Korean army stew), that became my lunch for today. While I didn't exactly have this particular dish when I was in Seoul, I figured the taste is more or less the same as the other orange coloured food that the Koreans are so fond of.

Legend has it that the origins of this dish was in post-American war Uijoengbu, when there was food scarcity. So the locals living near the army bases invented this dish by throwing together whatever they could find into a stew-- and it so happened that these foods were US army surpluses--- sausages, spam, cheese, BAKED BEANS-- and all that good stuff. The ubiquitous kimchi and red chilli paste were added in for that familiar flavour, and just to make sure your cholesterol and sodium intake hits the roof, instant ramen added the finishing touch to this very fusion mix.

I didn't quite have the guts to add in baked beans-- that definitely sounds tummyache inducing, so I had mushrooms, sausages, egg and some frozen dumplings. Tasted exactly like Korean ramen with a lot of ingredients rather than anything too special. But the added dollop of chilli paste did give it a kick and had me wiping away streams of sweat  despite it being such a cold rainy day.

So a recap of memorable meals in Korea (not that many food pictures despite being Asian, most of the time I were just too hungry! LST did create a tradition of camwhoring with food on the trip though, but the focus was on her face! )

At Hello Kitty Cafe in Samcheongdong. Was dragged in against my will. 
Birthday treat! Korean Fried Chicken and beer was yummy but after two pieces I couldn't eat anymore and was scolded by LST the shatan.

Korean glass noodles which is a fav of mine at Bibigo in Singapore. Actually I preferred Bibigo's!
Omigod Dakgalbi, which is chicken and veg stir-fried on a hotplate with orange sauce. After eating half of the meat, you have the option of adding rice and Mozzarella cheese. So good. 
Turns out Samcheongdong was right at the foot of Bukchon. Celebrated my discovery by having a  very expensive fruit waffle (S$15). Although the waffle was super crispy, just the way I like it, couldn't finish it all, and it was really too cold to be having ice-cream too!

Read about Gwangjung market in some Malaysian magazine, which claims you can "eat non-stop from the start to the end of the market". Which is alright if you wanna eat blood sausages and innards I guess. I don't eat such stuff, and to be honest didn't really fancy any of the other foods there (porridge, dumplings and fried fish made up the rest of the options). But forced myself to order some fried assorted odds and ends since I was already there and wanted to try something different. For my efforts, the lady boss (who I thought didn't speak a common language with me and took ages to understand my order) started commenting in Mandarin later why I would travel and eat alone. So sad, kena judged by strangers.
Best burger in my life! At the airport before flying off. Super fresh and  juicy-- both the burger and the tomato. Would die for one now!
Our supper with rice wine and white oreos. Kinda tasted like instant tomato spaghetti. 
Our posh lunch in Jungsik in Gangnam (cue Oppa Gangnam style!) Flavors were much more  subtle  and sophisticated than the other meals we had. Presentation was so innovative as well.
Jajeongmeon at a random auntie run shop at a corner of Dongdaemon. I always love going  to places  frequented by locals. Even though the area is very touristy, this shop was slightly off the main street, and only had a few dishes. Auntie had no English and I wished I knew the Korean word for 'delicious' to thank her, I almost had tears in my eyes it was so good!
Warming up with pumpkin latte. I love pumpkin anything!
Traditional Korean bar snacks. So huge we couldn't finish. Inside was Kimchi (what else!) and beef.
Trying out LST's patented camwhore-with-food  shot!
Realised that not a lot of the food pictured in this post was orange. Oh well!!

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