Wednesday, March 12, 2008
My Introduction to Korean Food
Recently I was out visiting my roommate at the restaurant where she works, the new Yoshi's on Fillmore Street (don't worry, I will discuss this soon...). So when Alyssa finished her shift, we decided to head down the street to a Korean restaurant that stays open very late. How late, I have no idea what the actual hours are, but I know we were there past 1am, and yes, it was a Thursday. Now, I will say this, I do not actually know what I ate this evening. I do not believe that I have ever eaten Korean food before, and although one would assume I would know what I was eating because I ordered it, when Alyssa and I arrived at the restaurant the food was already set out on the table (that's a story that I won't include in this forum).
What I do know was that there was a bowl of this sauce that was very very salty and peppery but I actually cannot say if it was oil, or butter or what material it was whatsoever. Terrible I know. It was delicious to dip rice into, though. The favorite of the evening was the cellophane noodles. This is to be expected from me as I am a carbohydrate junkie and I pretty much like any noodle dish.
There were also crescent moons filled with chicken (? I hope) that were lovely to dip into the mystery sauce. I am not much of a meat eater. Understatement, I don't eat red meat or pork (yes, some may decry my authenticity as someone who loves food, but give me a break, we can go into that later). But these crunchy bites were also delicious, but I must say that if you deep fry some sort of dough with a savory filling and then dip it into a salty sauce, it is bound to taste good!
But the gizzards, the gizzards, oh my! I recently saw a show on the Food Network, Diners Drive-Ins, and Dives, where Guy went to a restaurant that specialized in chicken gizzards. So I had been recently well versed in a) what the heck a gizzard is and b) how one prepares said gizzards. I know that there is a lot of boiling, etc involved so as to soften the gizzard and make it edible. Now, I know that I have never lived in a society where we must utilize every aspect of each animal we kill. In fact, if I had never been to a petting zoo, I may have never even seen a live chicken before and would have no idea that the pink, shiny, slippery things that I pick up from my butcher have anything to do with an animal with feathers. (Correction- do they have chickens at petting zoos?? As soon as I wrote it it occurred to me that they do not. So, I remember as a child a girl I was friends with lived in Berkeley and they had chickens in the back yard. So I do have a live chicken memory, as dusty as it may be.) Anyway, I am not sure if I need to eat every part of every animal. There are plenty of people out there who like liver and tripe and sweetbreads (it has always seemed like such a contradictory term for what they are. When I was little I used to think, ooh, sweetbreads. I like sweet, I like bread, what could be wrong there? Well, a lot!) (Also, see- http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/11/FD7TOST1Q.DTL )
All that said, I shoved a gizzard in my mouth with the surrounding green peppers and onions, quite possibly my two least favorite vegetables. Um... it was chewy. Not chewy bad, but I have to admit, not chewy good either. Well, it was my only bite. I am proud that I tasted it and was more of a food adventurer, but I cannot say I will order the dish on my own volition.
The plum wine was good though!!
I am not a specialist in the world of Korean food after my singular experience, but I will say I want to return to the restaurant and try different dishes. And as it is close to home and open late, I am sure that I will soon. More pictures and thoughts to come on this cuisine in the future...