Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Post Wherein I Play Food Critic

I am blogging at you from the familiar comfort of the chicken hof downstairs in my building.

It's been a while, but nothing changes much here, except the faces of the waitstaff--the uniform stays the same, the individual occupying it seems to move on before very long. The chicken is reliably fresh and hot and golden crispy, the beer cold, the ambiance unobtrusive, though I like it when they play the mixed tape (er, CD or whatever) of classic sixties and seventies rock.

The last time I ate chicken downstairs, I tried the new hof (2000 won obek) that took over the seafood place on the corner, but it was terrible: that thin crumb coating, small pieces, fried dark brown to the point of desiccation. Furthermore, they tried to undercharge me--hey, you announce 2000 W beer on your front door, that's what I expect to pay.

I might have mentioned the Hotsun that opened in Blue Nine across the street--the baked chicken is good, the grilled chicken is better, but the best thing on their menu is barbecued pork ribs.

Speaking of restaurants, I met up with Nick and Andy for Chinese lamb kebabs in Bongcheon on Monday. When I came out of the subway exit, there was a loud cluster of fire trucks and emergency vehicles crowding the alleyway. Nick said something like, "Wouldn't it be funny if that was our lamb restaurant?"

Turns out it was. Not funny, but "our" restaurant. Gutted. Andy got a photo (my cell battery was so low, it wouldn't snap a pic), and then we moved on down the side street to another lamb place that Nick's Chinese friend had certified as authentic. And it was really good. So good, we followed up prodigious quantities of lamb with small, delicate quantities of grilled quail. They arrived plucked, cleaned, and skewered, ready for grilling, and about the size of my laptop's touchpad.

I'm used to Georgia quail which, though small, is double the size and has some meat on it. The Korean/Chinese version were so tiny you're supposed to eat them bones and all--this made them excessively crunchy, though they were tasty nonetheless. I felt just a little like I was eating an Ortolan Bunting. If you don't already know what that is, I encourage you not to look it up.

One final food note: for school lunch today, the main course was cubed pork stewed with baechu kimchi. It was delicious. I realized today, not how accustomed I am to kimchi, but how much I've come to relish it. Served cold, as a condiment (or panchan), it's no great shakes, but mixed up hot with something else--or as a jjigae or guk (stew or soup)--it is filling and spicy and al dente. I usually find myself wanting more.

1 comment:

SuperDrew said...

Ortolan bunting, huh? How could I not look it up. Is that real?