Tuesday, February 28, 2012

man, its a bit chilly today, aka why arent there pojang matchas in america?

dduk bok ki

i crave this stuff.

in the simplest form, its rice cake simmered/sauteed in spicy sauce.

on any random corner in seoul, whether its a warm humid summer evening, monsoon season rainy afternoons or bitter cold winter nights, you will find pojang matchas. pojang matchas are basically a tent, a truck bed, a couple of tables or anything you can serve food out of. they usually serve really basic street food, but they also tend to be some of the best food you can find. pojang matchas are the original mobile food, food truck concept.

over the 30 odd years ive been going back and forth from korea, pojang matchas have had varying degrees of popularity and legality. there was a time when you could find tents citys and hop from one style of food to another in a few steps, eating and drinking your way through all sorts of small bites. there was also a time when the government, in a misguided effort to modernize (and westernize) the country tried to ban them. these days, you will find pojang matchas on most every corner of every busy street of seoul.

the secret isnt finding one, its finding the ones that you really like. lucky for us, there are only about a couple thousands of these around seoul.

this morning, slightly cold, very hungry, i remembered this one dduk bok ki pojang matcha my sister took us to on our most recent visit in december 2011. i cant remember exactly where it was, but i can remember exactly the taste of their dduk bok ki.

having never visited the whole shin dang dong dduk bok ki town in seoul (and entire area of dduk bok ki restaurants), naturally, i wanted to visit...

my sister replied....

"ew, why would you want to go to there? its for the tourist."

she proceeded to take us to a small tent a few blocks from her place.

no fancy tourism board of korea stickers... no busloads of japanese tourists... no waiting for 20 minutes for a table...

nothing fancy.

just some nice rice cakes, some slowly simmered spicy sauce and some odeng. of course you have to have some soondae and a variety of fried items to add into the spicy sauce, but this is as simple as it gets.

and it was some of the best dduk bok ki you can find anywhere.

sometimes simple is what you need. you might not realize it because  youre too busy over complicating your lives with things you dont need, but want...

work a job we hate to buy things we dont need to impress people we dont like (totally borrowed).....

yeah. simple. life is better simple.

but of course, im still going to shin dang dong dduk bok ki town.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy valentines day

hoping your valentines day is filled with joy and happiness....

i think we should stop with the roses and chocolates and give strawberry waffles from now on.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

man, what a productive day, aka, wait, i didnt do shit...

so yesterday was a very productive day for me. i got a lot of paperwork done, knock several items off my to do lists..... financials for a property i hardly manage, helping someone start up a business, stupid taxes, just to name a few.

it was the first day in awhile where i accomplished most everything set out to do that morning.

and right before i was about to congratulate myself for a job well done... i got to thinking....

maybe its because im older, maybe its because im noticing things beyond myself....(finally)... but...

sure i got to work at 630am, but my work day is over at 4pm. i was home by 415pm. sure i got a crapton of work done, but i realized something really important. a real man would do all that then come home, help the kids with their homework, help make dinner, clean up after dinner, play with the kids..... all before he even had a moment to himself.

still not quite there.

Friday, February 3, 2012

intestines, stuffed with fat. aka, yes, five more orders please

this post does not need many words.

only needs a description. 

on the right, intestines, stuff with beef fat. on the left, marinated glands.

no wimps. shot of soju up. 

fresh, grilled...eel? aka ooooh i get it, its like korean bbq but with eels.

so one of the things i love the most about restaurants in korea is that there are so many places that specializes in things. a restaurant could have ONE single item on the menu like this place, and over years, sometimes decades, of repeating a successful formula, they put out an amazing product.

we found ourselves at a fresh grilled eel restaurant. think unagi, minus the sauce.

i really wish i couldve snapped more pictures of the place, but it was WAY too cold to be playing blogger/photog and besides, i was starving!

they have an area out in back of the restaurant where a guy preps the charcoal. i can imagine this guy, working away all day at his station, just getting the charcoal ready. its a quite often overlooked aspect of this restaurant im sure, but the successful formula requires this charcoal he produces. any backyard bbq grill master will tell you, the charcoal is very important.

they have a team of people prepping the eels. every filet a fish? yeah, imagine the skill it requires to filet an eel!

you grill the fresh eel table side, it really will remind of the korean bbq setup. a few leafy items, a few fermented items.... all used in numerous combinations of each other to compliment the grilled eel.

eel might sound like a strange thing to eat.... well if youre not adventurous, no problem, leave them to us... we will take it .

they will give you several dipping sauces, there the usual leafy greens with bean pastes, sliced garlic.... the fresh grilled eel is naturally a bit sweet, the flesh is soft and moist.... this is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to eat. 

do it