April 29, 2011

Korean Beef Rice Soup

There are lots of cheap tours to Korea but I've never been particularly tempted to visit. But then work required a quick trip it's always exciting to go to a country for the first time for a bumpkin like me. The limited time, the required business meetings, and not being in Seoul meant that I won't be playing typical-tourist. Which was fine because I can do that on my own time anyway. Our Korean branch person handled the arrangements and drove me around, and even took me around the Korean Folk Village for a little cultural education.

Our hosts were kind enough to take care of dinner. No pictures there, sorry. Even my obsessive picture-taking hits its limits when it's my livelihood on the line. But the day after was free until my afternoon flight. So we checked out of the hotel and had time for a leisurely breakfast. Passed by plenty of nice coffee shops and diners, but my co-worker was determined to take me some place more authentically Korean. Ended up in a clean, well-lit, generically-casual restaurant that could be serving anything the world over. Except in this case it was serving traditional style Korean soup dishes. Couldn't read the Hangul menu, so I went with co-worker's recommendation for the beef-rice soup. Slices of beef, slow-cooked gelatinous tendons, and mushrooms immersed in a rich ox-bone broth, opaque and milky-white. Dried red plum and a little ginseng comes from traditional medicine and keeps the dish from being too heavy. The elements are familiar to Chinese palate but just different enough to be interesting. All in an iron bowl that kept the soup piping hot the entire time.

Of course there's the obligatory kimchee on the side. Entire heads of pickled cabbage that you pluck out of the bin and cut up yourself with the scissors and tongs present at each table. I wouldn't normally eat so spicy in the morning, but a little zing was the perfect counterpoint for the main dish. Not so surprising that a classic Korean meal goes well with kimchee.

Hearty Korean Breakfast

No contact information because I had no idea where I was or what anything said. Should've picked up a business card.

Posted by mikewang at April 29, 2011 08:00 AM