Agra town, India

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Excuse me, what the F**k is this?

The Korean's love many things; cigarettes, canned coffee, raw fish but none so much I believe as Kimchi.
They eat Kimchi as many Brit's do ketchup - plenty of it and served with EVERYTHING. Now it's not that it's not full of spicy boiled cabbage goodness, undoubtably it is. Kimchi is one of those 'only in Asia' dishes that you'll either take to your heart or hate with a passion, the very mention or sight of such will reduce you to bouts of violent shivering and involuntary gurning.
I belonged to the latter category - if purgatory were a restaurant, that restaurant would be Korean and serve up Kimchi in vast unfinishable bowls.

Korean fare is certainly rich in nutrition but personally its not fare to salivate by.

An example or 2 for you.....
Hongeohoe - not a yardtool or lady of ill repute, this is one of Korea's Southwestern speciality dishes. Slices of raw fermented Skate. Short a frying pan and full of flavoursome ammonia, this delectable offering is served up with a thick red chilli derived paste...mmmm

San Nakji...or live baby octopod.
The trick with this dish is to slice off the tentacles and eat right away. The wiggling sensation is a tongue-tickler, down in one is the best bet before the suckers catch onto your epiglottis.

Bibambap - A large bowl of boiled rice with a load of other random slimy garbage underneath. Topped with a raw egg.

Samgyetang - Whole baby poulet broth. Sometimes flavoured with Ginseng. This is better but soft bone marrow and other gibly bits is not my personal favourite cuppa soup.

There are thankfully a number of golden exceptions.
Gimbap, pronounced with a K is glorious as is Korean rice porridge. The porridge is actually a thick comforting(after raw skate....)soup thickened with lots of rice. Comes in lots of tasty flavours, spicy beef, tuna veg, chicken ginseng. Delish.
Gimbap is seaweed wrapped long rolls of rice, similar in look to sushi. They are wrapped with pickled veg, egg and usually some meat, ham etc. Usually eaten as a snack in the morning, they're cheap (50p) filling and healthy.
Two culinary joys discovered tragically late into our Korea sojourn. Gimbap consumption was at outrageous levels just before we left- if I didn't get my 3 long rolls a day, I was cracking skulls...

China looms next, a land topped with hills of egg fried rice, dumplings and steamed meaty buns, come on yoo beauty....

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