Monday, May 19, 2008

Korean Food, Culture

So, as part of our "homework" for tomorrow's Part 2 All-Day Adoption Class (assignment: learn about the food and/or culture of Korea by eating out at a Korean restaurant, visiting a Korean grocery story, talking with members of a Korean church, or simply doing good old Internet research), we went out to eat last night at a Korean restaurant in Rockville called Sam Woo. There were a couple of others nearby, so we figure in the upcoming months, we'll hop around when we get a hankerin' for Korean food. We were pleased that (a) we liked it and (b) it's actually quite healthy...very heavily vegetable based (along with beef-based, but I'm not a huge meat fan so although I enjoyed the meat aspect, I liked the veggie part better). You can make it not healthy by eating some of the fried stuff, but it didn't look all that appealing and so it was pretty easy to pass up (my Weight Watchers leader would be so proud of me!).

The reviews of this restaurant looked pretty good, and it seemed pretty authentic. They did warn us that non-Koreans are only given so-so service (and they were right-that's my only complaint). Nice atmosphere, mostly Asian folks eating there (always a good sign), and I tried kimshi for the first time! Turns out there are many, many different kinds of kimshi. We tried one with cabbage, garlic, and red pepper paste (which is apparently what most Westerners picture when they picture kimshi), another one that had cucumbers (kind of pickled), again with red pepper paste (nice and SPI-CEE!). We also had this vegetable broth-based soup that also had beef and potatoes in it. Again, red pepper paste made it hot to the tongue, but very tasty! We also tried various cold dishes that involved clear noodles that had a sauce that tasted kind of pickled/sour. They had these meatballs that looked and tasted exactly like Swedish meatballs (who knows? Maybe they were. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar). They were so good!

Also, we had bulgogi, which is this tender beef cooked in some sort of sweet something-or-other (y'all know I don't cook--at all, not ever, so describing this food to you is kind of challenging!). It was a buffet, so at times we weren't sure what we were eating, but we do know that it was all authentic Korean food! Then we went to Barnes and Noble and bought ourselves some Lonely Planet guides to Korea and Seoul. I spent the evening reading about Korean culture and learning a lot!

Tomorrow is our second class. I'll let ya know how it shakes out.

Take care,

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