Korean culture is making a splash in North America. Not only does PSY’s song Gangnam Style flood our radio airwaves, but Korean food is starting to establish itself in our neighbourhoods.
This winter I had the privilege of hosting the most delightful young lady from Korea. Yujin was as excited to introduce me to Korean food, a I was excited to learn.
We started simply, as she made me authentic Ramen Noodles that she brought with her from Korea. Unlike the over salted, chemical tasting version, we all ate too many of in college, these were hearty noodles in a delicious spicy broth into which an egg is dropped at the end of cooking to add a scrambled texture and further enhance the yumminess.
One night I decided that we should try the Korean restaurant that is on my block of Corydon while I had access to an expert to advise me on menu choices. Platea at 590 Corydon is a quaint little place in a house much like my own. Maybe that is what made me fall in love with it the minute we walked through the doors. I also loved the touches of beautiful pottery that adorned the table and was used to serve our tea and food. Owner Sun Me, was very attentive and so pleased to meet such a lovely fellow country woman.
We started our dinner with an eggy pancake called Chun. It was filled with spring onion and shrimp and served with a great sauce for dipping.
Next we ordered our mains: Osam Bulgoki – a combination of pork and squid with a sweet and spicy sauce served with fluffy white rice and Dol Sot Bibimbap – served in a very hot stone bowl, it was a combination of rice, beef and vegetables cooked in gochuchang paste, topped with a raw egg. As you stir the ingredients together, the heat from the bowl finishes the cooking process and the egg makes the rice a bit crispy the longer it cooks.
A few nights later, Yujin would get brave and try her hand at making Chun and Bibimbap at home. After a quick visit to the Korean market, she was ready to get busy in the kitchen to tackle two dishes she had never actually cooked before. Yujin put kimchi (fermented cabbage) and green onion into her chun and I was amazed that she was able to replicate the texture of the pancake by guessing the amount of egg and flour. For her Bibimab, she cooked numerous items, one at a time including: pork in soya sauce, carrot, onion, kimchi, mushrooms and eggs. Placing each item in a section over her large bowl of rice, she added a good sized portion of chopped nori type seaweed and topped it all with a mixture of gochuchang paste and honey and at tableside mixed it all together to serve. The results were shocking, especially to Yujin – absolute perfection!
Kath’s quote: “One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”-Laurie Colwin
Love-that is all.