[philiptellis] I love food, and I like writing about food. Follow me as I follow my nose, seeking out gastronomic delicacies wherever I find myself

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Yes, I had sushi for dinner tonight. Dinner lasted several hours, and came in many courses.

We went to a not 100% traditional Japanese restaurant. Had to sit cross legged on the floor. The first dish was octopus and prawns. They might have been boiled - I'm not sure, but was quite palatable. The sauces were also good. They serve a single platter for every table of four, and we occupied four tables. This was accompanied with a kind of seafood porridge/thick soup, and a bowl of salad.

Just as the octopus and prawns got over, a vessel of boiling water was brought in, and cockles/coquiles in it. You can sip of the water with your spoon, or pick out the cockles from the shells using your chopsticks.

While that was still boiling, a pan of mushrooms and gingerly seeds (til) was brought in. It was similar to the pan on which sizzlers are served. The musrooms were finished in quicktime.

The next dish was crabcake - or some kind of seafood pie with macaroni and cheese.

After that came this plate with 4 balls of noodles and some seafood curry in the centre.

In the meantime we got in some local wine made of Korean Plums. The Korean word is Soljungmae IIRC. It's quite sweetish - tastes like almonds almost, and has 4 plums at the bottom we later made martinis out of the wine.

The next dish was the first course of sushi. A large platter with balls made of grated white radish and green leaves surrounding it. The raw fish was placed on the balls, about 4 slices per ball. In the centre were two other types of fish, all raw. You eat it with the sauce that you have in front of you. Pick it up with the chopsticks, dip it into the sauce and eat it.

How did it taste? Quite a bit like the sauce actually. Texture wise it was halfway between crunchy and rubberry. I liked it, not sure how well I'll digest it though.

After we were done with the fish, they brought in some more shell fish, this time all raw. I could not identify any of it, but I think one of them was oyster. These weren't completely to my liking, but I tried one of each type just to be sure.

Once we were through with that, they brought in fried eel. This was the first time I'd eaten eel, and it was quite tasty.

It's quite hard to find out what I'm eating because my friends know the Korean word for the dish, but not everyone knows the English word. In most cases they describe it to me and I try and figure out what it is then someone says, "Yes", because he's heard it called that before, and I know that I'm right. Otherwise I can only guess.

The last dish was a surprise, and what made the restaurant not 100% Japanese. Rice and vegetables with fish eggs, and Kimchi. The rice-veg-fish eggs combo was served in a bowl placed on a sizzler platter. Yes it was good. There was some seafood soup that accompanied that, but it wasn't very good and no one had more than a taste of it.

After all that we went down to a second restaurant for a couple of beers. In India when you go out for alcohol you generally get some kind of chatna like channa or fried moong or masala papad with it. In Korea you get fruit and popcorn. All kinds of fruit.

We had watermelon, yellow melon, canteloupe, kiwi fruit, banana, apple, plums, cherry tomatoes (In Korea tomatoes are exclusively fruits), and oranges. The fruits here are huge... seriously huge. I have never seen fruits this size anywhere in India.

Anyway, we left the beer place around 10pm, and headed back. Now off to sleep.

To break from the rule, today was a rainy day. The first rainy week day I've experienced here in Korea. Apparently the rain is acidic so everyone has an umbrella.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Lunch Thai-m

Today's lunch was at a Thai restaurant in the POSCO building. POSCO is to Asia what TISCO is to India (irrelevant fact). Anyway, if you're Managalorean (and Rohan D'Sa and I have been exchanging several of these Mangi related posts), then you'll be able to identify with thai food. The currys are very similar, and yes, there is meat in them.

As usual, rice was served in a separate bowl to each person. Everything else was placed in the centre of the table. Yellow prawn gravy - and the prawns are quite large (no, not jumbo tiger prawns) - made with a generous dash of coconut milk I'm sure, was placed at the centre, along with some kind of chilly beef (with seriously huge red and green chillys cut into thin slices). There was also prawn fried rice, and some kind of meat fried in batter - I did not ask what it was.

The food was tasty. I managed to eat it all with my chopsticks. The most interesting thing was that even the Thai restaurants in Korea serve Kimchi.

As is true with most restaurants here (and in the US too), coke, fanta, etc., come with unlimited refills.

The restaurant was quite a walk away, and we sort of digested the food on the way back. I practiced reading the names of all the restaurants on the way.

The Korean word for rice is Pap. The Thai word for the same is Pad. Quite different from Chawal, and cooked slightly differently too.

Dinner cooked on the table

Yesterday we went for dinner to a restaurant in the Hyundai dept store building. It was on the 9th floor. Had the same veg dish that we'd had on Wednesday, but this time with a fried egg on the top. The others had a kind of meat-noodle soup.

They bring this large steel bowl with a plain soup - looks like clear brown water. This is placed on a flame in the centre of the table. They then add vegetables and spices (the standard ginger-garlic paste). Then the meat is added, and finally the noodles. I guess each is added based on how much time it takes to cook. The meat is really thin slices and red when they put it in, but brown when it comes out.

It is then served into bowls.

Once done, they add a bowl of rice into whatever soup remains in the steel bowl. That's mixed around, and then they add what looked like seaweed. Finally, an egg is broken into the mixture and mixed up with it. The egg had an orange shell, and I was told that it was a chicken's egg.

It's all mixed up and served into smaller bowls. The flame is still on throughout. It tastes good, although I think the seaweed has a funny taste - I can only describe the taste as "purple" - go figure (well, if you were to take LSD, then that taste would have caused you to see the colour purple all over (and I'm in no way telling people to go take LSD)).

It was quite an interesting dinner. On the side I've been amusing various koreans with my "hangul reading ability".

Lunch was at TGIF's. The standard TGIF fare.