[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.