Archive by Author

Tteokbokki

7 Jun

Every kid in Korea has an experience of eating a red, spicy, delicious mouthful of tteokbokki at a street vendor’s cart on their way back from school. Although modern type of tteokbokki has a short history, it is considered one of the top street foods in Korea.

Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki can be easily bought and consumed anywhere. It is sold in millions of Kimbap Chunguk chain restaurants around the country, which is equivalent to McDonalds of America. It is also the main food that is sold by millions of street vendor carts.

Garaetteok used in tteokbokki is a long cylindrical rice cake that is used for various of  Korean recipes. Tteok is a food with a long history in Korea, which can be traced all the way back to the 3 Kingdoms period in Korea. Modern tteokbokki is related to Gung Jung tteokbokki, a dish which includes nuts, meat, vegetables, and eggs steamed in a soy sauce based sauce.

Gung Jung Tteokbokki

Because tteok required lots of grains and care to make, it was considered a delicacy, only to be served to the royal family. Interestingly enough, tteokbokki is one of the cheapest snack foods in Korea today although it has changed dramatically from its original form. Modern tteokbokki is stir fried with vegetables, eggs, oden in a gochujang (red pepper paste) paste based sauce.

Tteok is no longer handmade, but made in factories and can be easily obtained. A plate of tteokbokki only costs around 1000-2000 won (1-2 dollars), making it one of the top snack food choices for Korean people.

Images from http://emptydream.tistory.com/2635 and http://blog.naver.com/van9184/20130083836

Advertisements

Dogtown Dog

23 May
I did not know why a hot dog cost 6 dollars, but heck I was not the one who was paying for it so I shut up and got in line.
The truck was bright green with a bit of a 50s flare in its decoration. There was one skinny tall guy in the truck taking orders in the front side of the truck and several people in the back hurriedly putting hot dogs and tator tots together.
The line was not too long although unfortunately the truck ran out tator tots, so the line was a bit held up until they got a new batch ready to go.
I looked over at the menu and saw rather creative combinations of hot dogs… hot dog with a fried egg topping (is it going to be runny?),
Portabello mushroom cheese steak dog, trailer trash dog (chili + fritos) etc.
 The skinny red headed girl in front of me was chatting away with her friend and when it was her turn she asked, “what is a basil aioli?”
When the tall skinny guy who was taking orders from the front end of the truck replied that it is simply fancy mayonnaise, she asked for him to take it out of her hot dog order.
I was originally going to order the Portabello Cheese Steak which had no hot dog in it at all…  mostly because I mostly refuse to eat parts of animals that I cannot identify (excepting fish sausages I ate in Japan. I don’t know why but ground up fish is less frightening than ground up mixture of pork + beef + chicken… together…).
However the guy replied that they had ran out portabello cheese steak that day.What.
Fine, I replied, and ordered the dogtown dog instead, with a soy dog instead of a hot dog. I’m always fascinated by how people make things taste like things they are not (I love trying soy protein/veggie burgers in general, although it might not be the healthiest choice). It’s probably the Los Angeles influence on me but so what. I like veggie burgers, leave me alone. And only california food truck would have a soy dog alternative, it’s too used to its eccentric customers.
I figured since its called a dogtown dog, it must be their signature dog. I waited for abit until I received my order and looked at it. It was served on a paper basket with foil over it and had few tots on the side. My dog had fennel slaw on top of the soy dog with some roasted peppers. It was a bit sour and I wasn’t sure if I cared for it or not… I ate it separately with a fork like a salad. Tator tots were not bad. I never cared too much for tator tots but then I stole some buffalo tator tots which was not that bad either. I was pretty sure I could make the same hot dog at home so I’m not sure if I would go back.
I remember several years back when food truck were not popular. I remember staring at several taco trucks with mostly latino customers thinking how odd… why would anybody want to eat food cooked out of a truck? Although now I realize that its a common sight in Korea as well (I never really bought too much food on the streets because I do not like eating while standing up… I like eating to be a full and slow experience…) with its myriads of food stalls/food trucks. Interesting to see how normal food are turning ‘gourmet…’ especially being served out of a truck.
I focused mostly the food service/food description because I feel like that’s the most important thing when writing about any food truck/restaurant. You go there for the food after all. Food trucks are different from restaurants because they cannot really give you an unique environment to experience since there’s usually no place to eat the food at.