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KIMCHI :D

8 Jun

Even you have never learned Korean before, you must know the word “Kimchi”. Kimchi is definitely the national food that can represent Korea the most.

KIMCHI

 It is nothing flamboyant but a simple dish of fermented vegetables with seasoning that anyone can afford. Besides it is well known for beneficial to health, its flaming red makes people drool at first sight, not to even mention the flavorful taste that can spice up any dish and goes will with any other companion. It has such good taste that many of my Korean friends said that they can finish a bowl of rice just with kimchi.

It exists in everywhere in Korea, if you go into a Korean restaurant, you will be served with different side dishes, which for sure include kimchi that comes with anything you order. In addition, it is also an ingredient that constitutes for several kinds of Korean cuisine. For example, ramyeon, Kimchi pancake, Kimchi stew, stir-fry Kimchi pork, Kimchi fried rice and the list goes on.

kimchi pancake

kimchi fried rice

kimchi stew

Kimchi is an indispensable part of a Korean culture in the fact that many families still make their own Kimchi back at home though it can be easily bought at any market. Koreans certainly take pride in Kimchi that they also have been promoting the kimchi culture to the rest of the world. There is a museum in Seoul dedicated to Kimchi that attracts loads oof visitors from both domestic and foreign. Korean airlines also offer Kimchi as part of their airplane meal. I have also read a news article about the Korean astronauts bringing Kimchi to the space. 

Nowadays, Kimchi no longer is limited in Korea, it has breaks its way into the world, and had even became part of the food truck culture in Los Angeles.

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Jajjangmyeon!!

27 May

 
I am proud to say that other than dog soup, I have never hesitated to try new food that I encountered in the past of my life. Two years ago, when I first traveled to Korea, I had a taste of a noodle dish called “Jajjangmyeon”, and since then, jajjangmyeon has became my favorite kind of noodle.


  I met up with a Korean friend during my stay in Seoul, and she  suggested my family to go to a Chinese restaurant after hearing that I had kimchi and Kalbi for every meal. At first, I was really reluctant, thinking that I would rather have kimchi again rather than something I could easily get at home. However, we still paid a visit to the Chinese restaurant because she insisted. When we got to our destination, I was really surprised by how “Chinese” the Chinese restaurant was. The banner was in Chinese characters and the interior was decorated with red lanterns hanging on the ceiling and Chinese calligraphic painting on the walls. It was more like what you can see in a movie rather than a restaurant. However, as we read through the menu, we found there really wasn’t anything familiar other than “Jajjangmyeon” which sounded pretty much alike and shared the same kanjis with “zhajiangmian” , a typical kind of noodle you can find everywhere on the street of China and Taiwan..Had no idea what the other food would be , we chose to go for the jajjangmyeon recommended by my friend.

Jajjangmyeon


After a long wait, our jajjangmyeon was finally brought on by the waitress. It was served in a white ceramic bowl with egg noodles covered with glistening, thick black sauce and some cucumber strings on the top. Frankly, I felt a bit disgusted by its gluey appearance at the beginning, but as soon as I took the first bite, I had fallen in love with its indescribable taste. The sauce was sweet and salty at the same time, with sauteed onions and ground pork that even made it better. And the noodle itself was really chewy that one just can’t stop having one bite after another. I was completely satisfied with the taste, yet more startled by the fact that it does not resemble anything like the Chinese Zhaijiangmain even they do share the same ingredients such as grounded meat and cucumbers. I was even more astonished later when I learned that Jajjangmyeon is acknowledged as one of the national food of Korea and was even chosenone of the top 100 Korean cultural symbols when it
 is fairly clear that this dish was originated from Chinese food. But when I rethought about it, I could understand fully why although it was served in a Chinese restaurant but at the same time an authentic Korean cuisine.

Chinese ZhajiangmianChinese Zhajiangmian

 
To me, what makes up an authentic cuisine is more than just the taste and the ways of preparing it. The location or settings of course are other important facts to add up a dish’s authenticity. However, the most indispensable element would be  people whom were involved in the process of preparing, serving and eating. In my opinion, food is more than what to sustain human life and to suffice our taste buds. Every dish has its cultural and historical background. And that is also the reason why I believe only the indigenous people who understand the culture of where the dish is from could produce the most authentic cuisines.

Armando’s Truck (Iris)

23 May

  Just got off from Japanese class, I rushed to the intersection of McClintock and Jeffereson to see if there is any food truck around so I can get something for lunch. There was only Armando’s truck so I had no choice but approached to it. An old lady dragging a luggage got there a few seconds earlier than I did. She quickly ordered the Tuna Melt and asked the owner where they are going to be over the summer, and was pretty satisfied hearing from the man in the truck saying they will be at the same spot.

  The Armando offers a wide variety of choices, sandwichs, burgers, burritos  and there is also a special menu dedicated to breakfast. While I was still contemplating of what I should get on the side, a young man wearing an orange t-shirt quickly came over and ordered a turkey burger. He seemed to be pretty close with the owner, they exchanged a few words and he stepped aside to let the owner take my order. I ordered the Tuna Melt and asked if I can pay by debit card, the man answered yes with a friendly smile and took out his iphone for me to sign. “That is some pretty cool Iphone App..” I said to myself and noticed that there are two ladies working on the food on the left side of the truck.

  As I turned away to wait for my food, the owner told the ladies making food my order in Spanish. I started to observe the people waiting as I was bored standing there.  The old lady was waiting by the window and looked a little bit aggitated, and the guy wearing orange shirt yawned quite a few times during his wait. The food was prepared in a little bit and they took their food and walked away quickly. My sandwich took some time and another black guy wearing glasses came and ordered a burrito. He and the other two customers who just left seemed to be pretty familiar with the Armando’s truck, since they all placed their orders without even looking at the menu. As I just thought of this, “Tuna Melt!” my food was ready and I grabbed it, took a peek at my food wrap
ped in the paper bag and walked away.


 

 


I tried to write in time sequence and describe actions of the people around me and how I thought and felt about their actions. I did take some notes while waiting for the food in order to get more details down, and try to re-visualize what I see in the process of writing this blog.