Wednesday, March 25, 2009
And what did you do this weekend?
So the World Baseball Classic Championship Game was this week. I've experienced something similar before in America back in 1995. Every tv was on and turned to channel 7. Every mini-mart, every restaurant, every business had the game on. After the Koreans decided to pitch to Ichiro with runners in scoring position...well the game was pretty much over (he promptly hit in not one but 2 runs...) I mourn the loss for my country of residence and denounce the dirty sliding of the evil Japanese base runners...this is a bit than your standard rivalry. These countries HATE each other. (which is very strange in that they share more in common with each other than any other countries/races around them)
So I spent the weekend exploring the heart of Seoul. I took a tour of the Imperial Palace. For a few dollars more (so thousands of won) I got a little audio tour guide. This was irrelevant other than the fact that every couple of stops on the tour, the tour guide would suddenly go off on a rant against the Japanese occupation. Then back to the amazing artwork and scenery...then more denouncing of the evil Japanese...anyways. After they closed the Imperial Grounds (which are many acres and you can spend hours walking around, exploring, and taking pictures.
I had one of the dishes I keep hearing about. Sam Kip Sal...or as I call it bacon. I guess I need to explain how a lot of Korean restaurants work... So first...no shoes...I now understand why Koreans are so fond of decorative socks. If you take your shoes off every time you go out to a Korean restaurant...then you might pay attention to what you put on your feet. After you remove your shoes...everyone sits crosss-legged around a square table with a natural gas burner and the server brings a plate of raw meat. In this case a couple wide, thick, juicy slices of bacon.
You throw a couple of those bad boys onto a tray which is placed on top of the burner...and indulge in some of the side dishes (pickled radishes and spicy sauerkraut). They give your tongs and scissors so that you can cut up the meat into bite sized pieces. The pieces are then pulled off the cooking tray, dipped in sauses, and wrapped in lettuce. You have to be careful not too put too many slices of bacon in the wrap though. The entire lettuce/bacon wrap into your mouth. Taking bites is NOT allowed. This is oddly one of the times you are allowed to use your hands in a Korean restaurant...most of the time its spoon/chopsticks only.
But what do they do with all the grease coming off the bacon? Throw it in a can and then into the trash? NO!!! WHAT A WASTE. Instead the pan is tilted to one side and you put a pile of the spicy cabbage to mop up all the drippings. This makes the cabbage MUCH tastier (go figure) And the bacon itself is excellent!!!