1.050 Grilled Beef Jumulleok


24 (Wed) February 2010

Grilled Beef Jumulleok


at Chosim Hanwoo (초심한우)

-Geumgok (Doosan Apts), Bundang, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Korea-

with the Family, the Folks

Thickly sliced beef in sesame-soy marinade, jumulleok (주물럭) is similar to bulgogi (불고기) in taste but with more emphasis on the sesame oil, making it more savory.  The name of the dish comes from the Korean word for “massage” in reference to the idea that the marinade is kneaded into the meat.

In recent times, jumulleok has largely disappeared from the restaurant scene. Back in the 80s, it was all the rage. In a prior post on bulgogi, I wrote about a “growing belief that good beef is better consumed as is and that marinades are more appropriate for cheap cuts that require masking or tenderizing of some sort” (see 1.003 Bulgogi on Romaine), which may apply here. In fact, when I suggested that we order it, my father was suspicious.

On Day 50, a milestone that holds no significance beyond roundness, I will analyze the numbers thus far. Surprisingly, 24 of the meals were Korean in some form. I’d always thought that, despite living here, I ate very little of the local fare on a daily basis.  24 is certainly and significantly less than the average Korean, who would probably have dined Korean for 48 meals during the same period. American, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican each had 5 entries, which sounds about right. Next, the 34:16 at-home:eating-out ratio is probably somewhat of an aberration, as I’m currently on winter break and thus at home with more time to cook than I will be during the semester, which starts next week. Finally, with respect to meats, I’m not surprised that chicken was on top with 15 entries, though I am concerned that beef was next with 14. I’m aware that I do eat a lot of red meat, which is difficult to avoid in this country, but I’d been vaguely attempting to reduce my consumption for health reasons (in case the booze and cigarettes don’t kill me first). I’d always considered myself a seafood guy, but apparently I’m just meat and potatoes.

Although I hadn’t anticipated that Project 365 would change my eating habits, it has in at least 3 ways. First, it’s become a daily obsession to find something – an identifiable, describable meal – to eat for dinner, not just picking at random leftovers from the fridge. Second, I’ve tried to keep the meals as varied as possible, both in terms of national origin and ingredients. And third, no matter how mundane or unglamorous, I’ve aspired to present each meal and photograph it in a respectful light; admittedly, this has more to do with personal vanity than respect for the food. That said, I haven’t eaten anything per se that I normally wouldn’t, just more frequently and in a nicer manner.

However, I think that maybe I should reduce my red meat intake. More lobster.

NOTE: 10 years later, I’m still making the same claim, both about red meat and lobster.

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