2 (Sat) October 2010
-Nonhyeon, Gangnam, Seoul, Korea-
with the guys
In advance of my friend Sung Won’s wedding, as a thank you for the bachelor party that we’d thrown him the other night, the groom-to-be treated the guys to a five-course dinner at a semi-fancy “Korean fusion” restaurant called Luna.
The second offering was this dish. 5 observations about it.
- To warm up with an obvious one, “broiled” was misspelled on the menu. The menu, which was printed, was full of misspellings, surprising in this day of automatic spell-check functions built into computer software.
- The shrimp wasn’t broiled; it was deep-fried. That’s a significant difference, like the difference between, well, broiling something and deep-frying it. If a restaurant is going to include technique in dish names, then they ought to get the terminology correct.
- By “king” shrimp, they’re referring to large/jumbo shrimp, a somewhat forgivable translational issue, as big shrimp in Korean are called “wang (king).”
- I’m not sure what constitutes a “king” shrimp, but these shrimp weren’t particularly big by any standard. This, I suspect, was simply marketing bullshit.
- My main gripe, the dish was neither Korean nor fusion. It was simply deep-fried shrimp topped with some kind of tartar sauce. What “fusion” often means in the restaurant scene here is not that any given dish is a fusion of culinary traditions, (e.g., bulgogi pizza), but rather that the menu contains dishes from various origins. To illustrate, if this course could be characterized as vaguely American, the other four courses included an Italianish seafood salad in a balsamic vinaigrette, Japanese chicken teriyaki, Korean bossam, and finally Korean doenjang jjigae with a bowl of steamed white rice and kimchi – what a weird combination, but that’s another issue entirely.