1 (Wed) December 2010
-Cheongdam, Gangnam, Seoul, Korea-
Guksi is a Korean dish. Flour noodles in a beef broth. The name “guksi” is a dialectal derivative of the term “guksu (국수),” which refers generally to noodles in broth.
Duru is a Korean restaurant. Known for guksi. Known even more for which comes with the two side dishes that accompanied the noodles: perilla leaves in a soy-garlic sauce and kimchi made from chives.
I used to think Duru was the bees-knees. Even though never much into noodle soups, much less guksu, even less guksi, there was a time a few years ago when I would make a conscious effort to drop by Duru at least 2 or 3 times a month. I can’t recall why I stopped frequenting the place, though my move north of the river probably had something to do with it.
In any event, I went back for the first time in years. I don’t know what has changed–either me or the restaurant, but nothing was like I remembered, neither the guksi nor the sides. It was alright, as far as noodles and perilla leaves and chives go, but that’s about as positive a response as I can muster.
In my bitter disappointment, as I anticipated writing about the experience on GMTD, I was suddenly reminded about the various works of fiction that I read as an English Lit major in college, stories about coming-of-age and loss of innocence and disillusionment, as well as the nostalgia that accompanies the memories of an idyllic reality that can no longer be had, and the question as to whether those memories accurately reflect the past or represent a romanticized version thereof. I have noticed, say, in the past year or two, that I seem to derive progressively less satisfaction from the foods that once were guaranteed to give me great pleasure, if not pure joy. And that makes me sad.