8 (Fri) July 2011
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ
Padallina is an Italian restaurant. A new addition to the Oksu restaurant scene. Until recently, a paper leaflet in the doorway proclaimed the chef to be of Cordon Bleu “chulsin.”
Never having heard of Pizza Genovese, and not bothering to ask, we ordered it. 32 minutes later, despite being the only customers in the place, we were served a cheese pizza consisting of a pesto-esque sauce and a thin oily greenish crust that tasted more like flour than basil or whatever herbs it was supposed to have been infused with. Nevertheless, DJ declared it the best pizza that he’d ever tasted. 16,000 won.
Oddly, astoundingly, the daily special was tom yam kung, which we also ordered just for the sake of conversation. It wasn’t entirely awful, though it didn’t taste very authentically Thai, just a bunch of clams and Korean veggies in a spicy curry-like broth. 5,000 won (7,500 won with chicken fried rice).
W theorized that the chef probably wanted to showcase whatever dishes that he has in his repertoire, regardless of how good or absurdly incongruent they would appear together on a menu. Quite pleased by her self-perceived sense of insight, she mused further that I would do the same thing if I were to open my own restaurant: a few pastas, some tacos, and a couple dim sum dumplings. In the end, she concluded that the chef is probably a food hobbyist who’s taken a lesson or two at the cooking school but otherwise wasn’t professionally trained, at least not in Italian or Thai cuisine. The word “chulshin” (출신) means “origin” and is often used fast and loose to affiliate a person with a certain place, such “the chef is of Cordon Blue chulshin” is meant to imply that the chef graduated from the school, even if he might only have taken a single class. Recently, the Cordon Bleu leaflet has been removed, perhaps because the bullshit had become too apparent.
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)