23 (Mon) April 2012
-Sinsa, Gangnam, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with PMS + PJS
My cousins dropped by the hospital to see the baby. After about 2 minutes, we went out for dinner.
Yijing is an Asianish restaurant. “Oriental Bowl & Chopsticks Pub.” A big sign out front -again the damn signage – advertised lamb.
However, the lamb wasn’t that great. The meat had the sweetish sesame-soy flavor of Korean bulgogi, which works with beef, of course, as well as pork or chicken or even shrimp, but seemed to clash with the distinctive gaminess of the lamb. As if the marinade alone weren’t incongruous enough, the odd seasoning dip combo of green tea powder + anise seeds + chili powder made matters worse.
The other dishes on the menu appeared just as confused, ill-conceived fusions of Chinese and Korean, like silky tofu cubes with century eggs doused in sesame oil – uuuuugh. We received that dish in settlement of a billing dispute concerning the price of the lamb, advertised on the sign as 20,000 won for a pair but, as we discovered after we’d finished our 3 orders, listed on the menu as 23,000 won – either way, a ripoff; when we complained, the owner offered to provide us with an additional dish, and we agreed, and that’s what he gave us. I really regret forgetting to get a photo, because it looked as gross as it tasted.
The problem is that Koreans regard lamb as having an unpleasant odor. As such, they go to great lengths to mask or eliminate that odor. Without fail, the first thing that anyone will say about a restaurant or a recipe featuring lamb, if it’s perceived as being good, is: “It doesn’t taste like lamb!” And yes, this raises the obvious question of why they bother eating lamb at all. I don’t know.
(See also FOODS)
(See also PLACES)