29 (Sat) May 2021
Barbecued Tandoori-Style Chicken
at the Cabin
-Changchon, Seowon, Hoengseong, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ, Mom + Dad, Dad’s friends, Aunt T + Uncle S
Although confident that I already have a location on the best restaurant in Okcheon (see 3.005 Mul Naeng Myeon), I’m launching a project to sample every joint in town, one at a time, whenever I get a chance – most likely on the way to/from the cabin – for lunch or dinner, with emphasis on the mul naeng myeon, just to be absolutely certain, just so I can say with authority, “I’ve been to them all, so I know what I’m talking about.” Of course, tastes being widely subjective – W, for example, finds Okcheon-style MNM to be unpleasant – I’m aware that this exercise will ultimately satisfy only me. Having been to 6 restaurants so far, out of 10 that I know about, only 2 documented on GMTD, including this one today, I’m also becoming aware that no single standard constitutes the “authentic” or the “ideal” form of the dish; whereas the broth at my favorite place is virtually flavorless, which is how I like it, the broth next door may be meaty or garlicky or even tangy, and yet customers line up on either side. Someday, I’ll post the results of the assessment in its entirety.
Okcheon Halmeoni Naeng Myeon (옥천할머니냉면) – Bonjeom (본점) (“The Original”).
The food was generally okay across the board, but nowhere near as good as Goeup.
In the six-part series Jamie’s Great Britain, which has the chef traveling around the country to highlight various local delicacies, he stops by the town of Aston with a whopping Indian/Pakistani population of nearly 80%, inspiring him to make a tandoori-style roast chicken from the mobile kitchen in the back of his truck. He then calls the dish “quintessentially British” by virtue of “the Empire,” reasoning that the colonial rulers had brought the food from South Asia back home, where the masses were quick to adopt it as their own. Thus, the ubiquity of curry in mainstream venues throughout Britain. That seems quite a positive spin on what was essentially cultural pillaging for almost two centuries of imperial dominion.
In any case, I tried to replicate the recipe but to limited success. The ingredients for the marinade included garlic, ginger, chili, cilantro, lemon juice, yoghurt, garam masala, cumin, tumeric, salt, pepper. At this point, the marinade itself seemed legit; I was amazed at how “Indian” it tasted. After scoring the chicken and rubbing the marinade all over, the bird was placed in a barbecue kettle set up for indirect grilling. Unfortunately, the heat level was too low, resulting in a slightly undercooked and dried out chicken. Also, it was underseasoned. Correcting for such errors, however, I anticipate that this could become one of my standard barbecue dishes.
(See also FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)