Cycle 3 – Item 350
20 (Thu) December 2012
-Bukchang, Jung, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
Since first meeting SP last September at WHO in Manila, where he’s a team leader overseeing the project that had me gadding about South/Southeast Asia earlier this fall, much of our off-duty discussions has concerned cuisine, so I was well aware of his interest and extensive experience with global gastronomy. For example, he introduced me to arrak at a dinner in Sri Lanka; I would later parlay this newfound knowledge into a free drink at an Iranian restaurant here in Seoul.
Accordingly, while SP was to be in town for a couple days, I did my best to give him a taste of Korean food at the source. On day one, I took him to lunch at Myeongdong Kyoja, a famous Korean noodle/dumpling shop. Subsequently, however, scheduling conflicts prevented me from joining him and therefore participating in any of the meal planning, which then fell to the people at Yonsei University, who were already involved in various aspects of the trip. They took him to a buffet – a BUFFET!!!! – for dinner later in the day, Chinese for lunch the next day, and Japanese for dinner that evening, presumably with breakfast at the hotel buffet in between. Come ON!!!! When we were finally able to meet up for drinks after dinner this evening on the eve of his departure, I made sure that we did something local.
Keeping it really local, we ventured out on foot from his accommodations at the Plaza Hotel and wound up in a certain notorious back-alley of ill-repute that I described in a prior post (see 2.265 Budae-Jjigae Jjajmbbong) (apparently, I’m drawn there by instinct, like a homing pigeon). Amid all the hostess bars with hawkers offering the services of English-speaking girls (SP is a big white Dutchman), we managed to find a restaurant/bar decorated to look like a traditional countryside pub, complete with a thatched roof overhead and farming implements adorning the walls. The menu comprised classic anju, like this plate of assorted jeon, which we had with both soju and makgeolli. Afterwards, we stopped by a pojangmacha for a handful of roasted ginko nuts and beer. Not so great overall, but at least everything was authentic.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)