15 (Mon) June 2020
at Lee Sang
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
After departing the Philippines in a daring, death-defying midnight evacuation (see 11.147 Bulgogi) (not really), then spending a tense and turbulent fortnight under quarantine at a secluded cabin deep in the mountains of central Korea (see 11.161 Chicken Chicory Adobo) (not really), we are finally safe and free (not really).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the boys have been stuck indoors for 108 of the past 110 days, starting on 24 February, when their school required them to self-quarantine for 2 weeks due to contact with a visitor from Korea (see 11.049 Cheese Pizza) – at the time, Korea seemed like such a danger zone; the boys stayed home as required and returned for 2 days of classes, then the school shut down entirely on 10 March (see 11.064 Stir-Fried Watercress and Shimeji Mushrooms), which would turn out to be final for the rest of the semester. The wife has been grounded 110 of the past 110 days, which I think she prefers. Even though I had relative freedom for most of the time, in and out every other day for groceries or work, I was dealing with the daily terror that I would catch the virus, or something else, and bring it back to my family.
For the next 2 years at least (we signed a 2-year rental lease), we will live in Wirye, a “new city” on the outskirts of Seoul. More on that after we move in. We have the keys to our apartment, but our stuff won’t arrive from Manila until the end of this week, so the wife is staying with the boys at her parents’ place, while I camp it out on the floor.
Lee Sang is Japanese chain restaurant. 4 locations in Seoul, with a 5th location in Wirye. More of an izakaya than a family restaurant, greater emphasis on booze and food that goes with booze than food per se.
For our first family dinner at a restaurant in 111 days (see most recently 11.051 Cuadril), we walked across the street from our new apartment complex in search of eats and came across Lee Sang. We jumped for joy, literally (the boys also performed kung fu moves from Dumb and Dumber – see above).
The food was awesome. Impeccable ingredients, precise execution, expert plating. We cried tears of gratitude with every bite of sashimi (not really), so pristinely fresh and tasty (really). In our prolonged state of culinary deprivation, we would’ve been thrilled with almost anything, but this was excellence absolute.