28 (Sun) February 2021
at Gogi Nara
-Changchon, Seowon, Hoengseong, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
Despite being featured only twice before on GMTD, Gogi Nara remains an all-time family favorite. By default, to conclude a typical weekend visit to the cabin, we drop by for lunch as we head home on Sunday, always the beef and cabbage soup (see for example 3.214 Ugeoji Tang) – the only lunch dish on the menu. Only once have we ordered the grilled beef, the one occasion that we ate dinner there (see 4.342 Modeum).
On a whim, we ordered grilled beef for lunch. Such extravagance on a Sunday afternoon!
I just realized the polar distinction in optimal cooking styles for whole beef brisket, which is cooked low and slow via indirect heat for American-style barbecue, and shaved beef brisket, which is cooked high and fast over direct heat for Korean-style barbecue.
I also just realized that most Koreans in Korea have no idea that the rest of the world refers to Korean tabletop grilling as “Korean barbecue.” Here, Koreans simply say “Let’s eat meat,” and it’s understood to mean tabletop grilling.
I told the proprietor that her banchan was the best that I had ever experienced in any restaurant, and I meant it.
While surely she’s heard such compliments before, she seemed very pleased, perhaps touched.
As a special treat, she then provided us with a wedge of special mugeunji (old kimchi), aged 3 years. It was amazingly deep and spicy in flavor, surprisingly crisp and alive in texture. While mugeunji is ordinarily too intense to be consumed as is, this one was perfectly delectable. If only it had come earlier in the meal, to be eaten with the beef.
Just imagine the discipline and skill and patience required to mature kimchi for 3 years.
I’m thinking that we should order beef every time from now on.
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)