12.325 (Garlic) Abalones

Cycle 12 – Item 325

26 (Fri) November 2021

(Garlic) Abalones

3.0

by me

at Solddeul

-Sinbok, Okcheon, Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

The First Full Family Full Camping Trip Ever (Day 1)

Surprisingly, our family of four has never before camped out together in a tent.

LUNCH

The campsite is located in Okcheon, giving me an opportunity to check out a couple additional contenders in the Okcheon Challenge, on the way in, on the way out.

Okcheon KPWM Challenge (3) (see also OKPWMC)

This project aims to confirm that Okcheon Goeup Naeng Myeon – the OG – which has always been GMTD’s favorite restaurant for Okcheon-style MNM and other dishes, is still the best joint in town.

Same signage, even the part that claims “41 years of tradition.”
The dining area has been extended in the rear.

Okcheon Myeonok was covered on GMTD over 9 years ago, to very negative reviews.

As explained by the owner, the wanja are initially baked.
Then pan-fried upon order (in lard).

I am very pleased to report that our experience this time was largely positive.

Myeonsu: some MNM restaurants provide the noodle-boiling water as a beverage, starchy and flavorless.
Kimchi (3.5)
Pyeonyuk (2.5): twice-cooked, first boiled then seared; nice contrasting textures, but a tad porky in flavor.
Wanja (2.5): decent, but a touch greasy on the outside, somewhat dry within.
Mul Naeng Myeon (2.0): more of a wannabe Pyongyang-style MNM, with a dry beefy broth and gritty buckwheat noodles, though not quite hitting the mark in either regard.

Total score: 3.5 (kimchi) + 2.5 (pyeonyuk) + 2.5 (wanja) + 2.0 (MNM) = 10.5 out of 16 (66%).  Pass.

A return visit wouldn’t be merited on the basis of the core dishes, but the menu offered nokdu jeon and dongdongju – unusual in these parts – which might be tempting under the right circumstances someday.

The owner turned out to be a nice guy, so that’s also a consideration.

SET-UP

Solddeul is a campground.  More of a sprawling camping village, with 150 plots for long-term campers, about 30 spots for daily campers.

We came because it’s one of the rare properties near Seoul that doesn’t require reservations.  The places that do require reservations (the ones that we know) were booked for the weekend.

Base level, as seen from the second level (five levels in all).

We were very pleased to find upon arrival that it’s a campsite catering to dog families.  In designated areas, dogs are allowed to run free.  Poop bags are available every few meters.  As far as I could tell, every camper on the base level had at least 1 dog, making for dozens of dogs, yapping, pissing/pooping all day all over the place.

So much goddamn stuff, for several reasons.  Family of 4.  Outdated gear (e.g., tents and sleeping bags), thicker and clunkier.  With temperatures dipping below zero at night, heating equipment is essential (e.g., kerosene furnace + air circulator).  Haven’t done this in years, uncertain of what I would need, so I erred on the side of caution and packed everything, just in case.

3 hours later, we were ready to roll.

But already, the air was getting cold, so we moved the table and chairs inside and zipped up for the night.

DINNER

Newbery 100 Medals, 100 Meals (69) (see 100 NEWBERY M&Ms)

While reading the 100 books that have been awarded the annual Newbery Medal since 1922, I am attempting to create one dish for every book, a dish that is directly referenced in or indirectly inspired by the events of the book.  The dishes will be featured as posts on Give Me This Day.

Island of the Blue Dolphins (1961) by Scott O’Dell.  The book is about Karana, a young Native American girl who is stranded on an island and lives on her own for 18 years, until she is rescued.

I enjoyed the book.  The survival story is driven by Karana’s growing self-empowerment as she learns to embrace her environment and situation.  I’d read it in elementary school, and still remember how captivated I had been by its haunting, lonely elegance.

Early in the book, Karana’s tribe is attacked by Russian hunters, killing 27 of 42 men.  The chief Kimki calls the survivors together.

[paraphrased in part]

“Most of those who snared fowl and found fish in the deep water and built canoes are gone.  The women, who were never asked to do more than stay home, cook food, and make clothing, now must take the place of the men and face the dangers which abound beyond the village.” 

Kimki portioned work for each one in the tribe, giving me the task of gathering abalonesThis shellfish grew on rocks along the shore and was plentiful.  I gathered them at low tide in baskets and carried them to the mesa where I cut the dark red flesh from the shell and placed it on flat rocks to dry in the sun.

How’s that for women’s lib?

Based on a true story.  By 1835, the isolated Nicoleño tribe on San Nicolas island off the Southern Californian coast had dwindled to less than 20, prompting the Santa Barbara Mission to sponsor a rescue operation and bring them to the mainland.  However, a girl was accidentally left behind.  She was eventually found in 1953 and taken to the Mission, where she was given the Christian name Juana Maria.  Her people had all died by then, of various diseases.  Juana Maria died of dysentery after 7 weeks – one theory is that she became ill from overindulging in nutrient-rich foods, which her body wasn’t accustomed to.  None of the local Indians could speak her language, so she was unable to explain what had happened to her, or even tell them her real name.  Her life on San Nicolas, as fictionalized in Island of the Blue Dolphins, was extrapolated from artifacts found on the island years later.

The coals were so weak that smoke was kept to a minimum

Although this is yet another book about brown people written by a white author, O’Dell treats his characters and their culture with respect and, presumably, historical accuracy.  With no Nicoleńos alive to tell the story themselves, someone had to do it, I suppose.

IKEA plates.

After briefly considering the feasibility of making dried abalones (my mother has a dehydrator), I decided to go fresh.  Scored, seasoned with Yeondu + sesame oil + minced garlic + black pepper, grilled for 1 minute over live coals.  Nice.

Juana Maria’s rescuers reported that she was cooking over fire when they found her, so perhaps this is how she could’ve prepared abalones, if only she had Yeondu + sesame oil + minced garlic + black pepper.

(See also MUL NAENG MYEON)

(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)

(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)

(See also CAMPING)

2 thoughts on “12.325 (Garlic) Abalones

  1. “She was eventually found in 1953…”. Unless she was the oldest human in history, I’m guessing a typo there…

    I would also guess her death was more due to a lack of immunity to diseases of the modern world (as has happened and is still happening with previously uncontacted people’s around the world…)

    Glad you like your IKEA plate, I have the same model at home (I think), different color though.

    1. According to Wikipedia, she is believed to have been born sometime before 1811. So when she was rescued in 1953, she would’ve been at least 142 years old. Koreans believe that abalone increases longevity.

      I am surrounded by IKEA products these days, all my bookshelves, my desk, my lamps, my LEGOs, our drinking glasses, and now our camping plates. Also the ABSOLUT and all the frozen IKEA foods in my freezer. I trust that it would’ve happened like that anyway, not because I’m virtually stalking you through Swedish products.

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