12.365 Bokkeum Jjambbong

Cycle 12 – Item 365

5 (Wed) January 2022

Bokkeum Jjambbong

3.0

from Shanghai

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

solo

Bokkeum Jjambbong is a Korean-Chinese dish.  A stir-fried variation on jjambbong with sauce instead of broth, kinda like ul myeon.  Not a standard dish but likely to be found at any neighborhood joint trying to get creative – this is the extent of local capacity for creativity (another variation would be jjambbong bab = rice in lieu of noodles).

* * * *

CYCLE 12 WRAP

While the pandemic may be worse now than it was a year ago – as measured by new cases: when we arrived in Korea on 1 June 2020, the 7-day average was 45 per day; as of today, the 7-day average is 3,975 – life feels kinda the same, at least to me, at least where eating is concerned.  Groceries are readily available.  Restaurants are still open, subject to seating limitations (currently a maximum of 4 fully vaccinated diners) and curfews (currently 2100).

Out of 365 days, 199 meals were home-cooked (55%) + 31 meals by delivery/takeout (8%)  = a combined 230 meals at home (63%) (compared to 79% last year, half of which had been in Manila, during the lockdown).  134 meals were in restaurants (37%).  For the first time in GMTD history, all 365 meals occurred in Korea.  

From the old days, I do miss random/spontaneous social events with friends.  Over the past year, I only saw a few very close friends on rare/special occasions: MtG (8), HSK (4), LHS (3), former WHO colleagues (3), friends from AUSOM (1).   Beyond the social distancing rules, casual carousing just doesn’t feel appropriate.

BEST DISHES BY ME

During Cycle 12, I wasn’t particularly dazzled over any of my own efforts.

But I was very proud of myself for finally learning how to bake my own bread (see 12.202 BLT).  I’ll really be impressed if I can conquer the baguette (You bet, Nanette!).

I was also pleased to learn a super easy, super tasty, super adaptable cooking technique that has become a family standard (12.117 Egg Wraps with Roast Duck).

BEST RESTAURANT DISHES

In light of the restaurant’s owner, I am biased, but the food was objectively good (12.173 Pesce).

Things like this make me miss Itawon (12.308 Wet Burrito).

If I had to pick just one best restaurant dish of the year, it would probably be this one (12.207 Dubu Jjim).

I was very pleasantly surprised to discover an amazing alternative dish in Okcheon (12.327 Pyeonyuk Muchim), where all the restaurants otherwise offer the exact same menu.

BEST DRINK

Kudos to a pub chain that can make Cass attractive, perhaps even addictive (12.196 ‘Tis Rare Fine Beer).

BEST MEALS

First time camping with the family (12.325 (Garlic) Abalones), maybe the last.

Noteworthy on 3 points: (1) the venue claims to have invented jjajang myeon – unverifiable but fun as an apocryphal factoid; (2) the first overnight business trip since joining the company, the only hotel stay of the year, the first since October 2019 (New Zealand); (3) didn’t really need to stay overnight, but wanted to have a drink with RK (even though he doesn’t drink), the only occasion we met up in 2021 (#122 w RK) (12.104 Gonghwachun Jjajang Myeon).

1 of 3 dinner parties during Cycle 12, all 3 of them involving LHS, this one with a Swedish theme (12.340 Köttbullar in Truffle Gravy).

BEST RESTAURANTS

Ever since dropping meat from my daily diet, I’ve come to appreciate the many meatless options at Sunam Siraegi, where I eat lunch at least once a week while at work (12.199 Seed Doenjang Siraegi Rice).

While Gogi Nara has long been a family favorite lunch venue for the beef soup, we’ve recently developed a higher appreciation for the grilled beef and side dishes at dinner time (12.200 Banchan), though this was before the meatless thing, so who knows what will happen in 2022 and beyond.

Jinmi Pyongyang Mul Naeng Myeon retains the title as my all-time favorite restaurant; I had the mul naeng myeon 4 times during Cycle 12 (12.290 Mul Naeng Myeon (à la Hubris)).

BEST NEW RESTAURANT

Looking forward to further exploration of the menu at Chojangjib, another venue where I can indulge in pescatarianism (see 12.293 Makhoe).

WORST DISH BY ME

Not so much the dish itself, but the grocery shopping (12.051 Battle: Blood!).

WORST RESTAURANT DISH

Not at all the dish itself, or even the restaurant, but what happened later in the evening – outcome still pending (12.318 Ojingeo Muchim).

I am happy to report that I experienced zero 0.0 or 0.5 meals during Cycle 12.

(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)

(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)

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