13.365 Corn Noodles

Cycle 13 – Item 365

5 (Thu) January 2023

Corn Noodles


at No Gyeong Seong

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

with the Family

So busy these days that I completely forgot about the significance of tonight’s meal: the final dinner of the cycle.  Not unprecedented – happened 3 consecutive years from Cycles 7-9, during GMTD’s long informal hiatus – but I wasn’t actively engaged with the blog during that time.  At least the meal represents what I was actually eating on an otherwise insignificant Thursday evening – as the blog is intended to show – without regard for a GMTD milestone.

Listed on the menu as “oksusu (corn) guksu (noodles),” the term refers merely to the corn as an ingredient in the noodles.  The broth is a kimchi-based soup, mildly spicy, essentially Korean in character.

* * * *


The year was a blur, generally and gastronomically.

In terms of numbers, the pandemic got much worse than 2021 at the start of 2022 – in fact, the whole family was infected by Covid-19 by March 4 (see 13.058 Real Fried (Chicken)), when Korea reported a then-record of 266,838 new cases, 2 weeks prior to the final peak of 404,668 cases on March 19 – but frankly it felt kinda ho-hum by that point – in fact, each of us bounced back after a few hours of mild fever/headache/lethargy, and spent the remainder of the family quarantine playing board/card games together, including Organ Attack (obvious irony intended).  Despite the relative normalization of the pandemic, I wasn’t yet so excited to explore new dishes or new restaurants.

Still, I did have spurts of enthusiasm to hone my skills in various areas, such as hand-made pizza (see from 13.008 Pizza with Anchovies, shallots, Pecorini Romano to  13.037 Pizza Alpha), meatless burgers (see from 13.066 Chicken Burger to 13.209 Salmon Burger), home-style Chinese (see from 13.150 Geon Dubu Bokkeum to 13.245 Fried Rice), as well as KSCX (see 13.073 Spenatsoppa, 13.095 Smörgås Jordnötssmör och Sylt) – at least until September.

But then at the office, towards the end of Q3 (coinciding with the start of the fall academic semester), I took on ever-heavier loads of work, including full responsibility for all engagements relating to international schools (book fairs!), and the stress immediately weighed me down.  For the first time in 13 years, I began to sense monotony/apathy when eating, which had previously provided relief/respite/rejuvenation, especially when work was at its worst.

Out of 365 days, only 177 meals (48%) were home/camp-cooked, perhaps the lowest prior to 2014 (after which I was working for WHO and thus on the road a lot).  10 of the 177 were cooked by others.  Tellingly, 29 of the by-me 167 were instant or kit-based, leaving a pathetic 138 meals cooked by me from scratch.  188 meals (52%) were prepared commercially, eaten at a restaurant or at home via delivery, perhaps again another post-2014 record, not one that I’m proud of.

As such Cycle 13 ended with a fizzle.


If I had to single out a dish, though not particularly impressed by anything that I made this year, I suppose that the Niçoise was among the better ones, as it was light, healthy, tasty, sophisticated, well executed, nicely plated.

13.120 Salade Niçoise: IZ’s comment upon reading the draft of this post – “You think that was your best dish of the year!?!?  It wasn’t even the best dish on the table that night.”


While the dishes below weren’t all that great individually, they represent together a Cantonese-ish spread that I worked hard to develop though several iterations over the course of a few months.

13.197 Broccolini in Oyster Sauce
13.150 Geon Dubu Bokkeum
13.180 Soy Sauce Chicken
13.210 Chow Mein with Broccolini
13.225 Shrimp & Scallops with Broccoli in Lobster Sauce
13.182 Egg Fried Rice


13.223 Mugeunji Doenjang Jorim: on on-going debate in W’s family is whether her cooking style has been (d)evolving over the years to suit my tastes, or my palate has been (d)evolving to appreciate her food – but in either case, the twain shall someday meet, maybe.


13.318 Baechu Jeon: another dish elevating the humble baechu (napa cabbage) to elegance.


13.336 Gimbap Gift Set: during the book fair at CI, the librarian (a white woman from the Pacific Northwest of the USA) surprised our staff at lunch with a box of gimbap, the likes of which none of us (all Korean natives) had ever experienced, never even imagined.


13.300 Prosciutto & Fig Salada: this wasn’t even the best dish of the spread.


From the outset, our primary objective in visiting Osaka had been food – but never in a million years could anybody have predicted that the best meal would be encountered at a hole-in-the-wall Sichuanese joint discovered in passing by trough a back alley, far from the main action.  Only DJ and I were there to enjoy it.

13.354 Mapo Doufu: my outlook – developed over decades or eating and cooking this most iconic dish – changed the instant I took a first nibble.

The best part of the meal was sharing it with DJ, who doesn’t much hang out with his old man these days.  Even better, we walked around town after dinner for further food exploration before going back to the hotel, where W and IZ were already asleep.


13.344 Omakase: mostly about the food, but largely about the company of old friends.


13.064 (Post-Covid-19) Mul Naeng Myeon: surviving Covid-19, heading straight to what is still my favorite restaurant in the world for my first meal upon release from quarantine.


13.094 Just Regular Eomuk: first time in Busan, baby!
13.152 Gold Combo: learning what the national holiday Hyeongchungil celebrates and drinking beer in a Korean movie theater, both for the first time.
13.227 SPAM Sticks: first time diving in over 2.5 years.


Golden Chamchi

13.028 Special Set: excellent cuts and quality of fish, gorgeous presentations, generous portions, great sides, friendly service – our go-to restaurant for tuna sashimi.


Je Je

13.034 Prawn Wonton Noodle: while the food is authentically Cantonese, the exorbitant prices hold me back from regular patronage.


13.281 Not: I would rather eat a pig’s asshole (see 1.282 Makchang).



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