14.086 Black Pepper Shrimp

Cycle 14 – Item 86

1 (Sat) April 2023

Black Pepper Shrimp


at Hong Kong Gulagbu

-Bongmyeon, Yuseong, Daejeon, Republic of Korea-


Battle of the Books is an annual event where elementary students at participating international schools read a set of novels throughout the year then form teams to face off at the end of the year in a quiz tournament.

When I was in high school, it was Korea Christian Academy (KCA).

This year, the tournament was hosted by TCIS.  dbBOOKS sponsored the event by providing gift certificates to the winning teams.

I drove down to Daejeon to observe the proceedings.

When moving to their new location, they built facilities to accommodate 1,500 students, though they’re currently at half that capacity.

Originally, the plan had been for W and IZ to join me, after which we’d spend a leisurely evening in Daejeon.  But no, as often happens, W threw a temper tantrum in the morning, and I didn’t feel like dealing with the bullshit, so I went by myself.

The current building was erected in 1982.

Yousung Hotel, a landmark founded in 1915 – well, the name goes back to 1915, though the property has been housed in many different buildings before the current one.   It’s most famous for its on-site hot spring, accessible through a public bathhouse.

The photo shows the building erected during the Japanese occupation, sometime in the 1930s.

As the room was nonrefundable, I decided to stay and make a solo night of it.

2 queen beds, all for me.
Quite possibly the crappiest view that I’ve ever experienced from a hotel room (see also 3.244 Steamed Crab in Chili Sauce).

Hong Kong Gulagbu is a Chinese restaurant – an actual non-Korean-Chinese Chinese restaurant.  Despite the “Hong Kong,” not really Cantonese, just a mishmash of styles, leaning Sichuanese/Hunanese with so many chili-based dishes.

Located 669 meters from the hotel, on foot.
Though kitschy, the vibe felt authentically Chinese.

I was very pleased to find that the restaurant offered a range of tasting dishes at very reasonable prices, allowing me to relax, have a few drinks, read my book, and explore the menu.

No jjajang myeon, no jjambbong!

The whisky highball is a subcategory of cocktail.  Falls under the larger highball category, which includes any drink involving a base spirit + a sparkling mixer, served over ice in a tall straight-sided glass (i.e., a highball glass).  The whisky highball was traditionally made with Scotch whisky + soda water, now referred to as a Scotch & Soda, while the modern Whisky Highball uses ginger ale by default.  Other popular variations include the Seven & Seven (Seagram’s Seven Crown (Canadian) Whiskey + 7-Up)” and Jack & Coke (Jack Daniel’s (Tennessee) Whiskey + Coca-Cola).  In Japan, the omnipresent Haiboru is made with Japanese whisky + soda water, like Scotch & Soda.   In Korea, where whisk(e)y highballs are rapidly growing in popularity, they’re often made with cheaper American bourbons (e.g., Jim Beam) + tonic water or Sprite or anything clear and sweet.

Jim Beam Highball: made with soda water, plus a squeeze of lemon

Although not documented on GMTD, I’ve been drinking a lot of highballs these days.  They combine my 2 favorite kinds of drink: hard liquor + carbonated beverage.  They can be boosted with additional shots of booze, which is to intensify the flavor, not to accelerate the buzz.  They’re relatively affordable, usually under 10,000 won (more with the additional shot).  They’re not filling, unlike beer.  Because what I need these days is readier access to booze.

The food was excellent.  My favorite dish was the Black Pepper Shrimp: deep-fried shrimp, tossed with whole black peppercorns and chilies in an oyster sauce glaze, served with prawn crackers.  Without intending to, I ended up ordering only deep-fried items, which went well with the highballs.

Reminded me of a dish that I had in Chiang Mai (see 6.173 Black Pepper Giants Prawns).

I had a blast – too bad the family missed out.



(See also BOOZE)

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