Cycle 14 – Item 227
20 (Sun) August 2023
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
To be clear, this post is not about frugality – it’s about sustainability (as much as I dislike that word).
For lunch yesterday, we ate eel. As usual, the banchan included sliced garlic and ginger, served as toppings to be eaten raw along with the grilled eel; however, as nobody in our family eats raw garlic or ginger, it would’ve been thrown out once we’d left the table, as usual.
Whereas Korean meals come with various banchan (see for example 14.199 Birthday Banchan), whether the customer wants them or not, food waste is a chronic problem. Back in the day (perhaps, up through the 1990s?), restaurants were known for setting aside uneaten banchan from one customer and serving it again to the next customer. In situations where the banchan is being served while I’m already seated, and I see something that I wouldn’t eat, I request that the server take it back before it’s placed on the table. Some restaurants these days, including this place (see for example 12.278 Pungcheon Jangeo – Regular), offer small portions of banchan in the initial spread and ask customers to refill at a banchan “self-bar.” I believe that all banchan should be self-service from the get-go, so that customers get only what they want.
Anticipating tomorrow’s dinner, I gathered the leftover garlic and ginger into a paper cup and took it home.
For dinner today, I made bossam, using my scallion-steam technique (see 2.222 Bossam (with recipe)), but with the the garlic and ginger from the restaurant yesterday.
It was good. Whereas heaps of garlic is now a standard part of the recipe (see for example 14.135 Garlic Bossam), this was the first time using so much ginger, which permeated the meat to give it a hint of added spiciness – a very welcome breakthrough, though I don’t think that I’d go out of my way to add so much ginger to the pot, unless I already had a paper cup full of it.
(See also HANSIK)