Tuesday, October 22, 2013


A more or less typical meal at the campus cafeteria:

No major awards for imagination or innovation, but the food at our campus cafeteria, which costs us profs W3500 (about $3.20), isn't bad at all. Occasionally, there are menu items that disappoint; at other times, there have been selections that leave one scratching one's head, such as a fried-pork/soup combination in which the crispy-fried pork (Kor. donggaseu, Jpn. donkatsu) was left to soak inside a cold(!!) udong (Jpn. udon) soup broth.

Mostly, though, the food is fairly fresh and flavorful. The above tray shows a Korean-style mixed-vegetable salad, a pile of sauce-covered mandu (Jpn. gyoza), another pile of ggakdugi (cubed, pickled radish), and a white-broth soup with thinly sliced beef and some noodles in it. Oh, and we can't forget the rice. I deliberately piled the rice high because there's a thing I do whenever I eat Korean soup—something I've done since childhood: I eat all the solid elements of the soup, leaving the broth, then I dump the rice in at the very end and enjoy the soup again, but this time with rice in it. My favorite soup to do this with used to be dubu-jjigae (tofu stew), but this was before I had made the acquaintance of the much more savory budae-jjigae, which you, Dear Reader, know I like to make (and one more!).

Ah, yes: the drink sitting next to the tray was good old American-style sweetened ice tea.



John McCrarey said...

Ha, I thought I was the only one who did that. I'm not much of a rice eater, but whenever I order a steaming bowl of bulgogi I eat the meat, then dump my rice into the broth. Delicious!

Charles said...

I thought everyone did that with the rice. Are there people who do not do this?

Kevin Kim said...


Can't tell if you're joking or being serious! Are you really saying that it's normal for Koreans to eat the solids in the soup, then to dump in rice and empty the bowl? I'm not so sure. Lots of Koreans waste precious broth. It's always a sad thing to see at the end of a meal, and I have to wonder how a country that has known intense poverty could possibly be so wasteful with such a large (and tasty!) percentage of any given soup.