Friday, March 19, 2021

today's luncheon

Here's what today's luncheon looked like.

First, the side:  oi-muchim:

Next:  al-tang, the fish-roe stew:

And finally:  fried rice and galbi (short ribs):

Reviews were generally positive, but there may have been one exception.

My boss:  "I'm so full... and it's your fault."

My American coworker:  "Restaurant quality."  He sent a pic of his meal to his pro-chef wife, and she texted back:  "Amazing!"

My Korean coworker:  "Delicious."

I sensed, however, that my Korean coworker was holding back his sincere opinion, and I'm not surprised:  if anyone's going to be critical of Korean food, it's the lone Korean in the office.  And I think he was right (assuming I'm reading his mind correctly):  the galbi tasted off.  Not awful, but off.  It tasted fine last night when I pan-fried it and painted a glaze on it, but today, something just wasn't right about it.  The Americans in the office didn't complain, but my Korean coworker knew, as I did, that the galbi didn't quite make the cut.  Evidence for my suspicion about my Korean coworker's attitude:  he had barely touched his galbi.  

When we all finished our meals and reached the dishwashing phase of the luncheon (our office has a kitchenette with a sink, thank Jeebus), I looked in the communal garbage container (not a can, but a huge cardboard box) and saw nothing—no thrown-away meat, and no bones.  That, to me, was the giveaway:  if my coworker had eaten the meat, he'd have thrown away the bones.  So my guess is that the meat and bones were quietly wrapped up and thrown away separately somewhere so as not to hurt my feelings.

Am I being paranoid?  Possibly.*  But the untouched meat, thirty minutes into the meal, was a telling indication that something was amiss, and from my own tasting of the galbi, I think my Korean coworker thought so, too, and I don't think he was wrong.  Dammit.

Anyway, the fried rice was fucking awesome, and the al-tang wasn't at all bad.  I made way too much food for four people, so I'm set, as far as meals go, for the entire weekend.  Meantime, I'm going to figure out how to salvage what galbi remains.  I think that a re-saucing with something more acidic might be the key here.


*Koreans are often in the habit of bagging up food waste and throwing it away separately.  In our office, however, there are only two communal trash receptacles—one labeled "regular garbage," and one labeled "recyclables."  There's no "food waste" receptacle.  In such situations, Koreans often improvise by throwing food waste into some sort of plastic bag, then tying the bag shut and throwing it into the "regular garbage" receptacle.

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