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Photohunt: Foreign

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Bulgogi lunch
Waiting for Bulgogi lunch in Seoul Korea

What to choose... what to choose.... Foreign has so many ways and places for interpretation. We love to travel to foreign countries. According to Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of foreign is alien in character. We travel mostly to western countries which end up not being that foreign.

We made our first trip to Asia last year. We traveled to Borneo Malaysia. It could definitely be considered foreign but since they spoke a fair amount of English and we were familiar with Southeast Asian cooking, it was not that foreign to us.

But we did have a layover on the trip back from Borneo to Seattle in Seoul. Asiana airlines provided us with the option of taking a free day tour of Seoul. It was the perfect way to experience a country very foreign to us.

Korea uses the Hangul alphabet which I can not read. The area I live in Seattle has a large Korean population but I have not explored the restaurants or stores. We knew very little of the culture or cuisine. I've seen signs on Korean restaurants - "Bibimbap", "kalbi", "Kimchi" and "Bulgogi". But all the dishes were totally foreign to me.

We stopped for lunch during our tour at Bulgogi restaurant. Bulgogi is thin slices beef in a soy sauce marinade that are quickly grilled or sauteed. First we had to figure out what G would eat since he does not eat meat. He could try Bibimbap. He wasn't too enthusiastic but would give it a try.

We arrived at the restaurant and had to take off our shoes before entering. We were escorted into a separate room where there was a long low table with burners and it was lined with pillows. Oh my goodness - I was going to have to sit on the floor. I'm not that flexible any more and it was definitely a foreign experience to eat sitting on the floor.

We found a place and set down. We ordered drink. G and I ordered a Kass beer which we had on the flight. The servers sit down an amazing array of condiments - non of which I recognized. They then brought the marinated beef which they set on the burners which were between every other party. They fired them up and the scent of soy-marinated beef filled the room. Yum!

The beef was cooked in no time. The servers came around to cut it up with a pair of scissors and chopsticks. Another couple on the tour was familiar with bulgogi so they showed us how to eat it. Take a piece of lettuce, put a bit of rice on the lettuce, a slice of the bulgogi meat and add your spices. Kim chi - a pickled cabbage spiced with hot peppers; Ssamjang - a spicy paste, pickled turnip and many other items foreign to me.

It was delicious! I loved the soy-sweet taste of the beef. It is not as good as kalbi which I absolutely love but not bad. G thought the bibimbap was ok. I think it was a little too foreign for him. I would love to try bulgogi again and there are a couple of places near by to try. But I have to admit - it was very foreign to us.

Bulgogi lunch
Low tables and burners setup for bulgogi

Bulgogi lunch
Condiments for bulgogi

Bulgogi lunch
Kimchi - hot and spicy fermented cabbage

Bulgogi lunch
Bulgogi cooking at the table

Bulgogi lunch
Time to serve - the server cuts it up with scissors and mixes in the onions and mushrooms

If you want to know more about this dish, check out these video from Epicurious on bulgogi.

Around the World in 80 dishes - Korean Bulgogi

Comments (22)

Very interesting, and yes foreign. I don't recognize ant of the dishes either.

Yum!
That is not exactly the takee outee I'm used to.

What an interesting post!

When I saw this week's theme, I thought immediately of you and wondered what you'd post! FOOOOOOD! I love Asian food. It's delicious and not heavy or fattening like American food.

Kimchi - I've always wanted to taste it. I wonder if it is the secret to the beautiful skin that Koreans have?

I adore bulgogi, you are making my mouth water :)

My photo hunt post:

http://bonggamom.blogspot.com/2010/03/foreign.html

Definitely foreign food but the whole thing looks like such a fun experience. I went to a Korean restaurant in Texas one time and thought the food was great (very spicy!).

Have a good weekend.

Lisa:

wonderful shot -- perfect for the theme; and I loved the essay with it!

It isn't quite lunch time here yet, but no you've got my stomach growling.

I've never had Korean food but it all looks delicious and very foreign.

Happy weekend!

Sure looks foriegn to me! You are very adventurous with food!

These are such GREAT photos!
I have been to Korea 4 times and stayed with Korean friends in Seoul and also Jeju Island. Everything you posted is so familiar to me from those travels. Taking off your shoes to enter a restaurant, scissors for cutting meat, sitting on the floor, grilling at the table, wow! I love this post!

What a great post for the theme and sounds like a wonderful experience. The food in the shots look delicious.

Hi Marta, sounds and looks like your lunch in Seoul was a success. Adelaide has a large Asian population so we have a variety of "foreign" eateries in town. So we have been brushing up on Asian cuisine before heading to that part of the world.

WOW. I need to travel more and experience a greater variety of foods! That looks like it was truly an amazing experience.

sandrac:

That all looks so delicious Marta, I've only had kimchi and none of the other dishes you mention. But they sound wonderful -- especially the bibimbap -- and definitely exotic!

YTSL:

I like bulgogi but, like you, prefer kalbi. Incidentally, the small dishes in the first photo are known as banchan -- and it's customary to be given them as a matter of course with your order; and the more banchan, the more highly thought of you are considered to be in status! ;)

Bulgogi was one of my favorites when I was in Korea. We ate a lot of Ramyon, which they call Top Ramen in the US, but it is much spicier and better in Korea. Again this is one of those themes that can easily take so many directions. Fun photos and perfect for the theme.

Thanks for dropping by my blog and I hope I see you again soon.

sheri:

Loved this post,Marta.Would love to try Kimchi.I think that we have a couple of Korean Restaurants here.Maybe it is time to try one of them!

Hungry now...

Now that just looks delicious. Sorry for the late visit!

Yum! I love Korean food. Haven't had it in a while though. Must have been fabulous!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 6, 2010 2:05 AM.

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