Friday, September 19, 2008

The Korean 100

A while back, Very Good Taste posted a list called "The Omnivore's Hundred." I briefly debated whether or not I should participate ... but looking down the list, there were far too many things that I would never EVER put in my mouth (brawn (head cheese), cognac with a fat cigar, dirty gin martini, sweetbreads, haggis, horse, crab, lobster, etc., etc.). I would never be able to get through all 100 things, so why bother mentioning what I've already had??

Then I found out that ZenKimchi had compiled a Korean 100 list! That would be much better for me. FatManSeoul put the list in Hangul (much easier to read than Korean words Romanized into English). Here's the list, with things I've eaten already in bold, my notes in italics:

1. Myeolchi Bokkeum (Stir-fried Anchovies) 멸치볶음
Usually stir-fried with sugar, making it salty and sweet. I changed the Korean spelling-- I think there was a typo.

2. Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) 삼계탕
Supposed to be very healthy and revitalizing. It's also quite delicious and not as weird as it sounds to combine ginseng with chicken!

3. Bulgogi (Grilled Marinated Beef) 불고기
Korean barbecue staple, usually grilled with onions.

4. BulDalk (Burn-your-pants-off Spicy Grilled Chicken) 불닭
Pronounced "bool-dahk," "bool" means fire and "dahk" means chicken. I don't think my pants have ever been burned off, but good 불닭 should be like a facial- opens your pores and steams out all the toxins.

5. DalkBal (Spicy Chicken Feet) 닭발
The sight of this dish always makes me feel a bit queasy. I mean, do you KNOW what chickens step in all day??

6. Korean Fried Chicken 치킨

7. Dalk Galbi (Stir-fried Marinated Chicken and Veggies) 닭갈비
Delicious. Very different flavor from beef galbi, just by virtue of the protein.

8. San Nakji, chopped (Semi-live Baby Octopus) 산낙지
Doubtful that I'll ever try this. I'm not a brave eater.

9. San Nakji, whole (Live Octopus)
Doubtful that I'll ever try this. I was with my parents the last time they ate it, and it just grosses me out. My mother told me that the little suction cups on the tentacles hang onto your tongue and throat as you eat it. *shudder*

10. Sundubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew) 순두부 찌게
Best eaten super spicy and super hot, while drunk. It'll wake you up from your drunken stupor like nothing else can.

11. Juk (Rice Porridge) 죽
Soft and comforting, kind of like grits, but without the sandy mouthfeel. It's smooth and silky. It's what my mother always made for me when I was sick, in various forms (with egg, with dates, with chicken, with whatever's in the fridge).

12. Galbi (Grilled Short Ribs) (소)갈비
We're talking about the beef variety. Korean barbecue staple, marinated and then grilled up. Always good.

13. Galbitang (Short Rib Soup) 갈비탕
I wouldn't really call this a soup. It's more like a stew, but with less liquid than American stews. The meat becomes soft and tender, and when made correctly, literally falls right off the bones.

14. Shinseollo (Fancy Hot Pot) 신선로

15. Gobchang Gui (Grilled Beef Intestines) 곱장구이
Intestines. Cud traveled through these. Eeeeew.

16. Seng Gan (Raw Beef Liver) 생간
I don't even like cooked liver, much less raw!

17. Galbi Jjim (Stewed Ribs) 갈비찜
Much like #13, the meat should be soft and tender and falling off the bones.

18. Bossam (Steamed Marinated Pork with Lettuce Wraps) 보쌈

19. Japchae (Clear Noodles Stir-fried with Pork and Vegetables) 찹재

20. Jaeyuk Bokkeum (Spicy Stir-fried Pork) 재육볶음

21. Kimchi Jjim (Stewed Kimchi with Tofu) 깁치찜

22. Ddong Jip (Chicken Gizzards) 똥집
"Ddong" means poop and "Jip" means house. Kind of revoltingly cute.

23. Odeng/Eomuk (Street-side Fish Noodles) 어댕/어묵

24. Hoddeok (Stuffed Street-side Pastries) 호떡

25. GeiJang (Raw Fermented Crabs) 게장
I would say it's pronounced "geh-jhang," and it isn't really fermented. More like pickled in soy sauce. I don't like crabs, and even the soy sauce becomes so permeated with crabby flavor that I have a hard time eating or even smelling it.

26. Hongeo (Fermented Skate) 홍어

27. Gochujang Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Belly Smothered in Red Pepper Paste) 고추장 삼겹살

28. Lotteria's Shrimp Burger
I keep hearing that Lotteria (Korean fast food company) is really good. I need to trek to Korea to find out!

29. Sae-u Kang (Shrimp Flavored “Fries”) 새우깡
It's a brand of shrimp flavored crackers. I love them, they remind me of my childhood. They're crispy and delicious!

30. Doenjang Jjigae (Fermented Bean Paste Stew) 됀장찌게
One of my dad's all-time favorites, I ate this all the time growing up.

31. Cheonggukjang (Stinky Fermented Bean Paste Stew) 정국장

32. Boshintang (Dog Soup) 보신탕
I sniffed my dad's serving of this when last he had it. It didn't smell odd, kind of like ... chicken/pork. Couldn't bring myself to eat it, though.

33. Seonji Haejangguk (Hangover Stew with Clotted Cow Blood) 선지 해장국
Clotted ... cow ... blood. I will never try this, no matter how hungover I may be.

34. Ddeokbokki (Chewy Rice Cakes in Spicy Sauce) 떡볶이

35. YukHui (Raw Beef Salad) 육희
I don't eat raw fish.

36. MiyeokGuk (Seaweed Soup) 미역국
Traditionally eaten on birthdays. My mom says that hospitals give the soup to women going into labor and after they've given birth.

37. Mae-eun Tang (Spicy Fish Soup) 매운탕

38. Nakji Bokkeum (Stir-fried Baby Octopus) 낙지볶음

39. Ojingeo (Cuttlefish) 오징어
Dried cuttlefish is a popular anju, or snack that's eaten while drinking. It's delicious and chewy and salty and yum.

40. Beondaeggi (Silkworm Larvae) 번대기

41. Golbaenggi (Sea Snails) 골뱅이

42. Jangeo Gui (Grilled Eel) 장어구이

43. Jaratang (Turtle Soup) 자라탕

44. Bogeo (Blowfish) 복어

45. Sae-u Sogeum Gui (Salt Grilled Shrimp) 새우소금 구이

46. Deodeok Root 더덕

47. BindaeDdeok (Mung Bean Pancake) 빈대떡

48. Pajeon (Green Onion Pancake) 바전

49. Bibimbap (Mixed Rice and Vegetables) 비빔밥

50. Boribap (Mixed Barley Rice and Vegetables) 보리밥

51. Marinated Garlic (마늘장아찌?)

52. Patbingsu (Shaved Ice and Red Bean Treat) 팥빙수
A dessert. "Pat" means red beans, "bingsu" means shaved ice. A fruit version would be fruit bingsu. It's delicious and refreshing.

53. Dotorimok (Acorn Jelly) 도토리목

54. Naengmyeon (Chilled Noodles) 냉면
One of my favorite summer dishes, cold noodles in cold soup.

55. Makkoli/Dongdongju (Rice Beer) 막거리/ 동동주

56. Bokbunja (Raspberry Wine) 복분자

57. Soju (Rice Whiskey) 소주

58. Andong Soju (Strong Rice Whiskey from the Andong Region) 안동소주
"Strong"?? Normal soju is strong enough!!

59. Jogae Gui (Grilled Shellfish) 조개구이

60. Haepari (Jellyfish) 해바리

61. Gyeran Jjim (Steamed Egg) 계란찜
In restaurants, it's usually steamed in small stone pots, which makes it somehow taste better. It can be made quickly in the microwave, still quite tasty.

62. Corn Ice Cream

63. Dolsot Bibimbap (Mixed Rice and Vegetables in a Sizzling Stone Pot) 돌솥비빔

64. Mandu (Stuffed Dumplings) 만두
There are two broad types- thick-skinned mandu (pronounced "mahn-doo") that is steamed and then fried until crispy, made quite large, and thin-skinned mandu, pan-steamed with water and oil, until the water dissolves and the oil crisps up the bottom of the mandu.

65. Ddeokguk (Chewy Rice Cake Soup) 떡국
Traditionally eaten on New Year's Day, at the crack of dawn. I am not even kidding. I've never gone partying on New Year's Eve before because I have to be awake at 6:00 in the morning on New Year's Day, for a whole morning of preparing and eating food.

66. Songpyeon (Stuffed Chewy Rice Cakes) 송편
Traditionally eaten on Korean Thanksgiving (Chuseok), which was last week. We celebrated on Sunday, 9/14. It's usually stuffed with sesame seeds and honey.

67. Hot Bar (Fried Fish Batter Street Food) 헛바

68. Shikhye (Sweet Rice Punch) 식혜
Used as a sort of dessert, in a way. More to cleanse the palate after a meal. It works!

69. Any product with Green Tea in it 녹차맛 xxx

70. Gujeolpan (Nine-section Dish) 구절반

71. Yogurt Soju Cocktail
Sounds funny, but it's really good! Much better than raw soju, which can burn like nobody's business. The yogurt makes it slightly tart and sweet, and a bit milky-looking. It's not like American yogurt mixed with soju. It's good, I promise.

72. Baechu Kimchi (Cabbage Kimchi) 배추김치

73. Any Kimchi that’s over 3 years old
Kimchi doesn't last that long around me.

74. Baek Kimchi (White Cabbage Kimchi) 백김치

75. Shake-’em-up Dosirak
An aluminum container (doshirak (pronounced "doh-shee-lak") means a packed meal, either something you take to work or on a trip) that is filled with rice and whatever else you have, plus Korean chili pepper paste and sesame oil. Before you eat it, you shake it up to mix everything together. Open the doshirak and all you need is a spoon. Kind of like bibimbap to go.

76. Mul Kimchi (Water Kimchi) 물김치
Delicious with steamed or roasted Asian yam (purple skin, pale yellow flesh). Seriously! It's traditional to eat it that way, because the tang of the kimchi water cuts through the throat-choking thickness of the yam.

77. Oi Sobagi (Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi) 오이소바기
Stuffed with shredded daikon or julienned green onions, usually.

78. Ggakdugi (Cubed Radish Kimchi) 깍두기
Cubes of daikon radish (they're really not daikon; it tastes like daikon and the coloring is the same, but daikons are longer and thinner, whereas the radish that Koreans use are shorter and squatter. Called "mu," pronounced "moo.") are put through the same process as Napa cabbage is to make kimchi. Kids usually start with ggakdugi (pronounced "ggak-doo-ghee") and work up to cabbage kimchi.

79. Sae-u Jeot (Salted Tiny Shrimp) 새우젓
Little itty-bitty shrimps are brined. Intensely salty and sea-flavored, used in a variety of dishes.

80. Myeongran Jeot (Salted Pollack Roe) 명란젓

81. Changran Jeot (Salted Pollack Guts) 장란젓

82. Ssamjang (Mixed Soybean and Pepper Paste) 쌈장
I think my mother adds finely minced Korean peppers and perhaps scallions. Not sure, though- just know that it's good!

83. Kalguksu (Hand-cut Noodle Soup) 갈국수
Usually served with ggakdugi. Comes with a little dish of salt, usually sea salt, a dish of ground pepper, and a huge pot of chopped scallion, all to be added at your taste level.

84. Ramyeon (Ramen Noodles) in a Tin Pot 라면
I don't know why the tin pot is important... I think that's how they used to eat it in the Army. I've had ramyeon tons of times, just never in a tin pot!

85. Entire Hui Meal (Korean style Sashimi) 회
No raw fish for me, thanks.

86. Gimbap (Seaweed Rice Rolls) 김밥
The Korean version of sushi. Filled with different cooked things, varying from egg to odeng to spinach to ground seasoned beef. Wrapped up in aluminum foil, it's the perfect travel food- easy to transport, easy to eat, easy clean up! Usually eaten with pickled radish, served inside the gimbap or on the side. The pickling is sweet and salty, and the radish is either left white or colored bright, neon yellow (called "dahnmuji" in Korean- "dahn" means sweet, "mu" is radish, and "ji" is pickled).

87. Jokbal (Pigs Feet) 족발

88. Sundae (Blood and Noodle Sausage) 순대

89. Yeot (Traditional Korean Candy) 엿

90. Naengi (Shepherd’s Purse) 냉이

91. Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew) 김치찌게
Probably my all-time favorite comfort dish. Best made with super-fermented (ripe) cabbage kimchi.

92. Budae Jjigae (“Army Base” Stew, traditionally including hot dogs and Spam) 부대지게

93. Agu Jjim (Stewed Monkfish) 아구찜

94. Haemultang (Seafood Soup) 해물탕

95. Nurungji (Hot Water Mixed with Rice Scrapings in a Stone Pot) 누릉지
The key to this dish is the rice- it needs to be left in a stone pot until it's dried out and crispy, turning a lovely caramel color. Once it's dry and crispy, you add hot water or hot tea to it and it achieves this unique consistency, at once soft and chewy.

96. Sujebi (Rustic Dumpling Soup) 수재비
I love sujebi, especially the kind made with potato soup.

97. Janchi Guksu (Thin Noodles in a Seaweed Broth with Condiments) 잔치국수
"Janchi" means festival, and "guksu" means noodles (pronounced "goohk-soo"). Even though they're festival noodles, they're easy and quick to make.

98. BungeoBbang (Goldfish-shaped Stuffed Pastry) 봉어빵
A very oversized goldfish! Stuffed with sweet red bean paste and sold from carts on the street.

99. Raw Ginseng or anything with Ginseng in it 인삼

100. MakHui (Chilled Sashimi Soup) 막희
Still no raw fish for me, thanks.

... I'm hungry now.


Monday, September 15, 2008

The Misadventures of Maria O'Mara, by Deborah Skelly

I recently (last week, perhaps?) bought four books, specifically to leave on my nightstand so that I can read before I fall asleep. Didn't do any research- just popped into a store and bought books based on either their covers (how can you not judge a book by its cover?!) or the (self-lauding) descriptions/blurbs printed on them

For bedtime reading, I prefer light, fluffy books that will slow my mind down, either from the amount of adjectives (usually describing shoes) or from the predictability of the plot. For instance, The Devil Wears Prada (I refuse to link to this book. It's gotten enough linkage). Perhaps a chapter or two from The Lovely Bones, (which, despite the rather grim setting, is essentially a quiet book that calms me down).

I thought that The Misadventures of Maria O'Mara was going to be such a book. Something easy to read, something light. It has a comic-ish cover, a pretty title ... how serious can it get, right??

It took a few chapters for me to realize that I wasn't going to be getting a completely breezy read. The opening was just light enough for me to continue ... but the middle and the end of the book forced me to stay up and finish reading it in one go. Until 4:00 a.m., when I have to be awake at 8:30 a.m. to go to work (by the way, work is getting busier and busier! On the plus, I met Tom Cruise last week. On the minus, I have a meeting tonight that starts at 8:30 p.m. Which means I'll get home around ... 11:00? Ugh!).

All in all, I appreciated this book. It showed (in a simplistic way, but pretty effectively) how easy a downward spiral can be, and how one can come to terms with one's own life.

It's no longer on my nightstand, but has been placed in a bookshelf. Bedtime reading it is not, but I do want to read it again.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Holding My Breath

I just had a phone interview with my next prospective employer.

It went really well. I mean, I haven't had such an easy interview in a long time! (Except for my current job, which I did not interview for).

If I get this next job, it will fulfill my need to earn money (gotta pay rent somehow, no matter how much that sucks) and also my desire to travel.

Okay, I admit, "travel" and "relocate" are completely different animals. But they both still require packing ("relocate" might require a touch more packing than "travel") and crossing a great distance (via plane, train, or automobile).

It's exciting to be on the cusp of change, not quite knowing where the change leads...

... My mom's going to pitch a fit.


Friday, September 05, 2008

100 Books

The UK Guardian's list of the top 100 books, sorted by alphabetical order of the author's name:

Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart
Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales and Stories
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice
Honore de Balzac Old Goriot
Samuel Beckett Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
Giovanni Boccaccio Decameron
Jorge Luis Borges Collected Fictions
Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights
Albert Camus The Stranger
Paul Celan Poems
Louis-Ferdinand Celine Journey to the End of the Night
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote
Geoffrey Chaucer Canterbury Tales
Joseph Conrad Nostromo
Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy
Charles Dickens Great Expectations
Denis Diderot Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
Alfred Doblin Berlin Alexanderplatz
Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Possessed; The Brothers Karamazov
George Eliot Middlemarch
Ralph Ellison Invisible Man
Euripides Medea
William Faulkner Absalom, Absalom; The Sound and the Fury
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary; A Sentimental Education
Federico Garcia Lorca Gypsy Ballads
Gabriel Garcia Marquez One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera
Anon The Epic of Gilgamesh
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust
Nikolai Gogol Dead Souls
Günter Grass The Tin Drum
Joao Guimaraes Rosa The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
Knut Hamsun Hunger
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea
Homer The Iliad; The Odyssey
Henrik Ibsen A Doll's House
Anon The Book of Job
James Joyce Ulysses
Franz Kafka The Complete Stories; The Trial; The Castle
Kalidasa The Recognition of Sakuntala
Yasunari Kawabata The Sound of the Mountain
Nikos Kazantzakis Zorba the Greek
DH Lawrence Sons and Lovers
Halldor K Laxness Independent People
Giacomo Leopardi Complete Poems
Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook
Astrid Lindgren Pippi Longstocking
Lu Xun Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
Anon Mahabharata
Naguib Mahfouz Children of Gebelawi
Thomas Mann Buddenbrooks; The Magic Mountain
Herman Melville Moby Dick
Michel de Montaigne Essays
Elsa Morante History
Toni Morrison Beloved
Murasaki Shikibu The Tale of Genji
Robert Musil The Man Without Qualities
Vladimir Nabokov Lolita; Njal's Saga
George Orwell 1984
Ovid Metamorphoses
Fernando Pessoa The Book of Disquiet
Edgar Allan Poe The Complete Tales
Marcel Proust Remembrance of Things Past
Francois Rabelais Gargantua and Pantagruel
Juan Rulfo Pedro Paramo
Jalalu'l-Din Rumi The Mathnawi
Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children
Sheikh Saadi of Shiraz The Bostan of Saadi (The Orchard)
Tayeb Salih A Season of Migration to the North
Jose Saramago Blindness
William Shakespeare Hamlet; King Lear; Othello
Sophocles Oedipus the King
Stendhal The Red and the Black
Laurence Sterne The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
Italo Svevo Confessions of Zeno
Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels
Leo Tolstoy War and Peace; Anna Karenina; The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories
Anton Chekhov Selected Stories; Thousand and One Nights
Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Valmiki Ramayana
Virgil The Aeneid
Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass
Virginia Woolf Mrs Dalloway; To the Lighthouse
Marguerite Yourcenar Memoirs of Hadrian

The books that I have managed to read in the past 26 years are in green.

I can't actually imagine having the desire to read some of these books. And the thing is, there are no recent publications on this list. What is it about all the "Top 100" lists that makes the editors feel that things must be old in order to be important? Do books need to be at least 50 before they become classic? Books aren't cars...

I do want to read Rumi, Whitman, and Tolstoy, but have no desire to read Shakespeare again. I've had my fill of Shakespeare, thank you, and the only play of his that I found palatable was "The Tempest."

Also, I've only read The Book of Job if we're talking about the Bible. Not if it's some obscure tome by an anonymous scholar.

There are always new lists out, but I think I'm going to try to slowly make my way through this list. I also have a list of movies that I need to watch ... that will have to be posted at a later date, when I can actually find the list!

Happy Friday, Internet.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Fresh Start, Perhaps

I have not logged onto BlogSpot in ages (except to comment on other people's blogs) and I have only ever posted one blog. It was a total cop-out blog, too, because it was a video. YouTube is a lazy blogger's best friend.

I'm hoping with the new template (so pretty and soothing, unlike the solid black of my previous template) I will be inspired to blog more.

Also, since I am going through quite a few things right now, I'm hoping this blog can represent my fresh start.

The new in my life:

- New apartment (condo)
- New living situation (haven't had roommates in almost 5 years...)
- New workplace (actually, going quite well. Working on this.)
- New traffic violation (running through a red light- admittedly, not a good new thing, but still ... new.)

Let's see how this all progresses.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Not necessarily recipes, per se- some of these link to methods for cooking and more general how-to's than just straight-up measurements and directions.

Curry (Korean / Japanese)
Dwenjang Soup (Fermented Soybean Paste Soup)
Egg Bap (Egg and Rice)
Jang Jorim (Soy Sauce Braised Beef and Eggs)
Kimchi Jeon (Kimchi Pancake)
Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
Miyeok Guk (Seaweed Soup)
Pa Jeon (Green Onion Pancake / Fritter)
Tofu Jeon (Tofu Pancake / Fritter)
Zucchini, Quick-Fried


Pumpkin Pie

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Chicken Pho
Curry (Korean / Japanese)
Spam Musubi

Linguine ai Frutti di Mare (Spicy Seafood Pasta)
Vodka Tomato Sauce

Cannellini Beans, Mashed

Eggplant, Breaded and Baked
Hasselback Potatoes
Kale, Braised
Pa Jeon (Green Onion Pancake)
Zucchini, Quick-Fried

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Candied Ginger
Gingerbread Cookies
Lemony Walnutty Cake (from a box!)
Pumpkin Pie
Scone: Jalapeno and Cheddar Cheese
Scone: Bits and Bobs (Cream)
Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

Sangrita (tequila chaser)