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Asia eats, korea eats

july 16: family bonding

Friday morning, my parents brought me and my sister to my dad’s alma mater:

the main entrance gates

Goryuh DaeHak. Also known as Korea University. As in the school that the gold medal-winning, ice-skating princess Kim Yunha currently attends. As in the school (that along with Seoul University) ranks as one of the TWO BEST COLLEGES IN KOREA. O_O What. The. Heck.

You guys might be wondering why I’m so shocked at the prestige of Korea University; but for those of you who’ve met my dad, you probably understand. I actually assumed that Korea University had only recently been considered as one of Korea’s best colleges; but in actuality, it’s been a “Korean Ivy League” school for a while now, even back in my dad’s generation. So my dad actually graduated from one of the most distinguished schools in the country – who would’ve thunk?

My newly-found respect for my father aside, I had gotten the impression that schools in Korea were dingy, jail cell-like campuses from the way my parents had oohed and ahhed on the many college tours that we went on back in the States. I distinctly remember them saying, “Schools in Korea aren’t like this -you’re so lucky to be going to college in America!” So imagine my surprise when I walked onto the Korea University Campus and saw this:

big, impressive, stone building. & the charter buses are all high-school buses that are touring colleges.

the courtyard by the main entrance

the central building, with libraries, stores, cafeterias and such. also impressive.

my dad, standing proudly in front of the main building. note how his pose is same as the school's founder's.

Waaaahht?? This is DEFINITELY nicer than some of schools in America. Actually, my dad was really impressed with how nice his school had become – apparently, there’s been a lot of remodeling done, so much so that he didn’t really recognize a majority of the campus except for the main building and the courtyard. But that didn’t stop him from getting a whole bunch of alumni souvenirs. -_-;

my dad's college graduation photo. he looks... young.

What my dad DID recognize were the tiny bars and restaurants on the street right across from the university. According to him, it hadn’t changed a bit – these were the places where he would barter his watches for an extra drink when he didn’t have enough money to pay for it.

It was in one of these tiny, dirty restaurants that we ate our lunch – my mom and dad thought we should eat as they did when they were poor college students.

tiny? check. dirty? check. serving cheap, filling, college food? check and check.

The menu’s set out so that you order a bowl of ddukbbokgee for around $3. With each thing you add into your hot pot (ohdeng, ramen noodles, etc.) another $2-$3 is added to your total. We ended up feeding 3 hungry people (I wasn’t feeling too peckish, so I didn’t eat) for less than $9. Ah, to live the college life..

our ddukbbokgee, prior to boiling and mixing

after: a hot, spicy mess of rice cakes, ramen noodles, and ohdeng.

It’s pretty much the Korean version of pizza: a cheap, carbalicious meal that feeds a lot of people with just one order.

After our lunch, we went shopping for a bit. The rain was coming down pretty hard though, so we headed back home to my grandparent’s apartment,where all my relatives on my maternal side was meeting up to eat dinner together.

kunhee, my oldest cousin on my mom's side; he's a lone ranger, this one.

junyoung, my youngest cousin, posing for the camera on top of my grandma's back

yehjin, my youngest girl cousin, playing with her baby brother

hyunee and yehjin, enjoying their meal

To say my grandma had prepared a feast would be an understatement; here all the dishes, side and regular, that were made and served by my grandma and my aunt.

spicy squid dish, made from the weird pokemon-like squid

a staple at my grandma's house: jangjohreem, or brisket, chilies, garlic, mushrooms and quail eggs braised in a soy sauce

mook, which my grandma made by grinding the acorns into flour herself

pickled garlic shoots

a mildly spicy, braised fish of some sort

grilled anchovies, plump with eggs

see? almost all roe!

my baby cousin approves; he ate a bajillion of these that night

pheasant meatballs - my dad claimed that these were one of the best things he ate in korea

savory korean pancakes, made with zucchini, carrot, scallions, etc.

spicy pickled cucumber slices

mool (or water) kimchi: cool, crunchy, and refreshing

and you gotta have the regular kimchi too - a must on any korean dining table

Because the entire family was over, my grandparents had also ordered a couple of dishes from a nearby Chinese restaurant. This isn’t the cheap, MSG-filled, Chinese-American, rice-box restaurants! Everything was really good, Chinese-Korean food and the people delivered everything on actual plates; you just have to put the plates outside your door and they’ll collect it the next day.

nanjahwanse: breaded pieces of ground beef served with veggies and a savory sauce

japchae: vermicelli noodles sauteed with assorted veggies

tangsooyook: a dense pork tempura with a sweet-savory sauce and veggies

breaded shrimp soaked in a spicy sauce until the outside isn't even crispy anymore

Then my grandma also cracked open a huge jar of this:

crab that's been pickling (?) in soy sauce; the orange stuff is the roe. it's salty, and jello-ey and OH SO GOOD

especially squeezed on top of rice,

it's even better when the rice is actually in the crab shell. then you mix and enjoy. NOM.

Then my grandpa brought this out:

ginseng soju that my mom actually MADE before i was born. that's right, this homemade alcohol is older than me.

The evening ended with everyone enjoying fruit and Korean popsicles (known as ice candy). A meal filled with good food and good people; it was quality family bonding time. (:

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “july 16: family bonding

  1. ginseng looks like people thus i do not eat it because it freaks me out :)

    Posted by euna | July 19, 2010, 11:10 am
  2. hi there. i found this blog while searching for ‘korean breaded shrimp in a spicy sauce’. would you happen to have the recipe for the dish? thanks! manon

    Posted by manon t | March 10, 2014, 5:13 pm

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