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Asia eats, korea eats

july 30: a girls’ lunch out with a flower

Seems like other than the Beethoven Virus Camp, all I’ve been doing in Korea is going around and visiting family. Lunch today was another get-together affair, this time with my aunts and great-aunts. It was a girls’ day out, and we met up at a restaurant called Ggot Dal Leem for another Korean-fusion meal.

translation: with a flower

a traditional korean palace as the exterior

european decorations. they're kind of freaky.

cafe menu. with more freaky dolls.

garden gnomes. it just gets scarier and scarier...

This restaurant puts a heavy emphasis on the marriage between Eastern and Western styles, not only in the cuisine but in the furnishings as well. The building housing the restaurant itself is built in the traditional Korean style, but the interior is decorated with a heavily European flair.

wooden interior, decorated with lace, crystal chandeliers and the like

cupboard full of painted china and porcelain dolls

the outside waiting area

Ggot Dal Leem is a very sophisticated and elegant restaurant, to the point where they won’t even serve children. If you reserve a meal for a group with children, they’ll politely ask you to dine at their sister restaurant which is more kid-friendly, which I think is kind of dickish.. Like our meal at DooMahReh, this restaurant served Korean food paired with modern and Western techniques- it made for a delicious an interesting meal. Here are the courses that we were served in the order that they came out.

western table setting but with chopsticks. and there's nothing like a warm glass of bubbly barley tea to whet your appetite

amuse bouche: a really yummy red bean jook. slightly grainy, it was only mildly sweet and a good way to start the meal

mixed greens salad with slices of beef, radish slices, and a vinegary, mustardy dressing

strips of jellyfish tossed with carrots, cucumber, and a mustardy sauce. the jellyfish had an interesting texture, squishy and crunchy at the same time

savory pancakes, pumpkin pancakes, and citrusy greens with a spicy, gochujang dressing

chewy rice cakes and beef patties both sauced in a savory, bulgogi sauce.

innards: the patties are mixed with chives and garlic, then sprinkled with a sesame dust

traditional mool (water) kimchi made with cabbage, yulmoo and cucumbers. spicy, crunchy and refreshing, it was a good side for the rest of the meal.

a mook salad with julienned beef, nori, and egg shavings

beef pancakes served with perilla leaves, shaved scallions and a sweet, vinegary sauce. the thin slices of beef were dipped in a korean pancake batter then fried, so it was chewy on the outside and meaty on the inside

a shaved radish, watercress, and sashimi salad with a spicy, vinegary sauce

all tossed up; it was spicy, but in a very clean, refreshing way. i think the sauce was gochujang-based.

oven broiled dried fish glazed in a spicy sauce served with thin slices of grilled mushrooms

After all the courses had been served, everyone was stuffed. But for the final entree, each person had a choice between japgok (mixed grain) rice with various banchan or bibimbap.

my deeply purple rice with beans, millet, black rice, barley, etc. the variety made it really yummy, not to mention healthier.

various banchan that came with my mixed rice: pickled clams, mixed sauteed veggies, dried anchovies and nuts in a sweet glaze, kimchi, spicy umeboshi, pickled perilla leaves, and garlic scapes

the bibimbap, sans the rice which came on the side. mixed veggies, kimchi, and egg rolls

I added only half my rice into the bibimbap since there were so many banchan, so the ratio was a little off but it was still really good. I think the coolest part of it was the egg rolls; how did they get the yolk and whites into separate rolls like that?

the zucchini dwenjangjjigae that came with our main course

After the rice-y courses, we were moved to the cafe area and served our desserts. We had a choice between 2 hot drinks and 1 cool drink and also got a platter of assorted sweets.

my green tea. i was disappointed to see that they used tea bags, although the flavor was alright.

the adults' coffee

also served: ohmeejah cha or 5 flavor tea. it tastes tart, sweet, bitter, salty, and raw-ish all at once, although the predominant flavor is sour and sweet.

dessert platter: dduk, korean grapes, and watermelon

the black things in the front that look like clumps of dirt are actually black sesame rice cakes. GIVE ME MOAR!

I admit, I ate more than my fair share of the black sesame dduk. It was SO GOOD. Why do I have to love such a rare dessert flavor, why?

By the time our meal at Ggot Dal Leem was done, we practically had to roll out the door because we were so stuffed. My mom, my grandma and I ended up skipping dinner today because we were still full from lunch, opting to eat watermelon instead. This was definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in Korea, and with its unique design, excellent service, and delicious food, Ggot Dal Leem is definitely worth a trip back.

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