Thursday, September 20, 2012

Superlative Challenged

To start things off here is today's random collage.

Top left to right clockwise: pigs at the ceramic store; TVs on the city bus; I have eaten tons of  these grapes!; random wall in Seoul

Now, about Thursday. Anton and I headed out on the bus to meet Rebekah at her school. The bus driver seemed to have some kind of death wish. The bus was absolutely packed which meant we had to stand, hanging tightly onto the dangling hand grips as the driver, who I am sure was on drugs, did his best to fling us off. By the time we got to the town where Rebekah teaches I felt just like I do when I finish working out at the gym.

I am so glad I got a chance to see the school where Rebekah works. Here she is at her desk in the English department.

The three of us hurried off to catch another bus, one that fortunately had a sane driver. We were headed to an area called Pocheon, and more specifically to the restaurant we had reservations for. Rebekah's Korean co-teacher had made the reservations for us. This restaurant is not in a place frequented by tourists, and making the reservations is a bit complicated, so we needed a native Koran speaker to help us out.

The sign in the inset is for the restaurant we are headed to

We were to be there at 6:00, and had been warned by the co-teacher to be on time. This restaurant only serves one dish, and they have it ready for you as soon as you arrive. Here is where the rest of this post gets challenging. I have described all the amazing food I have eaten since I have been in Korea. I feel like I have already used up every adjective possible for describing the mouth-watering food that makes up their cuisine. This leaves me with a problem, because last night's dinner topped them all!

So instead of using descriptive words to give you an idea of how good this meal was, I am going to use a ranking system. Before this dinner there was a three-way tie for my "best meal ever" - Peking duck eaten in Beijing, dinner at Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant in London, and the Perthshire breakfast I had at Gilmore House B&B in Blairgowrie, Scotland. It is now officially a four-way tie.

When you are seated the side dishes are immediately placed on the table. One of these was a cup filled with a hot pumpkin/squash purée. Very different and oh so good!

They also had a favourite of mine - Korean chives with hot chili spices. I bought a packet of seeds so I can try growing this variety in my garden at home.

All of that was just the lead-up to the star attraction. This is hobakori, a whole squash filled with duck meat that has been smoked to perfection. You can't begin to imagine how good this smells as it is placed in front of you! The server uses big scissors to cut the sides of the squash, pulling it down in wedges to reveal a heaping mound of the smoked duck meat.

There is a pitcher of honey mustard sauce you pour into a side bowl.

The idea is to dip your bite-sized piece of meat into the honey mustard sauce, then place it and some of the squash on top of one of the thin slices of colorful pickled radish. Then you wrap it up and pop it into your mouth. And repeat over and over until, sadly, there is nothing left on the platter.

It turns out the meal wasn't quite over with yet. After the platter is cleared away a burner is brought to the table and a huge pot of duck soup is placed on it to heat up. The soup had the sesame leaves I love so much simmering in the broth. Oh my...

Anton's parents arrive tonight, and we have a busy weekend planned doing some touristy type things in Seoul. I probably won't have a chance to blog again for a day or two, but promise to recap the weekend as soon as I get a chance.


  1. I would eat that, with pleasure. And all gluten-free!

  2. Wow, that looks amazing, I can almost taste it!

  3. I think those are what my Korean friend gave me for my garden - we know them as garlic chives. They are so wonderful, I like them better than regular chives for many things!

    Love the duck in the squash - I might try that with some roast chicken....

  4. That does sound like an amazing meal. I understand your adjective problem. After following various Hammond-authored blogs over the years I've run into that same problem.

  5. I don't know what I expected from your Korean posts, but I do know I never imagined so many culinary delights. I have even taken a look at seasonal temps there with a few thoughts of a trip!