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October 28, 2013

Going Korean on my birthday

When I moved here on the island, I was back to living on my own after four years. The feeling of not having someone to talk to everyday is surreal. I started immersing myself in my surrounding, making friends and guess what? Watching Korean drama.  I  got hooked on Korean drama once again after a  long hiatus. I watch one after another. It's my way to relax and take my thoughts off of work.

One thing I like about Korean drama is showing how the food plays an important role in Korean culture. Whether fine dining, eating at home or  in food tents, or just grabbing a ramyun (instant noodles) in a convenient store, eating is always portrayed in their dramas. The scenes make me drool. And for so long, my palate had been craving for Korean food. So, on my birthday, I thought it was just right to treat myself to Korean food indulgence. I took two friends in tow. We went to Arirang Restaurant located in Chong Mon.

None of us knew where it was. My friend drove and she didn't miss the big yellow sign when we got to Chong Mon.

My Thai friend had never had Korean food. I was glad I introduced her to it. While waiting for the main course, various banchan (side dishes) were served to us along with rice.

1. Mussel and squid
2. Korean eggroll
3. Bucho
4.Kong jorim (Red beans)

1. Oyi Kimchi (Cucumber kimchi)
2. Sukju (bean sprout)
3. lettuce kimchi
4. Tofu

Here's what the owner calls Korean style papaya salad. Crisp and moderately spicy. I like that character in many Korean dishes. The level of spiciness is tolerable. I can  discern the ingredients without burning my tongue first.

Nine banchans were served to us. Can you believe we ate them all?

I love anything with tofu. I wanted the two ladies to try doenjang jjigae, a  tofu stew made with some vegetables and soybean paste. The soup was so good I finished it even my tummy was already sending signals to stop.

Tteokboki is soft rice cake and  fish cake in sweet red chilli sauce. My Chinese friend loved this. The portion was big enough for the three of us so she took home what was left.

Gimbap is Korean seaweed rice rolls, similar to Japanese sushi. We ordered too much carb. With the bibimbap and the rice which was served with the side dishes, it seemed impossible to finish them off. I was already having a heavy feeling in my tummy when I remembered I hadn't eaten it. I had a piece and  the two ladies were able to slowly munch the rest.

My favorite is bibimbap.  I have had it several times before. The portion is enough for one person. I knew I would be able to eat it all so I suggested each of us get Korean rice mixed. Sharing was not allowed. Haha. Bibimbap is rice served with namul on top and chilli pepper paste to taste. A raw egg is also added. Mix everything and you get a tasty rice dish. I liked it a lot that I did not leave anything on my plate.

We enjoyed the Korean feast to the fullest!

Low tables are available if you prefer  sitting on the floor.

The inside of the restaurant

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