Saturday, August 4, 2007

First Korean Dinner, First Korean Beer!

I assume you're all dying to hear more about the school and the apartment, but I'm going to hold off until we've got our internet access up and running so I can post some pics. Rest assured that the apartment is very large, very nice, and very Korean (we needed the dictionary just to unlock the door), and the neighborhood is great--lots of food, and no fewer than two giant "marts" (kind of a cross between a market, a small mall, and a Wal-Mart) a five-minute walk away.

So last night, after work, Nana and I had our first solo (if that's the right word) Korean dinner experience, with a colleague/neighbor named Josh. (By "solo," I mean without an interpreter--so far we've been leaning heavily on the indefatigable Paul, who's lived here for five years.) Paul picked the restaurant for us ahead of time--by the time honored method of leaning out the bus window and taking a whiff--but after that, we were on our own.

The restaurant was a Korean BBQ (on the first floor of our building, no less), similar to KBBQs we'd been to in DC, and therefore a pretty safe bet. With the aid of a picture menu, 22,000 won (convienently, about $22) got us a big plate of five different meats, lettuce for wrapping, onions, two kimchis (spicy pickled cabbage side dishes), and a cole slaw salad. The meat was excellent, and the table grill was especially good, with the gas burner augmented by some aromatic woods.

3,000 won more got us two big domestic beers (each about 22oz), one of which (Hite) was a very good, fairly sweet kolsch-style lager, and one of which (Cass) was pretty bland. But finding the Koreans capable of decent, cheap beer has certainly raised my spirits, so to speak. Can't wait to do the Korean fried chicken and beer!

In any event, the proximity of at least one very good, very cheap restaurant (Nana and I could have easily split one of the 5,000-8,000 won single-meat plates) doesn't bode well for our kitchen . . . given the grocery prices I've seen so far, there's no way we could spend much less than 5,000-8,000 won cooking on our own!

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