Tonight for the first time, I think, I enjoyed a meal of Ddokbaegi bulgogi, at my local kimbap shop, Woncho.
This is the first of what will be an ongoing series of posts focusing on my Korean dining exploits, called “John’s Erotic Korean Culinary Food Fetish Folios,” or just JEKCFFF for shortsies. I should have done this sooner, since I’ve been eating mass quantities of Korean food for nearly nine months (longer if you count the Korean food I ate back at home), and there are certainly people–both those curious about Korea or planning to eventually come here, as well as those a bit too shy or Hangul illiterate to dare take the leap–who will no doubt find some benefit from this. If for no reason, other than to get their food porn jollies off.
I have posted about food before, so I’ll be going back and re-tagging those so hopefully they all will be accessible in easy-to-find bites.
Dokbaegi bulgogi, 뚝배기 불고기, is a small bubbling cauldron of beef, japchae (glass noodles) and some veggies in a peppery broth, served with a bowl of rice. At Woncho (one of many 24-hour kimbap shop chains), you get a banchan (side dishes) selection of three. On this night, there was the requisite kimchi, as well as some pickled cucumbers and what I think was cold, shredded potatoes. That’s an unusual one, but it was most welcome.
The kimchi was good tonight. Sometimes, it can taste a little off, but this one was reasonably fresh, crunchy and just a hint of spicy. The cucumbers were delicious. Unfortunately, when I went up to get seconds (Woncho, as are many of these types of kimbap shop chains, allows self-serve refills of the banchan), the cukes were replaced by that veggie with holes in it whose name is totally lost on me at the moment. Feel free to leave a comment telling me what it is and I will update. Anyway, they’re good, too, but they’re there all the time.
But, now, onto the main course, my 뚝배기 불고기.
It was tasty. The broth is peppery and just oily enough to have that umami satisfaction too-lean meat just cannot deliver. As Woncho is a bit of diner, eat and go type of place, much of the food has the feeling of fast food, at least Korean fast food. My bowl was not heaping, which is OK. I have plenty of banchan to fill the gap. It’s also OK because of that aforementioned oily-ness. A little is awesome. The meat and onions and japchae were just enough. OK, I could have had a little more, but just a little. I will definitely try this one out again, but possibly elsewhere. I’m wondering if Kimbap Nara or Kimbap Chungkuk may deliver more whack for my won.
Location: Woncho, Jangnim-dong, Saha-gu, Busan
Cost: 5,000 won