April 27, 2013

Since we moved to Korea, we've enjoyed a number of meals that left us feeling blissfully spoiled: grilled mackerel, squid, and mussels served with tender galbi, vegetables, and sweet rice cakes; traditional Chinese noodles with fried chicken and jellyfish; a cauldron of spicy, bubbling octopus with noodles and rice; kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew with tofu, pork, and vegetables); seafood stew with endless banchan. The pleasure of a Korean meal is its variety and simplicity. Fresh, raw vegetables adorn tender proteins of meat or fish, to be enjoyed with mouthfuls of kimchi and - alternately - raw garlic cloves and hot peppers; sweet, pickled radish; mushrooms and fish cakes. Healthy, whole foods, minimally processed, often fresh from the land and sea.

Recently, we shared a chilly outdoor feast of Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) - grilled pork belly - prepared lovingly by our employers and their family. Samgyeopsal is thick, fatty, and delicious. We ate the meat wrapped in lettuce and sesame leaves with kimchi and raw vegetables. As a special treat, squid was added to the grill and eaten voraciously and with immense joy. We stuffed our bellies and drank crisp Hite while our hosts tended to the massive gas grill seated comfortably in its worn wooden crate. We laughed and chatted and observed the landscape from the quaint country home near the sea.

After dinner, we helped collect the dishes despite instructions to remain seated and enjoy the island air. We piled the dishes onto the stainless steel sink adjoining the house, where they were promptly scrubbed in bitter cold water and set aside to dry. As we returned home - full, happy, energized - I considered the importance of sharing meals, an act of love and friendship that has been perfected here.

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  1. This is so wonderful! It makes my heart happy.

  2. Thank you!! Korea is a really special place. I'm so thankful to be able to share our experiences here. :)

  3. Splendid pictures Mal. You've captured the rugged and simplicity of the countryside. The description of your meal was mouth watering! I so look forward to your posts :).

  4. Mallory: have Ryan take a few of these so I can see you on occasion. Sometimes it looks like you (the photo near the top of the woman with the earphones)but then I remember that you are always behind the camera.

  5. I can't take the pictures, tis her photo blog. If I took photos and she posted em I would be legally obligated to sue her for copyrights! :P

  6. The food here is what I miss the most when I leave. <3


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