Although I have had a lot of Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese food in my time, Korean has not often come my way. I never even really heard of Korean food as a dinning option until late in high school when someone told me about a Korean BBQ place outside of Charlottesville.
My only real experience with Korean food was over a year ago in, of all places, Huntsville, Alabama. At the point, my good friend Kim had been teaching in Korea for about a year and I had heard from her a couple of stories about her food experiences. So, when I was driving by a strip mall-like area and saw a Korean restaurant, I was intrigued. I gave it a shot and was really impressed. The food came with about five different sides of kimchi, which is fermented vegetables, and other pickled vegetables. I had a soup with dumplings and Dennis had this amazingly red and spicy sautéed squid that was like nothing I had ever tried.
When it comes to specifics about what defines Korean food, I am still fairly in the dark. I know about kimchi and the use of side dishes of things pickled, fermented, or spiced. I have heard my best friend’s cousin talk about how spicy Korean food is and from my limited experience, I would agree with that statement. The calamari dish in particular tasted strongly of cayenne pepper and chili pepper paste.
I am about to get a crash course in Korean food right from the source. As you are reading this, I am sitting on a very long flight from Washington, D.C, to Seoul, Korea. After two years of trying to get the trip underway, it finally worked out for me to go and visit Kim, who is still teaching in Gangneung, a city on the east coast of Korea. I'll be gone for 9 days and will have lots of Down Home Foodie adventures to blog about. Start keeping an eye out for those starting around May 31st!
While I'm gone, I still have blog posts scheduled on a regular basis. There is going to be a review of Brix, a small plate restaurant in Lexington, Va, a food film review, and an upcoming Mystery Cookbook Giveaway!