Over the past few days I have had both really good Korean food and mediocre American food. Most places that serve American, even if they are chains, have something about them that just “isn’t quite right.” It’s like when I visited Costco in Mexicali and had some of their pizza- it was the worst pizza I’ve ever had, and I love Costco pizza! Maybe they put maize in the pizza dough who knows.
One of the guys in the office who works for the Army Corps of Engineers had a huge cookoff on Tuesday where he cooked traditional southern comfort food. This was awesome, and definitely reminded me of being back in the states. He’s this southern burly fellow who talks with an accent so thick you could cut it with a knife. Classic.
On the same topic of american food, I decided to try one of the restaurants on base. To get to it you walk down the street in the town I’m staying in, Anjeong-ri, to the walk in gate that takes you into the base. It’s a quaint street that you would think would be a one way street but guess what- it isn’t. It’s a two way street that just so happens to be the width of a one way street.
Here I had what is basically one large stomach ache. So far in Korea I haven’t had any issues with the food. It’s been tasty and satisfying, and agrees with me quite well. That is not the case for these ribs. If I go again I will not be getting this, that’s for sure.
The next day I tried a classy Korean place that serves the basics of Korean cuisine. I was hungry and just wanted to get full, so I ordered fried rice and a sushi roll. The fried rice was comparable to something you would get back home, so it was familiar. The sushi roll is something that I have never had before though. My girlfriend and I eat a lot of sushi back in the states. In fact, on average we have sushi almost once a week and we have our favorite “go-to” spots when it comes to sushi. This sushi roll, however, was different. It had no fish and had meat and vegetables inside, wrapped very tight, and had some sort of sauce spread on the inside. In short, it was an amazing roll that I would definitely get again if either found elsewhere or if I go back. It was a new twist (new for me at least) to a classic tradition that was really pleasant.
The next day we traveled to the Yongsan Base, which is the base in Seoul we are relocating. Beautiful campus. We picked up some supplies and then had lunch across the street at a hole in the wall Korean place. (Yes, there is a pattern of eating at “hole in the wall Korean places” but let me tell you- those are the places to go. If the place can seat more than 10 people, leave.) The food was basic but extremely tasty and satisfying. It was basically a stew with beef inside still on the bone. 10/10, would have again. You are also given rice that you can put in your bowl to soak up the broth and it’s amazing.
It’s important to note that barley water is a thing here. It’s an acquired taste, so I won’t say that I do not like it yet, but I don’t really like it at the moment.
At this point I’ve moved into my apartment and I will post later with that update, but since this is food related I will share my first meal in my apartment- spaghetti. For those that know me, it will make sense.
I need to find a Korean grocery store around here because the PX on base has a really poor selection of food. I shopped fairly regularly at H-Mart back in the states, so I might be able to find an equivalent over here. For reference H-Mart is a really large Korean grocery store chain in the states. I should probably see if they are here too…..
Check back in a bit for my post about my new apartment!
Also, tomorrow I will be traveling to Seoul to search for a car… I’ll be taking the bullet train!