Friday, February 09, 2007

For the Love of Kimchi

Today I didn't get breakfast, I overslept.

I did have a free period before lunch period, during which I had rehearsal, so I decided to slip out and get myself some kim chee. All I wanted was kim chee.

I found parking on the Ave right by Yummy Bites, Ichiro, and University Teriyaki, all of which are Korean-owned, serving Korean food. I was closest Yummy Bites, and when I got out of my car, I realized it was just a 3 minute spot. Whoops.

So Yummy Bites it is. The interior is warm and hip, the menu is asian university chic; there is teriyaki, korean dish, hamburgers and fres, quesadillas...

I figured I had three minutes, and my goal was kim chi. So I ordered pork katsu. Wait, what? Isn't pork katsu Japanese? Yes, it is, but it was on the 'korean dish' part of the menu, so I figured I could get kim chi with it. Mmm, pork katsu with kim chi! So I ordered "pork katsu."

The young woman looked at me and then typed it into her monitor. Does that come with panchan?

No, she says, salad or miso soup. What? What's a korean dish without kimchi? What ever. I asked for miso soup, and watched her punch in an additional miso soup.

Boo, I thought.

Well, I sat around for about 10 mintues, then stood at the door, watching for Parking Enforcement. I was very annoyed, VERY ANNOYED that the people who came in after me got their yakisoba before I did. There were three people in the kitchen cooking, and not one of them seemed to have been cooking my katsu! What's going on!

After a few minutes, I watched the grill cook put a broiled mackeral into a box. The cashier girl took her own sweet time, tying and retying the plastic bag, and finally she handed it to me.

Thanks, I said as I grabbed it and started out the door in one motion. I ordered pork katsu and got broiled mackeral, and there wasn't even any kim chi!

I ate my broiled mackeral in the faculty lounge, it was delicious.

But it wasn't kim chi, so after work I crossed the bridge to Pal Do World in Lake Hills. I love that place. Usually it's filled with Chinese people, but this time there were some Mexicans. I ordered kim chi chigae, and got kimchi chigae. It was so delicious.

The panchan were soybeans in syrup, radish kim chi, mashy potato salad, bean sprouts, some kind of sweet greens kimchi.... I can't believe I've forgotten already. There were eight, and I ate all eight of them. One of them was little chunks of meat, breaded, fried and sauced with a sweet sauce.

What's this? I asked the owner lady. She answered "beans" and then turned around and said, oh, that's chicken... or pork.... I'm not sure.

It's funny to me that she didn't know what the panchan was, and also that she seemed wary of people asking about the soybeans in syrup. I knew what that was! It was like natto, but not as slimy.

Anyway, my dinner was delicious. Korean broths are really complex. The first time, honestly, I had kimchi chigae, I sighed, thinking oh great, pork and cabbage in spicey pickle juice. It took a while for me to get used to it, but now I'm addicted. I am addicted to kimchi chigae!

Apparently A is not inviting me over tonight to watch "What Not To Wear."

Hmph! What ever will I do?

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