What do you think of when you hear the word “Korea”?
Lots of things come to my mind when I hear the word “Korea”… the country, food, culture, Korean dramas, KPop music, Korean actors and actresses, Korean artists and many more. One thing is for sure, I want to visit Korea. I want to step foot in Korean ground, eat Korean food and experience Korean culture.
Actually, one of the contest mechanics is to choose an Icon from PSY’s Wiki Korea Dictionary to write about when answering the question above. I came to know about this contest 2 weeks ago but didn’t know what icon to choose. Should I choose Haeundae because, it is a famous beach located in Busan where my heart lies? Kekeke… I’m a BIG fan of CNBLUE and my favorite members are all of them but the Busan Brothers Jung Yong Hwa and Lee Jong Hyun are like magnets… I am incredibly attracted to them.
Just today when I came to PSY’s Wiki Korea Dictionary and clicked on the icon Samgyeopsal, a memory came to mind… which gave me an idea on what to write as my contest entry. I thought at first that this might be embarrassing, revealing my ignorance… but so be it.
It’s a food I used to hear frequently and seen a lot in Korean dramas or shows. I wonder if there are KPop fans who didn’t know what samgyeopsal is. But I’ve never actually seen it for real or tasted it until recently. My friends and I went to KPub, a newly opened Korean restaurant in Manila after watching CNBLUE’s concert held at Araneta Coliseum on June 15, 2013. And guess what our main meal was? It’s samgyeopsal with kimchi rice!!
I hardly knew how to eat samgyeopsal “properly”. I didn’t even know that there is a proper way to eat it until I told my best-friend that we ate samgyeopsal during my short stay in Manila and answering the question at PSY’s Wiki Korea Dictionary. What is the proper way to eat samgyeopsal? I was like, What?! I’m so ignorant! T__T
All I knew was we had to cook the meat on the grill as instructed by the waitress. So that’s what I did.
And there’s actually a lot of food that goes with it. The photo below shows the Banchan (side dishes) that was served along with it. I found out recently that side dishes are called Banchan from PSY’s Wiki Korea Dictionary. ^^
I love Korea and I always knew I will love their food! Or so that’s what I thought. It’s not my first time eating food which is unfamiliar to me. I already learned a lesson from previous experiences. So, I took small bits of some of the food served, even if I’m really hungry at that time. I hardly ate anything ever since I arrived in Manila on June 14.
There was a fish pancake, I called it that because it’s like a pancake which tasted of fish and a noodle which looks really delicious… but my taste buds didn’t like it so much not even the Kimchi Rice. So, I am totally disheartened. How will I live in Korea if I can’t even eat the food there?
I forgot what the noodle is called. I’m sorry but I don’t know the names of all the food being served. Honestly, I don’t know which among them is Banchan since there really was a lot… hahaha! Please feel free to let me know. ^^
What I knew is the sliced meats are called samgyeopsal. Nothing else. T__T Talk about being naïve!
So, when I first tasted samgyeopsal, guess what? It tasted bland for me. So, I didn’t get it. I compared samgyeopsal with Liempo (roasted/grilled pork meat), but why does it tasted different. I tried the one which is marinated, it’s a little bit spicy. I added some banchan, I liked the one which looks like atsara (strips of pickled unripe papaya) and anchovies. But, it’s not good if you eat too much of it, it’s very spicy. And, I cannot tolerate spicy food… LOL! I wonder what those are called… Hmmm…
When I told my best-friend about it, she literally screamed at me and said that I should wrap it with the lettuce and put some banchan in it. Then I was like… “Ahh… so the lettuce is for wrapping.” All the while, I thought it’s a salad! My ignorance… is so embarrassing. Right? I was wondering why those who were with me on the table never said anything. Dindin, Jane, Ate Gen, Ate Ayie, Cam, Ate Celine, Ate Ron wae yo??? Maybe because I didn’t ask… Or, we were still in Seventh Heaven spazzing about the concert and how we are eating at the same place with CNBLUE on the 2nd floor. Maybe…
Then, when I looked for the answers to the question at PSY’s Wiki Korea Dictionary, What is the proper way to eat samgyeopsal? I stumbled on a very informative blog entry about samgyeopsal by Elle, her blog is titled Cute in Korea. Elle is from California living in Korea with her Korean fiancé. She talks about different types of meat, samgyeopsal and her experience. She actually didn’t like samgyeopsal the first time she had it. At least I’m not alone on that point. ^^
According to her, the “proper” way to eat Samgyeopsal is by taking a piece of the meat and dipping it in the sesame oil or adding the paste to a lettuce leaf, maybe add a bit of cooked garlic or kimchi, wrap it burrito style, and stuff it in your mouth!
I want to eat samgyeopsal again the proper way because I really want to know how and what it should taste like. It might take some time for that to happen since I’m living in a remote area.
Based from that experience, I’ve learned that it’s not enough just to gush and exclaim how much I love this and that without knowing anything about it. I should get to know it and experience it!
There’s a funny moment for me that night. I’m not sure if it’s funny for those who are with me that moment. I mentioned before that I’m not fond of Kimchi rice. But, I haven’t thought of ordering anything and decided to just go with whatever was served in the table. When the waitress came to our table, Dindin asked if there’s plain rice and if we can have it. Finally! Someone spoke up. When the waitress said “yes”, most of us spoke up and requested for plain rice. Thanks Din! Because I think I won’t be able to ask and would just continue to drink my melon shake. Not to mention, that’s one of the most expensive meals I’ve had! LOL… For someone who usually spends 20.00 Php for a whole meal. Talk about living in the province.
I would like to thank everyone who made those memories possible. I can’t say or express how grateful I am. I have some great memories to cherish and it’s all because of these people. Thank you very much!
This is my entry for ‘My Korean Icon Contest’ hosted by Korea Tourism Organization Manila Office. Please help me win. Share this blog entry to your friends and comment will be very much appreciated. Thank you for reading. ^^
Why do I want to win??? Going to Korea has been my lifelong dream and for someone in my status who can’t afford such, it takes a miracle for it to happen. As I’ve said, I want to get to know Korea and experience it. What’s the best way to do that but go to Korea, right? So, please help me make this dream come true. Thank you. ^^