Cooking Korean

Salt Pickled Shrimp [Sae-U-Jeot]

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“Jeotgal” or “Jeot” is a very salty fish sauce made of naturally fermented fish, shellfish, shrimp, oysters, fish roe,intestines and other ingredients.  These are tiny little shrimp (less than an inch) salted and fermented with20% of salt for at least 2-3 months in temperature between 15-20 Celsius. With a clean and mild taste,salted shrimp is mainly used to make Kimchi. Sae-u-Jeot is often used as a dipping sauce or condiment for meats, especially pork. Its meat and juice are also used as a replacement for salt in a recipe.
Skins of shrimp are softened to eat as a source of calcium.

Many of my American and European friends (don’t forget my husband) can not stand with the smell
and have made somewhat disrespectful comments even without trying it. But, hey, many foods in this world need to be stinky in order to be tasty.  Take blue cheese for example��when I tried that thing for the first time��..oh men!!!!  It smelled like socks worn 100 times not washed for 365 days!!!  Now? I dream about those blue bacteria crumbles and can not live without it. It is all matter of getting used to it and developing palette for it

Due to its reputation for unique(?) smell, the usefulness of Sae-U-Jeot goes beyond culinary boundary. It is sometimes used in unexpected way by people who try to make their voice heard in public places. They spread this stinky shrimp around during the demonstration to suffocate police officer trying to get them. Would you like to cry out your political messages in public places and don’t want to be bothered by those big brothers trying to drag you out of the street? Carry this Sae-U-Jeot with you. Its smell will surely chase them away.

They are usually packed in jars and you should try to find ones with bigger, brighter, and chubby shrimp.

Red Pepper paste [Gochu-Jang]

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It is one of the main condiments that makes many Korean foods bright red and very spicy.
Chilis were first introduced in Korea in the 16th century and this Gochu-jang made from
dried red-chilli powder has been in the pantry of every single Korean household ever since.

The red pepper paste is made from starch, powdered fermented soybeans, red chili powder,
salt, water and is traditionally fermented in the sun.
Different starches are used including sweet rice powder, barley powder, or wheat flour.

The condiment has a dark red color with a pasty consistency.
It has a spicy, salty, and slightly sweet flavor.
Koreans use this red pepper paste to flavor dishes, marinate meats, and also use it as a condiment.



You will have no problems finding red pepper pastes in any Korean market.
They are usually packed either in jars or square shaped plastic containers.
Go to the refregirated section and you will spot red pepper paste in many different brands and packages.
One thing most of them seem to have in common is that they are all bright red in color.

Myung-dong & Kal-gooksoo

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I am on the way to a restaurant for dinner and what is happening here???
This place is called Myungdong, one of many many downtowns in Seoul.
Some girls are on the stage and ready to do something. Can you guess?




They started dancing and singing together…

this one looks like some sort of combination of “American Idol”

and “So you think you can dance”.







I walk down the road and see one guy holding up a pink-colored sign that says “I can hug you like a spring breeze”.
I have no idea…what is his intention?
Does he charge people for hugging?
Is it that difficult to get a hug in Korea?
Is he going to hug only girls or guys as well?
I wait a few more minutes to see if anyone comes by and asks for a hug, but nobody…





Every night,this street gets jampacked with street vendors selling food, accessories, clothes, shoes….etc.





Yesterday, today, and tomorrow…..
Fishcake soup[Odeng]and Ddeok boggi [Spicy rice cake pasta] are my all time favorites.




I finally arrive at the restaurant.
“Myungdong Kal-gooksoo” has been in business for nearly 40 years.
As citizens of Seoul, there are places one should know if you do not want to be considered a spy from North Korea.
This restaurant is one of them. I see a signboard written in Japanese.
I guess this place is very well known to Japanese tourists as well.





This is my table and I see a white plastic board standing in the middle. How weired????
I soon realized that this table is a two person table, but meant for two strangers who don’t want to look at each other during dinner.
What a thoughtful hospitality arrangement?
They even made a hole at a bottom so that two strangers can share a sauce
without having to look at each other or say “excuse me..”




While waiting for my dinner to come, I look around the kitchen.
Plates are piled up and some small kimchi dishes are ready to go.





Their menu is very simple…just a few noodle dishes and dumplings.






It smells so good…the smell I am so used to.
It is noodle and dumplings in very thick chicken broth.
They serve it with kimchi and a small bowl of rice.






I want to try a dumpling first. The dumpling dough is so thin that you can see the stuffing through it.






The dumpling is stuffed with pork, Asian chive, and some other ingredients.
The photos is not very clear here because I was so busy eating and it made it very difficult to focus.





Their kimchi is known to be very unique, very saucy and extra spicy.
Actually, the kimchi is as popular as the noodles.
I would love to know how they make their kimchi….they seem to use fresh ground red pepper together with pepper seeds.
This addictive Kimchi is super spicy!!!





My stomach is full and my soul is all spiced up with too much Kimchi I had at the restaurant.
 It is 11:00pm now but many people are still hanging out on the street.
My first day in Seoul went very well and I am very excited about Korean food I will venture out tomorrow.

My hotel and restaurnat “Gami”

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In march 2007,I visited Seoul for the first time since I moved to US.
It was raining and damp chilly but how can I complain???



I checked in hotel room and opened the curtain.
I kept staring at city view of Seoul for a long time.





This hotel room is more than I expected.
Very clean built in kitchen. (Better than my home kitchen…)





And chic trendy bathroom. (Of course, cleaner than my home bathroom..hehehe)






The most importantly,this room is “Ondol” room.
“Ondol” is traditional Korean heated floor system.
The water pipe runs underneath floor and heat the floor by increasing water temperature.
Few years ago, E! channele was showing a house of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
talking about exclusive heated floor installed in the house.
In Korea,every house has heated floor system and it is not that expensive at all.
I really miss my tiled bathroom floor warming my feet while taking shower.




Spacious closet and a TV with Korean programs…
(Yes, I can watch Korean drama every night!!!)





Next morning,I headed to a subway station and found this coffee vending machine.
(Coffee machine is everywhere in Seoul) This is quite advanced version of what I am used to.
The vending machine only had 4-5 menu options and it was only 300won.
Now it has become mobile Starbucks in terms of menu variety and price.




Got off from subway and where am I ?
This is Ehwa Women’s univ. area. It is about 10:00am and the street is quite empty.
This whole area in front of university is known as a heaven for shopping
filled with so many fashion stores,restaurants,and beauty salons.





This is entrance gate of Ehwa univ. There seems to be construction going on inside of school.






This is one of main alleys in front of school and it gets very crowded from the afternoon
with hundreds of people (Mainly beautiful girls).
Oh, how many times did I walk on this street up and down with friends.
Although I didn’t graduate from this school,this place was my second home,
a major place for hang-out and shopping.



This restaurant “Gami” has been in business since 1975
and its tasty food and low price have attracted many of college students
and people like me who needs quick lunch between shopping.
Everybody knows this restaurant and the name of restaurant “Gami” means “Flavoring” in Korean.



As you can see, menu is very easy to understand and I am very pleased with price.
It seems like they have added few new menus and I ordered Gami udon.




Um….looks so yummy!!! The noodle soup broth is made with dried anchovy…just the way I want…
But I immediately sense something is not quite to my taste.





Both main dish and side dishes are RED, RED, RED..!!!!..:-(…
I DO love spicy food and I HAVE craved for this fiery,bloody,hot Korean food everyday living in US
but I don’t like every single food on table smothered with red chilly pepper powder.
I love red cabbage Kimchi and I love Kimchi-jjigae but I don’t like eating them together.
(Am I too picky?)




I felt the need of balancing this red food with non-red food and ordered this whity rice ball.
It is made with sweet rice which is a lot more stickier than ordinary Korean rice.
When you bite into it, ground beef stuffed inside will surprise you with unexpected flavor and texture.
The black ribbon outside is “Gim”(A.K.A Nori).
It is really tasty as it is or you can dip it into yellowish mustard vinaigrette shown in the picture.




Overall, it was very good lunch.
The rice ball and red soup noodle went very well together.
If you happen to be in this school area, I strongly recommend you try this restaurant for lunch.
Restaurant is very clean and waitresses are kind.
Especially,if you want to experience what it is like to be totally surrounded by beautiful, young, and, sophisticated Korean girls,
there is no better place to go.

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