Having a slightly fuller figure suggests I like nothing more than a good feed and a few beers. This pretty much sums me up! Soon I'll write about my favourite Vietnamese dishes that I think anyone visiting this country should try; however, my favourite dishes are usually found 6 hours away in Korea. So, for those of you unlucky not to have tried or heard of these food, here's a quick introduction to my favourite meals in VN.
Unlike most other places I eat at, the first thing that surprises me about Korean restaurants is that you don't have to pay for water, or most importantly, side dishes. These sides aren't just a bowl of peanuts, bread or potato chips but many varieties of Kimchi (rotten cabbage to the layman), Korean pancake, pickled vegetables and tiny fish. Here's a selection from a meal I had on Sunday:
Galbi is Korean BBQ pork or beef and it's delicious! The meat is usually cooked in front of you and is chopped and sliced into small pieces. It is accompanied by leaves (a bit random to us westerners), various vegetables and most importantly red bean sauce. If you're a meat lover like me, you'll just pick up the succulent meat and devour it, perhaps dipping it into the mouthwatering sauce. If you're prefer the different textures of vegetables and meat you'll wrap the meat up into a parcel and stuff it down your gullet enjoying the sensational flavours. Sounds good doesn't it! It is!
As I mentioned before, Kimchi is rotten cabbage. The vegetable is fermented for about 6-9 months and the more fermented it is, the better! Decaying cabbage sounds disgusting doesn't it? Well it's delicious! I can't get enough of it! Which is really strange as it's very bitter and I have the biggest sweet tooth in the northern hemisphere! However, there's something mysterious about Kimchi soup that allows it to clear any cold and cure any hunger!
Kimchi Jigae is basically Kimchi in water with random bits of pork, tofu and chili and it often comes accompanied with rice. It's spicy yet doesn't burn your throat, satisfying but not too filling and sour yet surprisingly sweet. It has all the ingredients to leave your taste buds tingling and I promise you'll never look back!
These are only two of the dishes I sorely miss from my time at Seoul. Unfortunately, these are the only two that are really well done in Saigon. Other Korean cuisine can easily be found here. Kimbap, Jeyukbokkeum (spicy pork) and Samgyupsal (grilled pork) are common in the Han Quoc eateries but they're not the same. For now, I'll just enjoy the little bits of Hankook I can find in the heart of HCMC! Bon appetite!