I am a moderately picky eater. But I suppose I'd have to alter that statement depending on where I am eating. In America, I don't eat seafood, and I don't eat mushrooms. In Korea, I don't eat bugs, or live octopus, or dried squid jerky, or spongy fish cakes, or other questionable food items.
But...I did eat dog!
Yes, I did.
But it was only because Brad dared me!
And usually I'm not up for those sorts of challenges, but I wanted to do whatever I could to ensure Brad and Lynn an ideal Korean adventure. And...well, there is no way I'm eating some of the other things they serve here. This is about as adventurous as I'll go.
My friend Jane did some research and found a reputable place for our adventure. We found our way (after getting a little lost) to this basement restaurant in Nowon. The smell walking in was potent and I thought right away that this was going to be an interesting experience. I'm not sure I can even explain the smell. It was sort of sour, but like stew, and not a smell I'd ever associate with food.
We three sat around the table a little nervous for our dinner. Lynn is a vegetarian so she just laughed at us (supportively of course) and thought of really bad jokes in her head.
Boshintang is what the soup is called. It arrived bubbling hot. Brad and I ate, sort of. It was pretty gross. The meat itself was dark and stringy much like roast beef. It didn't really taste like beef though. It tasted...well...sorry, but "doggy". Like, if you close your eyes and think of your dog and how it smells when it's wet, and combine that smell with the smell of dog food, and mix that with a little ginger and garlic...that's sort of how it tasted.
We did our best to eat enough to respect the restaurant but it was a difficult task. In between laughter, I'd shove another spoonful in my mouth. The worst part about the soup were the chunks of "mysterious blubbery possible body part" things. Brad tried to eat one but couldn't get it down his throat. We were guessing it was part of the heart, or liver, or something else.
I asked a student the next day "Jimmy, what do they put in this soup?" He told me that sometimes they take the intestine, clean it out, and stuff it with potatoes, and then cook it in the stew. Woof!....I mean Bark... I mean, Barf!!!!
Well, it was an experience, and one I will remember with laughter, and one I'm so glad I was able to share with fun people. Thanks Brad for your daring suggestion. And thanks Lynn for your support.
(the owner/cook in the front. her daughter is in the back middle.)
Before we left, the owner/cook wanted to take a picture with us. She was so delighted to have us visit. I don't think they get many foreign customers. She asked us to leave a note to hang on the wall. Brad did a swell job on this artistic masterpiece!
My favorite words of the night...
"Honey, wait, there's a dog hair in your soup!"
"Oh, gross, I just burped up some dogmeat..."
After dinner, we went to a little Korean place and ate some normal and yummy Korean food. Lynn tried bibimbop, and I had some mandu. I love mandu.