Friday, March 27, 2009


Let me introduce to you my very good friend, dolsot bibimbap. Or "돌솥 비빔밥" if you're Korean:

It's basically just rice, vegetables, sometimes meat, and an egg that fry together in a piping hot stone bowl. Oh, and with gochujang: red chili pepper paste. Sometimes they fry the egg before and put it on top.

This is my lunch every day. The aforementioned hole-in-the-wall diner does up a nice big bowl of it for 4,500 Won: $3.10 US or so. Their particular recipe is meatless, but includes: soybean sprouts, lettuce, chuinamul, and I think daikun but I'm unsure.

The best thing about this particular establishment is, once they noticed that I was leaving a gob or two of the gochujang on the side of the bowl (as well as a lot of leftover rice because it's a LOT of food!) they started making me a smaller serving with less gochujang.

You can also just have straight up bibimbap, which isn't quite as good. The vegetables and the egg are fried separately, and then they're both put on top of a cold bowl of rice.

Here's another friend of mine, not a meal in and of itself but something that's served as a side. A Korean meal typically comes with bowls or trays of side dishes that you share with the other people with you. The most popular one by far is Kimchi, or 김치:

Pickled vegetables (most often cabbage) and seasonings. I had this once, by accident, at a Zen retreat I went to in December, and didn't much care for it. But now that I know what to expect when I put it in my mouth, it's pretty good.

And finally, the other teachers tipped me off early on as to the best place to get pizza in Korea. I can continue the family tradition of Friday night pizza all the way across the world by going to:

Yes, PIZZA SCHOOL. 5000 won gets me a personal pizza that's big enough to feed two, complete with stuffed crust and SURPRISE CORN. I don't understand why Koreans feel it necessary to include corn in their pizza, but there you have it.

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