TBH, I was kind of disappointed in this year's Olympics. The USA frankly kind of sucked.
But it wasn't just that. It was just kind of lackluster compared to the sheer comedy that was the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. South Korea did SO well.
There was no dubious plumbing with water to infect the eyes of certain anchors.
There were no terrifying mascots to haunt your dreams.
There weren't even any embarrassing mishaps!
All in all, South Korea gave us a pretty successful Olympics and even managed to take some steps toward peace with their neighbor, who is arguably the world's greatest threat right now. Our president sure as shit isn't brokering any kind of peace with literally anyone RN, so cheers to you, South Korea.
I've never been to Korea, but I know we're getting some GOOD shit from them these days. "Gangnam Style," anyone? K Beauty is apparently what's up right now in skin care. But for me? As an Asian food addict, I'm all about Korean food.
Compared to sushi and Chinese takeout, Korean is relatively new to me, so if it's new to you, here's where to start.
Yum, you guys. I guess typically Americans wrinkle their noses at kimchi, which apparently smells bad to some (this is what the Korean grocer told us when Scott and I stocked up on kimchi before Hurricane Irma). But I'm a big fan of the salty, fermented cabbage side dish. Fermented with seasonings like chili powder, garlic, scallions, and ginger, how can it be bad? Plus, for a side dish, my guess is it's pretty good for you since 1) it is a veggie, and 2) fermented things are good for your gut.
If you are not a beginner like me, feel free to correct me, but I think jeon are basically the Korean answer to Japan's okonomiyaki, which is to say, it is basically a delicious savory pancake. Throw together eggs, flour, scallions and whatever kind of protein you want (or kimchi!), and you have a delicious side dish/appetizer/meal.
If you love meat, you can't NOT love bulgogi. I looked it up to see what exactly the beef is marinated in in order to make bulgogi so delicious and learned that "bulgogi" literally translates to "fire meat," and really, what could be better than something called fire meat? Bulgogi is typically made using sirloin and it's marinated in soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and pepper. Different recipes use different ingredients of course, but the great thing about bulgogi is you can eat it straight from the Korean BBQ or on top of your bimbimbap.
Bimbimbap is basically a bowl, but it existed before the whole "bowl" trend became popular. Basically, it is a bowl of rice covered in sauteed or marinated veggies, chili pepper paste, soy sauce, soybean paste, a fried or raw egg, and usually bulgogi. Obviously, you can put whatever you want on it, and the real star of the show is that the rice is usually crisped up around the edges because it's cooked without stirring, giving it the most amazing texture when eventually mixed up with the egg, which acts as a sauce, and other ingredients. The first time I had bimbimbap is pictured here; I made it myself, courtesy of Plated. It was amazing, and since I am no chef, this means any bimbimbap you can find at a Korean restaurant will be dope.
Korean Fried Chicken
The older I get, the more often eating fried chicken makes me feel like I am going to die imminently, but if fried chicken is wrong, then I don't want to be right. (Sorry, cardiovascular system.) TBH, I don't know what different seasonings and spices are used to make the for-real, for-real KFC, but it has more flavor than Colonel Sanders (and don't get me wrong, I love some good Kentucky Fried Chicken). The texture is better too; Korean fried chicken is fried twice, so it's thicker, crispier, and somehow not as greasy. It's basically the eighth wonder of the world.
Korean barbecue is not just a meal; it's an experience. A heavenly experience. Your grill is in the middle of your table, and you order whatever kind of meat you want. Bulgogi and galbi (short ribs) are good choices; so is chicken. Because whatever these meats are marinated in, it will be delicious. You'll get a million little side dishes of various pickled mystery vegetables. You might not know what they are, but they are all tasty. You can eat them alone or on top of the meat, or even wrapped in a lettuce leaf along with the meat. You get the meat marinated but raw and watch it cook in front of you before you eat your face off. If you're in Baltimore, you'll need to head to the hood for the good stuff, at either Jong Kak or BeOne. Jong Kak is good, but it is significantly pricier than BeOne, which is just as good, and they are around the corner from one another.