Monday, October 13, 2008

Wedding Anniversary with a Korean Twist - Part I

Yesterday (12 Oct 2008) was our 17th anniversary. We decided to spend our afternoon and evening by getting to know a little bit more about the Korean culture.

We started by going to a Korean restaurant for an early supper. We've been to a couple different Korean restaurants, but wanted to try a different one to see how it was. After some online research, we settled on trying Yechon in Annandale, VA. The restaurant is located in an area with a heavy Korean population. The first thing we noticed as we pulled up was that the restaurant didn't look like much...more like a soutwestern steak restaurant. Looks were deceiving because inside it was nicely decorated with various Korean art. After browsing through the menu, we decided to order one of their house specials for two. We chose the Korean barbecue.

Most Korean meals start when they bring out a wide variety of different cold vegetable dishes that everybody at the table shares. We had at least 6 different kinds of vegetables. The Korean vegetable dish that most people have heard of is Kimchi (also spelled Kimchee or Gimchi). Kimchi is made by taking vegetables, adding spices, putting them in a pot, and burying them in the ground so that they can ferment. The most common kind is a cabbage kimchi. Our vegetable dishes included a cabbage kimchi that was moderately spicy. There were also vegetable dishes with cucumbers and eggplant, to name a few. I normally don't like eggplant, but I did like the eggplant dish that they brought. All of the vegetable dishes were very good (and that's coming from a guy that isn't a big fan of vegetables).

Once we got our vegetable dishes, the waitress brought the meat for our barbecue. A traditional Korean barbecue is done right at your table. There is a grill built into the table. The meat is brought to your table and either you can cook it yourself or the waitress will do it for you. Since we got one of the house specials, we were given a variety of meats. We had bulgogi (thinly sliced beef), galbi (short ribs), chicken, pork, shrimp, and lobster. All were very good. We also had a spicy soup (bean paste pot stew) that had bean and tofu, along with a rice dish called kamasot bob.

All in all, it was an excellent meal that we really enjoyed. It was a great primer for the rest of our evening...but I'll save that story for the next blog entry. :-)

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