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Ordering Korean Food -- Suggestions

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  • Michael Yu Oct 3, 1999 03:39 AM
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I realized that I have a penchant for weaving long threads on this message board, so I decided to start a new one. This is in reference to the thread regarding Roast Pyonchae. A Chowhound asked if I could give suggestions on learning the basics of Korean food.

Chris, Heidi, first let me say that I am always really glad when people ask about Korean food. I am Korean and as trivial as it may sound, its just heart-warming to find people who get as excited about food and Korean food as Wonki and I are.

Now lets get on. I thought about what I would do with total strangers to Korean food. For first timers, the choice would be to go to a meat place. A place where they specialize in barbecues cooked at the table. To some, this may have already become blase, but even in Seoul, celebratory dinners are held in these places, and actually the quality of food is better at some places in K-town, NY than here in Seoul (price is another matter)...

Here's what I would order:first, some sort of jun (fish or veggies dipped in egg and then fried, or a sort of scallion pancake containing seafood or oysters) as an appetizer. Order a large pancake and if acceptable, order some soju or appropriate beverage. Second, order barbecue meat. For first-timers, kalbi or bulgoki works fine. You eat this with profuse amounts of soju and along with the little side dishes (banchan) that the restaurant should provide, along with the kimchee.

The meat portions are ordered by the number of people, and usually the restaurants expect you to order equal to the number of people in attendance. It would be considered a bit faux for a party of four to order one portion. If you order beef, do not cook well done, especially bulgoki. The meat should be cooked medium and consumed by itself or with the veggies, such as using the lettuce leaf to wrap the meat with some raw garlic dipped in miso/chili paste or with the marinaded scallions that they provide. The funny thing is we're not done yet.

The last round consists of filling up the diners in case anyone missed out on the meat. The basic choice is between rice and noodles. If you chose rice, each diner gets a bowl of rice in a steel bowl (always steel for some reason) and then you would all share a soup/stew which is placed in the middle. Always order one bowl. The communal atmosphere is a must. The soup stew can be kimchee chiggye (kimchee stew), dwenjang chiggye (miso stew), soondoobu chiggye (soft tofu stew), or some fish based stew. You fill up by taking spoonfuls of stew directly with your spoon, and consuming it directly, or ladling a bit over your rice and eationg it with the remaining banchan (a good place will replenish your kimchee or serve you a new sort of kimchee). If some are uncomfortable with this, you can ask for separate serving dishes, but I would mildly advise against it. If you are already filled up, then a better choice might be noodles which are less filling, or least they feel that way. Naengmyun (cold noodles in chilled broth) or somyun (cappelini type noodles in a warm beef broth) are representative examples. There really is little in the way of sweets as part of a mean, but fresh fruit always seems to be appropriate.

And that is my recommended first time meal. Do know, this is not a "typical" Korean household meal, and there are some distortions here. Seafood is vastly under-represented. Also, there are a myriad of things by which you come to measure how well a restaurant hosts you when you order this stuff. Ordering this sort of a meal would be considered pretty big-ticket at any Korean restaurant. Even though service usually leaves a lot to be desired at these restaurants (the barbecue places in K-town, NY), they should be relatively more attentive when you order meat. Also, if you can find a charcoal grill place over a gas-fire place...

Next time... We shall take it up a notch and add some spicy variations. Til we meet again.

Michael Yu

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  1. I'm a quick study when it comes to good food so I am ready for lesson two. I haven't tried the pancake appetizer you mentioned, I don't know if I noticed it - I wish I had a take-out menu handy for reference - because I never can get myself to try any appetizer besides the delicious dumplings called Gul man Do (du?). They are much lighter than a Chinese-style potsticker and more flavorful than a Japanese Gyoza - we just gobble them up. We've tried the Kalbi and much preferred this cut over some of the other leaner cuts of meat or even a ribsteak offered. I'm always fascinated by the changing array of banchan - on my last visit I sampled one I had never seen of small fried HOT peppers with teensy whole dried fish. I asked what the small dried fish were, and I was told "small dried fish". Oh well, I tried. I just don't quite get the American-style potato salad banchan. I can't even go there. All meals are served with the individual stainless covered bowls of rice you described and a nice peppery meat broth. A green salad with a gingery-sesamey dressing is included as well. As far as noodle dishes, I have only tried the chap chae which is quite similar to a noodle dish at a Cambodian restaurant I frequent. I was meaning to try the cold buckwheat noodle dish that Wonki had discussed this summer, seen served identically with the hard-boiled egg and vinegar, but haven't as yet and haven't seen it as a special lately (just a summer dish?). I have been intrigued by a cold noodle dish served with raw skate. Have you had this? I've tried spicy broth with soft tofu and seafood, and a spicy sauteed octopus as well as steamed black cod in a fiery chile sauce with mushrooms, tofu and scallions. My only gripe with the octopus and cod is I burned out on the sauce and the flavor became tiresome halfway through the dish. Probably better to share. Okay Michael, give me more!

    18 Replies
    1. re: Heidi

      the appetizer pancakes should be a staple on most korean menus. i think the best one to try first is the haemul pajun, which is seafood and scallions, though probably the most expensive. if you like kimchi, then kimchi-jun is great, just kimchi in a pancake - awesome. (outside readers, please note, don't think of pancake here as breakfast flapjacks).

      yes, the dumplings are called gun mandoo, which are the fried variety. they also come steamed, mul mandoo, and often come in a variety of soups. just look for the word mandoo.

      kalbi is most people's favorite barbecue. the ribsteak and some others usually aren't marinated and come with a dipping concoction of salt and oil, a great change of pace when you're in the mood for something lighter. try the daeji bulgogi sometime, which is spicy marinated pork. mike and i both love sam gyup sal, which is basically uncured bacon, but probably hard to find in the states for some reason.

      one word of caution from mike's post: beware the soju, which is basically the korean version of vodka. it can be quite strong (its odor is slightly reminiscent of nail polish remover) and the lesser brands can be impure and leave you with a helluva hangover. my sentiment is it's a drink for the truly korean and certainly goes well with certain dishes, but i personally can do without it. it's worth a try, but if you do, go with the best, purest brand, which mikey can fill you in on. if you like sake, i recommend getting some chung-ha, which is korean rice wine. i love that stuff and a much better choice for me than sake. of course, korean beer goes great with the meal, even if it's not the best beer out there.

      i believe the tiny dried fish you refer to are just plain old anchovies, but i'm willing to defer on this one. yeah, the mayonaissey potato salad isn't for everyone, but every once in a while, they'll mix in some chunks of apple and that's a real treat - a little bizarre at first i'll give you that, but excellent once you get used to it.

      unfortunately, the cold noodle soup, mul naeng myun, some restaurants only have in summer. that's a shame, because it's really something you can eat year round. if you like spicy, you might want to try bi bim naeng myun, which is the same noodles, but instead of beef broth, it's mixed with spicy red pepper paste. yeehaw!

      i haven't personally had the skate with noodles, but it is a popular dish among koreans, especially my parents' generation. go for it!

      you certainly know lots about korean food, glad you enjoy it, and mike and i will move on to advanced topics later! :-) i think a primer on the joys of chinese-influenced korean food should be in the works for mike and i. in the meantime, happy eating!

      wonki

      1. re: wonki
        c
        Chris B. Shaw

        With all this talk about Korean Cuisine I turned to my trusty bible on Asian cooking by Charmine Solomon copyright 1981 and cooked Chichin Gogi/Braised Meat with Onions. Here is the recipe 1-1/2lbs. lean steak,24 spring onions(white part only)3Tbs.Sesame Seeds Toasted, 1 crushed clove garlic,1/2tsp finely chopped ginger,1/4cup light soy sauce,1/2tsp chili powder or cayenne,2Tbs vegetable oil, 6 dried mushrooms soaked and sliced. Slice meat thinly and pound out,slice onions thinly,Combine sesame,garlic,ginger,soy and seasonings in bowl,kneading seasonings into beef,along with mushrooms. Heat oil over high heat and cook quickly. Serve immediately with bowls of hot white rice. If I must say so myself it was very good. I suspect that if I let it marinade a longer period of time the meat wouldn't be as chewy as it was.(or is that how it is supposed to be?)It was not overcooked.Any suggestions?

        1. re: Chris B. Shaw

          Chris,

          Basically I think you've hit upon a good basis for the marinade which makes bulgoki. But there are some points I'd like to comment on. Koreans eat scallions for the green part as well as the white. I have never heard of any Korean recipe which calls for throwing away the green. That would be like what Mortitia did in the Adams family, cutting the heads of roses off for the stem. Also, one clove of garlic is another non-starter in Korea. One clove of garlic is average amount of garlic in a Korean meal mouthful (an exaggeration, but really only slight). I would recommend keeping the green scallions and using at least two to three cloves. Also, add some sugar to the marinade. Now ditch the mushrooms and the ginger, and I think you have the basic Bulgoki rady to go. Eating this with plain rice would be too monotonous. Make sure you have some kimchee and a couple of other banchan and a soup. Real easy fixes: get the ban chan at a Korean grocery, and Kikkoman's instant miso soup (not the white miso) was a quick-fix substitute for me when I was in college.

          About the toughness of the meat. Well, it could be a couple of things. The meat must be sliced deli-thin, and cooked rather quickly. Marinading shouldn't take too long because the meat is thin anyway. Another trick is the pan. If you use a normal frying pan, the marinade turns into water as it cooks, doesn't evaporate and stays in the pan, in effect boiling your meat. As unappetizing as that sounds, this is a small but necessary part of making the bulgoki. Cooking it in an iron griddle that'll sizzle out all the water will burn the meat too easily and make the meat dry. My mom does this funny trick where she lays a piece of foil on a steel pan and cooks the bulgoki on the foil. I am not sure what this does, but it works...

          Michael Yu

          1. re: Michael Yu
            c
            chris b.shaw

            Michael & Wonki........What can I say but Wow! How would I say that in Korean? You guys are really terrific.I will be doing this dish again very soon, since I still have half of the meat left over,and I will be reporting back to you as soon this feat is accomplished. Thanks again for the information.

            1. re: Michael Yu
              j
              jonathan sibley

              I noticed some very nice, marbled, thinly sliced beef at Yaohan Plaza in Englewood, NJ. I don't know if that is acceptable for bulgogi, but I'm pretty sure it would taste good, having used it for something similar.

          2. re: wonki

            Wait, before we move on to Chinese Korean food, I guess I would like to tell everyone about how to go about eating Korean food in a different manner. This is more appropriate for many of you who do not like the huge quantities of meat that a Korean barbecue entails. Now, since I am in Seoul and not New York, I entrust Wonki to figure out if and where any of the following dishes will be found.

            The style that I am talking about is characterized by sitting around a "pot." This is referred to as a jun-gol. I am not talking about cchiggye (stew) which is consumed near the end or throughout a meal. A jun-gol is much larger, will contain a lot more stuff and it should be cooked at your table. The restaurant's role is merely to assemble the right ingredients and to bring it to your table atop a portable stove.

            There are three different types of jungol: octopus (nakji jungol), gopchang (beef tripe), and the combo of the two former. There are other types of jungol (seafood jungol, tofu jungol), but the three above are the most popular. For four people, the jungol should come (with everything raw) in a metal pan resembling those chinese straw hats or a small wok. It should be relatively shallow. The ingredients are: hella garlic (raw), a big dollop of hot chili paste, raw octopus or tripe, beef broth, bean sprouts, scallions, some greenish fragrant vegetable matter which I can only describe as resembling daisy leaf (it is called sootgat in Korean), and miscellaneous extras: tofu, shrimp, scallops, etc. Put the whole thing on high heat, pick on the ban chan and get some soju into you (despite Wonki's warnings). After about ten minutes, designate someone the master taster, open the lid, make sure the hot chili paste has been thoroughly dissolved and taste the soup. Don't put salt in if its too bland or mild. Just wait. The soup should be substantial and hearty. There is a certain beauty in this, no? You just wait for the water to simmer off (hence the shallow dish), and when its done, do not turn off the heat. Put it on as low as possible and ladle off servings to separate dishes to eat along with the rice. You can spoon the rice into the portions set aside in each of your dishes, but never into the entire pot. And that is all. That is a wonderful winter's meal and you should come out of the restaurant sweatin.

            Here endeth lesson two.

            Michael Yu

          3. re: Heidi

            Heidi,

            You've hit on some gems. The chili pepper and fish ban chan is intriguing because some people eat it for the peppers and others (like me) eat it for the fish. The fish are actually smaller than anchovies. They can be as small as twice the length of your thumbnail and very thin. I am not a big fan of seafood, but these critters are great.

            Japchae is sort of an oddity in that it is a starch dish, but its a dish placed in the middle for people to ladle off, and yet normally people will have rice in front of them. It is rare for two starches to clash like this. Think of jap chae really as more of a large ban chan, and not one of the noodles dishes that I was talking about before.

            Now. Cold noodles with raw skate. If the dish was called bibimnaengmyun, then it is strips of raw fish mixed in hot chilipaste and mixed over cold buckwheat noodles. This is a standard lunch dish favored more by women than men for some reason. But if it is not (usually the dish can use any raw fish), then you might have hit on something truly rare. There is a fish in Korea called Hong-uh, which I think is a distant cousin of the monkfish or skatefish or skate (these always seem to be confusing to me). In any case, rather like the shark, the monkfish has bones that's either hollow or something like that. In any case, the bone structure is pretty unique somehow. Now, what they do in Korea to make this dish called Honguhhwe (raw monkfish) is they get a chunk of this fish and they put some dry seasonings on it, and believe it or not, they LET IT ROT. This is not careful aging like they do with steaks. This is sitting in room temperature and letting whatever microbes are in there to do their thing. This is strict macho food, and usually a good measure of strong alcohol (read soju) is involved in this. People walk into a restaurant serving this and ask the waitstaff to bring the most rotten piece available. No rice or anything else for that matter is consumed when eating this. So basically its rotten sushi and soju.

            I've tried this but once for lunch. I gasped and shuddered at the odor the whole day, but it is a favorite amongst an intense minority. I doubt this was what you were talking about. If it was, I am sure the US FDA would be very interested. But, in any case, this is also a part of Korean food.

            Michael Yu

            1. re: Michael Yu
              m
              Martha Gehan

              Michael, your description of the monkfish preparation reminds me of the ancient Roman sauce garum, wherein fish pieces including guts were allowed to ferment in earthenware jars and the resulting liquid was the garum. I think that the Southeast Asian nuoc mam is a more refined version of this ancient process. Sounds pretty funky, I must say.

              1. re: Martha Gehan

                By coincidence, I happened to be dabbling in making curry at the present time. Now, is the garum you're talking about related in any way to Garum Masala? I believe the latter is a mixture of spices. What you are describing seems remotely if barely liquid. Incidentally, the skatefish is covered in dry spices and does not liquify. I am not sure if I am losing or gaining my appetite... Am I something less than a chowhound?

                Michael Yu

                1. re: Michael Yu

                  I believe that is 'GARAM' Masala.

                  1. re: Michael Yu
                    j
                    Josh Mittleman

                    No, garum and garam masala are two quite different things. The ancient Roman garum was a fermented fish sauce or paste.

                    1. re: Michael Yu
                      m
                      Martha Gehan

                      I was actually referring to the monkfish, not the skate, and the uh-aged quality of the fish. I like to think of myself as a not unadventurous eater but I think I might just draw the line at rotten fish. But what reminded me of garum, which apparently Romans couldn't do without, was what I imagine the pungency of the two flavors must be, common(i.e.piscine)starting point, and method of preparation-just letting it sit and rot as you pointed out. The skate preparation, on the other hand, sounds great. Where might I be able to try that? Thanks to you, Michael, and to Wonki for all this invaluable advice. I now feel equipped to try some Korean cuisine without feeling completely ignorant.

                      1. re: Martha Gehan

                        I'm very red-faced at having garum and garam mixed up, and even more so for having led to this whole thread. It is kind of funny though. Martha, regarding this rotten fish dish, the proper name for it in Korean is "Hong-uh Hwe." Literally it means raw skate-fish. But we chowhounds know now that the raw has a certain nuance to it. To tell you the truth, I would think that this dish ranks up there with Jamon Serrano as dishes that would be likely banned by the FDA or some food-related ordinance. Honestly, this is chancey stuff. If you ever should find yourself in Seoul, there is a place behind the Sejong Cultural Center, but that is all I have.

                        Michael Yu

                        1. re: Michael Yu
                          m
                          Martha Gehan

                          Actually, I was referring to the skate with cold noodles when I said I'd like to try it. I agree, raw has its own nuance when it's ceviche or sushi or steak tartare or shellfish. But rotten-I don't think I'm that much of a chowhound.

                    2. re: Martha Gehan
                      c
                      chris b. shaw

                      Here is the definition of Garum according to Larousse,Gastronomique.A condiment widely used by the ancient Greeks and Romans,obtained by soaking intestines and pieces of fish in brine with aromatic herbs. ( Pissalat from Nice and the Vietnamese nuoc-mam have a similar formula) According to contemporary writers, the best garum was made in Carthage using mackeral,but it was also made with fry,salmon,sardines and shad, and there were many variants: with wine,with vinegar,with water,or strongly seasoned with pepper.Garum had a very strong smell and flavour and formed part of most recipes: it was also used as a condiment added at the table.(editorial comment Yuck!)
                      Garam Masala is of course the Classic North Indian Spice Blend. Here is the recipe 2Tbs.Cumin Seeds/2Tbs.Coriander Seeds/2Tbs.Black Peppercorns/2Tbs.Cardamnon Seeds/1tsp.Whole Cloves/1 3-inch piece of Cinnamon broken into bits/1tsp.grated nutmeg.Pinch of saffron optional. Place all ingredients except nutmeg and saffron in frying pan over medium-high heat.Roast,shaking the pan until the spices smoke,release aroma and turn several shades darker,about 6 minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in nutmeg and saffron. Transfer the spices to a plate and,when completely cool,grind to a fine powder.Use immediately or store in a tightly covered jar, preferably in the dark.This recipe is for Mughal Garam Masala and is the hallmark of classic Indian cooking.

                      1. re: chris b. shaw
                        c
                        chris b.shaw

                        Just barely computer literate!How come I posted and added on to Garum and it ends under Ordering Korean Food. Sometimes I think my 13 year blind poodle could post better than I do.

                        1. re: chris b.shaw

                          Hi Chris,

                          Sorry for any confusion... You've fallen victim to one slight downside to thread drift and the new feature we added that allows people to change the subject titles.

                          Here's what happened. When posting his reply to Martha's "Ordering Korean Food" post, Michael changed the subject title to "Garum". When you replied to Martha's post, not Michael's, it picked up the subject title from her posting. Don't worry, as far as content and discussion flow, your post is still in the garum branch of that discussion thread.

                          HotPost users should be aware that, because of this feature, the location and sequence of new replies in existing discussion threads is less obvious from their subject titles when you view them in the HotPost list. A seemingly "new" message might be a reply to a discussion you've been following. You should occasionally check the main message index for the board to be sure you've read all the messages. You can click the board title in the HotPost list to go to the index for that board.

                          Bob

                        2. re: chris b. shaw

                          I don't think I've ever seen garum listed as an ingredient on a menu or in a recipe. Coincidentally, last night I had a dish in a restaurant in Barcelona that was described on the menu as "fresh anchovies from L'Escala marinated on a bed of tomato and 'garum' in a pine nut vinaigrette." I didn't know what "garum" was, and forgot to ask my waiter, so looked it up on the net when I got home and found the description from M.F.K. Fisher's "The Art of Eating." Just now, I logged on to Chowhound to discover that there is a thread on the subject. Amazing! For the record, now that I know what "garum" is, I couldn't detect any in the dish I had last night, which makes me curious to inquire of the chef if the "garum" referred to in the menu description is the same "garum" as prepared according the ancient Roman method.

                  2. I love Korean food! I had a Korean girlfriend for a long time, and whenever I visited her parents, her mother would ply me with all sorts of stuff. Half the time I didn't even know what I was eating but it was all delicious. Just the assorted pickles and appetizers are enough to set me to waxing poetic for long periods of time.

                    1. j
                      jonathan sibley

                      Sorry if I'm jumping ahead (or if this has been covered, didn't find anything in a search), but could our Korean gastronomy teachers please cover what to eat in a Korean Tofu restaurant (and where, of course)? Thanks. You're doing a great job.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: jonathan sibley

                        Jonathan,

                        I was having trouble figuring out which type of restaurant you were referring to. One type of tofu place which is somewhat popular here are so-called "soybean" restaurants. These places specialize in a wide variety of dishes derived from soybean, ranging from Korean style miso stew (dwenjang chiggye) to all sorts of tofu dishes including tofu dipped in egg and fried (doobu jun) and soft tofu stew (soon doobu chiggye) and so on. The best places in Seoul actually advertise the fact that the tofu is made fresh daily. Supposedly when you get used to day-fresh tofu you cannot go back to the refrigerated stuff.

                        The other kind of tofu restaurant that exists in Seoul only vends one dish. I am not sure what they call this (doobu chiggye? doobutang?) This dish is different from the soon doobu chiggye listed above. Soon doobu chiggye is much more common and can be found in virtually any Korean restaurant.

                        This doobutang is basically a bowl of tofu sitting in either a mild broth or just plain hotwater. At the table is usually a condiment that is a mix of soy sauce and chili pepper. Some places make it look more like soy sauce, other places make it look more like chili past (gochujang). You add about two spoonfuls into the broth and eat the soup along with slices of tofu that you chsel away with your spoon. Some places will offer a bowl of rice along with the tofu soup and you can actually put the rice into the stew.

                        I have had this dish once for lunch along time ago. Its a spartan meal if you try to envision it. Some people I guess get into the aesthetics of tofu through this dish. I mean you are eating a whole block of the stuff through the meal. Personally, I didn't dislike it, but I am not exactly searching out the streets of Seoul for it.

                        Hope this helps. Just curious though, how did you come upon the fact that there are tofu restaurants if you don't have a particular one in mind?

                        Michael Yu

                        1. re: Michael Yu

                          My experience with soontofu restaurants is largely from restaurants in Los Angeles' Koreatown--I've had soontofu in NY, but I can't say it was all that great--is that it is basically understood that you're ordering soontofu the moment you walk through the door, and you options are limited largely to a choice of condiments: miso, seafood, meat, kimchi and level of chile heat, more or less. (You can also usually order a casserole made from the fibrous, sort of cheesy-tasting soy lees left over from the tofu-making process.) A vast array of panchon, usually including the egg-battered tofu pancakes, automatically precedes the meal.

                          1. re: Michael Yu

                            mike,

                            actually there are a couple of new places that serve mainly soondooboo (dooboo is korean for tofu) as jonathan gold writes. there's a new place on top of spot called fresh tofu. everything's nice and clean but the soondooboo didn't exactly blow me away. i've only been once so a return trip is necessary to get the proper degree of spiciness - it's basically like buffalo wings, you can get mild, hot, superhot and chajee top blowing hot (that one's for you mike ;-) ).
                            the other kind of place mike writes about i don't think is what jonathan sibley was thinking of, but it's quite good. it's called cho dang gol and it's on 35th between 5th and 6th. this got (i believe) 3 stars in the times from ruth reichl about a year ago. lots of native koreans love the place. they basically serve down home old style countryside food, lots of stuff made from soybeans and stuff you definitely can't get at most other korean restaurants. i definitely recommend it for a different korean experience and for foodies.

                            1. re: wonki

                              Thanks to everyone for this wonderfully informative thread.

                              Thanks also for the tip about NYC's Cho Dang Gol...I lunched there last week and was knocked out. According to our (very helpful) waitress, the restaurant makes its own tofu daily. We tried seafood pancakes, tofu & shrimp soup, and grilled beef...and the usual zillion side dishes -- tiny dried fish, kimchee, cold squid, spinach, pickles, much more -- all of them delicious. IMHO, everything was tastier and more interesting than what I've eaten at (admittedly just one visit) Healthy Tofu in Queens, which also makes its own tofu and also serves homestyle Korean food; plus the decor and crowd at CDG is decidedly more stylish and formal, as befits its midtown location.

                              Our "I can't believe I ate so much" lunch for two came in under $50 with tip. I'm going back this week.

                              1. re: Peter Krass

                                I love this place. Of course the tofu rocks, and they have the most attractive panchan I've seen. But, harking back to the 'gringos might not like it' thread, I remember that the first time I went there, the waiters brought out barley tea at the end of the meal and poured it into our stoneware rice bowl, which was of course filled with little bits of burnt rice. This rice tea was then ladled back into little bowls to enjoy at the end of the meal. On other visits, I noticed that Koreans were getting this treatment, while our rice bowl was whisked away as soon as it was empty, never to be seen again. What gives?

                                1. re: MU

                                  that sucks, dude.

                                  all i can say is next time you go, ask them to do it for you, or point it out when they're doing it for another table and say you'd like that too.

                                  1. re: wonki

                                    Note, the dish/process described above is referred to as making nooroongji. Its a way to sort of clear the palette I guess, a good finish after a usually spicy meal, although its perfectly fine to pick on the leftover banchan as you eat this. Wait a while to have the rice become soggy. Good stuff. I am impressed not only at the higher level of autheticity these places have reached but with the heightened level of consciousness with which diners come to these places. Eat on. Essen Essen.

                                    Michael Yu