Panchan at Vit Goel (Annandale) - What did I eat?
Lunched at Vit Goel (Lighthouse) Tofu House in Annandale and enjoyed my Soon Dubu very very much - heck of a bargain for $7.50 at lunch (though I can't imagine who else would eat something that hot before 11am, thought I was the only one).
Also felt very well taken care of (us cripplish folks with walkers think about these things) - and didn't get more than one "you ready for spicy?"
Multiple little metal bowls of rice, and she was ready to spoon out more than the two I stopped her at - I'm just supposed to eat the rice, right? I also turned down the cookeed-to-a-crisp remainder of rice I know I'm supposed to add tea to at the end, iot was just way too much for me to eat.
Generous amount of panchan for a single diner 5 little dishes - and I'm wondering about two of them. Fresh (and obviously homemade) bok choy kimchi (fiber-y, but that's the chance you take), something like a fresh napa kimchi in a watered-down broth (a nice "alternate take" on kimchi), marinated/sesame-oil(?) bean sprouts (boring but at least blessedly cooling), and my two mystery items:
1) a TINY DAB (maybe a tablespoon-full) of minced crunchy and VERY SALTY red and white moist bits, couldn't tell if they were hot or not (the soup overwhelmed my ability to tell). Was I supposed to mix this in with something else?
2) the most marvelous cucumber slices - about 1/2" thick, obviously coated with kim,chi-like spice, but underneath they were a bread-and-butter pickle I would eat a gallon of - I would love to make these at home!
Anybody know about these two? Names? Did I identify 'em right?
I'm definitely going back (but maybe I'll wait until afternoon- they start serving that stuff at 10am!)
1) This is "juhtgal" or "juht" for short; the "uh" is pronounced like the "u" in "just", not "july". It's marinated bits of certain kinds of seafood, plus some bits of radishes or other crunchy veggies. Very salty and somewhat spicy, as you described. The most popular ingredients are fish guts (default "juhtgal" I think), shrimp ("saewoojuht") and squid ("o-jing-uh-juht"). Theirs was squid I think.
2) As previous posters have said, this is just their version of "o-yee-kimchi" (cucumber kimchi) which is served widely. I liked their version a lot too. Crunchy and refreshing, instead of other instances where it's too mushy.
I would love to help (since I am Korean), and also because I've been to that place recently. Can't quite figure out what you have described though, sorry :)
One thing, there are tens or maybe hundreds of different sorts of kimchis out there, including the one with cucumber (we call it cucumber kimchi), there are non-spicy kimchis, radish kimchis etc. etc.
Just don't forget to put the raw egg into the soondubu before you start off, and stir it well.
I personally like Vitgoel a lot, and I tend to be picky on the food that I have..next time you go there, have the soondubu with the Popeye(?)Galbi(which costs like $12-13, you can share it altogether), which is bbq meat, readily-grilled and served hot.
I've having a though time on item two. The flesh cucumber tossed in kimchi like sauce (it hot and sweet flavors) is very good and always served there. But I don't remember something that is like "buttered pickles".
On the first item, I really love that stuff. Its usually lots of garlic with a spicy red pepper sauce and it has chucks of clambs or squid depending on what they happen to have made. I don't know the korean name exactly.
Once the rice is scooped out of the stone bowl, leaving the crust, the waitress will add some tea. By the end of the meal, the crusty rice can be then scraped and eaten like rice soup. It has this really nice mellow flavor developed from browning. I ladle the water and the browned rice into my little bowl and add some of item #1 and it is fantastic.