Friday, October 02, 2009

Chusock Eve Lunch

It was a lovely Friday, day before Chusock in Korea. Chusock being the biggest holiday in Korea, and many parts of Asia (lunar harvest festival, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter all rolled into one) I knew pretty much everything would be closed. However when I finally disentangled myself from the blanket of infinite entropy I decided I wanted to do two things. One was to hit Seomon market and get some things for the makings of a bathrobe. I'm working on a bathrobe project and I need to get things to match the fabric I've picked up. The other was that I wanted some Korean for lunch. In particular I wanted yappchick mandu, a flat Korean dumpling that is quickly fried on a griddle and served with soy sauce, green onions and a little chili. I could do both of those things at Seomon market.

I was really hopeful that when I got to the market I'd see my favorite ajjuma. She's actually more of a har-moni (grandmother) and I've stopped in to eat at her particular stall for years. However when I arrived at the shi-jung I found that a great deal of it was closed, much to my dismay. Parts were still open and so I plunged in and started to look for the things that I wanted. I managed to get some nice lace for making things. I found a few boubles here and there, but sadly no fabric to match my robe project. I put that off for a future trip to the fabric market. So I was left in the market looking for lunch. This proved to be a greater challenge. The reason being the entrails.

I'm not a big fan of entrails but these are often fondly eaten in Korea. And at the market you can get all the best of head cheese, pig penis, pig stomach, pig liver, pig bladder, pig brains and sun-dae (pork blood sausage). You ever watch an episode of Fear Factor where they make people eat really disgusting things on camera? In Korea that is a good lunch for many. I don't mind that Koreans like eating this stuff, what I do mind is having it sit next ot me when I'm trying to enjoy a quick veggie lunch of mandu. Sadly every single stall I saw that had the mandu I wanted also had a large plate of entrails sitting right in your face. It took a while but I finally found an ajjuma who was making some mandu far away from any entrails.

I pulled up a corner of shade and for two thousand won ($1.50) I had some nice lunch. She was also next to an h ajjuma who was making ho-dok. A friend of mine had a friend from her hometown visiting sometime last year. I took them to the market and we had all kinds of shopping and fun and eventually I'd asked if they would like to try some ho-dok. When asked to explain the best way I could put it was that it's essentially a fried pancake with the syrup inside. The friend was immediately addicted and before she left I ended up heading over their apartment with a large back of ho-dok so that the leaving friend could eat her fill and satisfy her urge. Good stuff. Since I found out I can't have gluten or processed sugars I've mostly given it up, but I miss it sometime.

My lunch was good, I wondered back into the cool autumn-ness of the market afterward, my appetite quenched while my desire for shopping remained unsatisfied. I'll try again on Monday when things return to normal.

The ajjuma who was cooking my lunch.

The ajjuma who was making ho-dok. First you make a round ball with the dough.

Then you fill the ball with some brown sugar, and a small amount of peanuts.

Put it on the flat grill, press flat and fry it up. Served in a paper cup. Good eating.

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