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Seriously, Some Super Soups

December 8, 2009

It snowed today. Although I’ve been bitching about the cold, I’ll have to admit that the sight of falling snow fills me with such childish ebullience that I almost forgive winter. It is magical! And the lights! And Christmas is coming and… yeah holiday cheer and what not. I’m down with that. Why is Christmas so early in winter? Why not save it for January or February, so there’s something to look forward to, besides early nights and extremity-biting chills? I suppose it has something to do with the solstice.  Anyway, other good thing about winter is good warm food designed to heat your heart and your other insides. My favorite hot food, of course (besides hot chocolate and tea) is soup. I love soup, especially these soups, which are makeout-with-your-spoon delicious.

First of all, let’s talk about Korean soups. You know, I was going to name this entry “Jjigae–What? Jjigae–Who?” but other than the fact that is a lame (though amusing… if only to me) title, it was incorrect. I’m not even gonna talk about jigae, though I think that is the most famous/prevalent of Korean soups.  Jjigae is a variety of Korean soup/stew, usually red in coloring due to the chili powder and is probably my first steamy, brothy love from this peninsula. Soondubu jjigae is my favorite. But what about guks and tangs! I love guks and tangs: mandoo guk (dumpling soup), bukeoguk (pollack soup), wanjatang (meatball soup), gamjatang (pork spine soup), and of course samgyetang (chicken soup stuffed with rice). I was going to share a picture of my mandoo guk, but I uh, ate it already. Instead, enjoy that picture of samgyetang from last spring (above).

Also, last-last Sunday I got a chance to go to the Russian district of Seoul with a couple of friends. It’s a tiny neighborhood, just a few blocks away from the grand shopping complexes of Dongdaemun and features a tiny bakery full of blintzes and meat crispy meat pies and also this restaurant. If I’m remembering the story correctly, it is run by a lesbian who was a former dancer but then got pregnant, and could dance no longer? For some reason that sounds like a cautionary tale, the stuff of old world fables, or at least a Lifetime movie. Anyway, what I know for sure, that it is staffed by a woman with wine colored hair who speaks Korean with that dragged gruffness of a Russian accent. The inside of the restaurant, “Yumi” with a yellow sign– yes, quotes in the name included, also looks like the downstairs kitchen of a house. And it even includes a framed screencap of the one time it was feature on the television station MBC. Everything we had was good: some meat and potatoes, this rice noodle soup thing with big chunks of beef, but my favorite was the borscht– the borscht was a thing of tomatoey, beety glory, perfect for a gloomy Sunday:

Also concluding the list of my favorite soups is the lentil soup from Dubai Restaurant in Itaewon. It’s beany, peppery goodness, adding little bit of lemon gives it that extra kick of complex zest. It’s pretty amazing.

Admittingly, not much to look at in its takeout container, lit by the glow of my apartment’s fluorescent lighting. Trust me, it’s delicious.

And… as a bonus. Something else not soup-related to give you the warm n’ fuzzies:

I could watch this all day! Um. Not that I have, or anything (cough). It’s just the way the little dude swivels his hips during the chorus, it’s kind of hypnotic. I’m going to keep my opinion on the original video to myself, mostly because my opinion is highly embarrassing. I will say it is worth checking out though, especially if you’re into fey Korean dudes sprouting wings and attempting sexy faces.

Oh P.S. Also, also– speaking of hot– instead of just warm. Guess who I saw at the flower shop last Friday?

Miss.

Lee.

Hyori.

She kind of, uh, makes me want to give up as a woman. (sigh)

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