Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jjimdak and tea

As I proudly ate my jjimdak (찜닭) without wincing or gulping down a half gallon of water, I thought my tolerance for spice was improving, having been in Korea for half a year. That was, until, my friend informed me in blunt Korean fashion, "I asked them not to make it too hot for you."



I've always loved jjimdak - no, I take that back - the very first time I had it, I thought a fire had broken out in my mouth, and at that point, I only sort of liked it. But jjimdak - a braised chicken dish served in a shoyu based sauce (usually accompanied with chewy glass noodles, potatoes, onions, and the occasional carrot and mushroom) - has since grown on me. You see, its unassuming heat makes it all the more adventurous. As you begin to dig in, the first thing your taste buds notice is the powerful mixture of sweet n salty. It isn't until a second or two later that you realize you're dealing with a healthy dose of garlic and chili pepper.

Having eaten jjimdak with three people from Hawaii - they (and I) have all agreed that it somehow reminds us of home. Shoyu chicken, maybe? Sukiyaki, perhaps? As we try to wrap our heads around what makes it so familiar, one thing's for certain - jjimdak is packed with flavor. There are quite a few places that serve jjimdak, and based on personal experience, it seems pretty hard to go wrong. However, Andong Jjim Dak and Bongchu Jjim Dak are popular choices, and if you happen to be in the Myeongdong (명동) area, simply ask around, and you shall find.



If you're looking for a way to soothe yourself from all that heated flavor, I recommend taking a trip to O'Sulloc Tea House. According to Lonely Planet, "Everything is produced from the green tea picked on the company's tea plantation on Jejudo." We ordered the tropical dream green tea, which was recommended by our waitress. Quite rightly one of the most popular selections, it's a mild tea that packs a wonderful fruity scent. The desserts didn't disappoint either, but it was the cafe's light wood and green surroundings that topped it off, allowing for a relaxing break away from the busy crowds, bright lights, and noise of Myeongdong.



After having been rejuvenated, we continued our walk all the way to Cheonggyecheon. Despite the heat, the people couples were out in force!





I'll miss you guys! ㅠㅠ

6 comments:

Daniel Gray said...

awesome. I love O'Sulloc's interior and they have really good strawberry and tomato smoothies!

Richard said...

Ohhh Jjimdak AGAIN!!! Im soooo jealous!!! thats one of my favorite dishes :(

What I love about Jjimdak also is not only the surprising spice..but do you notice how its ok as long as you keep eating...as soon as you stop eating its like all of the spice "catches" up to you....lol...so naturally you gotta keep eating until its all gone, then comes the inevitable burning sensation :)

I had to have lousy bratwurst and chili cheese fries today :(

Roboseyo said...

which jjim dalk did you go to in euljiro? I live there. The one next to boshingak is the best.

Also: as tea houses go, ever been inside "tea for two" (T42), next to piano street?

Jeffry said...

I had jjimdak for the first time the other day. A friend invited us for dinner and ordered it in. It was good, but i didn't notice the spice until i saw a shriveled red thing. I thought it might be a cranberry for some reason. I dunno, i'm dumb. I popped it into my mouth and regretted it. But I'm too proud I ate it anyway and it took me half an hour to get it to cool off.

Cheri said...

Roboseyo -I've been to three of them near Eujiro... again, I'm really bad with names... but the best one I had was away from the shopping area, along the main road... near that big bell headed towards Cheonggyecheon. And yes, I've been to Tea for Two - I really enjoyed the atmosphere there as well! If you know of any good places for tea, please share. ^^

Jeffry - You thought it was a cranberry?! Hahaha....

Jeffry said...

Jeffry - You thought it was a cranberry?! Hahaha....

Like i said. I was being dumb.