Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Auntie Knows Best

My aunt loves good food just as much as I do. She's one of the reasons why I started this blog. Here she is on the hunt for a near-legendary dumpling house that her friends have raved to her about for years.

Eureka. We found the cozy eatery, called Koong (or Palace), down a little street in the Insadong district of Seoul. Its claim to fame: a little granny who's been making North Korean-style soup dumplings (mandoo) for something like 70 years now.

Shaped like jumbo tortelloni, a half dozen dumplings came out bobbing in a perfectly seasoned beef broth swimming with scallions and seaweed. They were deeRISHous and ideal in the blustery cold weather.

Of course, we three (uncle, eemo and I) decided we had to try a few other North Korean specialties such as this braised pork that you wrap in blanched strips of cabbage along with moderately spicy strips of daikon radish. My aunt says it's one of her fave dishes, and I can see why. The tender pork is ever so tasty, the spice of the radish gives each bite a really nice kick and the crunch of the cabbage serves as the perfect foil for the soft piggy pig. And speaking of pigs, why yes, we are. We also helped ourselves to pindaedok (fried mung bean cakes), a little softer/moister, not at all spicy or crispy like that of its southern brethren. Altogether a kinder, gentler version of the Korean food I grew up with. I liked it. A whole heckuvalot.

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