Friday, 6 February 2015

Unpredictable Mixture...

I heard sizzling & saw a stream of smoke billowing by me. Someone had walked past carrying a Fried Saba on a Hotplate. I closed my eyes in ecstasy; the saucy fragrance slowly enveloped my senses like some temptress executing a sultry pole dance. It was utterly tantalizing! I couldn’t resist.

I love trying new foods and Korean cuisine is one of those that I really like... now. It took quite a while, years actually, to find really great Korean cooking at a reasonable price. The first time I ate kimchee (with a bland soup & rice) in a food court made me wonder how much salt exists in the Korean diet. It was that heavily salted, really bad...

I didn’t touch anymore of this foreign food for over 5 years. Then came the smoky Saba temptress. I ordered in a flash. The mackerel had shiny skin like a polished jewel. It is one of those times you can’t wait to sink your teeth in. It was fantastic and I quickly caught up with lost time by ordering it every chance I got.

The kimchee, on the other hand, was still as crazy salty as 5 years before. Thank goodness they usually give just a few slices. It didn’t put me off eating the fish though. I happily ate it for all it’s worth, but ignored the kimchee again.

One day, the adventurous side of me decided to point at the ‘Beebimbap’ on the wall menu. I cradled the bowl to my table & enthusiastically mixed it up.

Bad choice! It was all cold ingredients and tasteless. The sauce and vegetables had no taste. The fried egg had no taste (is this even possible?). Fortunately, the rice had ‘rice’ taste. I slapped my hand to my forehead when I realised that I had just bought the most expensive bowl of plain rice in my entire life.

I ran back to the Fried Saba and stayed faithful for another long stretch of time, safe in my smoky comfort zone. All hunky-Dory Fish, well mackerel actually.

However, stuck not so deep in my subconscious, I couldn’t shake off the nagging fact that kimchee is Korea’s National Dish. I also keep seeing Beebimbap popping up happily everywhere in my KBS drama serials.

It finally turned around.

I just had to give Beebimbap another chance after seeing this elderly gentleman earnestly tossing & mixing it up, at my first visit to the new Kopitiam food court in Suntec City. He took one spoonful and as he chewed, he shook his head with a ‘Praise-the-Lord-for-this-Dish’ expression.

I couldn’t argue the look on his face. I don’t think he paid with an Amex card, but it was Priceless.

I ordered and in a flash, it was ready. The egg yolk was raw & stood on top in the middle of the bowl, looking at me with a cute custard wobble. I swirled it into the sauce below. The rest of the mixing came carefully with me singing a little prayer in my head hoping I didn’t waste my lunch money.

I picked up a full rounded spoonful of this ‘unpredictable mixture’... looked ok; smelled ok. I chewed... slowly.

The euphoria came like a desperate bowling strike in very slow motion. Incredible is the mildest word I can think of, to describe the layers of supreme flavors that excited my tastebuds all at once. I tasted savoury egg, fragrant sesame oil, prickly chilli, uber fresh veggies, warm pepper, cool cucumber and such delicious rice! I certainly got much more value than what I paid. It is an authentic Beebimbap.

I asked the nice staff for the name of the company. It’s called ‘Han Ga Wi’. I dived in to the rest of the menu.

Oh Kimchee! What sensational soups they whipped up & they cook the Ultimately hands-down juiciest BEST Fried Saba I have ever greedily gobbled up! Just look at it! Isn’t it Gorgeous?

Click this photo for a better view
The top prize is the kimchee. It is the undisputed stand-alone Most savoury, delicious & well-marinated napa cabbage EVER! You will thank me for it! I requested for a nice pile and they kindly obliged, as you can see.

I confidently say to you – Don’t ever give up looking for Great Cooking. It may take awhile, and some experimenting, but you don’t want to miss these confetti events.

Food is a Journey. It will take you further than you ever thought you would travel, to cultures you will welcome with joy.

Food is a Love Story. It’s like an emotional meeting with a long lost love after years of searching, finally finding each other’s embrace and growing old together.

Food is Life. Mine and Yours.