Wednesday, August 25, 2010

chamchi saran hae

After a 6k run (I'm trying to get back into it! Have yet to run more than 2 days in one week though) and lots of traveling on the bus, I arrive in Hongdae ready to eat. Paul doesn't get off work until close to 8, so if we go to dinner it's late. I'm used to eating after school, which is generally 5 or 6 pm by the time I get home. Anyway, we're wondering around Hongdae trying to decide where to eat. We rule out galbi (bbq), and I don't want noodles or rice. I have wedding pictures to be in 3 weeks! So this significantly narrows the choices. As we wander, I progressively get more, well let's say anxious, to get somewhere. Weird for me to be cranky around feeding time, no?? :) Then we see this shining blue sign. "Dokdo Tuna." For those of you that don't know (and I don't know why anyone would know this) about Dokdo, give it a google search. It's basically a big rock in the ocean that is a huge point of contention between Japan and Korea. Both claim it as their own, and the rest of us sit around wondering why anyone would want it at all. Regardless, tuna sounds just about right so we pop in. I had only been to one of these chamchi restaurants once before with Susan months ago. We went with some of her co-workers and it was a full on 3 hour event. There must have been 12 courses of food!! So, hey, it's a Tuesday, why not?

We order the tuna special. You can only order sets here, there is no a la carte. The special begins. First, mek-ju, duh, followed by miso soups, and radish and apple mayo sides. Next, two sushi pieces of tuna and two pieces of a roll (basically kimbap). Then for the big show. They bring out a tray of what seems to be a bunch of tuna. There are 5 different cuts and 4 pieces of each cut. We kind of fight over the favorites, which we later learn is obviously a mistake. As soon as we finished the plate the chef comes over with an entirely new tray of tuna (again like 20 pieces) and an additional piece of fin for us to try. It was kind of like octopus; chewy. Then they bring a larger soup with odeng (fish cake) and some grilled corn. We barely finish this tray and agree that this is a crazy amount of raw fish. No sooner did we utter these words then a waitress shows up with another plate of fish! It just didn't end. We are totally full and trying not to be rude, so we eat as much as we can. They waitress comes up again and says something. I say, "oohhh pebula (full)" and she comes back with 2 maki rolls. Geeze. Finally, Paul and I decide to make a run for it before they have a chance to bring more food. We go to pay; 50,000 won. By Korean standards this is quite pricey. Well compared to, let's say, galbi. But when you think about the fact that we probably consumed an entire raw tuna, had a beer, and soup, it's more than reasonable. Especially compared to US prices. Going home (in 2 weeks!) is going to be a trip. I have to tip again, pay more than $3 a meal, and can't walk or take public transport wherever I want. Man, this will be tough.

On the bright side, avocados and mac and cheese are waiting for me when I get home. How awesome is my mom!?

PS I have the best roommates ever. I come home the other day bitching about my 4 hours on the bus and Dave goes, "Well if it makes you feel any better I found chunky peanutbutter at Emart and bought you 2 bottles!" We had a conversation about a week ago about how you can only get creamy here, and he goes no you're crazy, they have it, to which I rebutted, "well i have never seen it." So he bought it. Dave saran hae too!

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