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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Thoughts of Korea

bibimbap Michael is in Korea for a few days, so when a friend asked me to join her for dinner last night, I knew exactly where to go. Kotobuki is our favorite Japanese restaurant in town (if not our favorite Toledo restaurant period). But, the sexy owner Dennis is actually Korean. They have a few Korean dishes available, some advertised, some not.

Sue, our waitress, kindly started us off with two bowls of panchan (small bowls of Korean hors d'oeuvres). While a typical Korean restaurant would provide four to five bowls at least, there were no complaints from us diners. After all, we weren't charged, and for a treat that's not even on the menu, we took what we could get! One bowl was Kimchi, of course. The other was filled with a mysterious root that had been macerated in some sort of pineapple-y, soy sauce elixir. Both were delicious and addictive.

For our main course, we opted for Dolsot Bibimbap. Dolsot is the stone bowl in which the Bibimbap is served. It is heated ahead of time and serves to keep the food incredibly warm for what seems like ages. Bibimbap is basic Korean comfort food. Steamed rice is topped with delicious vegetables, all cooked separately. The traditional protein is beef (bulgogi usually) and an egg, sunny side up. Most restaurants offer a vegetarian option, with chunks of tofu standing in for the marinated beef. The entirety is tossed with Gochujang, a spicy Korean sauce with the texture of ketchup. Bibimbap is one of my favorite dishes. Before Michael left, I gave him a list of Korean food items to bring back with him. I can't wait to make some Bibimbap at home.

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