South Korea

Why South Korea?

Lauren chose South Korea and we’re going there in October because it is her birthday month.

Lunch in South Korea marks a fairly significant milestone in our journey around the world in 80 cuisines. It is our 20th country, so we’re a quarter of the way through our journey. We’ve done most of the big ticket countries, so I suspect we’ll be going to some fairly obscure countries for the next 60. Suriname is definitely on my list!

My experience of South Korea

I have never been to South Korea, and have not even been to many Korean restaurants, which is perhaps surprising given how very many of them there are near home.

Preparation

We’re going to South Korea for lunch on Sunday 28 October 2018, and it’s all a bit of a rush. October is my busiest month at work and we’ve been away for a week (in Samoa) to celebrate Lauren’s 40th birthday. My goodness, how beautiful is Samoa??? Absolutely lovely people, fabulous weather, stunning natural attractions, wonderful resort. But the food is not all that appetizing – taro and breadfruit. Erk! But I digress. Back to South Korea. Now!

Fortunately, the planning for South Korea is fairly easy. We have such a strong Asian influence in Australia and there are many Asian stores around home. I think I can do it with three days planning. At least I had the foresight to prepare the factsheet before I went to Samoa.

Our guests for South Korea will be some friends of mine from the camera club (Maroondah Photographic Society – what a great bunch of people!). Jill and Neil came to lunch in Italy, and Gary is a newbie at our international lunches. Lauren and Will and the kids and Jan will be there of course – Will has nominated Jan for life membership!

The menu

Here’s our menu:

  • Seafood pancakes
  • Chilli pork lettuce cups
  • Pork rissoles with lettuce slaw
  • Roasted beef ribs
  • Cucumber kimchi
  • Warm sweet potato noodle salad with chicken and prawns
  • Beef bulgogi bowl
  • Baesuk
  • Watermelon punch
  • Soju

I hope that the local Asian stores have soju – it is the only ingredient I have qualms about getting. I ended up getting everything I wanted at KT Mart on the corner of Whitehorse and Mitcham Road – such friendly staff. Check them out!

The food

South Korea, you are right up there with the best of the best!

Our food was lovely! The chili pork lettuce cups were voted as the dish of the day, with the seafood pancake running a very close second. The beef bulgogi bowl was popular and the beef ribs were yummy too. How lucky I am to know a good butcher (hello North Ringwood Meat Supply!).

The watermelon punch was lovely. I made it with Sprite, but the other two options were to use milk. I don’t like milk at all, and almost can’t think of anything worse than lots of lovely fresh fruit with milk. Errkkk! I had quite a lot of watermelon left over from the punch, and noticed a bottle of rosewater in my pantry, so made up the watermelon with rosewater that we had for lunch in Morocco. It’s still delicious.

The kim chi was not universally loved, but I have to take some responsibility for that, I think. I’ve never had kim chi so did not quite know what I was supposed to be making.

And I don’t love sweet potato noodles. Give me rice or egg noodles any time!

Here are the recipes for our faves – Sth Korea best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

The drinks

Ah yes, the drinks.

I had bought some soju at KT Mart, but it’s a bit hard to drink. I also bought some Korean plum wine, which was OK and some Korean black raspberry wine, which was better than OK – quite nice, in fact!

Will and Lauren brought some Korean beer.

Jill and Neil also brought a bottle of aloe vera drink, which tasted much nicer than it sounds, and Lauren and Will brought some Korean apple juice for the kids.

The ambience

The ambience was lovely. We were able to eat outside but it got very cool very quickly, so we moved inside for the quiz.

Jill and Neil had come to lunch in Italy so knew what to expect, but Gary is new to all of this. I think he enjoyed himself!

I didn’t even look for Korean music on Spotify so we just listened to whatever Gold 104.3 was playing.

The quiz

Mmm, the quiz. Very controversial! There was a prolonged dispute about the answer to question 11. Eventually, after a lot of debate and angst, the judge’s pronouncement was accepted. The best thing was that Lauren and I drew for first place, beating Will by one point. Yay!!!! We’re not sure if Will was more miffed about not winning or about being beaten by his wife. Well done, Lauren and Joy!

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_South Korea

Here’s the place-mat – Place-mat_Sth Korea

And here’s the quiz – Quiz_South Korea

Where to next?

Karma has chosen Georgia, so that’s where we’re going on Sunday 25 November. A quick google search on Georgian recipes is very exciting. I can’t wait.

We were going to go to Samoa after Georgia, but after just having spent time in Samoa, I am not going to eat taro and breadfruit ever again. Love the coconut in Samoa, but taro and breadfruit is now part of my hoping-to-be forgotten past.

We had a long chat about what countries we could visit next – some of the suggestions were Turkey, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Lebanon, Vietnam, USA and Mexico. Wow, what a fabulous mix of countries. And Rob, we’re not going back to Wales unless you can convince me that Wales is a standalone country😊

Lauren, Will, me and the kids are going to Robe for Christmas with some of their school friends, so I might see if we can have Christmas lunch in New Zealand. NZ should be fairly easy to do. Roast lamb, green-lipped mussels and pav. That’ll do it!

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