but I have been accused of too much bitching on my blog lately, so it's time for something positive.
First off, being married is great. Wifeoseyo is a champ, in every respect, and it's been an awesome time so far. Got to hang out with the in-laws last weekend, and my one-year-old niece is super-cute, too. She likes me. We're only at the waving and smiling point so far, but that's OK with me.
Anyway, this last week, I've been taking full advantage of one of the things I love the most about Korea, and here it is:
Monday: grilled Mackerel, in a long-standing, well-known restaurant in my neighborhood: crisped brown, perfectly salted, purple rice (healthier) on the side. 4000 won.
Tuesday: hot pot bibimbap: the pot is so hot that the rice scorches against the inside of the bowl in which the bibimbap is served; I mix it, and then press the mixed rice against the sides of the bowl, to maximize the scorched flavor and texture. Best bibimbap I've had in the city (as always, the best bibimbap, hands down, is in those little restaurants at the bottoms of mountain trails, right after climbing a mountain, but short of climbing a mountain, this is great). The old ladies at this place know me, and know that I don't eat the "Yakult" cup, so they don't set it out on my tray.
The old ladies there have kept their prices the same since the 1980s, according to wifeoseyo, who read about them, and they plan to continue that way until they die.
Plus, they're really cute old ladies:
Their kitchen is pretty sweet, too.
And maybe on Thursday, I'll head down to the dark, slightly sketchy street near my workplace, where you can pay 6000 won for a seafood pancake (해물파전) that's crisp, delicious, fresh, and big enough that two people can't finish it together in one sitting.
See, you never know where you'll find a brilliant gem of a restaurant - the narrowest back alley might bend around and reveal a line up out the door and around the next corner, where you'll eat your fill and then some from a few people who actually take pride in serving great food for a low price. I'll tell you what: where I'm from, if the soup became famously delicious, it wouldn't take long for the soup's price to reflect the degree of fame it had achieved.
I've heard Japanese food is great - but you've gotta seriously pay for the best of it. I've heard French cuisine is similarly great - if you don't mind paying through the nose. But in Korea, the best - seriously, the best Korean food, the most authentic Korean food experience, the most delicious food, and the food that reminds your Korean friends of their childhoods, is usually cheap as anything, loaded with more side dishes than you can eat, and in unpretentious farmhouses, or in bare-bones simple hole-in-the-wall restaurants in a back alley where directions to find it go like this: "Turn left, and then right, and then left, and then right, and if you reach the old lady husking garlic cloves on her front porch, you've gone too far."
And I love it.
Halmoni Kalguksu (pictured above) is closed on Sundays, and don't go during lunch hour, because the line goes out the door. Here's the google map:
View Halmoni Kalguksu in a larger map