It was late at night and we were completely starving. Joanne, a Singaporean foodie, insisted to try Galbi. We were in Insa Dong, a historic culture area in Seoul, South Korea. In Insa-dong, you have to experience traditional aspects of Korea, including the cuisine. And there was one Korean Restaurant that serves Galbi as their favorite menu. The night before, with friends from Thailand and Philippines, I tried another Galbi in Gangbeyon. It was Natoch, who become the “food searching” leader that night. Strolling around Techno Mart and found one Galbi Restaurant. Then, there was a Galby Party. For me, its two days in a row. Full of Galbi.
Galbi is one of the famous Korean cuisine that is made with overnight marinated beef short ribs in a ganjang-based sauce (Korean soy sauce). Galbi is grilled over charcoal or a gas build into the center of the table and served with varieties of vegetables.
Serving the GalbiWell, I’d been nibbling around Korean Restaurant in Jakarta, eating kind of Galbi. My fellow foodie, Harry Baskoro, had invited me once to try Galbi at Koreana Restaurant in Jakarta. But I’d never been to Korea, to the source. I’d been, to be honest, astonished by the sensuality of Galbi. Uncooked ribs served on the plate with aromatic scent. It gets stronger as it grilled. Plates of kimchi, seaweed soup, samjang sauce (a sauce made of fermented bean curd and red pepper paste), lettuce, perilla leaf (mint leaf), and other vegetables, enriched the taste of Galbi. Each will find a way in increments into the mixture of Galbi before disappearing down to our stomach.
Hmmmm, it was a very wonderful party. Just show up there with an open mind and an empty stomach, try anything that served on the table, and enthusiasm is indeed enough. We started to grill slices of beef over a small gas plate at the center of the table, turning the meat with chopstick, small plumes of smoke issuing from the plate as juice from the meat strikes out. Whoooa… it really numb the mouth, engorge the lips, thicken the saliva, and quicken the pulse. The smell coming from the grilled meat maddeningly good. We were just sat impatience, wait till its ready. Sexy meat on the grill.
Cut and GrillWhen its ready, dipped the meat into the samjang sauce.Then grab the vegetables, take a slice of lettuce and perilla leaf. Put the meat into the leaf, add with garlic, mushroom, chilies. Then,you wrap the meat in the leaves, slowly, you dunk and chew. Hmmmm, you will find a mixture of experience in your mouth. Sweet, sour, hot, spicy, meaty, crunchy, forceful taste from the perilla, with just the right amount of caramelization and flavor from the grilling. Not until an hour, we finished the Galbi.
Joanne said that it wouldn’t be a party without traditional Korean liquor. Well, I dont drink, but I can watch them drink. Korean liquors are made chiefly from grains, rice, or sweet potatoes with kneaded wheat malt. The famous is yakju. One bowl of yakju is enough. I believe that good drinks (beer or wine) and fancy food should be kept separate. Too much of good things haaa….
Well, time goes by, stomach is full, and the party is over. I think I’ll come back some day.For the Galbi Party
You should try it, brother, you should try it…
Seoul, September 2009