here's a yummy surprise. hwubby and i have lived in this temescal neighborhood for twelve years. i see korean food places here and there. somehow it never occurs to me to go into any one of them. until now. when friends are giving rides to hwubby for doc visits. and it's been one more delicious than the last. yesterday we go to this casserole house. and the whole experience is like eating in the home of a kind, loving, generous, fantastic home cook. suk gan is her name. she goes by suki. i say, i am a suk too, suk wah. i sip her tea. a sense of lovely brightness pops in me. i ask suk gan, what is this tea? she patiently explains, my grandma would make this, i drink it, i feel good, so i think, i should do this for my customers. of course i have to ask her what's in it? she is so generous that as i type this i am looking at a plastic bag of ingredients: korean date, roasted corn and barley, licorice, goji berries and aged tangerine peel. and lots of fresh ginger, suk gan says.
it's a relatively small space because suk gan says, animatedly with a smile, i can't handle bigger than this. she goes to buy fresh vegetables every morning. she makes all the kimchee and snacks. and talk about snacks. whatever dish you order, you get a grand spread of small, white dishes each filled with beautiful, vibrant, yummy bite-size things. they are all so good. what pops in mind right now is seasoned sweet potatoes. a hint of citrus brightens the starch that is lightly coated with a sauce that probably has soy sauce, roasted sesame oil. all come together in a fine balance. there are a couple of tofu delicacies. one looks deep-fried but not greasy at all. another is like you freeze the tofu block, then squeeze all water out after thawing and then marinate in a sauce that, again, is a careful balance of a rich flavor profile.
did i mention the korean pancake that comes before the snacks? fresh, crsipy, not oily and bright with vegetable bits. i can tell this is not done in old oil.
her kimcheee radishes makes me think new about radish. it is perfectly cured. just enough spices, heat and astringency to keep one's mind up and strong.
if i go on and on about each and every one of the snacks this posting is becoming a novella.
then i take a spoonful of the broth of what hwubby ordered. a beef noodle dish. my eyes open wide. what a spectacular broth. suk gan says, i make my own stock, i use bones, only knee bones. this is so nourishing.
my simple soft tofu casserole soup is spotlessly fine. i have to pack half of it because i am already full after all the snacks and pancakes.
hwubby leaves some of his broth for me to take home. i cook cabbage in it. i eat a whole head of it. that's my supper. that's how yummy that broth is.