During the day, my father took Courtney and me to the countryside to see where his grandfather grew up. We went to Kanghwa island to the west. After paying our respects to my ancestors, we enjoyed a delicious meal at a restaurant my parents frequent whenever they visit the island. Their specialty is a chicken stew simmered in broth with medicinal roots and spices. You do not have the broth but rather the flavor is infused into the chicken meat. The chicken was very tender with a great combination of hard to place flavors. You take strips of stewing meat and then dip into salt. Of course all the panchan was also delicious, especially the agar salad with a light vinegar soy and sesame seed dressing. Another highlight of the meal was having some dongdongju or a kind of moonshine that is a little syrupy and quite strong, though real subtle on the kick, the kind that sneaks up on you.

Country food
Country Chicken soup

That evening the food fest was not over. My mother took my sister, Courtney, and me to one of her favorite places that specializes in Black Pig that is specially grown in Jeju Island. They bring out a grill on a slant over a fire and put what looks like thick slabs of bacon onto the grill. We had to wear aprons to prevent grease from popping all over our clothes. At the bottom of the slant is a bunch of kimchee. The pork is very tender and lightly seasoned and not at all like bacon. Again we wrap the bits of bacon into lettuce leaves with bean paste (kochujang). If that wasn’t enough, the pork grease drips down into the kimchee and after the pork meal, the waitress dumps rice onto the grill making kimchee fried rice. The rice wasn’t as flavorful as I would have thought, though it was still tasty.

Black Pig BBQ
Fried Rice with Bacon fat!
Final Product

Although totally gorging ourselves, this is our last night in Seoul so Courtney and I continued on to a pojangmacha (outdoor food stall). Ordering our beer and soju, at any other place we would have gotten peanuts, but this place served us freshly steamed mussels. We order the ddukbokki or rice cake. I could hardly eat any more but the ramen and rice cake were so delicious, with just the right amount of spiciness and sweetness.

Pojangmacha food