Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Korean feast

Kaleb has long been begging us to go out for Korean food. He's been once with his good friend, Seung Yoon, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. We felt that if we were going to go, it would be a good idea to go with true Koreans (as opposed to Kaleb who thinks he's one!) so they could explain the meal as it was presented. I attend a ladies Bible study with Seung Yoon's mother, Young Sil, and so I asked her if she would like to accompany us to Seoul Garden, the best Korean restaurant in town, along with Seung Yoon and KW Nam (the father). She gladly accepted for her family and last night we met for our lovely meal.

What an amazing experience! We ordered the pork BBQ meal which came with about ten sides dishes including cooked spinach, other greens, cucumbers in a sauce, roasted garlic, pickled radishes, kimchi (fermented cabbage) and rice, of course! The pork was sliced very thinly and put on bbq's built right into the table. With a pair of scissors supplied, the pork was cut into small pieces after it was fully cooked. Then Young Sil showed us how to eat this - on a leaf of lettuce, using chopsticks, we spread on a tomato paste. On top of that, we added any of the side
dishes that we wanted along with a dab of rice and one piece of the pork. The lettuce leaf was folded over so nothing fell out and the whole thing put into the mouth!! Yep, the whole thing. Cheeks bulging, lettuce sticking out - it was hilarious for us but extremely tasty. They also ordered a special kind of glass noodles that are made for celebrations, Korean pancakes with green onions and red peppers, more pork covered in a yummy sauce and steamed eggs to end the meal. All of this is served with a constant flow of warm green tea.

Needless to say, we were all stuffed to the gills when we left. We had a wonderful time with the Nam family, hearing their stories of life in Korea and now in Malaysia. And we learned about new technology and products as KW Nam works for Samsung. It was very enjoyable and we highly recommend Korean food to those who like unique and tasty flavors!

I did have a 'bad culture moment' at the end of the evening when KW Nam paid for the whole bill. We had invited them to join us and had planned on paying. All the way home I felt bad and was determined to repay the kindness by buying them something. Then Kaleb, who is truly becoming Asian in so many ways, explained to me that it was like we had willingly gone to their country or entered their culture. Because of that, we were the guests and they honored our interest in their culture by paying the bill. I could understand that explanation and felt better but I still have a thank you note on my desk ready for us all to sign - never hurts to show gratitude in any culture, right?