1.125 Beef Demi Curry with Steamed Rice

-Cycle 1, Item 125-
10 (Mon) May 2010

Beef Demi Curry with Steamed Rice


by me

in my office
(Ajou University School of Medicine)

-Suwon, GyeongGi-

My standard for the 1-star rating is simple: so awful that it's inedible. Not having encountered any meal anywhere close to being that bad since beginning this project over four months ago, I'd been wondering lately if the rating were meaningless, obsolete in a modern society where, for the most part, ingredients are plentiful, properly maintained, hygienically prepared, cooked to taste good--in short, where the food is, at the very least, edible. But that notion was immediately dispelled with the first bite of this abomination, the living embodiment of inedible. I took a second bite just to be sure. I was sure.

Instant curries, "3-minute" curries as they're usually called, which are foil packets containing ready-made sauce that are submersed in boiling water for a few minutes and then torn open to pour the heated contents over rice or noodles, have been around for over twenty years. They're pretty good, most of them, especially in a pinch. The most common style of curry in Korea is Japanese curry, a softened version of Indian curry with less spice and usually made with cubes of beef (yes, I recognize the irony), potatoes, carrots, and onions. This curry is so common, in fact, that it's hardly considered a foreign food anymore. By and large, it's been the only kind of curry known to the majority of Koreans until perhaps five years ago, when Indian, Middle Eastern, and Thai restaurants began to venture out from the more cosmopolitan areas of Seoul, where they'd been ghettoed for years, and introduce a variety of different curries to the masses.

 Hence, CJ Foods decided to get in on the action and produce what the box proclaims to be "authentic Indian curry." This one is "beef demi curry" (yes, again, the irony), whatever that is. I can state with absolute precision that it was the worst meal I've had for dinner in the last 124 days (and probably for much longer than that).

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