What with Dominic practically a teenager now, or at least he acts like one, we've decided not to hire a new nanny. Thankfully, Nanny 2 will still drop by twice a week to help with the chores.
Jumeok-bap is simply rice that’s been seasoned and formed into balls for easy transport and consumption. Referring either to the standard size of each ball or to the shape of the hand as it forms the ball, the name literally means “fist” (jumeok) + “rice” (bap). Seasonings vary in both composition and complexity, sometimes as simple as soy sauce and sesame oil, but the basic idea is that it’s a self-contained dish. Folksy history would have it that the dish was invented in the countryside by the good farmer’s wife, who sent her husband into the fields with a meal that didn’t require separate sauces or side dishes or utensils or special containers.
One of our nanny’s specialties, her method involves first making a complete fried rice, which she then rolls into smaller, pingpong-sized balls in consideration of Dominic. For some reason, the kid doesn't like kim-bap (김밥), the undisputed default food of choice for kids on field trips, so we had to come up with an alternative. They've become something of a default food of choice in our home.
In case I've never been explicit about the rating system, here's a quick review. 1 star means that the dish was so awful that I couldn't finish it. 2 stars means that I finished it but would never willingly eat it again. 3 stars means that it was neither bad nor good, something that I wouldn't seek out but wouldn't avoid. 4 stars means it was good, though nothing to rave about. 5 stars means that it was either (i) excellent in a conventional way or (ii) good yet somehow different or surprising or otherwise noteworthy. 6 stars means that it was either (i) excellent and somehow different or surprising or otherwise noteworthy or (ii) perfect.
2 tsp of coarse sea salt
5. Cover the pot, turn the heat on low, and cook untouched for 1.5 hours.
Cheongki Myeon-Ga (청키면가), a noodle shop in across from the Hongdae campus, has stepped up to deliver the real deal. The menu offers a handful of dishes: "lo mein" with shrimp and/or pork wonton in soup or with spicy pork or braised beef--all of which featured Cantonese-style egg noodles--and of course gailain. It was the first time that I'd ever seen gailan in any restaurant in Korea. The manager informed me that it was grown locally, which bodes well for the possibility that gailan may be available in other restaurants, unless this single farm has an exclusive contract with this single restaurant. Fortunately, this single restaurant parboiled it to perfection. 5,000 won for a small order--worth every won. I also sampled the other dishes, and each one was nearly perfect in terms of taste and texture. On my inevitable and multiple return visits, I'll review the noodle dishes in more detail. For now, suffice it say that nothing was dumbed down or otherwise adapted to accommodate the locals. Out of our group of seven, with nobody else very familiar with Cantonese, I was the only one really digging in, which probably meant that the restaurant was doing something right.
The restaurant has since relocated to Itaewon (see 3.335 Lo Mein Noodle Soup with Shrimp Wontons).
Address: Seoul Yongsan-Gu Itaewon-Dong 128-4 (서울시 용산구 이태원동 128-4)