3.345 P31bO/Ireland(45): Stew

-Cycle 3, Item 345-
15 (Sat) December 2012

P31bO/Ireland(45): Stew


by me

at the cabin

-Hoengseong, Gangwon-

with Wife, Dominic, Ian, Nanny 8

Ireland is the 45th consecutive country to be featured in the now-finished Project 31 By Origin (see previously 3.344 P31bO/Brazil(44): Churrasco).

With equal amounts of regret and relief, I am forced to conclude P31bO.  Tonight will be the final installment.  Done!

"Irish Stew" consists of lamb and potatoes in a thick broth (see Wikipedia on Irish stew).  Of course, to paraphrase Chandler Bing, the Irish themselves would probably just refer to it as "stew."

Here, my rendition comprised cubed lamb, seasoned with salt/pepper/thyme and dredged in flour, arranged in a casserole along with sliced potatoes and carrots, submerged in beef stock, covered and simmered for 2 hours in the oven at low heat, garnished with fresh parsley, and served.  Amazingly simple, no fuss.  The meat turned out luxuriously tender.  And it all tasted like canned soup--and I mean that in a good way, seriously.  For now, if only for purposes of P31bO, I'll assume that it was indeed Irish.  The nanny and I shared the dish, along with a loaf of Russian bread, while the wife and Dominic ate something else.

Ireland being home to so much booze, many of them available in Korea, I avoided anything commonplace/cliche (e.g., Guinness) and went with this relatively obscure Smithwick's Draught Superior Irish Ale; however, I found the taste to be a bit weak and the texture a bit shallow.

After 4 months of a self-imposed moratorium on the cabin (see generally 3.226 Gamja Tang), we decided to venture a visit.  My mother, who's generally one of the nitpickiest people on the planet, has been especially sensitive about the cabin, the construction of which she's overseen since its inception, so now she dotes on the place the way that a dandy would pamper his new bespoke suit.  Hopefully, enough time had passed, allowing most of the cabin's initial creaks and groans to settle down; in fact, during our absence, several minor catastrophes had transpired (e.g., pipes leaking, floorboards warping, wallpaper mildewing) that certainly would've been blamed on us had we been there.  If only to see what else could go wrong, we gave it a shot.

In a good faith effort to extend P31bO beyond the weekend, I made a detour to this Kazakh restaurant in Dongdaemun prior to leaving the city, so that I could get something takeout to eat at the cabin for dinner (the Irish Stew initially planned for the following night); alas, it was closed.  

Here's the breakdown.  

45 countries: 1) Cameroon, 2) Uzbekistan, 3) Philippines, 4) Vietnam, 5) Hungary, 6) India, 7) Spain, 8) Paraguay, 9) Cambodia, 10) United Kingdom (England), 11) South Africa, 12) Indonesia, 13) Pakistan, 14) Singapore, 15) Mongolia, 16) Austria, 17) Korea, 18) Greece, 19) Japan, 20) Turkey, 21) Thailand, 22) Australia, 23) Peru, 24) Italy, 25) Sri Lanka, 26) Bulgaria, 27) Norway, 28) Mexico, 29) Morocco, 30) Sweden, 31) United States of America, 32) Malaysia, 33) Czech Republic, 34) United Arab Emirates, 35) Russia, 36) China, 37) Lebanon, 38) France, 39) Nepal, 40) Switzerland, 41) Egypt, 42) Germany, 43) Iran, 44) Brazil, and 45) Ireland.  

The only countries represented by restaurants that I couldn't get to were Canada and Kazakhstan--maybe next time?  

Ratings: 12 x 5 stars, 20 x 4 stars, 7 x 3 stars, 5 x 2 stars, and 1 x 1 star, for an average of 3.82 stars.  

Sources: 30 in some sort of commercial setting, 15 by me.  

Interestingly, 8 of restaurants were completely empty of other customers during my visit except for me or my party.  

My favorite restaurant item was the Lebanese lamb sandwich (see 3.336 Manouche Kafta) or the Thai morning glory stir-fry (see 3.320 Phak Boong Fai Daeng), while my favorite home-cooked item was clearly the Swedish cabbage rolls (see 3.329 Kåldolmar).  

Overall, it was a great experience.  I encountered a lot of restaurants and national cuisines that I may never have otherwise.  I discovered, much to my pleasant surprise, that such a wide variety could be had with relatively easy access in Korea.  But I spent a lot of money in doing so.  And maintaining the streak for 45 consecutive days did constitute a major pain in the ass at times.  Still, I'm glad that I did it.


  1. so what's the verdict? anything actually go wrong?

  2. we're waiting for the other shoe to drop.