Chicken Dinner near Seoul National University
On one of our last evenings in Seoul, Inhyuk, Rod’s post-doc, took Rod and I out for dinner at a casual local restaurant near SNU that he used to frequent as a student. He had fond memories and wanted us to experience this way of cooking and serving chicken, and it didn’t disappoint.
We caught a taxi, which is a very common thing to do in Korea: taxis are cheap and ubiquitous; it cuts out trying to drive in a traffic jam; Korea is very strict on “drink and drive” rules.
The cooking method (and therefore the dish) is called Jiim daack (jiim=stew, daack=chicken), therefore stewed chicken. While the stew is being prepared, the server brings small dishes of picked vegetables. There are also dishes with sticky rice, and others with various nuts/seeds.
Inhyuk showed us what has to be done—he put them all together in a bigger bowl and kneaded them into balls. Really tasty.
The chicken came next—big pieces of chicken cooked with vegetables in a rich broth. We all shared the big bowl using our chopsticks—another common practice in Korea.
Besides water, Inhyuk ordered two small bottles of very traditional alcohol, somewhat akin to Japanese sake. The first was called chong ha, or fermented rice wine. The second was jook tong ju, a kind of bamboo alcohol that was surprisingly pleasant (jook=bamboo; tong=package; ju=alcohol).
It was a lovely evening and we feel very happy and honored to have experienced a small part of local Korea that tourists will probably never see.
Thank you Inhyuk!