Thursday, July 19, 2012

갈비 - MEAT

The other Andrew in front of the bbq place.
Another restaurant outing! I was just a little bit put off when we decided to go to a barbecue place, because I didn't want to gorge myself on meat so soon after going off of vegetarianism. But... I was all right in the end, and the food was fantastic, so it's all good!

This restaurant, 맛소 식당 (not sure what it means, but it sounds like it could mean "delicious restaurant"), seems to be a more popular one in tiny little Goesan. I went with Liam, Stephanie, Monica, Thomas, my roommate Jet, the other Andrew, and Ryan. We were accompanied by two very considerate Korean students, the other other Andrew and his girlfriend Olivia, who probably didn't plan on joining us but ended up coming along to help us order and pay and all of that. They really didn't have to, but the gesture was very sweet.

Like I mentioned, the place is a barbecue-style restaurant, which doesn't mean the same thing as bbq in the US, but means that you get plates of raw meat and cook them yourself on table-top grills. There was also the usual 반찬, or side dishes, and other, more interesting things, like some sort of 순두부 (sundubu - tofu stew), giant jalapenos, and eggplant (nom nom nom!). We ordered 삼겹살 (samgyeobsal - Korean bacon) and pork galbi (short ribs). It was a lot of food... Good thing we had Monica with us, who sat in the middle of the three grills and freely took from all of them. I don't think we could've done it without her (kidding).
Liam, Stephanie, and Monica. There are two Taiwanese-Americans in this photo!
Liam, the one on the left in the photo above, had been looking forward to going to a Korean restaurant where the tables were really low to the ground, so patrons would sit cross-legged. But poor Liam has a lot of trouble sitting cross-legged, so after a while (that is, after his feet went numb), he gave up and made use of all the space at the far end of the table.

The restaurant owners were a bit overwhelmed when a bunch of loud Americans walked through the doors, but the service was great. They even gave us some Korean Fantas (환타) on the house. They have pineapple-flavored Fanta! I didn't try any, though. I'm eating meat, but I'm still not drinking soda.
Andrew and Olivia, the two Korean students who helped us out in ordering and paying. They were also my campus tour guides on the first day! Also, look at all this food. Seriously.
On that note, I guess I can safely say that I've gotten used to being an omnivore again. I don't miss vegetarianism that much; it's not any different from when I quit meat and didn't miss it at all. It seems that my body is pretty flexible when it comes to diet. I think that a part of me used to use vegetarianism as leverage against others whom I'd characterize as being ignorant of where their food came from or the impact of the "American" diet on one's body. But that's a fairly patronizing and unfriendly thing to do. So I'm trying not to comment on how much meat I'm eating ("compared to when I was in college; oh btw I was a vegetarian", etc.), even though it is a lot... it's just so delicious! And I'm surprising myself daily with how much I eat.

Oh yeah, and when I Skyped with my mother the other day, I mentioned that I was eating meat again, and her response was essentially, "You look fatter! Go exercise!"
Me handling meat. Until now, unheard of. (photo taken by Monica)
And last, but not least, pictures of food. I hope I don't one day end up on this blog. But I might. All in all, dinner here was delicious, and I'll probably go back again. But there are plenty other places to check out first. Goesan may be small and "rural", but there are still restaurants on every corner.
My bowl of galbi, eggplant, onions, lettuce, and more! 맛있어요!
Tomorrow morning, we are all leaving for a weekend beach trip in Donghae (동해)! The Fulbright program is paying for us, plain and simple, to take a vacation, sight-see, and also undergo a bit of cultural education. I promise to take tons of photos and tell you all about it when I get back on Sunday. Bye for now!

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