Tonight, my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and I went to a Korean restaurant in Hayward called Korea House, or 한국의집. I was rather pleased when I picked up the menu and could read and understand most of what was written on it in Korean. I daresay I would have been able to order for my family even without the English translations. But this was in California, and the restaurant owners were more than used to non-Korean Asian families patronizing their humble 집, so we used English.
I ordered 낙지국수볶음, which should have been a dish of sauteed mini octopus with soup noodles. However, the 아줌마 definitely gave me a sauteed dish with squid in it first. I went ahead and started eating it, and then she rushed back to the table and took it away, replacing it with the octopus. I swear she then gave the plate I had just eaten out of to the table next to ours. Poor frazzled 아줌마!
Otherwise, it was a great meal, exactly what I've come to expect from a Korean restaurant in the States. In Korea, restaurants usually specialize in only a few kinds of dishes, but here, you need to be able to provide "something for everyone". That's why this place was part-barbecue (galbi), part-tofu soup (sundubu), part-sauteed stuff (bokkeum), part-soups (jjigae/tang), part-pancakes (jeon), and on top of that, they gave us the full spread of banchan, or side dishes. There was tons of food, in both the American style (huge portions) and the Korean style (lots and lots of dishes).
It's odd to get a taste of Korea while out of Korea for this short while. Yet, hard to believe that in just a week, I'll be back!