Saturday, August 20, 2005

Catchup Chronicles #2: Korea and Japan

I wish I had started this blog about four years ago, when I really started to give my passport and frequent flier accounts a workout, going to new places around the world. Well, in an effort to try to make up for some of that, I've dug up some old photos that I've taken, and will post them here in sections from time to time (especially when I don't see any upcoming travel for a while - and I've been eating at too many of the same places in Singapore lately). So this episode will cover a few cool things that I took photos of in Korea and Japan.

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This was from a random place that I walked into on the streets of Seoul (the store's signboard notes in the corner, but it appears to be a dead link). This seemed to be the usual greasy burnt fare that I've come to love, especially with all the varieties of kimchee. The place was certainly better than Singapore, although I still like LA better.

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This was a place near the JW Marriott that I randomly stumbled into as well. It was just a simple US$5 bowl of soup - but of course with all the yummy kimchee accompaniments. Not pictured here is the "army soup" that I once had, which is made from cracked up instant noodles and cut up hot dogs. It was sadly was created as a result of local Koreans starving in the Korean war, and having to dive into the US military's dumpsters looking for leftover food. I suppose anything with that garlicky Korean chili sauce is gonna be good though.


Here is some yakisoba at an okonomiyaki joint in Japan; I love these do-it-yourself places with all the grease rising into the air, and the thick brown sweet sauce to be added at your discretion. Not pictured here is the yakiniku place we went to the night before - better than real Korean BBQ in many ways. I still crack up at the cop that was checking drivers for alcohol by asking people to breathe into his face. Yuck - what a horrible job! (especially after all that yakiniku we just ate with garlic)


Finally, here are clams from a shop outside the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. These tasted as good as they look. Another amazing thing that I ordered from this sushi chef was the seared albacore: the chef actually took out a little blowtorch to sear the tuna on the spot. The mix of tastes and textures was so fantastic that I ordered another one.

I swear, the best food in the world is in Japan - I even ate raw horse meat (tastes like bacon) and raw chicken meat (tastes like tuna) in Tokyo a few years ago - and it was so good that I ordered more. And no - I didn't get sick. From what I understand, chickens raised in the wild are not prone to salmonella - it's just the ranch-raised ones in confined living conditions where they stew in their own feces where the salmonella problem comes.

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