Hello and welcome to another chapter in Mastication Monologues! Today I will be telling you about two very different types of food. One is a traditional Korean dinner dish while the other is a German dessert that has been transplanted to Korea (with smashing results). First, there is the chicken restaurant that I went to in Incheon located by Bupyeong Station. Here is how to get there: Go to exit 12 at the Bupyeong metro station. Go out and head straight and take the first left at the alley on your left hand side. Walk down to the 7-11 and then make a left and it will be on your left hand side across the street from the bar Woodstock.
Anyway, it seemed like a pretty popular place when we walked in since every four to five person booth was filled with people chowing down on giant bowls of chicken stewing in a dark sauce with assorted vegetables. The bday boy, Ryan, informed me that we were going to get Andong Jjimdak (안동찜닭) with ganjang (35,000 Won). For those who don’t know Korean cuisine, we ordered a heaping bowl of steamed chicken that was marinated in soy sauce and stewed with glass noodles and vegetables like sweet potatoes, onions, and chili peppers. We wisely signaled to our waitress that we wanted the chicken without bones, and she understood us. This made eating it a whole lot easier. Before the meal, they supplied us with typical side dishes like pickled cucumbers and kimchi, but a nice twist was a cold vinegar soup with radish. I was the only one who finished it at our table since I really enjoyed its cool yet briny flavor profile. When the jjimdak finally came out, it was a plate that took up probably a quarter of the table.
Then again, there were five of us there, so we were each going to get a fair share of the chicken stew. I helped myself to a couple pieces of chicken, some fiery red chili peppers, and a few large onion slices. The meat was mouth-wateringly tender and fell apart in my mouth, and the soy sauce was on the sweeter end which really let the savory elements shine. I obviously left the tteokbokki (rice cakes) for those who enjoy them more than I, but I did try to eat a lot of the noodles and chili peppers. Once the chicken was gone, I tucked into the of dark brown, Sargasso Sea of noodles. I found that it was quite difficult to eat them with just metal chopsticks. Eventually I got my fill after some struggle, but they were not anything special. I do have doff my cap to the chili peppers though. Even when Koreans have bragged about their food being spicy, I have been left wanting. So I was delighted to just go right to the source and snack on some Tabasco-level spicy chiles. I normally eat more than the average bear, probably more akin to a grizzly, so I was still hungry afterward. However, for two or even three people, it would be plenty of quality food for the price. I highly recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for a traditional Korean dish that comes in an American-sized portion: gargantuan. The second part of the post involves a dessert I tried in Bupyeong Station called Schnee Pang.
I have seen numerous food stalls in the underground market of Bupyeong Station, but right by Exit 13 there is a German inspired, confectionery stand called Schnee Pang. I finally took the plunge and tried one of their bizarre looking cookie balls. After doing a bit of research on these addicting, diabetes-inducing balls of sugar, I found that they are called Schneeballen or “Snowballs” in German. They are over 300 years old and hail from Rothenburg, Germany. They’re made with strips of dough that are then wrapped around a handle, and then said handle is removed. These dough balls are then put in a special holder called a Schneeballeneisen (hooray for compounds!) and deep fried. What you end up with is a large cookie ball that is coated in various types of chocolate and powdered sugar like my Snow Sugar Chocolate Schneeball (2,900 W).
It’s even fun to buy as you get the option of smashing the softball sized ball with a wooden hammer for no extra charge. I went for the gusto and smashed it like the Soviets did Berlin in 1945.
When I finally tried my German pastry, it was kind of like eating buttery, thicker fortune cookie shards smothered in milk chocolate and powdered sugar. Long story short, it was amazing and interactive. What’s not to like?