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22 October 2003
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Korea Life Blog - Sushi

Another delightful food I never once even considered trying back in the states is sushi. Now I love it. It's a little expensive even here. Luckily I've never actually paid anything the times I've had it. My bosses have taken me out before and two of my adult students took me to have it on Friday. A new restaurant just opened up across the street from my home (next to the new stationery store in a quickly built but functional building). Here are a few pictures I took. Unfortunately I ran out of room on my camera's memory card (must get computer soon) before the main sushi dish came out. These are just the side dishes:

I tried everything here except the one that is most to the front. I'm not exactly sure what it was, but it was still moving! I tried to take a video of it with my camera, but there was not enough space left on the memory card, drat! In the back to the far left is a sushi salad. That was one of my favorites. You can also see the two raw shrimp. Those tasted pretty good too.

Within a few minutes the waitress came back with yet more side dishes. Keep in mind I thought all this was the main meal, but it wasn't. On the left is a bowl of clam soup. The clams were cooked and the soup hot. You can see the mandu next to that. Next to the mandu is some breaded sushi, raw salmon. That was delicious. I forgot the name of that cooked fish there. Regardless, the site of that thing would have grossed me out a few years ago, but now I eat things like that without flinching. It tastes absolutely delicious - just be careful of the bones. Meanwhile those dark red things in the front are still squirming. To my disgust, one of the students ate a bunch.

Another shot now a little to the right. Notice the corn - it's sizzling on a hot plate. Mmmm...There's some raw salmon in front of that, sliced a little thick, but it tasted great. It's probably my favorite raw fish. To the front are the sauces. I've heard people say that the sauce can make or break a sushi meal. They tasted fine to me. The dark one is ordinary soy sauce. More cooked fish can be seen to the right. You're not going to believe this, but I are two of those whole. Yum! Again, I forgot the name. A bit later the waitress brought out caviar dor sot bim im bap (rice and vegetables served sizzling in a hot bowl). It was the first time I have tried caviar...not bad, but I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.

Another angle. I'm not sure why I'm including this...just to show you how much food there is...and these are just the side dishes! Whoa!

Well, I'm disappointed I was unable to take a picture of the main course. I should have deleted the picture above instead. Oh well...I wasn't thinking straight after awhile. The three of us went through 5 bottles of soju and I was clearly off my rocker.

The two students:

Harry. He has a brand new Tusconi or Tiburon as it's known elsewhere. It's a really nice little sports car that is quite popular here. All the female Korean teachers fancy him. He's 32 and still living single with his family. Where is his perfect bride? he wonders. After a lot of soju he confesses he's a little lonely.

Harvey. He's my oldest student, close to 50. At first I was nervous when he joined the class. But he is very nice and speaks English quite well. He lives in Nowhere-dong but his wife and kids live in Pusan. He goes home every weekend. In tonight's class he told me how his son and daughter, high school students, go to various private schools and receive private tutoring until 12 AM, after which time they go to a study room until 2 AM and finally return home at 2:30 AM. He pays 1,300,000 won a month, or about $1,050 for their combined after-school studies. Not only that, but I was surprised to find out Korean parents have to pay 500,000 won, quarterly for public high school education as well. No wonder families are shipping off to other countries by the thousands. Anyway, in the photo he's gearing up for another piece of that dark red seafood that's still moving. Notice the omnipresent bottle of Coca-Cola. Yes, it's everywhere - even at this small sushi restaurant in Nowhere-dong, Korea.

Well, the main dish came out, one gigantic dish full of more sushi. The meal and soju came to a total of about 100,000 won, or nearly 85 dollars. I tried to chip in, but they seemed almost insulted by the idea. We all got wonderful? free gifts: a dish towel and a lighter with the restaurant's name and phone number on them. I took a bag of leftovers for Chongak and Gang, including the fish carcass - all of which was gone by the morning.

Poor Harvey. After paying, he discovered his shoes were gone. (In sit-on-the-floor restaurants you take off your shoes near the entrance). The owner gave him a pair of sandals to wear home, but offered no discount or resolution beyond a business card and telling him to call back in a few days. After spending 100,000 won on dinner we all found this ridiculous. I guess we won't be going back...


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