There are lots of amazing things about Korea. The underground shopping, the mountains, the food…and if you know me you know I’m all about the food. I’m attempting to do a better job of cataloging what I’ve eaten here (the chicken intestines I accidentally [didn’t realize what they were until too late] ate the other night are a good example of foods I will not be trying again but wish I had gotten a picture of), but we all know how I am with these sorts of things.
THAT BEING SAID, I did pretty well documenting my most recent culinary adventure; makgeolli! Makgeolli is a Korean rice wine that was traditionally fermented by farmers but is now coming back into style in cities. Hipster appeal!
Traditionally, makgeolli is served with pajeon, a rice flour pancake with green onions (and in our case, octopus). My makgeolli drinking friend (Angelica) and I dove into the pajeon so fast I didn’t take a picture of it, but it was great. Nice and greasy to help absorb the alcohol, super tasty (if you like green onions), and with little bits of seafood as a nice surprise in some bites.
It wouldn’t be a Korean meal without side dishes, and the makgeolli house we went to did not disappoint. We were served a soup, a dipping sauce for the pajeon, and beondegi, or fried silkworm pupae. I have a “try most things once” philosophy in life. Who knows if I’ll ever be able to eat these again? The picture below shows the apprehension on my face before I tried these. I’m sure they are very popular for a reason, but I can’t figure out what it is. I did NOT like these at all. It might’ve been the texture (crunchy, but with a juicy center) or the smell (like they’d been in the trash for too long and then covered in dirt), but these come pretty close to my least favorite food ever (#1 is natto).
All in all it was a lovely post-work meal, and I would absolutely go back again (but not for beondegi). The makgeolli (we got the “house” one, but they also have bottled varieties) was 5,000 Won for about 6 servings and the pancake was 4,000 Won for more than enough for two people. That’s around $9 USD for a meal for two with drinks…pretty good. The menu also had ramen, udon, and other types of soup, as well as fried chicken, and other things we couldn’t quite figure out. We also noticed the guy at another table was eating whole fried fish. I’m going to need to really get my Korean up to speed so I can order that next time!
Makgeolli houses are all around Korea. They usually have the gold kettles outside or hanging near by. The meals are cheap, the food is good, and the makgeolli is delicious. I want to try some flavored ones in the future (chestnut? berry?). Do you know of any really great makgeolli houses in Daegu? I’d love to hear about them!