Interesting Food Combinations…

Pickles with Italian Food

Pickles with Italian Food

We’ve only had “Italian” food (in quotation marks because most of what we’ve had has been a Korean version of Italian food) a few times in Korea, but each time, my pasta (usually spicy) or pizza has come with… pickles. Sometimes it’s pickled radish and onions, but most of the time, it’s just a jar or dish of bread-and-butter pickles. I’m not a huge fan of sweet pickles in general (the saltier and more sour the better), so it’s always an unwanted addition to my Italian meal. My Korean friends, on the other hand, seem to relish (no pun intended?) the complimentary pickles. Maybe it’ll just take some getting used to, but I still can’t appreciate sweet pickles with my food.

Homemade Korean Dinner

Homemade Korean Dinner

Last week, I was invited to dinner by our next door neighbor. She made bulgogi 불고기 (marinated beef) as well as a spicy combination of sliced vegetables, dried squid, and “mystery meat.” You’re supposed to mix the spicy dish with soft rice noodles. She told me the “mystery meat” was seafood but I was convinced it was snail! The little pieces were in the same shape and tasted exactly like snail from a jar. Our neighbor’s English isn’t great and communication can be difficult, so I thought maybe she just didn’t know what snail was. I translated “snail” into Korean, and showed her my phone. She shook her head adamantly. She ran to her computer and translated… she said we were eating trumpet shell, which is a type of mollusc with a shell that looks like a Triton trumpet. But then she gave me the Korean name 골뱅이 and when I translated it to English, it said “bladder moon snail.” The pictures looked exactly like what I was eating. Anyway, seafood or snail, I enjoyed the dish. (It’s a good thing I’m not a picky eater!) The bulgogi was delicious, especially since we’ve pretty much stopped eating beef and pork at home (because it’s so expensive). It was a very nice homemade Korean dinner!

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