Wednesday, June 10, 2009

071201 – Korean Barbeque Dinner and Booze

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My Korean colleague, KS Choi brought me to a Korean restaurant for barbeque dinner. According to him, Korean likes to bring their first time visitors for this type of dinner as many of them liked it. Korean barbeque is a Korean way of grilling meat such as beef, pork, chicken and other types of meat. The setup was very special, there’s a charcoal grills in the middle of the table and a funnel to suck all the smoke while you are grilling. So no worries about the barbeque smell on your shirt or hair. It’s more on the DIY dinner where you are doing your own grilling at the table. We ordered beef and the famous Samgyeopsal pork, which comprises of 3 layers of strips meat. The pork was tendered and succulent. Choi showed me some grill management techniques to make sure the meats were cooked correctly.

The usually served side dishes for Korean barbeque will the green onion salad with lettuce and peppers. Sometimes, we did wrap the meat with the lettuce and put everything into our mouth and start chewing. Emm, yummy yummy.

The well display grilled meat, onions and even kimchi.

The meal will not complete without a Soju. It tasted similar with vodka but alcohol level is slightly lower. Soju is the most popular Korean liquor and drink in a shot glass.

Choi also taught me some traditional drinking etiquette that is still in practice in Korea
1. When someone gives you an empty shot glass, you are expected to hold it while he/she pours it and have to bottom up after that and vice versa. This drinking way will promote closer ties.
2. Only pour liquor when the glass is empty
3. You should never pour your own drink
4. It’s a courtesy for juniors to pour liquor to seniors and also have to keep an eye to make sure the senior’s glass is not empty. Make sure when juniors pour to seniors, the juniors left hand must hold on the right upper forearm. When the seniors pour liquor on junior’s glass, the junior should receive it with both hands and drink it with the head slightly turned side way.

I’m not a good drinker and my face turned red very easily after few rounds of practicing the drinking etiquette with KS Choi.

Visitors will usually be treated for the first round bill and Koreans can be insulted if you do not accept their offer. So on the second round bill, visitors should voluntary pay the bill in return, but usually you will not have to pay. But it is just being polite. When they visit you in your country, it is understood that you have to pay all the bills as you get the same hospitality when you are in Korea.

After the dinner, we went for the second round drinking session at the nearby pub. Again, we ordered some heavy snacks and desserts while drinking and dancing. As a courtesy, I paid the bill.

Both of us were sober and before heading back to hotel, we stopped at one of the roadside stall and had tteokbokki for supper. I didn’t believe that I could eat so much that day. I really respect the Koreans; they can really eat and are good drinker.

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