A little winter gathering

After our trip to the southeast, we brought some delicious gwamaegi straight from the drying centers back to Seoul. Honestly, we love this chewy, intense, dried fish so much, we probably could have eaten it all ourselves in one happy night of stuffing our bellies. But we also happen to think that half the fun in eating is sharing food with lots of people.

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Our table that night was full of winter’s bounty, and started off with an introduction to four kinds of winter seaweeds: gim (김, laver), parae (파래, sea lettuce), gamtae (감태) and maesaengi (매생이). Winter is the perfect time to enjoy all kinds of seafoods. The menu:

ggomak muchim (꼬막무침, soy sauce seasoned blood cockles)

parae muchim (파래무침, cold parae seaweed salad)

mu saengchae (무생채, spicy radish salad)

mohm-guk (몸국, mohm seaweed soup)

ggongchi & cheongeo gwamaegi ssam (꽁치와 청어 과메기 쌈, saury & herring gwamaegi with fixings)

baechu jeon (배추전, winter cabbage savory pancakes)

rice

makgeolli (막걸리, rice ale)

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The mohm-guk was a special dish—it was inspired by a recent trip to Jeju Island, where this soup is a local specialty. It uses fresh mohm, a brown seaweed with plump, crunchy fronds that become tender and savory when boiled. Since the soup base is a long (very long) simmered pork broth, it took Seoyoung two days to make. But in the end, it was so worth it!

We were lucky to have Kimberly Maria Buxton, a makgeolli brewer and founding member of Jaju Brewing, as a guest. She brought over one of her latest brews, a cloudy rice ale that came in a light lavender shade. With a color like that, you’d think it would taste like cotton candy… but to our surprise, it wasn’t overly sweet at all, and it packed a punch—it was amazing. Turns out it was made with black rice, not berries, hence the color.

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Photo by Quan Quan Nguyen

As we lingered over the last few bottles of makgeolli, someone suggested a game and we brought out Halli Galli, a card game that may or may not be intended for children… we’re not sure, but it’s insanely fun. The stakes were high (honor and dignity) and hands were bruised (okay, one—Seoyoung’s). In the end, Sunjae, a doctor at Create Wellness, won the day. We’ll have a prize for you next time, Sunjae! In the meantime, thank you to everyone who joined. Good food with good friends, old and new, helps the winter pass quickly.

ggomak muchim at a recent bburi kitchen dinner

Photo by Quan Quan Nguyen

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