The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

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Movie Inspiration: Sikgaek

Sikgaek or Le Grande Chef is a Korean movie released in 2007. It is based on a comic strip series by Young-man Ha.  It is a story about two men, both schooled in royal culinary arts, competing in a cooking tournament in order to become the rightful heir to Korea’s last Royal Chef of the Joseon Dynasty.

This is the first movie and non-Japanese drama to be featured in my FooDorama Challenge so I thought it proper to choose something that I truly liked.  Any movie about food is such a delightful thing to watch, especially if the food prepared is beautifully photographed and lovingly presented with much pride and creativity.  So that is why I really adore this movie so much that I watched it twice. The climax was unexpected yet sensible.

Movie Food: Samgyeopsal

Since it was a movie about Korean cooking, there were many dishes to choose from.  However, many of the dishes presented during the competition were obviously too complicated (and too “Iron Chef-ish”) to make for an amateur cook like me.  Anyway, since I find the movie so inspiring, I will feature two dishes. One is samgyeopsal and the other I have yet to name soon in a future post (besides, talking about it may also mean giving away the movie’s ending).

Samgyeopsal (also spelled as samgyupsal) is a Korean dish which requires the liempo or unseasoned thin slices of pork belly meat to be grilled or fried by the diner himself and to be eaten while freshly cooked with lettuce and garlic.

The KMovie Connection: In this scene, our protagonist, Sung-chan (played by Kim Kang Woo, at left), and his friends eat at a theme restaurant that serves samgyeopsal while they talk about the upcoming culinary contest.

Sung-chan’s samgyeopsal being fried using a hot pan on their table with slices of garlic and onions.

Jin-Su (Lee Hana) shows how to eat samgyeopsal: placing pork slices on pieces of lettuce and perilla with ssamjang before eating.

Other recent KDramas that feature samgyeopsal are:

The Man Who Can’t Get Married (2009): In this scene, single lady, Dr. Ja Moon Jung (Uhm Jung Hwa), didn’t have anyone to accompany her to eat grilled meat in a restaurant so she eats samgyeopsal alone in her apartment.

Dandelion Family (2010 – ongoing): In episode 10, sisters Mi Won and Ji Won make up after a slight spat by drinking soju and eating samgyeopsal as pulutan while talking about memories of their childhood.

The FooDorama Challenge: Going Korean with Samgyeopsal

Note: FDC#6 is also my Sunday Lunch Project#7.

Any dish that requires the use of my table-top griddle can mean something fun is afoot. 🙂 This dish had me looking for a Korean grocery store on the internet.  Good thing I discovered one near my place of work.  I bought the necessary ingredients and then, last Sunday, I invited my usual bunch of lunch guests for a Korean noonday meal.

I did not mention what I had in store since it was a surprise…

For samgyeopsal, I bought thinly sliced liempo (top left) and cut it into two inch pieces.  At top right, I also got lettuce and perilla or sesame leaves (available at any Korean grocery).

Ssamjang is a condiment also necessary for samgyeopsal.  It is the ‘ketchup’ of Koreans made of fermented soybean paste, chili paste, sugar, and other spices.  I am not sure if it’s available in the supermarket now but if not, one can also get it in a Korean grocery.

We then cooked the pork, kimchi, onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Just like our Yakiniku dining experience, the ingredients were spread out on the table while my guests helped themselves with the cooking and eating.

The fun part is when you spread ssamjang on a piece of lettuce, place the cooked pork (dip it in sesame oil with salt and pepper first), perilla leaf, garlic, and onion. If there is still space, add mushroom, kimchi, and/or rice like I did and roll it up into a ball and pop it in your mouth (if it could fit!). It could be messy but it was superb!

So. Was my Samgyeopsal a hit or a miss?

Answer: Definitely “mashi-nun!” (hope i used the right word for ‘delicious’).  It was something we will have over and over again (but I have to or else what will I do with all this ssamjang?).  After the meal, nothing was left, not even a drop of kimchi juice. However, unseasoned pork was something too strange for Pinoys like us to appreciate so it wouldn’t matter if you season it (with salt and pepper) before grilling or not.  Go with whatever you prefer, I guess.  Btw, this meal goes well with soju (Korean vodka-like beverage) but since i don’t drink (much), ice cold coke can hit the spot, too.

~BURP!~  ε= (^0^*)げっぷ♪ *oops*

My FooDorama Challenge Links:
FDC#7: Zaru Soba (Jdorama Inspiration: Attention Please!)
FDC#5: Natto (Jdorama Inspiration: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge)
FDC#4: Okonomiyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: At Home Dad)

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My Sunday Lunch Project Links:
SLP#8: Boodle Fight!
SLP#6: Goi Buoi (Vietnamese Pomelo Salad)
SLP#5: Hainanese Chicken Rice

—————— fodocha, sunlupro

Dish info source: wikipedia
Ssamjang info source: wikipedia
Kmovie info source: wikipedia
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