Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friends and feasts - Korean BBQ at Da Seoul in Delhi

The perfect gathering at the laden table!

Brajesh, long suffering husband of blogger Kim aka Karishma of Jhovaan who has learned he can't eat till he shoots! Thanks for shotting us B!
 Lovely Kimch!

What we ate!

Lets call them Pork wraps for now!

The most delicious thing about food is that it offers an instant connect, no matter who we are or what our cultural roots are, food is universal. Offering the shared flavours of friendship and community it encourages intimacy, creates memories and helps nurture relationships. In fact rare are the people who do not warm up to the thought of food and talking about food is my favourite theme to start a conversation with, or break the ice when I meet new people.

And the gathering around our table last night was proof of that. We met at Da Seoul, a little Korean restaurant in Ansal Plaza that is overshadowed by Oriental Bloom on one side and a kitschy karaoke place whose name I have forgotten on the other. The choice of venue was Theyie’s who some of you will know from her posts on APB (she has shifted to Delhi for those who have been wondering why her ‘Dear Rushina’ posts have stopped. Hopefully she will settle down and be back to writing them soon).

So Theyie loves this place for two reasons the MEAT (of course) and the fermented food, both of which appeal to her Naga palate. But we also had Ross aka Roshan and his wife Raj who are from Darjeeling, Karishma who is Manglorean, her Husband Brajesh who is from UP and me from Gujarat (yes my ancestors had a very restless night in their graves!).

And we had a great time, seated on the floor, around a low table in a little Tatami room, trying to make ourselves heard over the raucous laughter of a group of loud Korean gents enjoying themselves in the room behind us. We began salivating almost the moment a selection of Kimchis was spread out before us. Service was very prompt and fuss free. And then as we began tasting out way around the table, the large brazier was set before us and a platter of beautiful fatty pork was brought in. Conversation continued as Theyie and Raj set about cooking the pork. Ok I was too busy eating and talking to bother with the names of stuff (for once I had not been handed the menu and asked to order!) but I will do a proper post on Korean food to tell you all that.

The pork sizzled on the pan and once it was beautifully golden and crispy Theyie showed us how to dab it with some chilli paste (which I thought was Gojujang, but Theyie called something else) and wrap it in some lettuce before putting it in our mouth. It was a delicious bite, the pork was fatty, succulent and hot, the lettuce cool and crunchy and the chilli paste was spicy and subtly sweet. When we finished cooking all the Pork, the plate was changed and in came a Beef version, with lovely slices of fat marbled beef accompanied by thick slices of onion and mushroom. As Theyie and Raj did their thing with cooking it, the rest of us finished with the pork.

And then while the Beef was cooking Theyie passed around rice in little steel covered bowls. And I discovered the magic that had been silently waiting in my little plate. We’d been picking bits and pieces of things from all the different bowls in front of us and putting them in out bowls before eating them. Adding the Chilli paste to the side as something like the Pork required it. And while I had been eating, a chemistry of its own kind was happening in my bowl, as all the juices that had been running off from the various Kimchis and the chilli paste combined. A Chemistry that just blew me away when I mixed in a spoonful of rice and some of the liquid component of the Squid soup that came in just then.

It was A Perfect Bite of that evening, everything coming together in one mouthful just like the stellar combination of dining companions that were already forging new friendships and planning other meetings!

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