Birthday celebrations, Miga

NEW RULE: Birthdays shouldn’t be on Mondays. AmIrightoramIright?

Celebrations started Sunday night, when Mom, Dad, Aunt Joyce, Danielle, Miriam and I went to Miga.

I love, love Korean food. Meat, rice, veggies…what’s not to love? Oh, right. Kimchi. Growing up, LJ and I absolutely haaaated when our parents broke out the kimchi. Dad discovered kimchi while in the army and later found a Korean grocery store in the suburbs to supply the fermented cabbage. LJ and I never partook, because 1) the smell, but 2) we weren’t the biggest fan of spicy.

Fast forward to college, when I would turn my nose up at the kimchi from Candace’s mom.


It wasn’t until I moved back home after college that I began to appreciate it. Aah, I missed so many kimchi-eating years!

Kimchi is one of the side dishes (called banchan) that gets put out at the beginning of a Korean dinner. There are tons of different kinds and I think I love them all. Candace’s mom showed me how to make the standard cabbage kimchi and gave me a GIANT bag of the red pepper that’s used, but I’ve never tried it. I did make a bean sprout kimchi once, but as I am not a Korean momma, it didn’t come out quite right.

Anyway, some examples of banchan can be seen on Dad’s plate here:


Yes, he made a face with it.

So we had the banchan, which included an amazing sweet potato thing, cabbage and bean sprout kimchi, some sort of beef, marinated egg, green beans and something described as a green bean jelly…yeah, that one was a little weird. We also had an order of bulgogi to start – it’s thinly sliced marinated beef that’s grilled on a table-top grill with veggies.

I got the dolsot bibimbap – they take a stone bowl and heat it up until it’s super super hot. Because it’s stone, it holds the heat for a looong time, which makes it lovely on a cold day. Rice is placed into the bowl and the heat of the bowl sears it, making the part touching the bowl nice and crispy. Veggies and sometimes meat are placed on top and red pepper paste (gochujang) is added to taste.

Some advice: When the waiter brings the bibimbap to the table, the bowl is going to be hot. Really hot. Unbelievably hot. So be careful. Let the dish sit there for a while, let the rice get crispy. And when you pour on the gochujang and start to mix everything up, BE CAREFUL.

Because, you see, while mixing, you might brush the inside of your wrist on the edge of the bowl. You won’t really burn yourself, it’s a fleeting touch, but you might flash back to that time you burned the inside of your wrist while flipping a fritatta and then you dropped the whole fritatta and maybe said some bad words in front of your Nana. And that’s not really something you’ll want to be reminded of, because that fritatta was going to be friggin amazing and that burn REALLY friggin hurt.

So, don’t touch the bowl.

Everything else was delicious. There were a few bowls of udon and Mom got the tonkatsu to see how it compared to her version (“…I like mine better.” Me too, but I did like the sauce they put on top.)

The restaurant was nice enough to let us bring a dessert in – Mom made me a birthday clafouti with apples and cranberries – and our server couldn’t have been nicer. Service was a little slow, as the room was packed and it didn’t seem like there were enough servers, but we weren’t in too much of a rush.


November 17, 2009. Uncategorized.

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