Archives for posts with tag: kimchee
Bibimbab

Bibimbab

Korean cuisine came to the forefront of the culinary world when David Chang burst onto the scene some years ago in New York with Momofuku. Since then, he has expanded his empire across New York and into Sydney and Toronto. He also achieved two Michelin star status at Ko and has become a leading light amongst fellow chefs for his innovative creations. His pork buns retain a legendary status and are fast becoming a street food favourite with the likes of Yum Bun doing such a great job at recreating this bite sized treat.

Here in London, Korean is a lesser known Asian cuisine although it is gaining more prominence lately. Last night I ate my first authentic Korean BBQ in London at Asadal in Holborn.

We walked past another Korean restaurant on our way and both places boasted very long queues in this unlikely area of London to house just such a cuisine. Thankfully we had booked, so we swanned past everyone and found ourselves in a lovely corner table, wondering just what it was that brought so many people to this very spot.

It was easy to understand once we had experienced the meal, because we had ticked so many of the boxes that people are embracing in the eating world at the moment. Firstly, there is a basic premise that this is a sharing experience as dishes are brought to the table for you all to tuck into.

Don't stab the pork belly!

Don’t stab the pork belly!

The lovely thing about this was the BBQ in the centre of the table. It was a shame that it wasn’t charcoal, but the gas burner sufficed and we had much fun searing the marinated meats ourselves. In fact, we took much umbrage to the waiting team who seemed intent on stabbing the life out of our meats with increasing levels of aggression but once we had reassured them that we were more than happy with DIY, they left us to it. Thankfully the health and safety militia were nowhere to be seen so we could risk burning ourselves or poisoning ourselves as we saw fit.

Each meat was meltingly soft with a wonderful balance of flavours although our favourites were those with extra spiciness. Mr Jones unveiled a trick to creating that fabulous texture which he learnt when in Korea and apparently it is all down to the addition of pineapple in the marinade because the enzymes break down the meat and tenderise it. Well, whatever the trick, it was yummy.

Kimchee

Kimchee

The next fashion to be addressed in this meal was served by the appearance of the signature Korean dish: kimchee, alongside all the other pickles and sides that accompanied the meat. This preserved Chinese cabbage dish is a wonderful balance of fermentation and spice that really does complement the meal. As well as being delicious, it is also very good for you which is a real bonus. The trend for pickled and preserved anything continues and couldn’t be better served than by this traditional dish.

Finally, the whole meal just felt healthy, in a Japanese, Asian kind of way. There was very little fat in any of the dishes and each plate was freshly cooked but with a lovely balance of flavour coming through. I positively skipped out up the stairs feeling like I hadn’t been too naughty and yet having indulged to way beyond my fill. How wonderful.

Empty plates all round

Empty plates all round

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Last night we welcomed in a new year from the Westminster rooftop of the lovely Mr Jones with fireworks and Champagne. It was a time to look back with a warm heart and full stomach at the new foods that we indulged on in 2012 and to contemplate how they will evolve in the coming year.

Foxcroft & ginger

2012 was a year of austerity and a time to nurture our souls with casual tasty foods that we know and love:

1. Snack food: toasted cheese sandwiches, designer hot dogs, southern chicken & burgers all served in dedicated casual eateries and on the street

2. Barbecue and smoked meats to give new flavour to cheap cuts

3. Noodles in all shapes and forms to make us feel healthy

4. The all embracing no reservations policy, much to the annoyance of many

5. Chicken, chicken and more chicken…proven to be the ultimate therapy

6. Gin in many and varied forms

7. Foraging: going back to the land

8. Peruvian food

9. Popcorn in all flavours

10: Bacon, served up both savoury and sweet, which will always be the ultimate comfort food

So what of 2013? Whilst I am definitely in no position to predict personal good fortunes, I can look at the food and drink and pass comment there. So here are a few thoughts to get the year going:

Mary's Fish Camp, NYC, Lobster Roll

Mary’s Fish Camp, NYC, Lobster Roll

1. Add lobster rolls to the snacking fashion. Personally this is not something I have particularly enjoyed, but it seems to be up there on the list of things hitting our menus very soon.

2. Asian sauces with extra heat. It seems all things Asian will continue to grow and as our palettes get used to the flavours, we can take on more and more heat, so Sriracha chilli sauce goes mainstream by coming to an M&S store near you.

3. All things fermented and pickled, as epitomised by Kimchee which will continue to take over the restaurant world this year. The whole balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter is going to be more and more prevalent.

Yum Bun Pork Bun

Yum Bun Pork Bun

4. Chinese steamed buns. Momofuku has been making these from the start and this year Yum Bun have been up there in bringing their pillow of pork belly into the mainstream so I am sure it will appear on many more menus in 2013. If not, go to Yum Bun at Kings Cross as it really is a beautiful thing.

5. Foraging remains strong as we continue our love affair with all things Noma, and this will progress with regional food trails and more weird and wonderful green things making star appearances on our plates.

6. Savoury desserts: look out for more bacon inspired sweets, along with the fashion for savoury doughnuts which is spreading fast.

Fauchon eclairs

Fauchon eclairs

7. In contrast, sweeter than sweet desserts and pastries will continue to entice. Fauchon lead the way with their incredible array of wonderful eclairs and there is also a big fashion for marshmallow, brittles and nougat.

8. Don’t despair, because we are also getting cleverer at using nature’s finest. The healthier and more aware among us are using natural sweetness from fruits to inject fresh natural sugar into our food. There will also be more vege starters on menus and intensity of both taste and colour coming from home grown goodness.

9. In the same vein, we will see healthy foods play a big part as ever in our food as superfoods, wonderful oils, healthy grains and so on will continue to dominate our food choices, along with a big nod from our vegan friends who are bringing products like agave syrup into the mainstream.

bobs-bitters

10. Following on from gin we will get our alcohol hits with infusions. There are now a huge array of bitters on the market which are being put to good use by mixologists from far and wide. They will continue to evolve in our drinks and be accompanied with tonics, syrups and flavoured vinegars which will bring new excitement into our cocktails.

So cheers to you all. Happy new year and here’s to a wonderful indulgent food filled 2013.