Friday, November 12, 2010

Kimbap--Making Changes (or Not) in Korea

Today, I thought that I would try something new. Rather than eat in one of my few tried and true restaurants (ie, their food doesn't make my allergies decide to rip my body apart from the inside) I decided to stop in a new kimbap place. Kimbap restaurants are generally safe, so long as I am careful about the side dishes. Deciding not to stop at the new locale, I figured I'd order a new dish too. The following conversation has been translated from the Korean.

Me: Hello. I'd like one tuna-kimchi kimbap please.
Cook: One tuna kimbap?
Me: No. One tuna-KIMCHI kimbap please.
Cook: Ah. One tuna kimbap, one kimchi kimbap. Two kimbaps?
Me: No. One tuna AND kimchi kimbap.
Cook: No. It can't be done!
Me: ~sighs~. Okay. One tuna kimbap please. ~sits down~
Cook: (with other cook) Weird foreigners. Tuna kimchi kimbap. ~shakes head~

I'm kind of baffled by this. Now, I know from being turned away from restaurants that refuse to make me pizza without cheese ("it won't taste good!") that Koreans can be a little weird about order substitutions. However, since both kimchi kimbap and tuna fish kimbap are on the menu I figured it would be okay. I don't mind paying double. I just wanted something a little spicy for dinner.

The kimbap was delicious. However, as if to drive home the point that tuna and kimchi don't go together they didn't even give me any kimchi side dishes. Which, if you know Koreans is the height of strange. Koreans generally eat kimchi, in many forms, at three times a day. I think I shall ask my co-teacher about this tuna-kimchi combo question on Monday. Her mom makes amazing kimbap, she probably has an expert insight into  the situation.

For those of you that don't know about kimbap, you can read this earlier post (scroll down until you see the pictures) or google it.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

That's very weird. You know the samgak kimbab? the triangles you can buy in the convenience stores? My favorite has always been the chamchi-kimchi ones, and I've been in Korea for almost 10 years now. I think that place is just weird.

Alex said...

I KNOW! I love that kimbap too. That is exactly what I was thinking of when I ordered. It was very strange.