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korean

Young Dong Tofu – Arcadia

For my last night in LA, we took a short drive to Arcadia for some soondubu. Man alive, what I’ve realized about soondubu joints is that there is so much food. And you can never eat it all. And you will leave the place feeling like you’re going to explode. 
Here’s the banchan that we got, which included a really nice variety of stuff. My favorite was the cucumber kimchi. My friend S asked me why I kept eating it. Because it’s freakin delicious! She was eating the regular kimchi, which I didn’t care too much for. There were raw oysters in it and it was too oystery for me. So I asked her why she kept eating the regular kimchi. Because of the oysters! To each his own kimchi! 
We each ordered our own soondubu, seafood for me and oyster for S (there’s S with the oysters again), which is so much food that we could have just shared one, but we also ordered a stir-fried octopus rice dish, because we’re crazy. What were we thinking? Like I said, so much food! And it felt like it just kept coming and coming and coming! They also gave us seaweed soup with the octopus. Needless to say, there were lots of leftovers for S to take home, possibly several times over. Everything tasted good and we had a great time. Service was friendly and attentive.
Young Dong Garden Korean BBQ & Tofu on Urbanspoon

Latest Sampan Happy Hour

I was getting a little bit of the afternoon doldrums so I made an executive decision to go to happy hour at Sampan. You know what actually truly triggered it? Twitter, yeah, seriously. Sampan actually tweeted that it was going to be happy hour soon and I totally fell for it. It’s cool though, because their happy hour is totally happiness-inducing. We sat at the kitchen bar because as you know, I love seeing my food being cooked.
The vietnamese spring roll with shrimp, pork, and mushrooms. Delightful.
The duck egg rolls with cucumber, scallion, and lime. These were chock full of hot ass duck. When I say hot, I mean hot, some fell on my chin and burned me. I didn’t mind, they were great.
The adorable kobe slider wtih soy and swiss cheese.
The kobe hot dog, sans mustard. I love that they cut it into thirds for you and that the bun is also toasted.
The filet satay with apricot soy, and mirin and the korean bbq beef satay with short rib, kimchi, and ginger. Excellent, as usual.

Surprisingly, my favorite dish of the day was the crispy brussel sprouts with fish sauce, pulled rice, and chilli. These were so unbelievably awesome! Slightly crunchy, super savory, just great. Whoever does not like brussel sprouts needs to try these!
Lastly, here’s the kim chee fried rice with shrimp, shallot, and sunny side egg. This was a giant bowl of food. It wasn’t quite spicy or kimchi enough for me, and the shrimp just seemed unnecessary, but it’s still a decent dish. These little popcorn shrimp are fairly tasteless and benign anyway, so I didn’t see the point of them. As usual, this was so much fun. It’s beyond a good deal and it’s cool to get to try so many different dishes. We ordered way too much food, which can be easy to do here with these small dishes. It sounds like since they’re so small it wouldn’t add up to much, but damn, we were beyond stuffed! I love the happy hour here!
Sampan on Urbanspoon

1st Birthday Hoopla

The 1st birthday for a korean baby is a big deal. I mean it’s a huge deal. It’s bigger than what a sweet 16 would be, what turning 21 would be. It’s a true celebration and people tend to go all out and fest. My nephew just turned 1 and his mom went absolutely bonkers preparing for the little kid party of the century. It was a rainbow theme and there were decorations galore. It’s amazing just how many different ways to decorate people can come up with. The internet is apparently a great source for all kinds of random party stuff.
One of the traditional things you have to do with the baby is a fortune telling ritual where the baby picks what career he/she will end up having. A bunch of objects that represent things like athlete, lawyer, entertainer, etc. are laid out and the baby is free to pick an object of their choosing. This signifies what they will be in the future. It’s corny but it’s fun to see. Baby E picked entertainer. Somehow, I don’t see this happening.
My mom did not feel like cooking, and who really wants to cook a bunch of food by herself for 20 people, so instead, we got catered food from Kobawoo in Elkins Park. And let me tell you, it was all good. Here is the galbijim.
Pigs feet! I did not partake in this. But apparently, it was quite good.
Here is some marinated spicy squid and a bunch of banchan.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without a bunch of jeons. There was a spicy kimchi one, a fish one, and a plain old chive one. I particularly dug the kimchi one.
Japchae! Have you ever been to a korean party of some kind and not had japchae? And here’s some cucumber kimchi.
Big hunks of fish. There was so much food in my mom’s house it was ridiculous. All I kept doing was encouraging people to eat and take food home.
But aside from the proper dinner food, there were plenty of other foods and edible decorations. There was a giant selection of different kinds of dduk, korean style rice cakes. These thoroughly took me back to the motherland. I don’t eat dduk often, but when I have it, and when it’s good and fresh, I really enjoy it. See those little decorations with the beans? My sister-in-law made those, by hand, bean by freakin bean! I was impressed.
Here’s some more dduk, a different kind, as well as a plethora of fruits. I think they each probably symbolize something, but really, they’re also just colorful. This particular kind of dduk was actually my favorite.
This was the first of the two birthday cakes. This was a korean style cake made out of dduk. It’s super cute, huh? And those watermelons? Courtesy of yours truly. My first watermelon art, but I think they turned out pretty well.
The piece de resistance though, was the regular birthday cake. Courtesy of the baking artists at Night Kitchen bakery, this super adorable cake was really the hit of the party. They did an amazing job following my slapdash mock-up of what we wanted. I’d never had a fondant cake before so I really didn’t know what to expect. Everyone I had talked to before said that they made really tasty cakes. It was a vanilla cake with lemon curd, and indeed, it tasted great! It was super moist and there was a thin layer of cream in between the cake and the fondant, so even with the odd tasting fondant (not odd in a bad way, just odd) the whole thing was great. It was a little bit sad hacking into this thing that was so super cute, but everyone enjoyed it. Sure, the baby didn’t get to eat this cake nor will he remember it, but I think everyone else will. Ok kiddo, we’ll see you at your next birthday!

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