October 4, 2012
Ok, so this isn’t super traditional Korean food. It’s technically not even Korean at all, but Japanese, buuuuut since it’s being made in Korea by a (presumably) Korean person, this is technically FUSION! Something I am all too used to seeing since I grew up in Toronto. Want to order Korean food at a Japanese sushi shop? Check and check. So technically this is Korean + Japanese = Korapanese food? Wait…that doesn’t sound good now that I sound it out loud…um…scratch that fusion name.
Now I find these kind of shops in Korea very interesting because Korea and Japan tend to share a lot of base ingredients, but they do different things with them. For example, today’s FAPFAP ingredient “dango” (fun fact: did you know Sailor Moon’s first nickname from Mamoru aka Tuxedo Mask aka Darien was dango because her buns looked like these sweet dumplings…she was not impressed) is made from rice flour while its Korean counterpart dduk 떡 is made from glutinous rice flour. Supposedly the difference is that glutinous flour is made from sweet rice, and rice flour just normal rice. Both Korea and Japan use both types of rice when making various rice flour desserts, but I think the real difference comes from how the final beaten the crap out of product is prepared. Seriously, they like beat the crap out of it with huge mallets. So, how long is it pounded for? It is steamed, baked, or grilled? Is it sweetened on the inside and with what? Is it coated in a starch, a sweet bean powder, or simply dipped in honey? So many subtle variations.
From my personal experience of eating many many dangos and mochis growing up (seriously, my neighbour made them for me) I feel like the Japanese version is much sweeter than the Korean version and more pastel in colour! The sweetest version of this I’ve tried in Korea is songpyeon 송편 which is a glutinous rice dduk stuffed with a sweet honey/bean/grain filling. Yet, the dango that we ate today is much much sweeter than most of the traditional Korean dduk desserts we’ve tried, or more accurately, the dango topping is much sweeter.
I’m curious for someone who has been living in Japan to come visit this dango shop and let us know if it IS fusion or similar to Japanese style dango. Now outside of eating dango, I’m actually not sure if Japan serves the same drinks that we purchased, because the taste of this specific red bean latte was pretty new to us (and also really really sweet) but the yujacha 유자차 [yuja tea] which is a jumbo citrus fruit, is very common in Korean. Maybe not in a coffee shop, but you can buy jars of the marmalade-like-mix at any grocery store. People in Japan: also let us know if these drinks exist and if they’re common or not! Also, I think it’s only fair that since we visited a Japanese dumpling snack shop (which BTW are not that common in Korea) we should also visit a traditional Korean dduk shop (which is also not that common…but there are lots of marketplaces stalls that sell it). I will hunt for a lovely Korean tea shop when we get back!
Altogether, some of it was delicious. Some of it, not so delicious. I think Simon and I disagreed on almost everything, since I liked, and I quote Simon off camera, “the nasty poison soy sauce Syrup of Doom taste”. It worked out nicely though because it meant we could divide and conquer the food evenly! YAY!
What about you guise? Are you a fan of Japanese dango? Or have you read/seen Hana Yori Dango, the Japanese manga that the Korean drama Boys Over Flower was based on? I’ve read the manga, watched the Japanese everything and watched the Korean drama too. I gotta say, it was really hard for me not to mention one of my all time fav mangas RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING of this post, but I was a really good girl and I held back for the end. On a side note, “hana yori dango” is a kind of Japanese proverb that means choosing dango (which can feed you) over something just pretty, like a flower, which gives you no nutritional value but looks good. Considering the meaning of the proverb, I think the Korean title Boys Over Flowers or Boys Before Flowers really screwed up since both boys and flowers lack nutritional value…unless..you’re a vampire. MARTINA IS OUT! *smoke bomb*
And, as always, we’ve got some bloopers for this week. This’ll be the last bloopers for a while! Wow. It’s gonna feel so…empty! *echo echo echo* Stay tuned for WANKs and FAPFAPS from Mexico! We heard it’s avocado season…..JOY!