02 September 2004

Tang Bok Bab

We're going Chinese today, ala Korean style. For lunch is tang bok bab (탕볶밥), which is a combo of fried rice and sweet sour pork.

The name itself is a combination of tang soo yuk (탕수육 - sweet sour pork) and bokeum bab (볶음밥 - fried rice). Combos like these are popular and on any typical chinese menu you'll find a combination of these 4 items:
- bokeum bab (볶음밥 - fried rice)
- tang soo yuk (탕수육 - sweet sour pork)
- jajang myeon (짜장면 - jajang noodles)
- jjam pong (짬뽕 - seafood noodles)

Needless to say, you don't necessarily have to order them in combination and can have each of these on its own. So instead of half and half, you get a full portion.

This is the tang bok bab. KRW6,500.

The side dishes are pretty standard as far as chinese takeouts go. You get the kimchi, yellow-coloured radish pickes, pungent large onions and a thick black gooey paste which tastes indescribably awesome. Anyone knows what sauce this is? My tastebuds sense some prawns/shrimp in it, but I could be horribly wrong. Do tell .....

The complimentary soup is a spicy cabbage soup. Tastes pretty much like what you'd find in a packet of Korean instant noodles.

The combo of fried rice and sweet sour pork.

The fried rice is simpe but delicious. It's got some minced pork, diced carrots, garlic, onions, eggs and seasoned with light soya sauce and sesame oil. It comes with spoonfuls of jajang sauce (that's the black sauce in the photo) and topped with sesame seeds and an omellette+carrots+cucumber+crabstick.

The sweet sour pork is universally well known by now. In Korea, they're not exactly "cheap food" by any standard and can cost between KRW10,000 to KRW20,000 per plate at most sit-down chinese restaurants.

Pork fillet strips are marinated, floured and then deep fried in hot oil and set aside. A sweet sour sauce made with tomato puree, vinegar, sugar, onions, carrots, cucumber and fungi mushroom and thickened with corn starch is then poured onto the pork strips.

I must admit that I've had better sweet sour pork than the ones I had today. The pork strips just weren't crispy enough and the sauce is somewhat bland and lacked the "oomph" needed. There was just no kick to it. I know Korea can do better as I've had some pretty awesome sweet sour pork in a couple of Seoul's restaurants. Maybe I'll try from elsewhere next time, hopefully with better results and blog it for you guys.

So concluding for today - fried rice nice sweet sour pork not so.

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