dduk bok ki
i crave this stuff.
in the simplest form, its rice cake simmered/sauteed in spicy sauce.
on any random corner in seoul, whether its a warm humid summer evening, monsoon season rainy afternoons or bitter cold winter nights, you will find pojang matchas. pojang matchas are basically a tent, a truck bed, a couple of tables or anything you can serve food out of. they usually serve really basic street food, but they also tend to be some of the best food you can find. pojang matchas are the original mobile food, food truck concept.
over the 30 odd years ive been going back and forth from korea, pojang matchas have had varying degrees of popularity and legality. there was a time when you could find tents citys and hop from one style of food to another in a few steps, eating and drinking your way through all sorts of small bites. there was also a time when the government, in a misguided effort to modernize (and westernize) the country tried to ban them. these days, you will find pojang matchas on most every corner of every busy street of seoul.
the secret isnt finding one, its finding the ones that you really like. lucky for us, there are only about a couple thousands of these around seoul.
this morning, slightly cold, very hungry, i remembered this one dduk bok ki pojang matcha my sister took us to on our most recent visit in december 2011. i cant remember exactly where it was, but i can remember exactly the taste of their dduk bok ki.
having never visited the whole shin dang dong dduk bok ki town in seoul (and entire area of dduk bok ki restaurants), naturally, i wanted to visit...
my sister replied....
"ew, why would you want to go to there? its for the tourist."
she proceeded to take us to a small tent a few blocks from her place.
no fancy tourism board of korea stickers... no busloads of japanese tourists... no waiting for 20 minutes for a table...
just some nice rice cakes, some slowly simmered spicy sauce and some odeng. of course you have to have some soondae and a variety of fried items to add into the spicy sauce, but this is as simple as it gets.
and it was some of the best dduk bok ki you can find anywhere.
sometimes simple is what you need. you might not realize it because youre too busy over complicating your lives with things you dont need, but want...
work a job we hate to buy things we dont need to impress people we dont like (totally borrowed).....
yeah. simple. life is better simple.
but of course, im still going to shin dang dong dduk bok ki town.