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by Rhema Williams
Today is the momentous day that I tried Korean food for the first time. Since I have no previous Korean food knowledge, where other to look than Convoy Street, a famous street for Asian cuisine in San Diego? I had done some previous research and found two Korean dishes that looked especially appetizing to me: Kimchi soup or jjigae (김치찌개) and pork bulgogi or marinated barbecued meat (불고기). Based on previous experience, Kimchi soup looked like chicken tortilla soup, which is famous at most Mexican restaurants, and pork bulgogi looked like bacon, which I’ve always been a fan of since I was a kid. I was walking near Tapioca Express because I had just seen a friend and got some bubble tea, and I came across a place called Old Village or Yet Gol. To be honest, what attracted me at first was the korean pop posters they had on their windows, but when I went inside and looked at their menu, I saw that they had lots of Korean food for great prices! It was a quiet place but also lively. They had Korean game shows playing on the TVs which were funny to me even though I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, their facial expressions were humorous. They even played korean pop music on their speakers like “Run, Devil, Run”, a very popular song by a korean pop group called Girls Generation (소녀시대) and “Shock”, another popular korean pop song by a boy band called Beast (비스트). I was not starving, so I decided to go for something lighter, like the Kimchi soup. I was excited because everything was going well so far and I had nothing to lose! I had no idea what I was in for! I hadn’t done extensive research, so when the waiter brought six side dishes on six little plates, I was completely thrown aback. I was thinking “What did she just put in front of me and what do I do with it?” I figured it was something you could add to the soup, figuring out later that they are called banchan (반찬) which is served along with rice to go along with the main meal you are having. I only knew what two out of the six side dishes were, which was humorous to me, but also exciting to try new things. I had heard once before that kimchi was spicy, and I had forgotten that helpful piece of information until I started eating. I didn’t mind though! The broth was especially great, and I really liked the variety of different foods they put in the soup. The other great thing was that I got to experience this for only six dollars! Saving money was part of the joy! The next time I go for Korean food, by myself or with friends, I’ll definitely try the marinated meat (bulgogi) or perhaps bibimbap (비빔밥) which I’ve seen is another famous Korean dish. I want to discover what is truly delicious in Korean cuisine! I am proud to tell my friends that I have finally tasted a traditional Korean dish and I’m ready to try more!