I’d like to have my food already dead when it’s served to me, thanks

I couldn’t eat my lunch because it was alive and squirming as it was being cooked on the hot plate in front of me.

We had been enticed by the store display. It was a dish I had eaten in Seoul last time, at another restaurant.

 

Octopus restaurant

 

We chose the one at the top right corner. The last time I ate this dish, it was also cooked in front of us, but the seafood was already nice and dead, neatly chopped up into unrecognisable, bite-size bits.

Not so this time.

 

The veges were brought out first:

Octopus restaurant

 

Then the octopus came. At this point of time I didn’t know yet that it was still alive:

Octopus restaurant

 

The moment it hit the hot plate, it started wriggling and squirming like crazy. It was horrible.

Octopus restaurant

 

I can appreciate how this is done to maximise the freshness of the food, but I really don’t like seeing my lunch suffer for my sake. I prefer the killing to be done quickly and humanely.

 

Here’s the last picture I took before I couldn’t look anymore and had to turn away:

Octopus restaurant

 

Kay took a video of the whole process but I don’t even want to look at the video. A few times, I turned back to face the table again because I thought the octopus must have died already but it was still squirming away.

It took about two minutes or so for it to stop squirming. That was when the lady chef started cutting it up with a pair of scissors, while it was still wriggling.

I felt quite sickened as I heard the scissors go snip snip snip and wondered what the poor octopus must be feeling.

Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy my lunch at all. Especially since it wasn’t at all tasty, compared to the previous one I had. Plus I don’t like half-cooked octopus/squid/cuttlefish, which is how the chef left it at, which I suppose is the way most people like it.

I don’t like seafood that is gooey and slimy. I prefer it overcooked and chewy, best if charred at the sides.

 

This was how the dish looked like after it was done:

Octopus restaurant

 

I don’t ever want to eat this dish again.

Still on the subject of octopuses, we came across a hawker in Insadong (cultural, artistic district in Seoul) cooking slices of them on actual stones. This one looked delicious. But we didn’t buy any because we were already so full from the previous octopus dinner plus snacking on street food in Insadong.

 

Insadong hawker

 

Insadong is a great place for Korean street food. Go in the evening, say, 5+ or 6pm, because that’s when more stalls are set up.

In other news, I’m getting tired of the crazy cold so am wearing more layers when I go out, so I look more or less the same every day, all bundled up. I bought another (warmer) hat, those with flaps that hang over the ears, which helps quite a bit.

 

Sheylara dumpling

 

It snowed on Sunday night!

It was only a light snow, but still my first experience of falling snow, although I’ve played in the snow that was already there in an Australian mountain.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t cold when it was snowing because there was hardly any wind, so I was able to stand around and take photos.

 

Snowing in Seoul

 

Snowing in Seoul

 

Snowing in Seoul

 

Snowing in Seoul

 

A pretty snowflake fell on my arm!

Snowing in Seoul

 

Too bad it didn’t snow heavier. I would have liked to be covered in snow! For a while, anyway.

There’s this little shop near our apartment which calls itself “Shopping Center” and only opens at night (7pm – 11pm).

It’s become a bit of a joke to me and Kay because the first time we saw it in the day, it was closed. We saw the words “Shopping Center” on the signboard and were mildly interested because we thought it would be something nice to check out.

The next time we saw it open, we laughed. It’s just a tiny little shop selling souvenirs and Korean foodstuff.

 

Shopping Center

 

It’s run by an elderly Chinese couple so we were able to communicate with them. They’re nice people, so we bought some seaweed snacks from them (24 packets in a bundle) but I don’t like it.

 

Random photo in the street:

Sheylara in Seoul

 

Messy hat hair:

Sheylara in Seoul

 

Kay will be admitted to the hospital today. Surgery is set for tomorrow and, if all goes well, he can be discharged by Thursday. I’ll be staying at the hospital with him throughout, where there’s no wi-fi the last time I checked, so I might not be able to blog. But will check with them again. Maybe they have a business center somewhere.

I’m actually quite looking forward to enjoying the heating in the hospital. Won’t be doing any sightseeing on my own so no cold for 2-3 days! =)

Unexpectedly good Korean food

I’m suffering from Monday blues (yes, even people without day jobs get Monday blues if they party too hard over the weekend) and I’m feeling hungry, so I’ve decided to talk about food today.

The Goonfather and I discovered a Korean eatery in Suntec City (at the Fountain of Wealth food area) which we normally would have passed by without a second thought, especially since the signboard proclaims it as a fake Korean cafe.

[Lousy way to name your cafe]

See, it says Ya Zhou Cafe, which translates to “Asia Cafe”. And then, on the side, you see “Korean Cuisine”.

I mean, like, if you’re about authentic Korean cuisine, then drop the word “Asia”. If you’re a fusion cafe, then drop the “Korean” or add a few more adjectives. The way it is now, it confuses people and reduces your appeal.

(I’m not an expert on branding or signboarding, so don’t take my word for it. It’s probably just my own pickiness.)

Anyway, we chose this place because we were between events yesterday and in a hurry, and the pictures actually attracted the Goonfaher’s attention. He loves Korean food and he’s not as picky as me over signboards.

[Mediocre-looking Korean eatery]

Yes, the place has nice photographs but we are usually wary of nice photographs. All the food courts in Singapore have nice photographs but the food is almost always horrible. (For cheap food, hawker centres are the way to go.)

We really only stopped here because we wanted something cheap and quick and this looked like the most appealing cheap and quick in that immediate area.

I only ordered fried guo tie (pan fried dumplings) beacuse we were going to have a picnic right after this (ballet under the stars).

[Yummy guo tie]

The moment my order arrived and I bit into it, I wish I had ordered more items.

That was arguably the best guo tie I’ve tasted. Very crispy on the outside, juicy and flavourful on the inside.

It comes with the usual vinegar with ginger complement but you can grab some wasabi mayonnaise (or normal mayonnaise) because it tastes great with that, too.

[Yummy guo tie]

My favourite sauce, though, is the Korean chilli sauce, which is kinda sweet and tangy and not really spicy.

The chilli sauce came with the Goonfather’s noodles.

[Cold noodles]

Interesting looking, huh?

That big white chunk is a boiled pear. I didn’t try it but the Goonfather liked it. The little ice chips you’ll find in the noodles are not your regular ice chips. They’re soup-flavoured ice chips!

This dish is really very good for hot days because it’s super thirst quenching.

The taste is a little weird and I’m not even sure I know how to describe it. It’s mainly sour, but also salty and sweet and bitter. Haha.

I liked it on the first taste. But after a few more spoonfuls, I started not liking it very much anymore because of a strange taste in the soup I can’t identify right now. The Goonfather slurped it all down while I was enjoying my guo tie.

I stole all his chilli sauce (which was meant for the beef slices in his noodles) but I really love the chilli!

The cold noodles also comes with kimchi and anchovies. The kimchi is also one of the best I’ve tasted because the distribution of taste is just nice. I mean, like, a lot of kimchi is either too bitter or too spicy or something like that.

[Kimchi and anchovies]

Our meal cost us about $15, including two sodas, which is more than reasonable, considering the quality of food.

I’m definitely going back for seconds!

And now, I have to scoot because the Goonfather is on leave today and I have to follow him around to do errands. Maybe I can talk him into taking me back to Ya Zhou Cafe again! Heh.