Wednesday, August 31, 2011

korean bbq

as a thank you to my conference team, i wanted to treat them to some korean bbq, something that most of them never had before. the challenge was finding the right cut of meat. I went to a local butcher, but it was hard to explain the kind of cut i needed for bulgogi (korean marinated beef) so in the end i went into london to a korean grocery store to buy the beef.

i haven't marinated my own bulgogi in a long time because in the past i could easily buy at the korean grocery store. well, living in the outskirts of london, korean food isn't as accessible. also i wanted to make sure the marinade was gluten free. (did you know that kikkoman soy sauce has wheat?)

i found a good recipe from i used her bulgogi recipe (minus the pear) and substituted regular soy sauce with tamari soy sauce which is gluten free. she uses a food processor to make her marinade which saves a lot of chopping time. lucky for me, we have a food processor in our home.

i marinated the meat for most of the morning (almost 6 hours). we grilled it to give it a bit of a burnt edge. along with the bulgogi, i prepared a spinach side dish, a bean sprout side dish, as well as egg-battered zucchini slices. i showed everyone how to eat the bulgogi in their own lettuce wrap.

in the end, everyone loved it! i want to make bulgogi again, but i need to find a local butcher. that is my next quest.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

a foodie's day in barcelona

one of the places we had to visit in barcelona was la boqueria, the famous indoor market for fresh fruit, meats, etc. the metro stopped right at the entrance of la boqueria. it's pretty huge so we just started walking from one side. most of the vendors sell similar things. they sell either fruits, fruit juices, eggs, meats, hams, and then some stalls are eating places.

because we didn't have breakfast, we decided to eat at el quim de la boqueria. we weren't sure what to order so we just asked the server what he recommends. he told us to get the two fried eggs with baby squid and the cod with vegetables. both were fantastic. the squid was so fresh. the cod just fell apart but it was still moist.

as we continued to eat, a gentleman came out and started talking to us. later on we found out that he was the owner of the restaurant, Quim, short for Joaquin pronounced like "Kim". i asked him (through my friend) why the hams are so expensive? he explained that they are fed acorns so because it's expensive to feed them, the ham is expensive. then he made us a little sample of the ham on top of toasted baguette with a layer of tomato puree. delicious!

i asked him where we can get churros, and he offered to take us to a place he goes nearby. so we followed him through the streets of barcelona to his favorite churro place. unfortunately it was closed so we went to his second favorite place.

i love days like this when you experience something you didn't imagine!