Chal mogoseumnida

The office organized a dinner outing to a Korean restaurant around the block with reputedly good bibimbap.  As we were seated, the boss asked “Is it authentic so far?”

“No,” I said.  “We’re not sitting on the floor and we still have our shoes on.”

I orded the kimchi jjigae, though it tasted to me like a Japanese soup I once had.  It seemed wrong that everyone got their own personal side dishes, and the idea of someone else cooking bulgogi and handing it to you on a plate instead of it being cooked there in front of you and shared by everyone?  This is just not how things are done.  It’s like if in an American restaurant they made you go back to the kitchen to ladel your soup directly from the pot on the stove.

Also, the bibimbap was served with chopsticks and a fork, which is just wrong.
In America, if it’s Asian, you know, the authentic way to eat it is with chopsticks.  I too tried to eat my first bibimbap with chopsticks, but my friend Eunyoung handed me a spoon.  I thought she wanted to save me the trouble because I was white and inept, but then I learned that you just don’t eat bibimbap with chopsticks.  So people struggled to eat, when any Korean person in Korea who saw you doing that would think you were weird.


One comment

  1. Haha. All Thai restaurants in America give you chopsticks, but Thai people don’t use chopsticks. Over the summer, I went to a Thai restaurant and could feel those around me using chopsticks and judging me for using my fork. But I secretly judged them back.

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