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EATING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
 

Korea House

Not for vegetarians!

By Christopher Sujarit
Barbecue is ubiquitous; even for vegans (holler at Morning Star and cauliflower!). Whether it’s mystery chicken parts along the side of soi’s or the drippingly shiny shabu what not’s inside malls and student markets, Thailand is rife with smoky meats. Yum.
Korea House near Spicy NightClub is an excellent expression of Korea’s contribution to the arena of barbecue. It’s sort of the opposite of Halal; pork reigns king.
You have to try the Samgyeopsal (three- layer pork) to get the full experience, both “im- lao” and inclusive. Whomever Korea House sources their pork from, those people are feeding these pigs well. The slices of pork are about 2cm+ thick, with perfect marbling and a healthy pinkglow before cooking. This stuff is better than you can get in Korea;maybe that’s why so many Korean golfers and tour groups visit KoreaHouse. In Seoul right now it is below freezing, so Chiang Mai offers awelcome respite where middle- aged Koreans can do what they love in warmer weather- golf, watch Korean TV, eat Korean food, and wear funkypolyester windbreaker suits.
After 10 minutes or so on the grill, the pork becomes crispy on the edges and juicy in the middle. Korean do side dishes the best, so yourbarbecue of choice is accompanied by lettuce (for wrapping), garlicand peppers for grilling, sesame sea salt and soybean paste for dipping, kimchi, and other vegetables to balance out the meal. Korea House seems to change their side dish offerings monthly; last visit, we received eggplant, broccoli, fried tofu, sweet potatoes, and beansprout salad. Korea House also offers Galbi (marinated beef ribs) and Bulgogi (marinated beef slices).
This restaurant is run by Koreans, and also patronized by Koreans, as well as the occasional group of more grown- up expats. The set up is open- air and armed with many fans to accommodate the smoke from the table- integrated barbecue grilles. The walls are painted a sprightly yellow, a welcome contrast to the fluorescent assault of our favorite hole- in- the- walls. You can choose to sit at a dining table or the “traditional” style, sitting on a raised platform on pillows at a low table to get a more “authentic” experience. This place is very clean.
My British dining partner was jonesing for some squid, so he adventurously order the O-Jing-o Bokkeum (spicy squid). This could be a risky reach outside the Hermit Kingdom, but Korea House served us squid that was surprisingly tender. I was impressed. Korean “bokkeum” or spicy dishes are a welcome novelty. Koreans take their form of red chili peppers (made hardy by below freezing winters), and mush them into a paste with sesame oil, and like with everything else, they ferment it. What results is full- bodied, sweet, spicy, and satisfying. You have to try gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) to believe it.
Korea House is hands down the best Korean restaurant in Chiang Mai, and would hold its own beside the barbecue backalley restaurants of Gangnam. I tip my golf visor off to you Korea House, now please change the channel to Arirang.
Korea House is located on Chang Moi Road, just past Spicy Nightclub. Open 7 Days a week.


 

RECIPES BY NOI: Rice!

It seems so basic but it is not

We have cooked so many different Northern Thai foods but we don’t know how to prepare and cook rice yet even though rice is the most important part of the meal.
People from the North and North East eat sticky rice . Central and Southern people eat steamed rice. We have names to call the different type of rice such as Ghokho1, 2, 3, 4, (Ghokho means Rice department, the odd numbers are steamed rice and even numbers are sticky rice) There are also other types of rice that are called differently such as Chainat1, Phrae1, Phatthalung etc.
Most of farmers in my village grow Ghokho 6 and 8 for sticky rice and Ghokho5 and 15 for steamed rice. Why so? Because they are photoperiod sensitive varieties, that means they do not need too much sun for the whole of the farming season during September-December. The prices are also different. Now it’s about 15 Baht per kilogram for sticky rice and 20 Baht per kilogram for steamed rice.
Cooking sticky rice is much more complicated than cooking steamed rice. First we need to soak rice in clean water for a few hours. I always leave it overnight and cook in the morning. Then we remove rice to steam. It might take about half an hour to steam and then remove it from the heat. Put it in a wooden tray and stir it to cool down. This step is important because if we keep the rice while it’s still very hot, there will be too much steam and rice will be too wet, it then becomes like glue. We normally keep rice in a bucket with a good seal or cover to keep it warm all day.
It is interesting to know that Thai people know how hard and difficult it is to grow rice and consider it of such value that they do not waste any of it. If some grains accidentally drop to the floor then you may see the person Wai the rice before throwing it away.


 
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EATING OUT

RECIPES BY NOI