Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Korean BBQ and Beer: Miz Dot Joo, Drinking Against the Wine Pairing Grain

I am happy to introduce Vin de la Table's first guest blogger, Miz Dorothy Joo!

When Dorothy's not selling tons of wine at the wine shop where we work or finishing her masters of psychology, she can be found either a) dancing, or b) writing. Luckily for us, her batteries to her walkman died and she stopped dancing in time to grace us with a lovely analysis of pairing beverages with Korean Food on Vin de la Table. And she should know. She knows some Korean people.

Thank you Dorothy

Dorothy Joo


What’s the perfect wine for Korean barbeque and its lesser known accompaniment, Naeng Myun (buckwheat noodles in cold broth)?
The answer: BEER.

Although Kirstin and I briefly deliberated on a possible wine pairing, in the rush to get out of the wine bar after an unusually busy Sunday, we plumb forgot.
Thank goodness for Oriental Brewery. An Un-PC name, but a perfectly PC beverage. Not only is the label, red, white and blue, Oriental Brewery was bought by InBev five years ago, the same company that produces good old Budweiser. Get a taste of the Orient, straight from Fairfield, California. Don’t worry, its probably made in a factory full of orientals.
The second bottle we tried was Korea’s own Hite beer, known for being made with 100% rockbed water. I’m not sure what this means exactly, except it tasted…clean? Regardless, both of these beverages served us well throughout the meal.

Now about the food…
Jason and Matt have joined us, and together we sip politely on the roasted barley tea, but are ready to pounce as soon as the bahn chahn (small dishes) arrives. Different types of kimchee, seasoned bean sprouts, and fishcakes are the usual suspects, but since bbq is on the way, we are also given Sahm (lettuce and spiced green onions to accompany the meat).

Out of nowhere, a man in black brings us a tray of bright orange spiral coals under a wire tray. Jason makes an Osha joke, Matt checks his bionic man meter and it’s go time.
Immediately our faces turn red from the heat. The air vent above us turns on, and we need to raise our voices to talk. A bead of sweat trickles down Jason’s rosy cheek as he compliments the waitress on her faux Burberry vest. A sip of cold beer hits the spot. Always refreshing, never filling.

[Note here Dot's handiness with blue arrows and descriptors. I think that someone has guest blogged before.]

In addition to the barbeque and naeng myun, we order dolsot bibim bap, and kimchee dolsot bibim bap. Although not the optimal choice for people watching carbs, these hot bowls of mixed rice, veggies and meat are packed full of flavor and heat. Dolsot means rock bowl, so the rice at the bottom gets perfectly crunchy, never burned.

During all the action of mixing, grilling, picking, and drooling, the cold bottles of Hite and O.B. cool us down. I recall someone saying “Oh no, where’s my beer?” at least once. I snap photos amidst the frenzy, most of them slightly off focus due to the smoking grill.

After exactly 17 minutes the meat has been demolished and Matt picks at a bone. We have eaten like champs, but we have three minutes before we realize we’re full.
The Burberry vest comes back, but we refrain ourselves from ordering more meat. I think Matt cries a little inside.
Kirstin and I look at each other through the smoke and know that our hard earned tip monies are well spent. Although this may not be a particularly informative post, the moral of the story is that Orientals really love Burberry.

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Kirstin said...

Great write up, Dot, thank you. Next time, could you also supply an in-depth analysis of the hop's interaction with the spicy sauce?


Dot! said...

you know it!! i like being a Miz!