Bulgogi: Food for the Geeky Champion

Geek Culture
Bulgogi Photo: www.koreanbapsang.com
Photo: www.koreanbapsang.com

During a vacation to California this year, GeekMom Jenny and I met up with a couple of the GeekMoms there. We actually house-sat for Ariane, and, while she and her husband were on their vacation, we enjoyed the beautiful world that is SoCal. We explored all kinds of new things, including tide pools, botanical gardens, and only-in-California eateries.

One stood out for us, in particular. Chosun Galbee  was just amazing. The wonderful GeekMom Kristen treated us to the wonderful food known as bulgogi. This is a classic Korean dish that is cooked on your table. You heard me. The table is a barbeque, and they serve you a family style dinner that is cooked right there in front of your eyes. Amazing.

Now, while I would like to gush about the wonders of this restaurant for another 2,000 words, that’s not really my point. The point is: I forgot how much I like foreign foods. Especially the kinds that are easily prepared at home. No, I don’t have a table that is also a barbeque (although that would be nice), but I do have a mean knack for cooking meat.

Growing up, I had a great friend whose mother happened to be Korean. She was an amazing cook, and I mean it. I would spend the night at their house after our Thursday night football games. Yes, Thursday night; it was Arkansas, you will have to forgive us. Anyway, on those nights she would make these towering meals of amazing home cooked traditional Korean foods (always telling me I was too skinny). Then, she would turn around and make me another meal for Friday lunch.

This was never an ordinary high school lunch. It was usually bulgogi, thin soup, and a pile of rice. If she was adventurous enough, she would send enough to be served family style. Yep. On those days, I carried more food to school than I did books and things I actually needed for school. My friends loved it. Her son didn’t care too much, because he had it all the time. He didn’t have the same response the rest of us did. We thought she was some kind of voodoo genius a little too obsessed with her cast iron skillet.

I quickly learned how to eat well with chop sticks (which she would include in the packed meal) and I’ve always enjoyed that skill. I was particularly proud of myself when a Korean foreign exchange student was my guest at lunch for the first time. She was astounded at my ability to eat rice with chop sticks. Realizing my confusion, she defensively assured me that “In Korea, we have fork!” I still giggle at that memory.

So, for many reasons I have always loved Korean food. But I also love things like Peruvian foods, Greek dishes, and more. I assumed that everyone was exposed to different cultures of food and enjoyed them. After Kristen treated us to bulgogi, GeekMom Jenny informed me that she’d never had anything like it. I was aghast! To me, nothing says “geek” like diversity. Kristen had given me a great foot in the door. Last night, I tried making bulgogi for my family. I was astounded. The Boy has a problem with new foods. He never likes new stuff. He asked for seconds! I am pleased as punch to be able to say that he actually asked if I was going to make some other new foods soon.

My thanks to Kristen, for reminding me of this part of myself. My thanks to Jenny for letting me experiment on our family. I would also like to encourage you, dear reader, to try something new with your kids every once in a while. You never know what will turn your picky eater around!

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3 thoughts on “Bulgogi: Food for the Geeky Champion

  1. I just discovered Bulgogi myself after my first visit to Korea. My favorite though is Bibimbap with the red Gochujang paste. I brought home as much Gochujang in my suitcase as I could fit! After a few years living overseas, foreign foods have given so much variety to our palates and it’s been a great world broadening experience for the kids.

  2. I make homemade bulgogi, kalbi, and bibimbap for my family all the time. When we were living in Florida I actually mail-ordered the gochujang and ssamjang from Korea. Now I can get it here (in Colorado) at my local Asian grocery. My husband and I had the pleasure of serving for two years in Seoul 1998-2000. We had a fantastic time and loved trying those hole-in-the-wall barbecue restaurants and would love to take our sons there one day.

  3. I am the author of Korean Bapsang. A Google image of my photo brought me here. I respectfully ask you to take my photo down, which you used without my permission. I realize you indicated the source of the photo, but that doesn’t do any good if you didn’t provide the link. In any case, you should have asked for my permission. Thanks for your cooperation in advance.

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