you can take a korean out of korea, but you can never take the korean out of a korean. this was evidenced during my trip to china over the long chuseok weekend. i went with a korean tour group of 11 and they were all “korean”.
we were all sitting together at a chinese restaurant when all of the sudden everyone busts out a bottle of gochoo jang! in fact, it wasn’t just a few people. it was entire 10 other people…not to mention all of them bringing them out at the same time. i was actually the only one without one. i had no idea. and they were all having casual conversations about where they got theirs from and what chinese foods it tastes good on.
“i don’t leave home without it (korea)”, says 27 yo travel guide, ms. kim, “food can be so bland without it”.
another tourist in the group cries out, “gochoo jang is like your american condiment, ketchup!”
i never actually put ketchup in anything other than my burgers and fries. i do recall some of my old roommates doing something as ghetto as putting ketchup on their fried chicken, but you definitly don’t see americans bringing ketcup packets to ethnic restaurants.
at first i was like you guys need to open up and try chinese food the way chinese food is supposed to taste. but i saw how much everyone was enjoying it, i decided to give it a try. after a few bites, i soon realized they were right. chinese food tastes so good with a bit of red pepper paste!
it got me thinking of all the possibilities. it’s like you can turn anything into korean food with a bit of gochoo jang. gochoo jang burgers, gochoo jang burritos. how about replacing tomato sauce in pizza with watered down version of gochoo jang? actually that’s a bit much, but you get where i’m going with this. maybe this can be the theme of a successful restaurant somewhere. i just gotta learn how to cook now.