Seoul; Faint of Liver Needn't Apply (Part 1)

Seoul, South Korea. A pistol-whip whirlwind of a metropolis with a pulse like Mick Jagger and a nightlife that'll make Southeast Asia go rosy in the cheeks. Over 10 million Koreans wake up every morning in this economical powerhouse, taking part in a never-ending paper chase with unrelenting gusto. Alas, when the work bell rings at 5, make no mistake- tie's will be loosened and bottles will get emptied. It's a insomniac city of bright lights, foreign smells and hedonistic sensations. The ever-present aroma of sesame oil and chili wafts from 4 a.m. food stalls, enticing the woozy passerby to indulge. One minute you're pounding rice wine with a bubbling bowl of tender dog soup, the next you find yourself in a dusky dance club, wall to wall with night savages looking for a shot of Jaegar chased with trouble. This city does NOT sleep. Neither did I. It goes without saying that 90% of meals were either consumed mid-intoxication or wickedly hung, so apologies in advance on the less than stellar shots. I got the first round, lets commence.

We'll start off with the most famous export outta Korea after Kia™ and Kimchi- gogi gui { 고기구이 } or Korean Style Barbecue:

삼겹살 - [ Samgyeogsal ]. One of the most popular gogi gui choices. Basically uncured bacon cut nice and thick. You char these fatty strips up on a hot plate until your liking, then slice up with scissors and begin the salad stuffing process. Other popular choices of flesh include: 우삼겹 [ Usamgyeop- thinly sliced beef ], and 갈비 [ Galbi - marinated beef or pork short ribs ].

Every self respecting Korean joint will provide handful of small side dishes (Banchan) for patrons to munch on. Kimchi is standard, and for the grilling experience so are garlic slices and ssamjang- a semi-spicy chili and fermented soybean dip that's damn addicting. Just ask Phil.

Choose your banchan then wrap it all up in a lettuce or perilla leaf. Inside: a bit of rice, ssamjang, grilled (or not) kimchi, grilled garlic slices, a bit of green onion or whatever more you please. Dip in more chili sauce then stuff in your hole. Like this-->

Me expertly demonstrating the 'one bite' technique. Host Baird with the nifty camera-work.

Korean's enjoy boozing with meals, so expect 소주 [ Soju ] and beer to be present on the table at all times. Always pour your dining mate's drink, and don't you dare let that glass run empty.

Part 2 one its way, until then..

Stay Tipsy.

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