Sunday, January 14, 2007

Three Barbecues: A Blackened Comedy

A feature of the 'Pension' we were staying in was that there was a barbecue included with our room and the owners would cook for us one evening if we bought the meat. Having bought meat from the local mini-mart when we first arrived, we returned from our temple dash on the second day and asked the owners. We were given a choice of cooking upstairs on our balcony, or outside the basement area, which was still exposed to the elements, but afforded a little more shelter. We wisely chose the latter, though whether the whole barbecue idea was a good one is another matter.

So it was that in freezing temperatures, we stood - as it was too cold to sit - sucking in smoke and eating meat with sauce wrapped in vegetable leaves, a style of food Koreans call '쌈' (ssam). We drank wine to try and take the chill from the night-air, or perhaps just to ignore it, while I occasionally placed my hand above the barbecue for warmth. Our host cooked and ate a little with us, leaving us from time to time in order to attend to another barbecue happening outside one of the ground-floor apartments somewhere above us.

While we weren't the only crazy guests then having a barbecue below zero, this fortunately isn't a normal Korean cultural activity. Interesting though it was, it's an experience I'm in no hurry to repeat.

1 comment:

Rivka said...

Thanks for writing this.

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