Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekend jaunt to Idong, Gyeonggi-do

Idong's a town along the Seoul-Wasu bus route that I'd been through countless times, but had only visited once before this weekend. I wouldn't call it a visit so much as a pit stop, for it happened right after a co-teacher and I had completed getting my ARC card. We'd stopped to enjoy the famed Idong galbi, or marinated beef ribs. They were indeed quite good.

Since that one-off visit, I'd sometimes thought about coming back. This weekend R and I did just that: partly because I wanted to return to the town to savor the beef and partly because we wanted to compare the Idong galbi to the Suwon galbi we'd eaten over New Year's. The Suwon stuff had been good but pricey. No matter, it was a special occasion that we can hardly do every day since neither of us live in Suwon. The Idong proved to be slightly cheaper, but quite tasty. The beef was as tender and juicy as it was supposed to be.

As we didn't want to repeat the Suwon experience of paying for 1kg of beef, we went with one portion of galbi (300g) and ordered bibim naengmyeon, or cold buckwheat noodles with vegetables, to complement the meat. Doing so took some explaining, for the sajangnim tried to get us to us into order two portions, but we got what we wanted. Throwing in a bottle of Chung-ha wine probably helped our case a bit.

After our succulent barbecue, we found ourselves in need of coffee to cap off the meal.  We asked the parking guy/promoter of the restaurant and he directed us toward the establishment below, Galbi/Coffee 1987:

R and I knew we were looking at something grand: A combination barbecue joint and cafe? We couldn't believe it. The synergy of such an establishment overwhelmed us, for where do Koreans tend to go after they eat barbecue? Why, either the bar or the cafe! This place combined the two and thus allowed the customers more convenience and the owners more money. Morever, the cafe alone is one of the best we've been to in Korea. Here's why: The coffee's actually bitter and the lattes are mixed right. And not only that, but my iced Americano came in a pint glass. Iced coffee in pint glasses brings back many fond memories from Milwaukee, WI. One sip and I was seeing through walls. The coffee may have come at premium prices, but oh well. Coffee's hit or miss over here, as articles like this will attest to, so quality coffee's hard to find.

Pictures from Idong:

Along the Youngpyoung Cheon.


Idong's also famous for its makgeolli, which we've also sampled plenty of times. It is indeed a fine drink.

Ground coffee has come to my town. Yes indeed, one of the grocery stores started selling ground hazelnut coffee a few months ago. The package is plain and it has no brand name, but it's the real stuff. I was skeptical at first, but one test cup erased any doubts: it has the bitterness and it has the hazelnut flavor. Even better is the price: Around 3 dollars for a 200g bag.

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