We had our first big vegetarian failure in Korea tonight with the Tuesday Night Eating Club. We went to a Chinese restaurant downtown and foolishly thought that with the help of a Korean-American friend who is nearly fluent in Korean we'd be able to find or order dishes without beef, pork, chicken, dog, fish, crustaceans, cephalopods or any other animal, but that turned out to be too much to ask. We thought we'd try the yachae bokumbap (vegetable fried rice), and u dong (thick noodle soup).
Here's the u dong. Notice the tentacle in Melanie's chopsticks.
Several minutes into trying to suck down some of the noodles Melanie pulled a full prawn out - eyes and whiskers and all. We tried to keep putting it down for a bit, but it just wasn't happening.
The bokumbap looked more hopeful, and tasted great, until Melanie got something chewy and we realized there was beef in the black bean sauce. You'd never guess from looking at it would you? There's a lesson in there for vegetarians in Korea.
So we left a little nauseous and more than a little disappointed that we paid ~US$10 to get that way. On the way home I picked up the always reliable economic assistance kimbap and an asian pear and am feeling grateful for them both now.