Wooden Bars and Korean Pancakes

It has been a long time since I’ve posted, and not because I have a lack of meals to talk about and explorations to divulge. More so, I have too many things to transcribe. With so much to write, I have a problem figuring out where exactly to begin. More recent, or stay chronological? Korean or experimental? Breakfast, lunch or dinner? Sweet or Savory. With so many questions, I take anything as a sign to write.

My latest sign? A family friend had ever-so-kindly sent my blog along to one of his friends. In his description, he said that this was a blog about Korean food, amongst other cuisines. Incidentally, I haven’t been posting much about Korean food lately. So, as a sign, I’ve decided to dedicate this post both to Korean food, and spreading the word of 20something meals.

 

Out of the wide world of Korean food, from rice dishes to soups to stews to pickled side dishes, one of my favorite dishes pajeon, or any kind of jeon (전). Unlike other Korean dishes, which I jokingly say never fill me up, this one is a hearty dish that doesn’t play around. Typically, jeons are eaten after the sun sets and the beer starts to flow. That is to say, this greasy-savory pancake is a drinking food that fills you up to sustain you through the wee hours of the night.

I’ve had jeon on a few occasions; it’s not a food that you eat regularly at all.  After a long work day a few of my coworkers and I would go to the best pajeon in my neighborhood, get a large bowl (note: bowl not pitcher) of a rice wine, and go to town on a double-decker pajeon while regaling each other with stories of the weekend, or plans for the future. There, it was both the atmosphere and hearty bites that really made me fall in love with this food. It was crispy like falafel on the outside, and chewy on the inside reveiling it’s quick pan-fried cooking technique, loaded up with green onions, peppers, onions, and sometimes a piece of squid or three. To pick up a piece between the ends of your chopsticks, dunk it in soy sauce laden with wasabi, and wash it down with a rice wine is truly 20something and Korean.

Despite it’s near perfection for that “every now and then” moment, I decided to switch one thing up in the jeon equation: the location. As with most things these days, I wanted to try to make it myself. From peanut butter to bread to kimchi-jeon, I wanted to make the delicious treat for myself, proving that I could a) do it and b) share it with others.

And with a few searches on the internet and through a Christmas present (Korean cookbook), I found a recipe worth trying. And luckily for me, it was extremely simple. Flour, some eggs, water, oil, green onions, and some kimchi (but of course), a frying pan, and an appetite was all I really needed.

I tried two versions, one being a kimchi jeon, and one being a mixed vegetable jeon, just as a comparison. Both were savory, hearty, warm and satisfying on that cold night back a few months ago. Although the atmosphere wasn’t the smoky, wooden, Korean bar, and there was tea accompanying this jeon and not rice wine, the flavors were still there, and I enjoyed every crispy, salty, 20something bite.

A quick thank you to those who are sharing my experiences with others. I genuinely appreciate any and everyone who reads this – it’s a huge compliment to know people read this blog regularly. If you have any comments, concerns, or suggestions, please feel free to comment. Thank you again.

 

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10 thoughts on “Wooden Bars and Korean Pancakes

    • They were two different Pajeons! One was juicy with Kimchi, and the other was drier with many vegetables. Thanks for reading!

  1. Josh I am so enjoying reading your blog. Your style pulls me along and makes me hungry simultaneously. I may have spelled “simultaneously” wrong. I’m drooling on my keyboard and some of the keys are stucked together.

  2. So again the list of what you will need to make is growing! Completely incredible to me how wonderful all this looks and how much I want to make stuff.

  3. Hi Josh! Your mom sends me things from you occasionally, and it’s really fun to hear about what you’re up to. I wanted to tell you that I think you write really well about your travels, food, and the whole general experience. You give a great feeling for what things are like over there, and I’m so glad that you are getting to do so much!

    with love to you,
    Louise

  4. Well, well. I finally had to add my piece of Trini comment. Your mom has been so kind to keep me updated with your exciting life of food and culture experiences. Everything looks absolutely delicious so don’t be alarmed when the folks back West expect you to do the real thing every time they visit you or you visit them.

    So much for virtual meals!

    • Thank you so much for the wise words from Trinidad! And thank you for reading my blog! I’ll have to make a trip back to Trinidad and show case the amazing foods there (and wonderful people!)

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