Oxtail Soup

My art teacher today was telling me about her weekend plans and how she put so much effort into making kkori gomtang (꼬리곰탕 ), or as we would call it: Oxtail Soup. Now what struck my interest in posting about this was the mere fact that to buy one, ONE, oxtail was 100,000 WON. That is roughly $100. ::choke:: In America, the price can range between $4 – $10 per pound, with most recipes calling for a few pounds. NEVER would you pay that much!
 
In Korea, beef is not as popular. On top of that, as my teacher put it, “The cow has only one tail”, and thus a unique piece to eat.

 

One story on the origin of Oxtail Soup is that during the French Revolution when the slaughterhouses sent the their hides to the tanneries without cleaning them, leaving on the tails. A French noble asked for a tail, which was willingly given to him, and he created the first oxtail soup. Soon, the tanners began charging for the tails because of the constant demand that had been created for them. The dish was supposedly introduced to England by French refugees from the ‘terror’.

This origin is news to me, what I had known came from American history and roots of oxtail in American slavery history. When the European slave trade began in the early 1400s, the diet of newly enslaved Africans changed on the long journeys from their homeland. As slaves, African-Americans would “make do” with the ingredients at hand. The fresh vegetables found in Africa were replaced by the throwaway foods from the plantation house. African American slaves also developed recipes which used discarded meat from the plantation, such as pig’s feet, beef tongue or tail, ham hocks, chitterlings (pig small intestines), pig ears, hog jowls, tripe and skin.

To learn more about Korean soups and the differences among them, wiki has a pretty good article describing them.

Korean Oxtail Soup

Another Korean Oxtail Soup

Jamaican Oxtail Soup

 

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Thailand mini Reunion in Daegu!

Back in February, around the Lunar New Year, a few friends came to visit whom you’ll recognize from my Thailand escapades! Rachel and Brad made a guest appearance in Daegu that weekend, sparking some intense hiking, dancing and whatever else could ensue.

Rachel and Laurie arrived in Daegu ready for some grub. We headed to Holy Grill, it was Mexican night after all. What better way than to top it off with margaritas and sangria!

We leave these two alone for a few hours while Jodi and I meet up with Brad and his friends to go to G20, one of the few Hip-Hop/ not-anything-electric-finally clubs. The best part about it? Getting two tickets along with admission for a free drink and barbecued treat! That’s right, there was a guy grilling next to the line so whenever you needed a breather, or a cigarette break you could also enjoy your BBQed meat with a small side salad. Amazing.

So by the time Jodi and I met up with them we realized they had taken advantage of the unlimited baggie drinks at Go-Go (seedy hangout for the GI’s here) and had commemorated the night by purchasing matching shirts. Oy vey! You can read about their awesome hilarious night on Rachel’s witty post, where craziness ensues.

It was a successful weekend. Rachel and I challenged ourselves (aka I knew I was going to die, but decided it was worth the experience) and we met up with Brad and his friends from Ulsan to hike Dongbong Peak on Mount Palgongsan so we could see the seated Gatbawi Buddha. The peak stands at 1,155meters, that’s 3,789.3 feet that I climbed in two hours when it was suppose to be a three hour hike.

The biggest blessing was having Brad who (I am ashamed to say this) felt sick and had to stop every once in a while to catch his bearings, AND the fact that it was the weekend of the Lunar New Year and thus hundreds of people were on this same mountain slooooowly making their way up. This mountain kicked my ass. Oh so terribly I felt like I was living Jodi’s personal hell of never-ending stairs. For about two hours….that felt like way more, we climbed this mountain of never-ending stairs. No wonder you feel bliss and enlightenment when you reach the top, it’s you realizing you made it and are still alive! The saddest part? We apparently opted for the easier route, with the added stairs. There’s another side to it with NO stairs. Hijole!

As people consumed the small space next to the mountain, I was busy reflecting how much I sucked at exercising. I was amazed to see children and old people climb these mountains like it was just a breath of exerted air. Wow. Just wow.

AND the worst part was not the climb up, but the climb DOWN! How scary is it having your knees and legs shaking as you are descending these uneven stairs with old women pushing their way to get to the bottom. Almost slipped a few times as I held on to the rail and my mind went numb with the idea of hitting the bottom. Scariest thing in a while to experience. Sounds stupid but it’s really not.

And what should NOT have been a surprise but still was, was the MASSIVE line of people waiting at the bottom to take the bus. Old people are vicious let me tell you. We had to wait for 4 buses worth in order to finally get on one. And this was after some old women blatantly skipped everyone and bum rushed the bus. The other people watching our exasperated tired faces only laughed and pitied the poor waeguks getting walked on.

He was worth it though. The medicinal Buddha was quite a sight, beautifully carved out of the mountain it came from:


Watch: 3 Things you must know about Korea..

Cool video I found on Youtube that explains a bit of Korean culture like I would never be able to:

The Woman with 3 Birthdays

My friend at school revealed to me today that technically-ish she has 3 birthdays. Say what?? It took quite a long time for me to fully grasp what she meant. So her Western birthday, which most people go by on documents as well, is January 30th. Her Lunar birthday is around the same time but changes every year….so this year it was in March.

Then she said that officially her documents say her birthday is in April. …. What??? According to her, especially a long time ago, people would register their baby later than when they were born. I guess to see if the child lived? She even knew of someone who was registered 3 years after her birth! Say what?!

Now that’s just crazy. But knowing me? I would totally enjoy it. She celebrates her birthday with her family on her Lunar birthday and then her friends celebrate her “official” birthday in April. Jealous!