I often get asked the question, what’s your favorite type of Asian food? (Or in rare instances, “Oriental food,” asked by completely oblivious non-asians…) Anywho, I have to say, I have no answer for this rather complex, yet general, question. I like it all. Put it in front of me, and I will eat it.
I go through my phases of course. Recently, I’ve been waking up at night with the sushi sweats- longing for a bowl of rice topped with grilled unagi and fresh hamachi. This past winter, I went through a mild obsession with Cantonese-style congees, especially congee with dried scallop and 100-year old egg. My love for Thai and Vietnamese cuisine is everlasting. They all satisfy my cravings in different ways.
On a recent night, we went out for Korean spicy tofu soup. Soon doo-boo jigae. Kind of rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? Served in a hot earthenware casserole, it’s a bubbling brew of spicy stock (pork or seafood), shrimp and oysters, pork, or kimchee, and the soon doo-boo: the deliciously creamy silken tofu. I like mine with an egg cracked on top, left to firm up in the hot soup.
I always forget just how satisfying Korean food is. It’s like eating a box of chocolate liquors in one go: intensely intoxicating, heady and bold. Korean food is proof that a good sweat can work wonders to cool down the body. Everytime I leave a Korean barbeque or finish a hot bowl of jigae, I feel as if I’ve just come out of a bathhouse- calm and sedated, mopping away at my brow.