Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday, January 27th - DDuhk Guk and VIJ's restaurant

For Korean New Year, which is the same as the Chinese because alot of south east asia followed the Lunar calendar, we eat and do specific things. For food, we have a similar tradition as the Chinese but quite different actual dish. Dumplings are a traditional dish. Now for chinese it is a stuffed something like a wonton or stuffed bun. For Korean's it's rice cake. Now, I don't know why they call DDUHK rice cake since it's more like rice based gnocci or dumplings in like a beef stew. Maybe because before we got the sweet version of 'western' cake, we ate dduhk for a post meal snack.

The Traditional New Years meal is Dhuhk Mandu Guk. Dhuck are the rice dumplings. The kind that is normally used for the soup are cut in a specific way. It's cut from a roll that is like a loonie coin in diameter. The slices are about twice the thickness of a loonie coin cut on a 60 degree bias so that the length is about 1.5-2 inches. Mandu are Korean wonton. Guk is Korean for soup.

The typical broth is a pork broth and anchovy (milchi) broth with pieces of pork in it. Milchi is not the oil preserved type you see in tins or jars in the italian shops. Milchi are about 1.5 inches long and 1 cm wide, dried, silver and salty. They are the typical base for a soup broth similar to the Japanese dashi. My mom only does the Milchi Mul (fish water literally) for the broth. She started adding shrimp for more flavour and because she probably thinks it needs protein. My sister and I went pescotarian in University. Then you add the dduhk and mandu. There should be a lot of dduhk in relation to the broth. Well, that's the way my mom does it. In restaurants, you'd probably see 1 to 4 solids to soup. Then add about 3-4 mandu per person. Swirl in a beaten egg or two depending on how many servings. We serve them in those enormous noodle bowls you see in Korean restaurants and wonder how Koreans can be so thin. I still have portion control issues to this day.

Well, I did not have dduhk mandu guk because I went to Cru last night. So for lunch today (after my Special K breakfast) I had 12 steamed seafood/kimchee mandu with chilli garlic/soy sauce dip. I was going to have lucky 8 but was worried I'd still be hungry. I went with 12 to represent the 12 zodiac signs.

D is back from Whistler today. Tonight we'll probably go for sushi because our out of town guest from Shanghai says that's one of the only cuisines he cannot get in quality there.

For Dinner we went to VIJ's. It and he have been one of the most popular choices for foodies in Vancouver. He does a modern indian, westcoasty type of thing. It's a medium sized place which seats about 50. There is a small bar in the back that seats 10 to WAIT only. The great bit is that they serve fresh nibblies back there. Cassava fries, Onion and Vegetable fritters. The place takes no reservations and they open the doors for first sitting at 5h30. Almost any day of the week, there are people out front for the opening. After first sitting is full up you are looking at a minimum of 45min-1 hr wait. They do not take parties larger than six. Unless you email and beg like I did once. Got Vij himself to say okay but that is rare and was only because my friend was leaving the company and she was going to culinary school and loves Vij's food.

I had a glass of Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner and D and Vaughn had pale ale Pilsner. I had several of the cassava fries and a few fritters. And something that looked like a lentil curry on a crispy bread.

We were okay on hunger so shared one starter. Jackfruit in black Cardamom and Cumin Masala sauce with ginger. It was SOOOO gud. I thought it would be fruity or sweet but it wasn't. The cooked jackfruit actually had the texture of skate fish. String like breakdown. Very hearty. Served with Naan. They've changed the naan. It's smaller, flatter and not as buttery.

We started with a very expensive Goo (Gewurztraminer). I want to say Humbrecht but that was the second half of a double barrel name. It is imported at about 100. It was very floral, sweet with essence of rose petals, pear and apricots. Lovely.

We wanted to try another Goo after to compare. Again, unfortunately did not take note but it was the 50 bottle on their menu. It was lighter and crisper. It had the same aroma but less pungent. We asked for an ice bucket that time because the windowsill was not keeping it cool enough.

For main I ordered the Grilled Sable fish, Vaughn the lamb popsicles (their star but not as good last night) and D the Pork tenderloin. They messed up the lamb or gave it away and brought beef shortribs by accident. So they let us have it for free. It had Kale on top so I took it all :-D. D wasn't impressed but it was the only bit I could have. haha!

The meals were all excellent. The fish was proabably the best thought I didn't have high hopes for it because it didn't come in a curry sauce. I tried the lamb popsicle sauce which is AMAZING.... normally it's cream with fenugreek and it wasn't as rich this time or as pungent. Vaughn wasn't impressed. He liked the fish the best. Everything is served with refillable basmati with cardamom and coriander and the naan. The rice was better tonight than the naan which I normally pig out on. We did wait quite a while for our mains so I did eat a few pieces.

The food was described as follows in the menu:

Beef Shortribs in a cinnamon and redwine curry with warm greens.
Wine marinated lambpopsicles in fenugreek cream curry on tumeric spinach potatoes.
Grilled pork tenderloins and backribs in fennel seed, ginger and coconut curry with roasted cashews.
Marinated and grilled sablefish with grilled zuccini in Mango reduction.

(no reservations, first come first serve. doors open at 5h30.)j's

1480 11th Avenue West
Vancouver, BC
V6H 1L1‎
(604) 736-6664‎

(this time)

Dessert we skipped. Went home for some Whisky, Balweinie 12 and Macallans 12 to see of Vaughn could begin to like scotch. And Vaughn had some vanilla icecream with Agave syrup.

mmmm... course I woke up in the middle of the night with a splitting GOO induced headache.

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