Hey there folks, Oisin here. Yes, I know it’s a ridiculous name. It means ‘deer’ in Irish, but unfortunately no one can pronounce it outside of Ireland! So call me what you will. I’ve been called ‘Oh Shit’, ‘Ocean’, ‘Octopus’ and even ‘Washing Machine’ for some bizarre reason. I’ll be filling you in with regard to all things Korean this year!
Right now I am sitting in Abu Dhabi Airport waiting to go back to Korea. I have a FIFTEEN hour layover here. FIFTEEN HOURS… That’s my penance for booking the cheapest flight I suppose. On top of that they are celebrating Ramadan over here, where Muslims do not eat in public during daylight. So I am sitting here typing away, eating a sandwich and getting all types of angry stares from hungry airport-goers. But feck it… I’m a growing lad!
Now let’s cut to the chase shall we? I absolutely love Korean food. Having lived in Ireland, Chicago and now Korea, I find no other food compares to Korean cuisine. There is so much variety, flavor and texture to Korean food that is unparalleled in my travels. I am particularly fond of Samgyeopsal, Korean barbecued pork belly.
When I came home to Ireland I decided to see if there were many Korean places in Dublin and if so, how delicious were they? After a brief online search, I chose a place called ‘Hi Lan’ near Dublin City Center. After a fair few beers with an old friend, we decided to check it out together.
The friend is called Brian and this was a brand new experience for him, as you can tell by the sheer look of excitement on his face, though that also may have been the beers.
So we walk in and sit ourselves down. I surrounded myself with an air or arrogant confidence because, naturally, I know everything about Korean food since I have lived there for a year. Immediately we got a bowl of Prawn crackers which are deep fried crispy snacks of fatty goodness. Ok, not Korean at all, but served in every single Asian restaurant in Ireland. The waitress walked over so I puffed up my chest and ordered Samgyeopsal. She looked at me blankly. I said it again; this time telling her that it is Korean. She lit up and handed me a menu . . . completely in Korean.
Now, I have lived in Korea for a year. But alas, I have not exactly put a handle on the language. I am still working on my A, B, C’s. I eventually found something that had a ‘sa’ and a ‘gu’ in it and assumed I was on the right path. I also tried to order pork galbi to which I got a blank stare again. Eventually, we got on the right track.
So we got our coals in front of us, then the Samgyeopsal and the galbi came out. The Samgyeopsal looked way too circular and perfect, like a McDonalds patty. The galbi looked lovely. We also got small bowls of satay sauce and green beans for some reason. But, alas, nothing else! We had to order kimchi, red pepper paste, garlic and leaves SEPARATELY! We then got a bottle of Soju and I introduced Brian to wonders of Soju (a.k.a the roofie of all alcohol) and the various ways to pour and receive it. After a few shots of Soju, the two of us were very jolly indeed.
And now for the cooking… All of my worries melted away when I got that delicious smell of cooking pork. It smelled absolutely fantastic.
Then we began to eat… It was delicious. The leaves we wrapped our meat in was Iceberg lettuce which proved to be pretty difficult but the kimchi, garlic and red pepper paste tasted perfect. The green beans and the satay were merely a distraction.
I’m not gonna lie, we were satisfied. We ate to our hearts content and then even had to get doggy bags as there was simply too much meat! As a guy who has eaten his fair share of Korean food I really enjoyed this bastardization of Korean/Chinese/Irish food. The whole thing came to the hefty price of $40 USD, which in the grand scheme of things wasn’t so bad (We had a fair few bottles of Soju)
Overall, I can’t wait to get back to Korea, but I must say it’s nice to know that Ireland has my back if I ever get deported.