Back in the U.S., if someone were to suggest duck for dinner, I would decline; assuming they had an expensive craving for French fare. However, when a friend asked me to join them for BBQ duck in my neighborhood (Jangan-dong) tonight, I didn’t think twice.
Korean food isn’t fancy. It’s not presented on pristine plates. It’s not drizzled with colorful purées or rich sauces. Meat is served as meat, vegetables as vegetables. And the cost reflects the simplicity. In fact, I can’t recall a meal in Seoul ever costing me more than 15,000 won (less than 13 American dollars). Tonight was no exception.
Four servings of fresh duck meat, sliced potatoes, tteok (rice cakes), lettuce wraps, greens and unlimited banchan (small plates of vegetables) for 7,000 won a person ($5.90). The best part? The owner cooked everything for us and demonstrated the proper way to eat. Here are some pictures from the feast:
This was the perfect bite, according to the owner: A piece of duck atop spicy greens, rolled in a sliced radish and sesame leaf. There was a tangy mustard/vinegar sauce for the duck, and a spicy pepper sauce for dipping.
A look at the second helping of meat and potatoes.
Another way of eating the duck: wrapped in leaf lettuce, with sautéed sprouts, onions and spicy greens.
I went back and forth between wrapping the duck in lettuce, wrapping it with radish slices, and eating it straight from the grill with my chopsticks. If it weren’t for the threat of second degree burns, I would’ve forgone the chopsticks entirely and eaten with my hands. Needless to say, it was some good duck.