Awoolim: Food Adventure in Your Own Backyard
From time to time I will surf Yelp for something random to inspire me, to venture out and explore new uncharted food offerings in my city.
All to often I think we all get stuck in our ways. We want our omelets and french toast on Sundays. Our kale salad for lunch on weekdays when we are being good, our carnitas quesadillas when we are being bad. Hot wings on our cheat day. Patty Melts with seasoned curly fries and onion rings with ranch dressing and garlic aioli on our other cheat day.
Ok, that’s my other cheat day.
And I applaud this to a degree, I really do. We should know what we like by now. If we are not certain about the foods we enjoy then what the hell else can we be certain of? Other than death and taxes of course. But by no means should be we constrained by these predilictions. No.
Experimentation is the cornerstone to enlightenment and if you are to be well educated about anything what more enjoyable a subject to master than food.
When you enter the underground parking lot you automatically feel you’ve crossed the threshold of a new land, signs are in Korean as well as English. The mall itself is not unlike any mall you have seen – though I can’t remember the last time I was in a mall that had its own supermarket.
There are tons of businesses I had never heard of like Apple Avenue, Bel Ami, Max & Pinko but that is obviously the fun of it all. It’s not the youngest and spryest of the K-town malls. It’s more like the grandma with the tennis ball walker, but that is it’s charm.
I like old. It makes me feel young by comparison.
Their was not a Caucasian soul around and when I entered the food court my eyes darted about like a cat following a dangling string. I leapt from station to station sniffing the noodle soups, the steamed dumplings, the BBQ meats, and even though I knew I came to see my Awoolim I was sincerely tempted to strike at many others. But I stayed the course and remained true to Awoolim, my muse for the day.
Awoolim offers the experience of true Korean street food from Seoul.
That is what I had been told and that billing was what brought me here and I couldn’t wait to sample as much as possible and at around three bucks a plate, I could and I did!
Street food fascinates me.
I think it was all the sabrett hot dog, souvlaki, and chinese street carts growing up as a kid in NYC, and then my three months in South East Asia as an adult, that re-ingnited my burning love for quick and curious eats. Awoolim certainly delivered on that need and scratched that flaming itch.
My favorites were the Kimbap, which is the Korean version of sushi rolls. The one pictured below is with Bulgogi (seasoned BBQ meat) but they come with a variety of different fillings.
Another darling little nosh is Kimarhee, a tempura fried seaweed roll stuffed with rice noodle (also pictured below), but what makes the awesome bites they serve up all come together under one house party is the Fish Cake SAUCE, Tteokbokki. And I found myself involuntarily dipping everything in it!
Tteokbokki, I f*cking adore you!
The sauce is sweet. It’s spicy. It’s tangy. It’s got the hint of fish and the salt of the sea and the flavor has got the power of tsunami.
Drink it, b*itches. You will thank me.
My belly hugged me for hours after I left.
*** Honorable mention: The Sikhye, a sweet, lightly fruity rice drink. It’s really refreshing and I wish it were more readily available.
Awoolim, I offer you a sincere bow for giving me a lesson on Korean day to day tastes and comforts. I dig ’em. I really do.