I don't think it's any secret that I adore Korean food. Growing up, we spent time traveling to Korea. My parents are just as into good food and good ingredients as I am, so we spent a lot of time as a child eating our way through trips. In Korea there was a barbecue place that served traditional Korean barbecue. Usually they served us real coke in a bottle with the meal, but you could also ask for pineapple juice and it was delicious.
The barbecue spot is so clearly burned in my memory. The tables were sticky. The tabletop barbecue was coated in grilled sauces burned on after years of sitting on those same tables. The ladies who brought the food were so cute and adored my little light haired sister and I. They giggled every time we ate garlic cloves whole. They loved that we stuffed our faces with kim chi and bulgogi.
If you want to make me a dinner that will make me swoon, make it Korean food. The key ingredient in turning regular ol' dinner into a Korean dinner is gochuchang. Gochuchang is a fermented red chili paste made with red chilies, fermented soybeans and salt. It's only used in Korean food - even though the Chinese and Japanese share so many ingredients in their food as Korea, they don't use gochuchang.
The trick is, once you buy a jar of the stuff, you have a jar of it. Because it's fermented, it lasts for a really long time.
Want to see the depths of my Korean food love? Check out my video of my little trip down to the International District in Seattle.