The quest for chim


OK.  So now I know that chim means stew, I am on a mission to find it somewhere.

Last night I went to the nearest equivalent of a Korean greasy spoon where I can eat by myself, (you know – where all the working class folk eat for cheap) and I studied the menu.  The Korean menus at these places are presented much like fast food sushi menus in the states – where they give you the bill with every item listed, and you write the quantity down next to the ones you want.   Annoyingly,  Asian servers give new meaning to the waiter job description, as they actually do wait for you to make your choice.  No pressure.  Unfortunately, I don’t know hangul well, so I am sounding out the last words of the whole menu, looking for chim.

Glory hallelujah, I find some chim under the chiggae (soup) section and order it.  So it comes, and it’s more like soup.  And there are strange things floating in it.  It has a lot of seafood, as well as some veined white meat about an inch wide (God, I hope it’s not one of those tube worm things) with the consistency of liver,  and then to my horror there is something that looks like this:

imagine these floating in your soup
imagine these floating in your soup

Yes.  I tried them.  (they were white, though, and cooked)

No.  They weren’t bad.  Neither were they anything special.  I guess you could say they were tender…

But the liver-like thing was pretty gross.

I asked the other teachers in the lunchroom about brains, and they didn’t know of any Korean dishes with brains.  One of the teachers thought it might be intestines.

But really, they actually looked like the photo above.  That, along with whole head-on shrimp, squid strips, and mussels.

I’m sure some gourmet would have loved it, and it might fetch a hefty price somewhere as a fetish dish.  I paid 4,500 won for it, which is the equivalent of $3.00

I think I am going to avoid the word “mixed” from now in, especially in reference to soup or stew…

7 thoughts on “The quest for chim

  1. The photo, yuck! I’m eating bibimbap right now, in front of my laptop.
    I think I ate the same thing, not sure, and yes, i also think it’s intestines.

  2. Went to the korean yesterday for lunch, had some spiced pork (very good) and a coworker had some bibimpap and really liked it :)

  3. Went to the korean restaurant yesterday for lunch, had some spiced pork (very good) and a coworker had some bibimpap and really liked it :)

  4. Really? They looked just like above and all as one mass instead of entrails. They were the size of a small tangerine. But okay, that is two Koreans saying intestines, so I will believe it and that will make me feel better for what I have done.

    I guess any organs make me squeamish, so I don’t know why the thought of brains is any worse! It is not the seat of the soul, and thoughts – what are they but computations in a hard drive?

    I once saw footage of (horrible – too horrible) people eating monkey brain out of the poor monkey’s skulls who were killed at the table, tables made specially for this delicacy at some restaurants in China.

    I think that footage traumatized me for life. I am having a hard time forgiving myself for eating what looked like brain right now.

  5. Yes. Bibimbop is always a safe bet! Very yummy and nourishing. As is spiced pork. Since there are two of you, you should go to Korean BBQ. I really like the Samgyapsil (sp? Basically, it’s thick sliced bacon that is grilled) and the Kalbi and Bulkogi are always good. (marinated short ribs or marinated steak)

    So I ordered this at a Kimbop type restaurant, since that’s the only traditional Korean type place I can go as a single diner. But it’s also frustrating to get a menu with fifty items and only order bibimbop or kimbop every time because that is the only thing you know because you can’t read…

    WOW! I just realized how it feels to be illiterate! I AM ILLITERATE!!!

    Illiterate and hungry and looking for some old fashioned stew…

  6. I wonder if you would eat “bundaegi”.

    It was so delicious, I loved it! I used to eat them like fries without knowing what I was eating.

    About 20+ years ago, my parents brought me to a korean restaurant. I talked about it to the waitress, I wanted to know the name of the food, I gave her it’s description and told her that based on my memory, it looks like bugs. She said, yes they were bugs.

    During my two trips, each time I smelled it in the street, I was mouthwatering and but knowing what it is now, a part of me was disgusted. The last time, I talked about it to a guy and he made me buy some. Although the smell still made me mouthwatering, after taking a tiny bite of one, I was completly disgusted and couldn’t eat. The guy was happy to eat it.
    If I had stayed in Korea, I would be still eating them and liking them without prejudice like that guy.

    If you see the bundaegis, would you take a photo and post it?

  7. Ahh…

    Yes, of course if I find some I will take a photo of it for you!

    In Thailand, at the markets, you could buy silk worms to eat. Some were candied. Some looked as if they were fried. I wanted to try some but was later too busy to get back to the market to buy some.

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