Cooking Pinakbet in Seoul
There are several Filipino stores here in Seoul. There are also a few Filipino restaurants. On Sundays, Hyewha-dong is teeming with vendors selling Filipino stuff. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a Filipino store or to Hyewha-dong. Sometimes, I crave for good Filipino food and most often than not I get to have them at our gatherings.
Last October, a long-time friend who lives in Jeonju surprised me by sending a package of veggies – okra, bitter gourd (ampalaya), string beans, sweet peas and sponge gourd (patola). Her timing couldn’t be more perfect as I was hosting a housewarming party that weekend. The veggies were perfectly ripe.
So I cooked “pinakbet” in Seoul for the first time. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I just had to make an overseas call to my Pangasinense mother. I didn’t have “bagoong” or “alamang” but I used “se-oo jeot” which is the Korean shrimp paste, similar to our “alamang”.
Now, when I feel like eating Filipino food and I don’t have all the ingredients or I’m feeling lazy, I now know where to go. Last Sunday at the “Himig Pasko Tinig Pinoy”, a Filipino caterer – Annabel’s Catering – provided meals for free and their food was really good. I had “igado”, “dinuguan” and “lumpiang gulay”. The latter was a little greasy and the “dinuguan” just a tinny bit sweetish but it was good. Oh, I also remember taking home some corn soup and it was delish! I actually liked their food and I think it’s better than a lot of other restaurants.