Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not What You'd Think: On Dal 2

Your hands, tainted with this unforgettable funk of the sweet--but burdensome--struggle. Your clothes, poka-dotted with these little specks of that deep, thick, uncongealed liquid. Your mouth, still chewing over the offal remains after sucking at the carcass....relax, i haven't stooped that low yet, this was only my hot pot Spicy Crab Soup yesterday at On Dal 2, and it was only the beginning...

The special here is the Crab Soup. They have other things, such as fish soups, prawn soups but the waiter won't let you order them so don't even bother (at first I chose the fish, but the waiter insisted otherwise). Don't let their curt service turn you off though, they only want the best for you. Looks can be highly deceiving when you are eating here but trust, I think you will be pleasantly surprised

Start off with the order of their tea. At first sip, you might think they brewed it in the same pot they use to make coffee or something. But actually, that faint nutty, butteryness is derived from the corn used to make this tea. Corn Tea was a byproduct of Koreans boiling their own water with corn kernels to make it potable, since their was not any filtered water available back then in South Korea.

You might not even want to touch half the Banchan (korean side dishes) that comes with the meal: that measly plate with what looks like pre-packaged salad mix with orange goop on it, those raw pieces of crab smothered with full-bodied, crimson colored, fermented tofu sauce, the marinated Jellyfish, those slices of raw sweet potato, the candied seaweed, that long, snake-like fish thing (whole grilled pike that is imported from Japan). But if you decide to venture into the unknown: savoring the citrusy pureed mixed fruit used as that dressing (orange goop), digging out the sashimi-like, soft flesh of the crab and tasting only a little of that powerful sauce at a time (raw crab salad), chewing and popping the unique texture of that jellyfish, noticing that that fish-thing actually doesn't taste that fishy at all, and mixing in some of that crunchy candied seaweed...you might experience some sort of Korean crab-induced unami experience.

At least I did, over and over and over. See, just when you think its over, finishing up the last piece of their crab egg intensive crabcake, and the last strand of the slightly mature bean sprout (its edible raw, but gets tender after boiling), next comes the house-made pasta course. Some more of that wondrous broth, a couple of slivers of zucchini and onion, and these little pieces of perfectly al-dente pieces of pasta that the lady tears off herself from a piece of dough that she is weaving in front of you. But pace yourself still...

After this, comes the Fried Rice course. Yup....a big bowl of stachy, creamy rice that s combined with whatever is left of the hot pot and the leftover Panchan, All skillfully stir-fried with a bit roasted soybean powder, edible chrysanthemum leaves, and a dash of sesame oil to change it up a bit.

But wait, that's not all...you gotta have some sort of palate cleanser, some type of digestive aid to keep that profound funk of the sea from lingering for days on end. In this case, it is their family's recipe for sikhae, a refreshing drink made from rice and a bunch of other stuff that served ice cold.

Just try to leave here feeling like a water balloon...

On Dal 2
(cant find the address) but...
2-3 blocks east from Washington and La Brea

1 comment:

Taste-Buzz said...

Yeah, total coincidence. I was actually there last week but was without a good internet connection so I had to sandbag the post.

Hard to call it the Westside, though. For me, the dividing line is La Cienega, which is 310 to its left and 323 to its right. It's such a natural dividing line.