You know that feeling you get when you come home from a long, hard day of work and the kitchen table is covered with large, wholesale quantities of traditional Korean snack food? Yeah, that feeling. Well, I'll lay it out for you. You walk in the door and this is the sight you're greeted with.
The gigantic bags are full of roasted black beans.
The plates are covered with ssukddeok (쑥떡), which means 'mugwort rice cake' and is basically mugwort, a plant that grows wild and that is considered a weed in North America, mixed in with rice flour and, I conjecture, something sweet.
The resulting flavor is something else entirely. It strikes a great balance between sweet, gooey snackiness and herby, mediciney healthiness, and it tastes delicious.
This stuff, well, I don't know. Soy sauce and some stuff, I think.
Actually, it's soy sauce, vinegar, sesame seeds, and chives. Does a body good and goes well with pajeon. In fact the above bowl is probably enough of the stuff for 25 large pajeon.
It's nice to come home to all these things. Unfortunately all of these things have their downsides. You really have to eat the ssukddeok fast, so basically stop eating everything for a couple of days and chow down on it until it's gone or what's left has gone bad. And the beans give you unbearable, painful gas. And the soy sauce is really pretty limited use. And when you have a ton of all those things, you really have to eat them until you hate them. When I took these pictures on Monday I was salivating. It's now Saturday and I hate them all and will until I've forgotten what they taste like and they appear on my kitchen table out of the blue. The circle of life continues.