Friday, October 30, 2009

She Bangs. She Toebangs.

I haven't been back to Korea since I emigrated 4 score and 7 years ago. However, really, given my proximity to k-town, in some ways, it's like I've never left. My hairdresser, optometrist, garage mechanic and my smother are all conveniently located in k-town. And so are a gangload of places to eat and loiter about in. Strangely, though, I don't really eat korean food that often in ktown. What a pity because korean food is uniquely satisfying to me. We understand each other, the garlic and the kim chee and I. We go way back and I suspect, we're going to know each other for a long time to come.

Toebang is a shack that has a patio that's been made up to look sort of like a tented food stall as one might find the natives inhabiting in Seoul, or so I surmise. This patio is also filled with chain smokers of the Nan Kempner stripe so be warned.

The food was fantastic. I was extremely pleased by all that I ate that night. And my friend, our new friend Magnus and I, (three Koreans) ate like survivors of the Korean War. We did it for our ancestors. Alright fine. We did it because that's how we roll.

We wet our whistles with some soju and some beer. I couldn't actually drink the soju. Unless you've got a gunshot wound that a field surgeon is going to operate on without anesthesia, or you're giving birth in a bus or you're about to sing karaoke or your plane's been shot down by enemy forces and someone's cued the music from the death scene from Platoon - really, stick to beer. Soju will peel the lining from your liver, I'm sure of it.

Toebang table bttr
Tofu with sauteed kimchee and pork belly. The porky near baconesque fat just coats the kimchee in the most savory film while the kimchee's spicy and fermented acidity cuts the fat. It's one of my favorite dishes and this version was truly well done indeed.
Nothing beats the comfort of o-deng. It sounds like a korean rap artist or an African dance troupe but it's just fish cakes in a comforting turnip anchovy broth. I love biting into the round fishcakes. This is one of my favorite soups but I have like 300 of them so that's not much of a distinction. It's definitely top 50 - maybe even top 25.
fishcake soup
Egg roll with a vat of ketchup. We all talked about why it was necessary to serve like 30 ounces of my favorite red sauce with this deal. What a waste. eggroll
The galbee had sound fundamentals. It was smokey, fatty, meaty, marinated, garlickey, sweet and juicy in all the right ways.
I left with a tightness around my midsection that indicated the food here was really really good. This might be my new ktown favorite. Too bad I rarely hang out in ktown. Magnus also told me he rarely hangs in ktown clubs or restaurants at night. His parents apparently warn him against doing so citing gun violence as does my mother. We laughed at their local news watching paranoia. Imagine how funny it would have been if we had been gunned down that night. Well, I guess it wouldn't exactly be funny but we had the last laugh as no ktown gangsters opened a hail of gunfire at us while we ate kimchee pork. Which is lucky for them because much like a bear is disinclined to be disturbed when taking his repast, I too take my prandial moments rather seriously. Ya heard?
Restaurant Toe Bang on Urbanspoon


  1. I have always giggled at the name Toebang. Maybe I should actually go inside some day.

  2. Psh, please, whatever Ricky Martin, She Toebangs. So funny about the soju - I'm with you on that. The sauteed kimichi - tofu - pork belly dish looks delish!

  3. seriously toebang? wow. i'm already hooked. soju takes paint off walls.

  4. I'm glad you weren't gunned down. If you had been, you wouldn't have been able to write this most funny post!

  5. If it's a Sookie favorite, I'm SO there. Thanks for the tip. I'm always looking for great restaurants in K-Town.

  6. Weezer'; I love the word toebang. So ridiculous. I read it means vomit room. Uhh yummm.

    Anna: I love sauteed kimchi. It's the bestest!

    Bags: Soju is not my friend.

    Diana: True. I'm glad I wasn't gunned down too. And so are the ktown gangstahs because the cycle of revenge that my death would ensue would make a kung fu movie look positively cartoonish. You'd avenge me, right? With your bar method killing techniques?

    Gassy: Yeah, ktown lover. Geez, I'm renaming you the koreanomer.

  7. Hey, I'm going to Korea next spring. Any suggestions on anything travel-wise or food-wise in Korea??

  8. Toebang was my fave until I had their con-chee-su. who the FUUK thought of putting governement cheese on top of canned corn should be SHOT. Nonetheless, Chapman Plaza is where we head if nowhere else to go. That courtyard is like.. immune from all policing eyes. It's a lil slice K-town debauchery heaven.

    Funny thing, my optometrist is Korean too...