My First Tteokguk but not last by Edgar Vaudeville
If you ask me how many bowls of Tteokguk I have had in my lifetime, I will answer, “One,” but officially, I should have had 36.
It is a great way to wake up on New Year’s Day.
Tteokguk is a bowl of purity and cleanliness that brings you good luck and fortune. It does not mean for the foodies that the more you eat the richer you get. I will call it—for New Yorkers—the best detox dish to start a healthy New Year with your new resolution.
My first restaurant of the year was miss KOREA BBQ, an authentic Korean restaurant based in Manhattan and well-managed by a charming Korean lady. We all “miss Korea.” I visited the restaurant on its 2nd floor at 10 West 32nd Street.
I had to try the traditional dish that Koreans eat first on New Year’s Day to turn the page of the last year and open a new one. I got to enjoy Tteokguk retwisted by talented Chef Alex Tak.
Normally it consists of a broth with little slices of rice cakes in a round shape to represent the coins of fortune—we could also call it the king of pasta. Tteokguk is usually garnished with thin julienned cooked eggs, marinated meat, gim and spring onions. A drizzle of sesame oil is welcome to bring a little excitement to the dish. The garnishes regularly change from one region to another in Korea. I will let you discover the different originality of each one.
On top of the above, Chef Alex added a few beef dumplings. The flavor of the dumplings mixed with the broth was extremely pleasant with an explosion of flavors on your palate. I always like to cut the dumpling in 2 and dip it in the broth to experience different flavors and textures. The broth was on the perfect temperature, which made it much easier for its degustation; most of the time it arrives boiling, which makes it much more complicated to enjoy it the way it should be. If you are inspired, you could as well make your own recipes by adding a few of your favorite Kimchis. “Great to be your own chef sometimes”
The dish is very light by itself with all the nutritional aspects needed for the body. The beef dumplings and rice cake brings you both rich protein, minerals as well as carbohydrates to improve metabolism and bone health.
The potential of this iconic cultural dish should very soon inspire some of the well-known chefs in New York.
Tteok or Detox both works for me.
Happy New Year to everyone and hope that this New Year will bring you good fortune and brightness.