Here’s a rant about lunch.
I went to my first Korean restaurant in Koreatown New York City while attending the Meetup with Korean drama fans from Dramabeans April 11, 2013. I had been watching Korean dramas for a year, and I wanted so much to try to speak a few words to the Korean waiter. I managed with great effort to say hello 안녕하세요, give please 주세요, and thank you 고맙습니다.
A month later, I went to Boston for dinner with other Korean drama fans, tried again to speak, again I was a mumbler who couldn’t be understood.
Korean food is becoming more popular in America, so that now Asian restaurants have added a few Korean items to their menu. There isn’t a single Korean restaurant in all of Berkshire county. It is a 3 hour drive for me to get to Boston or New York City. So I decided yesterday to try a Korean dish offered at Chopsticks in Williamstown.
Was this bibimbap? It was a large bowl of cold white rice topped with lettuce, a few vegetables, and a fried egg with a side of gochujang.
I was rather outraged I had paid $14 for such an unappetizing excuse for bibimbap. I hadn’t actually said anything, but I picked at the dish with a frown on my face and even dumping the entire bowl of gochujang on top didn’t help much.
My brain supplied Korean words – rice 밥, egg 계란, carrot 당근, lettuce 상추, bean sprout, mushroom 버섯, gochujang고추장. I was tempted to launch into a Korean tirade to the three Chinese workers who had gathered at my table to assure me that these were Korean vegetables, that bibimbap was very good.
My brain by now was supplying a tumble of Korean “Not delicious! 안 맛었어요. Korean food? 한국 음식? Hell no! 아니요, 맛었은 없어요!” I kept this all to myself, but emphatically refused their offer to wrap up the rest of the cold rice & lettuce so I could take it home.
I am not sure if the Korean my brain was spewing at me in angry outrage was right, but it was fast, automatic, and confident. I was convinced that I spoke more Korean than any of the Chinese waitresses and their condescending attitude that the white girl just didn’t know what bibimbap was made me want to yell at them in Korean even more. No. no, it is just that your food is terrible. I know what bibimbap is.
In the middle of the night, when my brain was still grumbling about the meal, IN KOREAN, I found some humor in it. Well, I guess I have learned a few things. I am a very slow learner, but my brain was able to give me some Korean quickly. Celebrate the little things. This is progress.
Meanwhile, I can’t move past just saying the date when I try to work on Fluent in 3 Months videos for Youtube. 3 weeks … I can’t see much progress, except clearly the leaves have fallen off the tree.