Because we have not been grocery shopping in the past few days, Turner and I went out to eat again. No complaints here as Qingdao has plentiful dining options from all cuisines. The Asian variety offers the best quality, as far as I'm concerned obviously. Some of the Western restaurants don't quite hit the mark. I can usually make better food at home. Since we had less-than-stellar burgers last night, we chose between Japanese and Korean. Turner had been thinking about barbecue since lunch (which consisted of leftover birthday cake), so we opted for Korean barbecue.
What a good choice it was! We ate at An Shi Stove in the Hong Kong Garden area of Qingdao, where most of the foreign restaurants are located. Qingdao is home to many Koreans--we are just a ferry ride away from Seoul after all--so the Korean food in the city is especially good. I never thought that I would like Korean, but since our former tutees took us out last spring, I have been dying to give it another go. It's delicious, healthy, fresh, and, tonight, do-it-yourself.
You order your raw meat of choice--pork, beef, or seafood--and any other sides that you want (we ordered a pot of vegetables over rice). First, they bring small plates of appetizers, peanuts, cabbage and green onion kimchi, and a basket of lettuce (more on that shortly). Then they place a small, Weber-like grill on your table, with burning charcoal and a grill top, onto which you place your raw meat. We ordered "bacon," just fatty pork, and spiced rib meat, along with mushrooms for Turner. Grilling the fatty pork first works well to grease the grill top for all the subsequent food items.
Once the meat is cooked, you take a bite-sized piece, smear on a spicy, sour sauce, wrap it in a lettuce leaf, add raw garlic or jalepeno peppers if you wish, and put the whole thing in your mouth in one bite (we were scolded by the owner for not eating it in one bite). The rib meat was in long strips so the manager had to cut it into small pieces and change out the grill because ours was getting smoky. She took over from there, making sure all our food was grilled correctly and indicating when and how to eat it--very helpful indeed. The food is great with cold beer because it's spicy and salty, not to mention enjoyable and entertaining to eat.
Turner and I don't think this type of restaurant would fly in America. Burning charcoal inside, open flame, talk about fire hazard and cancer risk. Sometimes China really is more fun.
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