- Category: Food
- Published on Thursday, 17 January 2013 02:30
- Written by Kathryn Whinney
A little while ago I had a baking brainwave. I'd watched too much Great British Bake Off and felt this qualified me as a baking visionary. My brainwave? Instead of using yeast to make my bread rise, I would use the mildly alcoholic Korean rice wine, makkoli. For non-Koreaphiles, makkoli is a yeasty drink with a mild flavour.
I began my experiment enthusiastically. I had only found one other reference (in English at least) to using makkoli as a raising agent in bread. I was a baking pioneer! Look at how creative I am in the kitchen! Bakers in Korea will flock to my blog for my delicious recipe!
I weighed flour, measured the makkoli variations by the millilitre, took photos measuring the rise of the dough over time. I dreamed of the delicious bread that would result from all this labour. But a labour of love. For the love of bread and baking.
Yes, well.Add a comment
- Category: Food
- Published on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 17:32
- Written by Doug
Okay, on a similar vein to all the other Palatability Checks, I was thinking, what if we added cheese to some more stuff. I mean it goes with everything right? This weeks idea, the Korean street favourite: Cheese + Odeng = Cheesydeng.
Okay, so we take the cheesiness of cheese, and add the broth-soaked, congealed fish pasty taste of Odeng and mix that crap together. I think it'll be delicious.
What do you think?
Add a comment
- Category: Food
- Published on Sunday, 02 September 2012 09:01
- Written by Chris
After living the past 8 years (eight?! *sob*) in Nice Korea, I’d fostered the idea that anywhere in the world must have better beer than Ddong Mekju Nara. Not so, as I’ve discovered this past year.
Another myth I’d had to kolsch is that the closer to Central Europe one goes, the better the beer must be. The Belgium Proximity Rule, you might say. Also not true.
As it turns out, Turkey - so much closer to Belgium and Germany and Czechia than poor, distant Korea - has incredibly shite beer. Shite beer. Shite beer that is boisterously marketed. You cannot walk down any street in Istanbul without seeing a blue Efes sign somewhere, and probably many somewheres on that street. Indeed, you could be forgiven for thinking that every little convenience store and little old-Turk bar in the city is called Efes, so prominently is the company signage displayed.
The ubiquity of the advertising for Efes should be the first sign of its horribleness. If it was good, it wouldn’t need to slap you in the face and tell you how good it is every few minutes. (Christians, please take note of that last sentence before knocking on people’s doors.) You don’t see the Trappist monks buying ad space on churches for their world-renowned brew, famously made not with spring water but the Virgin Mary’s female ejaculate.
But don’t let the lack of advertising by Efes’ competitors fool you. Just because they don’t have the eyeball monopoly Efes maintains does not mean they’re good. Far from it. Let’s look at them each in turn
Price: 30cl draft 4TL - 9TL
Efes is a Turkish word meaning “widely available cow pee”. (not really) You can get this golden yellow beverage in just about every bar and restaurant and shop in the nation, a country of devout Muslims who have somehow managed to work around the Quranic prohibition on alcohol.
In Efes’ favor, it is consistent. The mug you get in a backpackers’ bar in Sultanahmet will be as ‘good’ as the one you’ll get in a waterfront cafe in Izmir. If you pick up a bottle on the way to the ruins of Troy, it will taste the same as a bottle you drink along the posh yacht-racks (that is what they’re called, right?) in Bebek.
Truly a marvel of industrialized mass-market consumable beverages, no? No.
The flavor of this most-available Turkish liquid since the Crusaders betrayed their fellow Christians in the sacking of Constantinople (I’m talking about blood, in case you didn’t catch that) is not so different than any other mass market pilsner. Think Budweiser and knock it down a full notch on the quality scale. It most closely reminds me of that oh-so-Korean beer, Cass. I will say that while the taste of Efes is pretty much the same as Cass, Efes does not give me a hangover before I finish drinking.
Price: 30cl draft 4TL-9TL
Except for the ubiquity, pretty much everything that is true about Efes is true about its next closet, but a still distant second, competitor Tuborg. It is a mass-market pilsner that you can find in many bars and shops, though not even half as many as serve Efes. In my highly anecdotal survey, it seems that Tuborg might actually be retreating. On my first trip to Istanbul in February 2011, Tuborg was around. Some bars had Tuborg on tap, others Efes. This time, my fourth in country, draft Tuborg have all but disappeared. Bottles are still available.
Along with this retreat from availability, there also seems to be a small drop in quality. Again, on my first trip, I preferred Tuborg. It’s taste was deeper, what a beer connoisseur might call bold. Over the next few trips to Turkey, I could graph my gradual disillusionment with the drink. But I actually don’t think this has anything to do with me (which is hard for a borderline narcissist to admit); I think something has infected the company like Andy Dick in a night club or Republicans in a women’s health services sub-committee, decreasing the quality of the product and the availability. .
Price: 9TL-15TL bottle
Produced by: Efes
As a strong proponent of wheat beers (Weinstaphane, take me away!), imagine my excitement as seeing a domestic weissbira on the menu at English hunting club-themed The North Shield. Imagine my expression as I slowly poured the frothy brew into my chilled mug, tilted to keep the head from getting too heady. Now imagine as I brought the cold one to my lips and poured it into my gullet, and I discovered that instead of drinking fermented wheat beer, I was imbibing bottled wheat-flavored urine. Supremely, horrifically disappointing. I couldn’t even finish the glass I’d poured. (That’s kind of a lie; I probably could have if I’d been able to stay longer. I can usually tear through a decent beer in a few moments without any problem. This one I nursed because it was just not enjoyable, and in doing so, had not finished it by the time I had to go to meet my girlfriend.)
Mariachi, Mariachi Black
Price: 9TL - 15TL
Produced by: Efes
First of all, this is not a black beer, a dark beer, a dark ale, a dark stout or anything deserving any such name. Secondly, where is this from? The name implies a Spanish origin, and indeed, they served it with a lime wedge wedged in the neck of the bottle. Echoes of Corona, I suppose. Third, it was served not nearly as cold as I would have expected or preferred, given the melanoma sun and Cindy Crawford circa 1987 level heat.
Finally, how is this awkward beer the best of the bunch? The lime might be confusing my senses; the green fruit are as common as dodos and not-corrupt English academy owners in Korea. Beyond the lime’s sublime flavor, though, there’s a competence to the brew that the other choices lack.
Would I do so far as to say it’s good? No. But that no is in strictly absolute standards. There are hundreds of beers in the world I would choose before Mariachi Black. In Turkey, though, it wins.
There is also a beer call Marmara, an allegedly strong brew from Efes, but I did not see it at any place I patronized. You can find Carlsberg, Miller, and a couple of other foreign offerings, but meh...soooo close to Europe, so far from good beer...
So where does that leave us? If you go to Turkey, drink Efes if you need a beer after a long day of fending off touts at the Ayasofia. Or if you can handle the anise taste, order raki. (Don’t get me started on raki...)
The Ottoman Empire: good at building comfortable foot rests to go with your couch, bad at making alcohol.
- Category: Food
- Published on Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:56
- Written by Doug
Okay, so when you're curing, erm, fermenting...erm...letting-sit your cheese, why not put some kimchi spices in there? You know, take some pepper powder, shrimp paste, soy sauce, and whatever else goes into it, and ram that into an unset cheese. Maybe a dry one, like Gruyere? What do you think?Add a comment