Friday, May 26, 2006

New Malden

No one seems to know why, but there are about 20,000 Koreans living in New Malden supporting, among other things, a thriving restaurant trade. So lacking a teetotal designated driver and having found it was accessible from our offices via the 152 bus we set off this week to add Korea to our destinations as we attempt to eat our way around the world in London.

The actual restaurant that we chose was Asadal (KT3 4ES on the High Street) and our first great surprise and delight was to find that each table had a gas fired metal hob in its centre (see photo) where food could be cooked in front of your eyes.

Being completely unfamiliar with Korean food we chose a set menu, starting with a clear dumpling soup, followed by a couple of fish dishes served with vegetables and condiments including Kimchi, then marinaded beef cooked at the table that we wrapped - along with chilli paste and boiled rice - in lettuce to wolf down as parcels. This latter dish was particularly delicious and we finished off with fruit.

Follow the links for our real and imaginary destinations as we eat our way around the world in London.

I've only ever really known one Korean socially in my life and, luckily for you, a story goes with it. He turned out for our team back in the day when I was playing social rugby up in London. I remember that he was watching on the touchline - when we were playing the Bank of England I seem to recall. He had been drawn by the sight of the posts as he had been a keen player before he came over to England to study, and as he was big and scary looking we signed him up straight away.

The next week he turned up to play and came into the changing room wearing a three piece suit and with his kit in a brief case. He had promised his wife, he explained, that he would retire from the brutal game. Now that the lure had become to great he had come out in this get up on Saturday afternoon having told her that he was going to the library. This subterfuge did not last long after he returned that evening three sheets to the wind, with his fair share of bruises and lacerations, but it was a valiant effort none the less.

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