So, I had posted some time back about my upcoming micro-travels in Houston. Unfortunately for me, Houston completely sucks for finding anything but food. I’m not giving up. Let that be clear. But for now I’ve resigned to include local places to eat. I’m not talking about chains that you can find all over the country. I am going to only be showcasing local places that interest me.
Now it’s time for #1, Korea Garden Restaurant
This place was great. To be honest, I didn’t expect much. It was a building in the middle of a shopping strip of other Korean places. When I say Korean places, I don’t mean food (although they could be). I am talking about buildings with Korean characters that I cannot read. I’m sure one place was a laundry mat and the other was a karaoke bar.
How did I just decide to go here, you might ask. Well, I have this friend who was in the Air Force. He was actually a linguist and lived in South Korea. During his time there he picked up a love for the food.
When we went in, he didn’t even look at the menu. He opened his mouth and shocked me when he spoke Korean. I knew he spoke Korean, but for some reason seeing this little white guy with a beard speak Korean is still shocking. Anyway, he ordered some unknown food and I sat patiently waiting.
I was a little scared. I had no clue what I was about to eat but there was a big metal grill in front of me. Turns out he had ordered spicy cold noodles and BBQ pork. Apparently, you cook your own meat at the grill.
While we waited he told me about this little old lady who owned a small place in Korea that was about 12 foot by 8 foot and she had a kitchen on one side and a cot on the other with a couple of tables in the middle. This lady lived here and at all hours of the night people would wake her up and she’d invite them in and cook for them. That was how she made her living. In the back she had a little garden and farm where she would get the vegetables and meat. Talk about efficiency.
Finally, the food came to the table. It was a feast…
I was kind of intimidated by some of the things. I didn’t know what a lot of it was and, although I could ask my friend what it was, telling me it was a Korean pear or a potato in sauce did not fully relate how it would taste. Luckily, I am brave when it comes to trying new things.
After tasting a little bit of each, I was pleasantly surprised. There wasn’t a single thing that I didn’t care for. Also, I was instructed that I was to take a lettuce leaf, and put some meat and other things in it, roll it up, and eat it like that. Apparently in Korea each bite is proceeded with a drink of Soju, which I am told is like Korean Sake.
That Soju tidbit brought us into another tale. Apparently riot police and rioters carry around these large wooden rods that they beat the crap out of each other with. He said he had seen a drunk Air Force guy once get his shins and forearms busted up after creating a scene. Korean culture is very respectful. Pushing that boundary is dangerous.
I am writing this now, completely stuffed. I also might add that my friend was kind enough to pick up the tab. I would recommend this place to anyone living or visiting Houston.