Published at 16th of December 2020 05:33:32 PM
“Well, I didn’t expect I would come back to Sumokjong like this,” said Soo-yup, looking around the restaurant as if he was moved by his visit after a long time . It had a large yard and roof tiles that reminded him of what a tile-roofed house resembling a palace was .
“Every time my father talked about this place, I wished I could come here at least once during my life,” said Min-joon, looking around with his eyes open . Without any customer or waitress, the restaurant looked a little desolate, but Min-joon could still feel the traces of the coming and going of many famous people to this place here and there .
Kaya looked around curiously and opened her mouth .
“I think this palace is the most oriental among all those I’ve ever seen in Korea . ”
“To put it precisely, it’s the tradition and history of this place . ”
“Yes, I think so . ” She nodded .
It was when they walked inside the gate momentarily when an old man dressed in a pure white Korean cook suit began to walk slowly toward them .
He looked at Min-joon and asked in a calm voice, “It’s my first time meeting you here . ”
“Oh, it’s nice to meet you . My name is Min-joon Cho . ”
“I’m Man-gil Hong . ”
Min-joon’s voice was trembling . It was natural it did because he could confirm Man-gil’s level through the system window clearly .
Cooking Level: 9
Baking Level: 7
Gastronomic Level: 9
Decoration Level: 9
‘Wow, this man is amazing!’
Actually, Min-joon had seen quite a few chefs with cooking level 9 . Alan had level 9, so did Joseph . But it was extremely difficult to find a chef like Man-gil who was almost perfect in every cooking field . Besides, baking had nothing to do with Korean food .
“I think you love your family a lot . I heard it from Nbum Yu . I hear you asked him whether you could take your whole family here . ”
“I’m sorry . Am I being greedy?”
“No, that’s fine . I like a family man . ”
“Please talk to me informally . You’re older than me, and I’m just a junior chef, master . ”
“Oh, sure . ” Man-gil gladly accepted his suggestion as if on cue .
He looked at Min-joon’s family members and said calmly, “Please come in . All the food is ready . Let me bring them here . Chef Min-joon, can you interpret for me?”
“Oh, yes . Come in, everybody . He wants you to come inside . ”
Jemma, Grace, and Bruce, who looked around blankly when Min-joon said that, began to walk toward the main house of Sumokjong . They had to take off their shoes before the stairs before coming into the room .
Kaya crossed her feet with an embarrassed face and said, “I wish I had put on socks . ”
“Who the hell is wearing high heels and socks at the same time?”
“I wish I had put on stockings at least . This is so embarrassing . ”
“Don’t worry, no one will see your feet . ”
She stared at him momentarily when he spoke casually .
Grinning at her, he said, “Do you want me to take off my socks for you?”
“Yeah . ”
“Are you serious?”
“If you didn’t want to, you should not have asked me . ”
She came in, grumbling like that then sat down awkwardly .
He asked gently, “Aren’t you uncomfortable if you are sitting cross-legged like that?”
“Not really . ”
“I’m surprised . I heard that Westerners felt very uncomfortable about sitting cross-legged . ”
“Well, I was so used to sitting like this when I worked in the market . ”
She was right . Grace, Jemma, and Kaya all did not have any difficulty sitting cross-legged, but Bruce was twisting his body back and forth as if he could not stand it .
“Oh, it seems easy for you guys to sit cross-legged like that,” Bruce asked .
“Haha, at least once a day, I used to sit like this . So, I had to get used to it . But if I sit too long, my legs will feel numb and my back hurts,” Man-gil said .
“Man, my legs are starting to get numb already . ”
Bruce was about to frown when a young man and woman dressed in the same uniform as Man-gil entered the room with a long dining table . At the moment, they saw the dishes on the table . All of them were aghast at the sumptuous feast .
“Oh my God! What the hell is all this?”
Kaya looked at the table as if she couldn’t believe it . Not only Kaya but also Grace, Jemma, and Bruce as well as Min-joon and Soo-yop, who had been to this place before, were amazed at the fantastic dishes .
On the table were literally all sorts of delicacies, such as Omori, stuffed cucumber pickles, and various cooked herbs, all kinds of stew dishes, grilled short rib patties, braised short ribs, bulgogi, steamed croakers, and brass chafing dish, which displayed all standard Korean menu .
Besides, there were fusion dishes such as dumplings seasoned with soy sauce made like puree sauce and steamed bossam or boiled pork stuffed with pumpkin .
Min-joon’s eyes, looking at the table, were trembling more severely than anyone else . Of course, he was surprised by the variety of the menu, but he was shocked for different reasons from others .
There were six dishes that had 10 points . Min-joon could understand it because Man-gil’s cooking level was as high as 9 . It meant that it wasn’t that difficult for him to produce a 10-point dish if he could properly focus . Rachel could have made a 10 point-dish much easier if she made it in person .
Min-joon thought that most of these dishes on the table were probably made under Man-gil’s instruction . The biggest feature of Korean food was the long cooking time, so during that cooking time, he could have supervised the cooking of each food . But even taking that into account, it was quite impressive to find six dishes with 10 points on the table . But Min-joon was surprised by another thing .
‘The combination score is only 5 points?’
Min-joon’s eyes trembled when he confirmed it . There were a lot of good dishes on the table, but he felt a bit gloomy at the fact that the composition score was only 5 . A low combination score meant that the served dishes didn’t have a good mix .
When people saw the Mona Lisa painting under the tire on the street instead of being hung on the wall of the museum, how would they feel? Kaya probably felt the same way because she also noticed the reckless arrangement of the dishes on the table .
“How can we eat all of this?”
Asking that question, she also felt a bit disappointed because she instantly felt she couldn’t eat all of them the moment she looked at the table . There were dozens of side dishes on the table . Even if she had a nibble on each of them, she would be full, so she could not taste the food properly by the time she tried half of them .
Of course, others except for Min-joon and Kaya didn’t feel it . The bountiful side dishes only gave them anticipation and joy . Since they were not a cook or a gourmet, they would not think about the order in which one should eat or the appropriate amount .
Min-joon’s mother, Hye-sun Lee, spoke in clumsy English, in a voice full of anticipation .
“Wow, food many!”
“I guess you want to say there are so many dishes, right?”
Min-joon said with a smile, looking at Grace .
Nodding, Grace opened her mouth .
“I’m just amazed at the variety and the number of the dishes here . Are all of them side dishes?”
“Well, I wouldn’t call the braised short ribs or the brass chafing dish a side dish . But it’s up to you, of course . ”
“I was well aware that Korean restaurants were famous for offering a large number of side dishes, but I didn’t know they would offer so many like this . ”
“Not all Korean restaurants are offering them as many as this . But this place is an exception . ”
When Min-joon went to a typical Korean restaurant, they hardly gave many side dishes .
It was only at an expensive Korean restaurant, or one famed for side dishes, or a buffet place that they offered a variety of side dishes .
“Well, I can’t be purely happy as a chef,” said Min-joon .
“Because you know, most of the leftover dishes here will be thrown away, right?” Kaya asked .
“Look, I don’t see their respect for the ingredients . How come they are using all the ingredients when they know they will throw them away, after all?”
“Well, I gave up my judgment on that . Look at them around me . ”
As soon as he said that, she looked around and groaned immediately . Everybody was enjoying the meal happily, all smiles on their faces . The dining table was full of delicious dishes, so much so that all of them got carried away with the delicacies in great anticipation .
“All of them like the food so much . ”
“If the chef can make people happy before they eat, he can value it more than the waste of ingredients . We can’t argue who’s right or who’s wrong . Our comment is just our opinion, and it’s not the right answer . ”
“Hey, you’re trying to talk philosophically again . I don’t want a headache at the dinner table . ”
“I know . Okay, I’ll stop preaching . Let’s enjoy the food . Now, try this . ”
Min-joon took a piece of steamed ribs and placed it on her plate . Then he also took one and carefully ate the flesh . When he merely touched the steamed fish with the chopsticks, the texture of the ribs loosened out like noodles .
‘This is a 10-point braised rib . ’
Honestly, there were a lot of Korean dishes that were easy to get high cooking points as long as the chef put a lot of effort into making them, for it took a lot of time to cook . Of course, it didn’t mean that the chef spent a lot of time on it pointlessly . As for the braised ribs, the chef must have paid a lot of attention to making sure the ingredients would not be burnt, checking the amount of water, and removing fat while steaming the ribs .
After all, all the dishes served today were the results of their sweat and hard work . Most of the Korean dishes were made with the chef’s sincere efforts . Uniquely, Korean dishes were influenced more by the chef’s sincerity and recipes than their cooking dexterity .