Thursday, May 3, 2007

Fresh Fish! Fresh Fish!

To anyone who actually reads this drivel of mine I like to call a Blog, I am sincerely sorry for being out of touch for a week or so. If I had any readers I'm sure the numbers have plummeted to a lonely 1 or 2 of you. But for those lucky few of you that are still out there, I have some entertaining stories for you. So enough apologies and lets get down to business.
This past week or so has been a wonderful one. I need to start back on last Thursday. Some teachers were getting together to go out for a special dinner. It was only teachers that have desks in a certain area of the school; them and Me of course. My desk is not with theirs, but my presence seems to be wanted in every group, club, or social gathering at the school, and you will not hear one single complaint about that from me :) Well, with hindsight being 20-20, maybe I can find a tiny little grievance in there somewhere.
It all started out with an innocent little invitation, "Would you like to join us for dinner?" Who turns down dinner? Not me, not you, no one in there right mind. So of course I said "yes". Later I was told we were going to a wonderful "fresh fish" restaurant. Instantly my mind was filled with beautiful pictures of finely cooked salmon, lobster, and shrimp. All nicely cooked, seasoned, and presented. Well, that's what was in my mind up until the walk there. "Fresh fish" what does that mean to you? It's one of those moments where you hear what you want to hear. I heard "fresh fish" and thought about unrealistic western meals, when reality hit me on the walk to the restaurant... I wasn't surrounded by westerners who like what I like, I was walking with a bunch of Koreans who, day in and day out, eat things off our school lunch trays that I don't even allow the lunch ladies to place on mine. "Fresh Fish" all of a sudden sounded a lot more like "Raw Fish". If you are reading this thinking "Of course fresh fish meant raw fish, how could he have been so stupid" well then you are just sooooo smart. Pat yourself on the back, but when you eat from meal to meal not knowing if you're going to like what you get, you jump at the chance for a nice meal out (especially on someone else's bill), and it was that excitement that clouded my judgment. Silly me, maybe, but I think you might have made the same mistake.
So we arrive at the restaurant, and they bring out two huge plates of nicely cut raw fish. It actually looked quite delicious. The presentation was beautiful (sorry no pics though, my mind wasn't with me at the moment). It was small strips of three different kinds of fish all laid out together over a mound of clear noodles. I was almost eager to try it when Rachel dug in first. From her response I was able to figure out two things quickly: 1. The "clear noodles" are not clear noodles at all, but clear plastic that only look like noodles, and were just there for decoration, not digestion. And 2. This wasn't going to be an easy meal to swallow. I ended up wrapping the fish in lettuce, and gulping it down with only minor discomfort. I kept telling myself how much my brother and Jimmy would love this meal, and pay out the wazzoo for it in New York, and that I can like it too. But it had only just begun. After we had picked away at most of the pile of fish, they brought out some special dishes, or as I like to call them "vomit inducing" dishes. It was more raw fish, but with some extra gross added in. Me and Rachel tried some at the same time and nearly vomited in unison. The final portion of the meal was then ushered out and I was more then a little excited when I saw steam; steam meaning something had to be cooked. But then upon closer inspection I was grossed out for the third time. While the first two courses of the meal could not have been cut with a finer knife, or presented in a more appetizing way, this course appeared to have been prepared by a bear who mauled the fish to death before dropping them in a pot. I'm indebted to the bear for at least dropping them in the pot, but seriously, why can't they put the two together? Nicely cut fish, with boiling hot water...Wham! Cooked fish without bones, eyes, or scales. Nope, they had to go the other way, it has to be pretty and raw, or ugly and cooked, you can't have your cake and eat it too. (You can check out more pics on the Picasa Photo Album) But really, I'm one for making the best of a bad situation. I gathered up all of the uneaten fish from the first course and dunked it in the boiling hot soup. After only seconds me and Rachel were at long last able to enjoy our own wonderful little dinner of nicely cut, and cooked "Fresh Fish".


kkroll78 said...

You're a wimp, that stuff in front of you is delicious, it's all in your head - you better leave asia absolutely loving sushi! That "clear plastic noodle" you were talking about is daikon radish and it IS edible. Start small with rolls of tuna and salmon (add soy sauce and wasabi) and work your way up you will start to love sushi, you will be eating Uni in no time.

Paul A. Kroll said...

Call me what you like, but this was not like sushi I have seen in the states. There was no tuna or salmon, these poor guys were swimming in tanks right outside, and I don't now what they were. And the "clear plastic noodle" really was PLASTIC. Rachel tried to tell me what it was too, then when she ate it all the people around us nearly jumped down her throat. But the soy sauce and wasabi did add some nice flavor to the plastic in the end. jk.