A (Korean-) American in Paris

One of the drawbacks of life in Europe is that we have been severely deprived of Korean food. Sure, we brought gojuchang with us, but that only fills a small ever-growing food void in my life and I have really needed some kimchi in my life. The last time we saw a Korean restaurant was the closed KRestaurant we walked by in Mulhouse several weeks ago.

So although our intentions were to have French food in one of the most world renown food cities on Saturday night, we ended up having quite a bit of Korean food. There were a lot of Korean restaurants in the neighborhood we were staying in. Enough that we were able to use two fallback restaurants when we found out the ones we left for were closed on Saturdays. We ended up eating at Manna.

The first part of the experience with French Korean food is the experience of translating the dishes. Sure, we could always read the writing in Korean, but there’s also something a little novel about reading dishes like Korean crepes (seafood pajeon) or ragout de kimchi (kimchi jjigae) on your menu.

We shared a couple of dishes, but after a day of touring Paris in 95 degree heat, it only makes sense to get nengmyun. It was perfect.

Manna had great Korean food. The kimchi jjiage we split as a group also hit the spot and the kimchi they gave with the banchan was fantastic. On the banchan note, I should point out that it was included in our meal. This is one of those things that you don’t always get with European Korean restaurants, so that was a great change of pace. All in all, would highly recommend if you’re in Paris and want good Korean food.

We also happened upon a Korean Market (K Mart…not that K Mart) right next to our hotel. The store looked tiny from the outside, but was surprisingly large. We got kimbap and bibimbap there Sunday morning and had a picnic along the Seine.

We also stopped by the store when we returned to the hotel to get out bags and grabbed some groceries to take back home, including kimchi and kimchi-making necessities. In other words, be prepared for something about me attempting to make kimchi using Swiss vegetables at some point in the future.

I may make continue to try Korean food on various stops because it’s fascinating to see how the food differs from place to place, especially when the availability of ingredients may differ. For now, if I had to rate Paris in terms of Korean food, it would get an A.

I guess the only regret is that we sent Chris off with Korean and not French food on his last night in Europe. Yes, Chris is currently on a plane to the US as I write this. I think he’ll survive, though, because we’re meeting in Paris when he comes back in September.

In any case, full Paris post later this week, but wanted to give a snippet of our Parisian weekend for now.

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