Recently, I took two of my nieces to San Francisco for a weekend. They have become experts on Korean pop music--mostly from reading tumblr blogs and watching videos on youtube--and their enthusiasm was infectious. They spoke with confidence about the companies that produce K-Pop, the bands, the cultural practices unique to this genre of music. Needless to say, my newfound enjoyment in Korean pop is linked closely to my love for my nieces . . . but I find that I also really enjoy its dance/movement and stylistic choices. Here's one of my favorite videos that my nieces introduced to me:

We listened to bands like Super Junior, 2NE1, and Big Bang all across northern Nevada and as we descended into San Francisco. We also went to the closest thing we could find to a Korean section of the city, namely Japantown. Oddly enough, I'd only driven through that area, never walking around the plaza, streets, or malls that are in that part of town.

The highlight of the entire trip proved to be lunch at a place called Seoul Garden. My nieces really wanted to try Korean barbecue and this restaurant proved to be a great introduction. We chose bulgogi (beef) and we all really loved it and the banchans that are served with each Korean meal, yes, even, nay especially, the kimchi. We also enjoyed the process of creating ssam: extracting the meat from the grill on our table, placing it on a big piece of romaine with some of the banchans, and then creating a packet of meat/veggies that we ate by hand. It was a fabulous meal.

If you'd like to know more about Korean barbecue, you might watch this Eat Your Kimchi video which features a pork version (start at about 2:25 if you want to go straight to the food portion of the video). You could also watch the series The Kimchi Chronicles on Hulu to learn more about Korean cooking.

Seoul Garden

1655 Post Street

(inside mall, second floor)

San Francisco, CA