Wednesday, January 9, 2008

감자탕, Potato Soup?

Where are the potatoes?

Not only am I working like a red-headed stepchild, I'm also sick with a nasty cold. For the last two nights I've treated myself to 감자탕, potato soup. It's great!

However, what's funny to me because I'm a child of parents born and raised in rural Georgia. That means I was raised on some great soul food and, lucky me, my mom was one of the best cooks in my family.

Now let me tell you right now 감자탕 is not potato soup it's neckbone soup!

Koreans, like black Americans, have struggled and eat "low on the hog" as they say. My mother's collard green and neckbone dinners were incredible. I'm proud to stay I can whip up a mean dish of them myself. However, here I rarely bother with it because it does take time and time I don't have a lot of right now.

Imagine my joy last night and tonight when I'm sick and missing my mommy like mad to have a bowl of 감자탕. It's basically boiled neckbones with some vegetables tossed in. Seriously, my first bowl of 감자탕 had two sad looking potatoes and about three or four neckbones.

The restaurant I went to tonight had a more home feel to it and, therefore, tasted better. But both were great. If I didn't have plans for dinner tomorrow night, I'd go for another bowl tomorrow. I might be completely wrong, but I do think my cold is better for it.

I'm not a food blogger, check the sidebar for them, so I'll leave it at that. It's time for me to get some work done anyway.

Over and out...

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  1. A Korean friend told me that gamja (감자) is also, and in this case, the name for a specific part of a pig's backbone. A couple of chunks of potato were apparently introduced when people asked where the gamja was!

    I've been here a while, so I know to ask for a second opinion.

    A Korean doctor told me gamja was just plain old gamja as we all know it - potato.

  2. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, thanks for the knowledge.

    That makes sense and it occured to me when I thought about it. It could be possible, but I'd need someone who KNOWS Korean versus someone who happens to be Korean to verify it for me. Like most people, your average native English speaker isn't a deep source of linguistic knowledge. The same goes for Koreans and their language.

    However, since I've blogged for awhile at this point, I know that writing about it will get me feedback to verify my hunch that 감자 might mean more than "potato". However, the online dictionary I use and my phone dictionary doesn't list that as a meaning (but that doesn't mean it's not.)

    So cool. It is "neckbone soup" well, according to your first friend, "backbone soup" then.


    Either way, I love it.

  3. I've heard the same thing about gamja (my korean's not working here for some reason) being the name of the part of the pig, but I've been unable to track it down in a dictionary yet. I wonder if it's a bit of a myth.

  4. Yeah, it just might be a way to explain it away.

    I've yet to find 감자 in a Korean-English dictionary that shows the dual meaning. However, I've only looked it up twice ;-)

    It's not a huge deal to me. I just think it's funny because the common meaning of 감자 is potato, but the soup is clearly all about the meat.


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