THE SHIT I EAT WHEN BY MYSELF: K-TOWN RICE’N CHEESE
THE RICE AND SAUCE QUICKLY COOKED INTO SOMETHING LIKE A DOPPELGANGER OF RISOTTO, BOUND BY THE STRINGENT GOOEYNESS OF MELTED CHEESE,
OF WHICH HE THEN GOBBLED DOWN BY EACH OVERSIZED WOODEN-SPOONFUL
I hardly think that it’s unreasonable, sometimes even understandable, for people to bundle their perceptions for different cultures around a region, as a whole. As one of the Asians, Taiwanese to be exact, I am certainly far more accustomed to many of the familiarly bizarre lifestyles or values from our neighboring cultures, than say someone who are born and raised in the Midwest of America. Regardless of agreements, I can generally find an answer for much of the “Asian weirdness” that are otherwise lost in translation, even just by association. But a few days ago, prompted by a segment from Tony’s Parts Unknown, I sank into a recent uprise of Korean phenomenon so baffling, that the regional cultural gap… has never felt so wide.
Did you know… that there are a swarming number of YouTube channels with millions of views and followers… broadcasting hours after hours of young, slim Koreans doing nothing but sitting in front of their HD webcam-equipped computer, and just… eating themselves to a pulp?!! Just eating! Just nothing else, absolutely nothing else, but them eating… and eating.. and eating what appears to be an obscene and non-human amount of foods that defies the very laws of physics! Perhaps I should point out that the nature of these shows are not competitive, as the broadcaster, almost always, are the sole living subjects in front of the cameras inside his/her own bedrooms (except maybe this living sea-creature wiggling before its imminent death). What seems to be just a random somebody filming him/herself leisurely ingesting takeouts after school or work, sometimes for hours, will only slowly begin to stun your consciousness when you realize… how freaking much foods have already gone inside their average-sized human torsos. Then the shows end almost as bizarrely as they begin, when the broadcasters, however long it takes, finally decide that he/she is sufficiently fed, then goes offline… The purposes of these shows, if there was one, don’t make any fucking sense! It could even be argued as being hazardous to social health, but, oh God knows I tried, I just couldn’t stop watching! On top of the fact that I couldn’t understand a single Korean-word buzzing through my ears like white noise, I still couldn’t stop watching for the same human-condition that disables us to walk away from a car-crash!
Well, today’s recipe, is a ruinous aftermath from such a show. This dude… this fit-by-any-definition Korean dude, after ingesting what was a legitimate tub of spicy Korean stew, he then mashed 3 more Japanese rice balls into the leftover sauce, and further blanketed it with more shredded cheese that he grabbed from an enormous bag that seemed to be kept by his desk as importantly as back-up staplers. The rice and the sauce quickly cooked into something like a doppelganger of risotto, bound by the stringent gooeyness of melted cheese, of which he then gobbled down by each oversized wooden-spoonful. I think it rendered me mindless. In retrospect, I believe the only sound hovering above the paralyzing astonishment was the voice of my own murmurs… That shit looks good. I’d totally eat that shit. So here, aside from a tip-of-the-hat, if I didn’t channel this episode into another post of (as coincidentally fitting and attributing as it is) The Shit I Eat When By Myself, what kind of a recipe-sharer would I be?
Servings: 1/10 serving for its inspirer, but 1 serving for a normal humanoid
When I made this the first time and took these photos, I forgot to add the nori/Japanese seaweed. So don’t scratch your head wondering where they are, and just be assured that the recipe is better with than without.
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2" square peeled ginger, chopped
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) whole milk
- 4.6 oz (130 grams) SPAM, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp (40 grams) gochujang/Korean chili paste
- 1 1/2 tsp (11 grams) honey
- 2 cups (300 grams) cooked rice, preferably a day-old
- 1/4 cup diced scallion
- 1 sheet (9" x 8 "/23 x 20 cm) Japanese nori/seaweed, torn into 1" pcs
- 1 tsp Japanese rice vinegar, or 3/4 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) + 1/2 cup (50 grams) shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt to taste
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt unsalted butter with toasted sesame oil, then cook chopped onion, garlic, ginger, salt and black pepper for a couple mins until softened. Transfer to a blender along with milk, SPAM, gochujang, honey and ground black pepper, and blend for 1 min until smoothly pureed. Mix the mixture evenly with cooked rice, diced scallion, nori/Japanese seaweed, vinegar (the vinegar is important for brightening the flavour!) and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar.
- Microwave on high for 4 min, stirring once in between (taste and salt to season if needed), then top it with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar and some ground black pepper. You can finish melting the cheese in the microwave, or place under top broiler until browned and bubbly. Serve immediately.