I love the cold. For someone of my size, this is a time when I’m not bathed constantly in sweat and it also allows me to stuff my face with fatty proteins and not feel uncomfortable later–believe me in the hotter months I stick to fish religiously.
But the single-most important food-related reason for me to love the winter season is because this is the time when I can enjoy my favourite food. Soup. Any kind of soup. From simple consommés, filled with rich flavours of meats–dark red and steaming hot–to the thick broths with potatoes and leeks, I love them all!
But the soup that holds a special place in my heart, one that I’ve loved since I was a little—both in age and size—is the kind of soup you get in an Asian (as in Far Eastern) restaurant. It’s the kind of soup where you put in everything. As a cook, it’s soup which makes my creativity shine. How do you play with the flavours and not allow one to overwhelm the other, and still have a dish where you can identify the flavours and enjoy the combinations.
But enough about my romance of soup in general, let’s get on with the story of last weekend, when Delhi was freezing and my soul was craving soup. Not just any soup, but a large, meal-encompassing creation. So a friend of mine and I went over to Gung for just that. A meal which consisted of just one soup, along with a few shot glasses of sochu (a kind of Korean vodka) and of course the little accompaniments which they serve up with every meal. I look forward to this restaurant all summer long because the food otherwise is too spicy for me to digest otherwise.
The soup which I had last Sunday was beef bulgogi and octopus, but the thinly sliced beef grilled just right and then thrown into the flavoursome broth and the octopus which was cooked and cut with a pair of scissors right in front of us was a little tough maybe, but that is only to be expected. It was the vegetables,rice noodles and what I assume is the Korean version of dumplings (like in European cuisine) which really took our meal to another level.
What I find different about the soup is the lack of the sweet edge, which I find in both Chinese and Japanese food, and as a diabetic, this is most welcome. The other thing I liked about the meal was that the soup was the hero of our meal. The whole dish was spicy, but not in a way which burnt my tastebuds, though it did make me break out into a sweat. It was a pity that the small dishes of savouries which were served before had filled us up a bit. Because I would have liked to have finished it all. I did enjoy the warmth which spread over me all the way on my drive home. And yes, the sochu did play its part.