Saturday, March 31, 2007

Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and Thai .... in Uruguay?

Well...yes and no.

Allow me to share some international food experiences I have had the last few weeks. Some are keepers others we can pass on by.

1. Korean

Previously mentioned in a post from our good friend, Chuck, we located some Korean food in Ciudad Vieja. This place is authentic as I can imagine it would be in a Korean neighborhood, as not only the sign but also the menu is totally in Korean. There is not a Spanish word in sight. Located near Radisson in Plaza Independencia, it is easy to pass up unless you are tipped off to its location. They have only been there four months, and when you go inside you will see nothing but Korean faces from the chef, to the chef's wife and baby, to the Korean diners. Ask for the English menu (something we discovered after the third time going and struggling with Korean-Spanish charades) but be forewarned that not everything may be available. I strongly recommend the fried dumplings, the dumpling soup, and their great fresh salads. They also have squid stir fry (pictured below), noodles with black bean sauce, and spicy dishes of meat, rice, and veggies. If you are really hungry, and up for a great feast, order the Korean BBQ (sizzling panceta, onions, jalapenos, garlic accompanied by cold salads, leafy greens, sesame leaves, and sauces). They insist it is for two but my husband and I both agree it could feed four. It is truly delicious and you will not leave hungry. If you go, tell them the North Americans from California sent you.

Unfortunately I can't tell you exact prices as we never receive an actual bill. But here is some idea...
Korean BBQ, beer, dumplings and salad $660 (for "two")

Four main dishes with rice, one soup, two beers, water (complimentary) two orders of dumplings $900 pesos

2. "Chinese"

I give this place a "A" for effort and a "C-" for taste. Located in Punta Carretas shopping, "Verde & Wok" has all the necessary ingredients to make a great lunch. Owned by a well known chef, uses fresh ingredients, includes many vegetables and lean meats, and is even prepared right in front of you. Unfortunately, you can have the best fixins' and still not know how to put them together well. I ordered verduras al provencal which was a mix of sliced vegetables tossed in a sauce and cooked in a wok. What I expected was crisp greens with tasty sauce. What I received was watery, limp veggies with trace amounts of flavor. I was disappointed. I wanted to say...Step aside Che, hand me that wok!!!

Sum up:
verduras a la provencal
wok oriental
drinks and cubierto included
$240 pesos

Puntas Carretas Mall

3. Arabic

Does anyone else besides me just love the Disco in Punta Carretas mall? ( I swear I am far from a mall rat...though you all might be sensing a theme here)

Anyway, IF you can find some out-of-the-ordinary ingredients you may just find them here. This week I stumbled upon whole wheat pan arabe. They come in large pita size, and small snack size as well. If anyone has had the mini whole wheat pitas from TJ's back in the states, they taste just like those! YUM. They also have thin flat bread they suggest for "tacos" and thicker flat bread that reminds me of something you might eat at an Indian restaurant.

4. I teased you with Thai.

Though not found in Montevideo, I did inherit some Thai curry paste and spices from a dear friend who left the country and who had previously done a big shop in BA for Asian ingredients. The pan arabe sure came in handy tonight, as did white rice, as that curry was HOT HOT HOT. Good thing I couldn't find the fresh thai chiles with which to garnish the dish as the directions suggested.

That is all for now....



Steven said...

Bummer! No Thai.

This is the only thing about UY that drives me nuts...the food. In particular, the lack of Asian food.

Good to hear there's a hint of change.


Anant said...

That was cruel. :)
Have you come across any Indian restaurants by any chance? I would be willing to kill people now for that.

Ale said...

Steven, there are no Uruguayan restaurants in Thailand neither. How I miss milanesas and chivitos...

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