Tag Archives: korean

Bonkers for Banchan

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Jong Ga House, Oakland

If you’ve ever eaten in a Korean restaurant, you’ve invariably been served an assortment of small dishes you didn’t order. These small bites, collectively called banchan, accompany every Korean meal and often reflect local, seasonal produce. In Korea and parts of the world that celebrate the four seasons, banchan will vary throughout the year. In California, the selection changes less so. Pricier restaurants generally offer more elaborate and colorful presentations, while budget eateries dole out a few basics, including at least one kind of kimchi (fermented vegetables, typically napa cabbage and/or daikon).

During my recent East Bay bibimbap roundup for The Bold Italic, I couldn’t help but photograph the banchan spreads that accompanied my orders. Here are the goodies I had.

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BOWL’D, ALBANY: (clockwise from top) tangy daikon, sour napa cabbage kimchi, sweet & tangy seaweed, potato/pasta salad, sweet beancurd, sesame broccoli; (center) daikon kimchi

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SPOON, BERKELEY: (left to right, top) sesame broccoli, sweet & tangy seaweed, spicy cucumber; (bottom) sesame beansprouts, sweet fishcake, spicy napa cabbage kimchi

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BE BOP, BERKELEY: (top) miso-y vegetable soup with daikon and carrots, mustardy pickles (onions, peppers, cucumber); (middle) sesame broccoli, napa cabbage kimchi; spicy beancurd; (bottom) the most amazing sweet pumpkin porridge ever!

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OHGANE, OAKLAND: (left to right, top) tangy seaweed, pungent beancurd, sweet toothy black beans, napa cabbage kimchi; (middle) soybean sprouts, sesame broccoli, pickled daikon, sesame beansprouts; (bottom) pickled cucumber, mung bean jelly, daikon kimchi, greens kimchi

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PYEONG CHANG TOFU HOUSE, OAKLAND: (clockwise from left) white napa cabbage kimchi, mild daikon, spicy daikon kimchi, sweet & spicy smoky eggplant, spicy napa cabbage kimchi, sweet soy potato, mild cabbage (slightly pungent, like mustard greens); (not shown) bubbling tofu soup

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JONG GA HOUSE, OAKLAND: (left to right, top) rolled omelet, sweet & spicy beancurd, sweet fishcake, sesame green beans, mung bean jelly, white napa cabbage kimchi; (middle) sweet candied fried potato, sesame broccoli, sweet & tangy daikon, rapeflower, sesame soybean sprouts, picked cucumber; (bottom) sesame sweet potato noodles with rapeflower, boiled eggplant, sesame beansprouts, tangy napa cabbage kimchi, tangy spicy daikon kimchi, potato/carrot salad

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T-TOUST, BERKELEY: (left to right) tangy & spicy napa cabbage kimchi, sweet soy potato, sweet fishcake


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Five on Friday: Let’s Twist

Ankle lock | Canon Digital Rebel XT, 17mm, 1/13 f8, ISO 400

For the past ten months I’ve been dabbling in no-gi jiujitsu to help improve my ground game. Having trained for so many years in a martial art (yongmudo) that packs practically everything into its curriculum, focusing on one area has been a nice change of pace. And yet I still feel like I’m floundering on the surface. Sure, working out without a uniform and in an informal environment took a little getting used to, but that’s nothing compared to the seemingly endless number of techniques I have yet to learn.

To supplement my physical workouts, I recently bought Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Closed Guard by BJ Penn. I had Eddie Bravo’s Mastering the Rubber Guard in hand, too, but decided that my brain could only process so much information and probably couldn’t handle the goofy monikers Bravo gave his moves. Rather than devour all of Penn’s straightforward and clear instructions in one sitting, I’m digesting them slowly in hopes that something will stick. If I only had a photographic memory, a cooperative full-time partner, and more time to dedicate to this twisted art…

Here are some photos of other folks contorting themselves and/or defying gravity.


Submission, UC Yongmudo Championship, UC Berkeley | Canon 5D, 70mm, 1/200 f4, ISO 1250

Ssireum headplant

Ssireum headplant, Yong In University, South Korea | Canon 5D, 73mm, 1/200 f4, ISO 800

Wushu flip, Chinese Martial Arts Tournament, UC Berkeley | Canon 5D, 50mm, 1/400 f2.8, ISO 1600

Yongmudo front flip (top) and dive roll (bottom), Yong In University, South Korea | Canon Digital Rebel XT, 24mm, 1/100 f6.3, ISO 400

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Filed under five on friday, martial arts, photography