I love food. I mean, I really love food. If I had the money to burn, I’d go to culinary school just to learn how to cook for myself. It’s also one of my main motivations for travel! While I was at an open market in Ireland, I found a Hungarian food stand that made cheesy bread out of potatoes instead of flower. What?! Come on?!!! It was fantastic, of course.
Needles to say, this passion for food comes at a price. Namely, a less than ideal calorie count. It doesn’t keep me up at night, but I’ve definitely started looking for foods that are moderately healthy as well as delicious.
This mission has led me to many different types of Asian restaurants in the DFW area, given that most Asian dishes have substantially more vegetables than a lot of American/European cuisines. However, noodles are my kryptonite, and I always ending up caving in and ordering something delicious like ramen, chow mein, or pad thai.
Then I discovered Korean food in Carrollton, at a shopping area colloquially known as Hmart (more on that little slice of heaven in the future). And let me tell you . . .
THE ANSWER TO MY PRAYERS!!!
The main focus of Korean food is meat and vegetables, and they go heavy on the spices. As a result, a vegetable side dish can be marinated and seasoned to perfection without having to be cooked much or at all, which is how a lot of vegetables lose most of their nutrients.
The key to this healthy style of food is banchan, or traditional Korean side dishes. While they also offer starches like potatoes and glass noodles, there are a slew of other dishes like broccoli, seaweed, cucumbers, eggplant, bean sprouts, salad, kimchi, etc. The list goes on!
What is kimchi, you might ask? Kimchi is fermented cabbage, and a staple in the Korean diet. It’s not at all delicious. Not at first. I actually had to force myself to eat it in the beginning, but it’s worth it because it’s so dang healthy. Now I love it! Along with being a negative calorie (what other reason do you need, really?), the fermenting process produces all sorts of good bacteria that benefit your digestive system. It’s definitely a taste worth acquiring.
Whether your food is served on a fancy grill or a cafeteria tray, it’s going to be bursting with flavor. For the first time, I can go to a restaurant and order food that will satisfy my adventurous cravings without filling me with shame and a need to go to the gym (which I magically never get around to doing). I’m telling you guys, I hit those unlimited grills hard! By the time I leave, I’m ready for hibernation! However, along with an absurd amount of bulgogi (marinated beef), I also stuffed myself with delicious and nutritious veggies! You know that saying “if you eat Asian food, you’ll be hungry again in an hour”? That’s GOOD because it means your body can actually digest the food you’re eating! Thus less shame and regret, and more room for dessert later!
I mean, what? Dessert? No! We’re talking about healthy foods!!
Is all Korean food healthy? Of course not. Do they have their fair share of adorable cafes and sugar confections? You bet they do!
My mother and I recently discovered a restaurant called Ddong Ggo in Carrollton. While we adore bulgogi and banchan, we wanted to branch out and try something new. To our delight, this restaurant has perfected the art of combining amazing food with, you guessed it! Melted cheese!
Your server brings this dish out to you at room temperature, places it over a burner, and then waltzes off without a word. You then wait in agony for the cheese to melt, and then dip the meat and veggies into the delicious vat of molten cheese and corn. It isn’t the healthiest meal in the world, but . . . . I mean, just look at it!!
I can’t remember what this dish is called, but just point at the picture on the menu. Works every time!
Have you ever tried Korean food? What kind of food is your favorite? What should I try next?! Let me know in the comments below!