Have you watched Parasite? A Korean movie about class. It’s a thriller, a pitch-black comedy and a legitimate nose around into how Koreans live, the poor and the rich.
I watched it on Curzon online. It stayed with me. I added South Korea to my ever-increasing list of places I want to visit. (It joins Oaxaca, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Sichuan.)
By further coincidence, when I opened my September issue of Bon Appetit I found Korean Jennifer Hope Choi’s evocative article on childhood travels with a cooler full of Gimbap.
And Kimchi. There is always Kimchi in my fridge. A daily “from Korea with love”
My point, with this Korean themed listicle, is that while some things feel dire (Climate change, COVID, Fascism, the ultra machoism of certain world leaders) there are positives too. I am hearing many diverse and interesting voices. Ones that haven’t had a platform previously. And is it just me or is the food getting more interesting?
Which brings me to today’s reviews. Two places. Cafe Modu and Modu Market. I stumbled on the former first. A dark, 1/2 basement space. I loitered. Flipping through Tripadvisor and find lots of “It was close to my Airbnb…” reviews.
Under the glowing Modu sign in the entrance though are two Cuckoo rice cookers. They tip me into yes. Though I falter when I encounter a roomful of young Catalans and a couple of South American servers. “Is this Korean? As in Koreans doing Korean food? Or is this Catalans doing Korean food?” I wonder and then let my nitpicking float away in favour of lunch.
Three squeezy bottles arrive before my bowl does SsamJang, GochuJang and GanJang like three flavourful stooges. The food arrives next, in a heavy sizzling stone pot. The three stooges are deployed generously. Particularly the GochuJang.
Afterwards, my hunger appeased, a GochuJang induced spring in my step. I head out to assess the changes to the streets of Gracia after the leanest summer Barcelona has seen in the last 2 decades. Only to stumble upon Modu Market – a Korean supermarket owned by the same people as the restaurant.
I assaulted the woman there:
“Are you Korean?”
“Yes, she answered, I am.”
“Have you seen Parasite?”
“What is it that they eat when the family is coming back? Those Instant Noodles that she puts the steak on.”
“Ram-Don!” She starts laughing and takes me to the back, where she hands me two packets. Chapagetti and Neoguri. “Both,” she explains, layering the two packets on top of each other. “Very little water, only to hydrate. And only two-thirds of the sauce packet in the Neoguri.”
Packets in hand I walk out wondering if I can justify an upgrade to a Cuckoo rice cooker for the 2 times a week we have rice? Maybe I should visit South Korea first and then decide.
Modu Korean Cafe & Market
C/ Minerva 8
C Goya 13
English Saddles says
Great place with amazing stuffs.