Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 6.140: Waste not?

I've been musing on food waste today. The culture here is of many side-dishes placed on the table - refilled if required - these are neither ordered nor, necessarily finished. In addition, it is customary to leave something - presumably so that it is clear that you did not leave the table hungry. I wondered if this meant that more food is wasted in restaurants here than in the US - but I suspect the picture is more complicated.

Generally these side-dishes are pickled vegetables or small salads, sometimes with some squid or anchovies, but rarely any "high-value" items. The meat is generally served early in the meal - and is often all the meat that can be found on the animal, whether it is a whole chicken in a bowl or the very tasty but oddly shaped morsels of pork we ate tonight at a restaurant whose subtitle translates as "spicy leg and foot". At the end of the meal when appetites may be failing, generally what is served is rice or soup and noodles or both - by that time the meat is generally all or all-but gone.

Incidentally, the pictured food is a very delicious type of pancake - containing spring onions (scallions) and, in this case, some small pieces of octopus. The name, pajeon, refers to the onions rather than the pancake.  A similar dish containing mugwort - was similarly named after the vegetable and not given a name referring to the style of cooking.

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