I looked forward to finally tasting the famed Korean Air Bibimbap on the journey back to the U.S. after my failed attempts at ordering it on the way to Shenyang. The in-flight dining experience did not impress me last time, and I was waiting to be underwhelmed again.
It turns out that their food is better heading out of Asia.
The breakfast from Shenyang to Seoul/Incheon was a kind of chow-mien with beef, a carton of chilled tofu with a Korean sauce, pineapple, and coffee. The noodles were not very good and the beef was tough, but the tofu was great but not something I'm used to eating in the mornings.
When I arrived at Seoul/Incheon airport, I made a mad rush to the line of restaurants upstairs in the international terminal because I missed the chance last time. Boy, was I happy! I ordered cold beef noodle soup and stewed beef short ribs. The buckwheat noodles were very elastic from floating in chunks of iced broth. They were topped with pickled daikon radishes, a hard boiled egg, cucumbers, beef slices, and slivers of Korean pear. I enjoyed slurping the refreshing noodles. The beef short ribs were extremely tasty and tender and the restaurant did not skimp on meat. Usually, it is easy for restaurants to cheat customers out of the pricey meat with a bunch of fat and bones. These were lean and lacked substantial amounts of bones. Delicious and honest food!
On the plane from Seoul to LAX, I finally satisfied my curiosity by getting my hands on the bibimbap. The tray came with the steamed rice and the bibimbap toppings in separate bowls. You have to dump the rice into the toppings bowl and mix everything together along with a tube of spicy paste and sesame oil. It was a very good meal, but not as exciting as I imagined. It's more like comfort food, something not meant to knock your socks off, but comfortable and homey.
Bibimbap with clear seaweed soup, spicy pickles, and mochi
Bibimbap Before Rice; Bibimbap After Mixing
Breakfast was a dull and safe rice porridge with seto fumi furikake (rice seasoning) and spicey pickled radishes, but still not too bad.
Rice Porridge with Seto Fumi Furikake