When I heard that this year’s Korean Food Festival was scheduled for this past weekend (thank you, London Korean Links!), I cleared my calendar, called my brother who came down for the weekend and took along a couple more friends for an afternoon of eating. We arrived at about 12:30, and by the time we wove our way through the high street, filled with loads more stalls in the same kind of New Malden Day as last year, the garden of the Fountain Pub was absolutely packed. I believe it was much busier than last year – word has spread! Children’s shouts came from the presentation area as they went though the paces of their tae kwon do demonstrations but we ignored all these presentations for a good two hours as we plonked ourselves on a table on the other side of the garden and just started eating.

And boy, did we eat. Two orders of the Korean snack food of ddeokboggi, thick chewy rice cakes mixed with thin fish cakes and a spicy gochujang based sauce. This was very good, with some shredded carrots and onions mixed in and the sweet and slightly spicy sauce bringing it all together.

More Spicy Rice Cake

Smoke was wafting from the many charcoal grills and we followed our noses to a galbi so nice we had it twice. Actually, we had it three times but the second order had a disappointing marinade and so we had another order from the first stall. That marinade was so tasty it had us all gnawing away at the bones and licking our fingers.

Even More Galbi

We had some crossed wires between us which resulted in two different orders of spicy fried chicken but we took opportunities such as that to sample the fried chicken from various stalls. Shame the last one wasn’t as good as the first. Compare and contrast the colour of the first two examples with the last. The last was more like a sweet and sour sauce – not right. The best was the first as the sauce was the richest and had the addition of ground peanuts.

Spicy Fried Chicken I

Spicy Fried Chicken II

Spicy Fried Chicken III

We also ate kimbap (always good),

Kimbap and a Dumpling

and lots of chicken skewers (yummy!),

Chicken Skewers

and fried vegetable fritters (just ok),

Vegetable Fritters

and extremely heavy, fried rice cakes that looked like marshmallows on a stick (too heavy! so sticky!).

Fried Rice Cake Skewers

We ate so much that we barely had any dinner later that evening. We did stick around to watch some of the tae kwon do demonstrations. Some of the kids were obviously very talented; I wouldn’t want to meet some of them in a dark alley. Rather luckily, we were just in time to watch this guy break a whole lot of marble sheets (I think that’s what the kids said). Very impressive! Will eating lots of grilled meat and kimchi make me this strong?

Breaking

All my photos (and gosh, we ate a lot) can be seen in this Flickr photoset.

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