Broken and transformed: Embracing the lesson of the bowl of kimchee

“Euw!” “Yuck!” These were my first reactions to kimchee. I had tried a tiny bit of it a long time ago and did not like it. Stayed away from the stuff.

And yet last month I ate at five Korean restaurants at the Harmon Industrial Park and had kimchee in four of them. I wanted to try something I thought was distasteful. I wanted to give it another chance. Maybe I was looking at it all wrong. Maybe my taste buds had changed, or developed.

I used to think of Harmon Industrial Park as the wild west of Guam. It is actually more developed now and, to my surprise, home to several hidden culinary gems.

On Oct. 19, I went to Bu Ga. It was an excellent introduction to Korean food. For $10.99 I had a huge bibimbap with egg and meat (possibly bulgogi), seven plates of various appetizers called banchan. Banchan usually has three kinds of kimchee – cabbage, eggplant or cucumber, plus sweetened potatoes, bean sprouts and, my favorite, fish cakes.

Bibimbap is a collection of different vegetables served in a deep bowl and topped with a spicy sauce.