Updated: Jan 1, 2019
Last night, Sheryl and I had a New Year's Eve dinner with our dear friends Paul, Bevs, Ronnie, and Jonze at this spectacular joint on 32nd and 5th (K-Town) called GopchangStory. It is a traditional Korean restaurant that serves grilled or stewed beef intestines and other offal meats. It is one-of-a-kind here in New York, or even perhaps the entire country, which explains the two-hour wait time to get a seat.
We ordered the offal extravaganza called "Assorted GUI (not Graphical User Interface)," which is "an all-star cast of everything succulent inside an ox's stomach. Name it: tripe, large intestine, small intestine, liver, and even the stomach itself. They are all there expertly grilled on top of a convection stove with a good dash of their secret garlic-based seasoning.
Don't get it wrong. These innards aren't served raw and then grilled. These are thoroughly cleaned and pre-cooked, either boiled or braised for hours to ensure tenderness. So the grilling part is the finishing step, which renders the bits crispy, caramelized like sweet candied fat.
How can I describe the sensation of one bite? It is very hard because there is so much umami and fat in one piece that it sends the brain into a sort of rush. Hmm.. did you ever see the movie #Trainspotting or the howtime limited seires #PatrickMelrose ? Yes, those scenes when they inject themselves with heroin? Can you picture the instant bliss they get once the substance traverses their veins? Yup. Just like that but 100% safer and better. No to heroin. Yes to grilled intestines.
I had one thought, however. And this thought woke me up at 3:00 AM. I tossed and turned.
Will my intestines digest the intestines I ate? Can my stomach process the stomach I ingested? Will my intestines go: "Wait, what the fucking hell is this? Am I down to eating my own now?"
For a while there it was like the movie #Inception. Belly within a belly. Think about it. Freaking weird huh?