hamburger gim-bap and bus 1147 are 2 vignettes from the Korean-American writer, Mi Soon Burzlaff's new book titled "Bravo your Life".
Gim-bap is a Japanese import that has taken on its own cultural identity in Korean cuisine. It is seaweed laver filled with rice, strips of egg, different vegetables, along with Spam or ham rolled into the mix. Even though I don’t eat any kind of meat, sometimes Koreans don’t consider Spam, ham or hot dogs actual meat. Gim-bap is cheap and semi-healthy, and it’s served in small restaurants all around the country. In my neighborhood, there’s a popular place that’s famous for its quality gim-bap and tteok-bokk-i. After my first few visits, they got used to my Korean accent, and I learned how to ask for mine without ham.
It’s always crowded at lunch time, and they recently moved to a larger place, just a few doors down from where they were. Today is my first time eating in their new space, and it’s crowded with the usual lunch rush. I sit by myself in the corner, just happy to look like everyone else and blend into the crowd, a luxury that was never afforded to me in Minnesota. Since it’s at least three times bigger, there are a lot of new people working. A woman comes over to take my order, and I’m disappointed that she’s new. I say, “Gim-bap Ju-seo-oh. Ham Bbae-go .”