An Abundance Of Deliciousness And Other First World Problems.
I never thought I’d say this, but for a very brief and recent period of my life, I was actually getting a little tired of eating out.
See, as tends to happen when the military packs up most of your household goods four days before you leave the old house and doesn’t deliver them until three days after you arrive at the new one (and that was a relatively short turnaround) — and also as tends to happen when you can’t find anything in the new house without stumbling amongst the box towers for several hours while staring at the vast number of expired pantry items that managed to get packed despite you having, you’d thought, cleaned out said pantry before the packers arrived, we’d eventually give up all efforts to cook something at home in favor take-out. Or dining out.
It used to be that dining out was a special ordeal. Because we lived so far away from everything, it took work to go out to eat. Planning. Reservating. Driving. And so we made it an occasion, Justin and I, getting kind of dolled up even for something casual, because hey. We were going out to eat. Someone was going to wait on us and bring us food and drinks and probably a plate of bread with delicious things to dip it in.
Now I feel like the kid from Gary Paulsen’s book, Hatchet, when he’s finally rescued after surviving months alone in the wilderness and finds himself staring in slack-jawed awe at the aisles and aisles of food available at the grocery store, just right there, ready to pick up and eat.
He didn’t have to hunt it or kill it or pluck it or cook it — he just had to eat it. And here, in our new house, we live just 2-10 minutes from an incredible variety of choices. Burger joints, Italian food, seafood, or Indian — it no longer costs a quarter tank of gas and 2-4 hours to enjoy a meal we don’t have to cook. It’s exactly what happened when I gained the “Freshman 30” after discovering the dining hall in college. (You heard me — not fifteen. Thirty.)
The problem, you see, with eating out all of the time is that sluggish feeling that comes with not paying attention to the atrocious things we’re putting into our bodies. (The same could be said for the overconsumption of processed foods from the grocery store.) Combine that with a lack of exercise and choppy sleep patterns, and you get… well… me. Puffy eyes, puckering jeans zipper, bangs that stick straight up in the air, and probably a mild case of IBS.
You know. For instance.
Yet since Justin and I found ourselves without any actual cooking utensils for over a week, dine out we did. We saw it as an excuse to explore our local area, but really we were devouring a gluttonous feast of pent-up frustration from our previous super suburban isolation. It wasn’t until restaurant #6 or #7 that I realized that I probably should, as a sometimes food blogger, document something.
So what follows is a series of blurry iPhone photos of Kyung Sung Korean Restaurant in Newport News, Virginia.
*You’ll have to forgive me — I was far too exhausted from the move and lack of vegetables in my life to think about carrying around my fancy camera.
The idea to go to Kyung Sung all started with my insatiable and constant craving for Asian dumplings.
I’m pretty sure I could eat steamed dumplings three meals a day for a very long time without getting bored. In fact, I have dreams of traveling through different countries in Asia and eating dumplings for breakfast, like the adorable Samuel and Audrey, my favorite travel vloggers, did in Malaysia (and probably many other countries as well):
Can you think of a better way to start a day?
I don’t know much about the history of dumplings in Asia, except that I’m most (and not very) familiar with Chinese dim sum. My first experience at a dim sum restaurant was in San Francisco’s Chinatown, which, while delicious, didn’t actually go so well because we didn’t know what we were doing. So when I visited my sister in Chicago shortly thereafter, we made it a point to take a food tour of Chinatown and actually learn a little something about what we were eating.
It was incredible.
And I’ve been craving them ever since.
I haven’t yet unearthed a dim sum restaurant here in Newport News or the surrounding area, so Justin and I decided to try out a Korean restaurant, Kyung Sung, where I’d be able to devour some mandu — Korea’s version of meat-filled dumplings. They can be steamed (my preference), fried (Justin’s preference), or boiled, and are very delicious.
After I had my fill of steamed mandu (jjinmandu), we were presented with what our waitress likened to a “Korean salad.” It was a variety of small dishes all seasoned with various vinegars and sauces — some kind of sprouts, a sweet dish with potatoes, and a few varieties of fermented vegetables like cucumber and cabbage (kimchi).
Hey. Don’t knock it ’till you try it.
For dinner, I ordered bulgolgi, which is a grilled beef dish flavored with a pretty distinctive marinade. I used to order it pretty frequently at our favorite hole-in-the-wall in Fayetteville (seriously, it had bars on the windows) before they closed when the owner moved back to Korea. While I liked it a little better at our old (and decidedly less fancy) place, that could’ve just been the nostalgia talking because it was still pretty tasty at Kyung Sung.
The dinner portions there are huge.
Justin ordered the ribs, which were also fantastic and came with his beloved fried mandu (gunmandu).
The restaurant was completely empty on that rainy Monday night after Thanksgiving, but our waitress assured us that 95% of their clientage is white. She didn’t realize that her words weren’t all together assuring, since it doesn’t really matter to us who’s eating at the restaurant as long as the food is good. Usually the best way to tell if an ethnic cuisine is authentic, though, is if people from that particular country enjoy eating there.
Of course, that won’t affect whether or not we go back, because. Well. We enjoyed eating there.
And that’s all that really matters, right?
Need to Know: Kyung Sung Korean
13748 Warwick Boulevard
Newport News, VA 23602
Need to Know:
Kyung Sung Korean
- The place is large, but fairly nondescript. It might be easy to drive right past if you don’t know it’s there!
- The staff is incredibly friendly, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. The best way to learn about a new (to you) type of cuisine is just ask, ask, ask!
We eat out roughly 8 nights a week. Is all of that atrocious stuff going to turn us into like Ninja Turtles or something? Because, if so, I’d better practice up with my nunchuks.
You live in a large metropolis. Somehow that makes it less taboo. :)
eating out can be exhausting. i travel for work, and often not to very exotic and fun locations. i just spent a week in dayton and i’m sorry to say i struck out at every restaurant. I was relieved when a co-worker who is local invited me over for a home cooked dinner. it was a nice break from the
Ha, your comment cut off at a cliffhanger! You know, every now and then you can find a winner in some of those towns. I just found a gastropub a few miles from my place on Urbanspoon – it was a nice surprise! But yes. As much as I love eating out, sometimes I just crave home-cooked food. :)
Love dimsum and Korean, there is a great spot here in the sunset in SF, you’ll have to try it. I totally get the getting tired of eating out. Happens to me all the time, sometimes you just want your own food, or at least to know what is in it.
Exactly. Though I think if I lived in as amazing a city as you, it would probably take me longer to get tired of it. :)
Saw your blog on Urbanspoon. Will cast my personal vote and say that fried mandu is way better than the steamed mandu. My mouth is watering just thinking about their mandu. I like mixing their chili paste with a little bit of the white vinegar they have on the tables. Will say Kyung Sung is one of the best Korean spots in that area, they also have a location up in Williamsburg. Next time you should try drinking some Soju!
I like the fried mandu too, but it just doesn’t satiate my dumpling craving like the steamed ones do. I will try your chili paste/vinegar trick next time for sure. Usually I try to watch what people at other tables are doing, but there was absolutely no one there when we went. I’ll get some Soju next time, too. :) Thanks for stopping by my blog!