Friday, November 10, 2006

Ginseng Research Lunch

I recently visited the unusual and local Korean ginseng restaurant for lunch, located on Lawrence Avenue east of Elston on the northwest side of Chicago. Large glass cylinders six-feet tall hold dozens of fresh, scrubbed ginseng roots suspended in liquid throughout the restaurant. The menu features several ginseng items such as hot ginseng tea with a few pine nuts floating on top, which I enjoyed along with the house specialty, ginseng chicken soup.

A large bowl holding boiling broth, a whole boiled chicken and a six-inch ginseng root was placed before me. Six or seven small dishes of condiments also arrived for me to create my own soup mixture. Seasoned seaweed, kimchee cabbage, sliced steamed peppers, spiced carrots and other root vegetables, brown rice and beans, radishes, a rough salt -- one by one I added the items to the soup, tasted, stirred and removed the chicken bones and skins as I mixed with chopsticks. The waitress helped me identify the items I didn't recognize. It was then time to enjoy. Ahh. It was some of the tastiest chicken soup to cure what ails you and enough for two people. I ate my fill and brought the remainder home to share with a lucky family member.

Before I left, I bought a small bag of dried, steamed, sweetned ginseng that I can chew when I need a pick-me-up at work on stressful days. I also bought a box of panax ginseng extract in handy single-serving tubes at a remarkably inexpensive price.

I told the elegant, beautiful waitress who served me that I was doing research on ginseng and my visit to the restaurant was an exceptionally enjoyable portion of this process. She disappeared behind the counter to emerge with a small book in Korean and English on the virtues of ginseng, which she gave me as a gift. I will read and treasure it. This told me that it pays to be outgoing, to ask questions, make observations and tell strangers about yourself. Blessings often take place as a result of it. ◦

1 comment:

Oberon said...

.........nice blog.