Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Brunch: Gaeran tost-u


It seems like we've got a little Korean food-themed week going on here at Beach City Cooking. I mean, between this entry and yesterday's Japchae, you could have yourself a couple of Korean-themed meals, and then you could make the Tagalongs for dessert. I'm not sure if Korea has its own version of Tagalongs, but if they don't, I think you could definitely eat Tagalongs after meals of Gaeran Tost-U and Japchae and still call it a day of Korean cuisine in perfectly good conscience. I mean, I won't tell.

Anyway, in a post from April of 2008, over at's Korean Food site, Naomi Imatome talks about what Korean people eat for breakfast. She says that while traditionally, Korean people would have the same sort of meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, now breakfast-specific foods are gaining some popularity. One such breakfast item, Gaeran tost-u, is particularly delicious. Imatome says: "The last time I was in Korea, I fell in love with the sweet egg sandwich sold by vendors everywhere in Korean cities. Gaeran tost-u (egg toast) is hearty, delicious, and easy to make." Sounds good to me.


The recipe for the sandwich is here, and it is indeed pretty quick and easy to prepare, making it a perfect fit for Wednesday Brunch. The closest comparison that comes to mind is a kind of Denver omelet sandwich, but that doesn't exactly do tost-u justice. The reason I bring up the Denver omelet is that both the omelet in the tost-u, and a Denver omelet, are cooked the same way. That is to say that unlike a basic omelet where you put the ingredients on top of half of the cooked egg and fold it over, with this kind of omelet you actually mix the additional ingredients in with the egg, and cook it all together.


So, this sandwich has two unique components to it that differentiate it pretty strongly from a Denver omelet sandwich. For one, it's clearly more about the vegetables than a Denver omelet is. While you might very well find peppers and onions in a Denver omelet, you're also going to find a lot of meat and cheese, typically ham and American cheese. Even if there's not cheese in the omelet itself, most American breakfast sandwiches have cheese on them, so it's pretty refreshing to find a cheese-less, meat-less breakfast sandwich that's a unique creation and not simply a vegetarian version of a pre-existing, meat and cheese-heavy breakfast sandwich. I think some vegetarian dishes are like a filmmaker remaking a pre-existing movie instead of making their own, new movie. Not a terribly elegant or clever metaphor, but it was all I could think of on short notice. Some veggie versions of traditionally meaty dishes work well, but others just seem like a pale imitation, which is unfortunate considering all of the more original vegetarian dishes out there--such as this sandwich. Oh, and the other thing that makes Gaeran tost-u unique is its use of a little brown sugar and a little bit of ketchup on the sandwich. The sweetness of the brown sugar and tanginess of the ketchup work wonders on the overall flavor of the egg sandwich.


I also want to point out that both sandwiches pictured contain only one egg each--even the blue-plated one. The second time I made tost-u, I just went to town on the veggies and the result was a much larger omelet, but with technically still just one egg in it. I think it's pretty cool how far you can stretch a single egg. (Oh, and fresh fruit went into the third section of the blue plate, for those curious.)


Thanks for stopping by Beach City Cooking, and I'll see you all tomorrow for the second edition of Thrifty Thursdays! Have a great evening, and stay cool!

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