08 July 2012
Get ready for a hardcore New Food Experience (NFE). Rimini's an Italian restaurant. Pretty run-of-the-mill, actually. Shelley goes there for all-you-can-eat salad.* It's not spectacular, but for W6,900 ($6.06) you can pack down the salad till you look pregnant. Your companion can order something smothered in cheese or something.
Don't worry, the NFE isn't cheese or a cheese affiliate. As if.
The easiest way to find Rimini is to head north out of Myeongdong Station's exit 6. Thank the great wide goodness that we can read numbers in Korea.
Coming here with 3 people turned out to be almost prohibitively confusing. Our server spoke a fair bit of English, but when all of us headed to the salad bar, she (very politely, of course) ushered two of us back to the table. Seems the salad bar is only meant for one person. Shelley* then gathered enough salad in about five subsequent bowls for each of us to share throughout the meal.
Our first bowl contained a million things. The mashed potatoes in the middle were actually sweet! Shelley had warned me, but even so the taste surprised me. They weren't bad, to be honest. The sweet pumpkin mash was good, too, and also sweet - which is extra strange, because the last time I willingly ate pumpkin I yarfed. (It was bad. This was good.) The greens were satisfyingly crispy and had a good sesame dressing that echoed the flavors of Italian. The mushrooms were good and the roasted garlic was - well. You don't need me to tell you how roasted garlic tastes. Is it ever NOT mind-blowing?
The peaches were sweet and syrupy - I liked them, even though that's not usually the kind of fruit I go for. And I think we all know how I feel about pineapple. Juice ran down my face. It was a little sticky. The pita, which isn't pictured, was phenomenal. It had been toasted with lots of salt and oil, the magic ingredients for any food.
It's time, muffins. Do you see the brown sphere under the peach? That's the NFE. Lychee. Yes. Freaking lychee. It's not even in bubble tea! Who knew it was a real fruit?! So, you gotta peel off the brown skin, which isn't too hard, and inside is a very translucent yet firm gelatinous mass covering a pit. You can down the whole thing in one bite and spit the center out. It had the texture of a peach and the taste of... a flower. Yes, it tasted like flowers. So I would like to thank the bubble tea industry for accurately portraying the lychee flavor.
As I mentioned above, the value of this restaurant is more in the sheer volume of salad rather than the quality. But the pita, mashed pumpkin, roasted garlic, pineapple, and greens are worth your time for sure. Plus, if you fill up on salad, you'll hopefully still be able to fit through the throng of 100-pound Koreans amassing on the street outside. Thin Americans in Korea = happy Americans in Korea.
*If you prick Shelley, salad will come out instead of blood. Literally.