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    Chef No-eul Taik’s new take away,  brings Korean sushi to the French Quarter

    Pondicherry’S culinary map gets a new address with perfroming artiste-turned-chef No-eul Taik catering bite-sized kimbap to residents and volunteers at Auroville. Taik’s Jolly Kimbap, which opened earlier this year, is the first Korean non-vegetarian take-away outlet in Pondicherry. While the ‘silent’ restaurant, Goyo, has been around for a year, it is limited to vegetarian dishes. Taik’s kimbap or sushi -like rolls uses diverse and fresh ingredients— vegetables, meat, tuna, cheese and tofu—presented with seaweed and vinegared rice. Using home-made recipes from back home, she says, “I began making kimbap for special gatherings and celebrations at Auroville, in an informal way, when I first came here from Korea, in 2012. The take-away unit was just an experiment as it is difficult to gauge the Indian palate. Now we get an average of five kimbap home delivery orders a day, for lunch and dinner.”
    Say it with sushi
    Currently, Taik works out of her own kitchen in Auroville, offering  11 kimbap varieties, including a healthy salad kimbap (pickles, vegetables and organic brown rice tossed in a light dressing). Taik’s favourite is her signature Jolly Kimbap, with three layers—vegetables, chicken and tuna —rolled in with cheese, rice and seaweed, topped with kimchi and a special tangy sauce. The Korean delicacy is accompanied by vegetable or chicken Miso soup, mustard-soy dipping sauce and sides of kimchi and seasoned seaweed. She recently began serving triangle-shaped kimbap too. “We hope to plate up our ‘Nude Kimbap’ platter next week. It is typically Korean and has seaweed stuffed inside and the rice outside, which changes the flavour a little,” says the 44-year-old, adding that she sources her seaweed from Korea and the rice from the Korean mart in Chennai. Most of the other ingredients, like the vegetables, are from Auroville farms and she tries to keep things “organic”. With plans to add the noodle-based guksu and rice-based bibimbap to her menu in the coming months, Taik hopes to make Jolly Kimbap a sustainable enterprise. She is also on the lookout for a young enthusiastic team to set up her restaurant later this year.

    Eat, meditate
    The “silent” Korean restaurant, Goyo (meaning silence in Korean), was started by Korean chef Wonya last August. It is open for lunch on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. They serve a small group (only 10 at a time) homemade organic vegetarian fare, including options of bibimbap, kimbap  and noodle or jabchea served with aromatic green teas and desserts. Before the guests sit down to their meal, a nugget of wisdom is read out to them, nicknamed “food for thought”, which they are encouraged to mull over as they eat lunch silently. “Eating is something that awakens our consciousness. That is why my restaurant is silent. I encourage only small groups to come in as the focus is on the food, and meditating on it. It is not about being social,” says  Wonya, who relocated to Pondicherry a few years ago. You can also pick up Korean painting materials such as ink, handmade paper and ink stones there. Rs 350 for visitors (Rs 300 for Aurovillians). For reservations, SMS 9489693809

    Prices start from Rs 140. Lunch between 12-2 pm and dinner from 5-8 pm. Details: 9751783912

     Niranjana Hariharanandanan

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