When we speak of Korean cuisine we immediately think of the Korean peninsula, a very specific and circumscribed place. In reality, the Korean population also concerns other territories, with important and deeply rooted historical and social connotations. Jindalai, for example, is a Korean restaurant in Via Pietro Marocco 7 run by a Korean family from the YanBian region.
I had never heard of the YanBian region before dining at Jindalai. It is a territory with a profound historical characterization. And to understand the type of cuisine proposed, it is necessary to explain precisely the history of this territory, which is well documented and that the managers of the restaurant are very willing to explain. The owners of Jindalai are in fact an ethnic Korean family from the aforementioned region that is not in Korea but in China. In fact, in China there are 56 ethnic groups, in addition to the main Han, and the Korean one represents a minor ethnic group and is composed of immigrants from the Korean peninsula from the 9th century, during the Quing dynasty. Because of the successive invasions by the Japanese, many Koreans continued to migrate, so much so that in 1870 there were about 28 small ethnic Koreans north of the Yalu river. The flows became increasingly numerous and constant over time, to the point that in the 1870s they were banned. Nevertheless, to develop the border areas between China and Korea, the “clemency office” was established in the YanBian region, where Korean immigrants could receive Chinese citizenship. In 1910, however, the migration flow resumed actively due to the Japanese invasion of Korea. From this moment nationalist independence movements began and precisely the Korean border with China became the stronghold of this revolution: in 1919 a real armed society was established and at the same time several Korean ethnic schools (where Korean was taught) and the Chinese school of Han joined in the Five-Four movement (great movement of the students of China). During the 1920s Korean ethnicity was profoundly influenced by Marxism, so that when the civil war broke out in China in 1945, the Korean community openly sided with the Communists and Mao. From 1946 to 1948 there was the reorganization of the territory in China and the Korean ethnicity, which was recognized by communism as Chinese, also had a territory for itself. When the war broke out in Korea in 1950, both the Chinese military and the Korean ethnic group fought on the front line alongside North Korea; the YanBian region in this regard was called “Shan shan, cun cun lieshibei” (mountain mountain flower, small village monument of martyrs). The Korean ethnic group fought strenuously for the establishment of modern China and on September 3, 1952, the YanBian ethnic Korean region was officially established. Today in this territory the Korean uses and customs are maintained, as well as the language. Here are the only schools (elementary, middle, high schools and universities) in all of China where they teach the Korean language. And the cuisine proposed by Jindalai is precisely that of the YanBian region, characterized by a strong influence of the gastronomic style of South Korea and presents the skewers of meat typical of this area.
Jindalai is synonymous with barbecue. In fact, the tables are equipped with a special brazier with extractor hood where the YanBian skewers can be cooked. Here the meat is the protagonist: lamb (skewers, ribs, liver, kidney), bovine (beef, spicy beef, ligament, heart artery, tripe), pork (rib, bacon, soft bone, liver, spleen, heart, rind, kidney, pork belly), poultry (gizzard, wings, quail egg). But there is also fish (squid, cuttlefish balls, scallops, prawns, eel) and a wide variety of vegetables (garlic, garlic plant, chives, asparagus, corn, cauliflower, sweet potato, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms). It is possible to order these ingredients individually: they will be brought to the table in the form of a skewer and it will be possible to season them with a special sauce. The staff, attentive and courteous, is always available to the customer for a perfect cooking of the food. There are also other main dishes of the Korean culinary tradition: the jeon (seafood with onions, kimchi, potato, glutinous rice), grilled dumplings, salads (kimchi, dry tofu, beef with cucumber, chicken breast with vegetables, snails, spicy beef, cuttlefish), soups (soft tofu with seafood, kimchi with pork, kimchi with tuna, soy, beef, cod, spicy chicken, seafood with roast rice, military), dishes made with rice (tuna kimbap, meat or salad, classic bibimbap, vegetarian, tuna or bbq meat, sautéed rice with kimchi, rice with spicy tuna), noodles (sautéed potato soy, starch with soy sauce , in cold classic and spicy broth, by Woodon) and rice dumplings (with seafood and spicy sauce, in soy sauce, in spicy sauce with mozzarella, in oil with garlic).
Finally, there are the bulgoghi, king prawns fried in sauce, classic and spicy fried chicken with mozzarella, spicy sautéed squid, crunchy chicken legs, fried pork in sweet and sour sauce, tofu with kimchi. To drink you can order soft drinks (including grape juice or rice, aloe, wheat tea), soju, fermented rice wine, plum brandy, Korean and Chinese beer.