Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Korean Food in Milan - Ginmi

Milan is one of the most cosmopolitan and international cities in Italy. Walking around you will find people with different backgrounds and cultures. But one thing that's definitely lacking is the number of ethnic restaurants around. There are some Chinese and Japanese restaurants sprinkled around but anything else is pretty scarce.

This definitely takes some getting used to for me, coming from diversity-rich California, where one can find Greek, Mexican, Thai or Vietnamese food around almost any corner.  I sure miss having such a variety of food choices.

So when my friend V suggested we go try out a Korean place in Milan, I was excited. The last time I'd eaten anything non-Italian was probably months ago when I broke out my stash of Maggi Mee instant noodles (yum!).

Jinmi is conveniently located just a 5 minute walk from the Piola, Loreto and the Lima Metro stations. As we stepped through the door, I caught of whiff coming from the kitchen and immediately I knew it was going to be good. I had been to enough Korean restaurants to know how the real thing was supposed to smell like.

At lunch, in addition to the ala carte items, they also offer a lunch menu that ranges between 11-13 euro, which includes a main dish, a bottle of water and the cover charge (coperto). It's definitely an affordable choice if new to Korean food or want to try a new dish.  

We couldn't decide, so we decided to share our orders.  The kim chi jigae stew came bubbling hot, and was accompanied by a bowl of rice.  It was good and tasty, and not as spicy as it looks. 

 The spicy bbq pork bento box came with rice, and a soup on the side.  The meat was tender and juicy, and deliciously marinated.

Both were served with a selection of Korean banchan side dishes.  There was the ubiquitous kim chi or preserved cabbage, pickled cucumbers, spinach, and a side salad.  Not the largest selection ever, but they graciously offered refills.

It was past 2pm when we arrived so it was rather quiet.  Two out of the three other tables were Korean diners, and the two waiters were also Korean.   It took me this long to find an authentic Korean restaurant in Milan, thanks to V. I'll definitely be back to try more dishes.

Via Paisiello 7, Milano
Tel: 02-29516394
Closed Sundays

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Holy Shroud of Turin - La Sindone di Torino

We first passed by the Duomo after stumbling out of the Tre Galline with full bellies.  It was practically just down the street.  We hadn't realized how close we were.

The first thing we saw were the news crews.  There were trucks representing all the networks, even CNN. There were a number of reporters, photographers and cameramen milling around. 

And then we realized that it was actually the first day that the exhibition was open to the public.  The press was there to cover the event since this was the 5th time in a 100 years that the original artifact has been displayed.  (A copy is permanently displayed at the Museum of the Holy Shroud nearby).  The first group was set to enter at 6pm, and we had tickets for the 6.30pm group.  I hadn't known this when I had reserved our tickets online a couple weeks earlier.  There was a buzz of excitement in the air and Stefano even spotted one or two local celebrities. 

And he even had his little moment of fame when a reporter asked to interview him.  He was asked where he was from, why he was there, and what the thought of the city of Turin. 

Since it was still early, we decided to first take a walk and visit the city.  We came back a few hours later and headed to the starting point where visitors were to congegrate.  There was quite a crowd, but the timing was fairly punctual, with groups of people being let in at 15 minute intervals.  Ok, there was a little bit of crowding at the entryway ala Italian style, but overall it was bearable.

The path took us through the gardens of Palazzo Reale gardens and at one point our group of probably about 300 ended up in a dark room where a short slide show explaining the Holy Shroud was shown.

The slideshow was short but impactful.  It zoomed in on different markings on the shroud and explained them concisely in short titles, in ten or so different languages.  It really helped us understand what we were about to see. 

The Shroud is a linen cloth that shows the imprint of a man that was crucified on a cross.  Many believe it was used to wrapped the crucified body of Jesus.  There has been many studies done but it seems that there is still no conclusive evidence as to whether this is true or not.

After the slideshow, what was moments before the excited chatter of the crowd around us became a quiet reverential silence.  Which in itself a pretty amazing thing for a group of Italians.  This silence continued as we continued on the path that finally led us into the Duomo.  We filed into three levels that allowed everyone to have a good view of the shroud.  There an Italian recording again explained the different markings on the cloth, the face, the feet, the nail wounds... and finally finished with a prayer. 

Whether a believer or not, it was hard to ignore the distinct human imprint on the cloth.  The markings of a human being who had suffered   It was a touching moment, and an experience I will not forget.

The Holy Shroud can be viewed until May 23, 2010.  Make a free reservation for your visit here. There are still slots available especially on weekdays.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy Labor Day - Buon Primo Maggio

I'm almost too late, but the day hasn't quite ended yet.

Happy Labor Day!  Hope you enjoyed the first of May with a little bit of fresh air, even if the weather forecast hasn't been great for Northern Italy.  After almost 15 years in the United States when Labor Day always marked for me the 'end of summer', now it marks for me 'spring is here-summer is coming'.

And what better way to celebrate than to share with you some spring flowers fresh from Stefano's mother's garden here in Valtellina.

Beautiful fluffy pink and gigantic peonies.  How gorgeous they are!

There's plenty more on the huge bush outside where they came from.  The blossoms just seemed to have magically appeared.  There was no sign of them two weeks ago.

Some hot pink rhododendrum blooms.

Lots and lots of round white puffs of petals in the backyard.  I'm not sure what these are called.

And some cheery tulips.

Happy first of May!

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