A fine time was had by all at L.A.'s Koreatown Galleria this weekend. Baby Play (now almost 18 mos.) loves this place because he can join the free-form pack of wild children running amok among the tables. Among other fine foods, his parents finally got around to trying "acorn jelly" from the Cham Cham Cham snack stand in the corner. I had never ordered this by name before, although maybe we have had a few bites before as panchan.
The version we were served looked not much like the picture on the menu, but we liked it a lot: a huge portion in a big soup bowl, steeped in an oily broth which seemed to be infused mildly with chile and heavily with garlic, topped with cabbage kim chi and sliced cucumber. It came with a small bowl of super-hot vegetable soon tofu (not shown in the picture). All three of us ate it but didn't come close to finishing the bowl (although admittedly we ordered a lot of other food).
Anyway, we enjoyed it but the experience left us wanting to know more. I found a few mentions on various Chowhound boards and the internet, so I now understand that this food is called "mook" and maybe also "dotori", it is made from the ground acorns of a particular Korean tree, it was originally a poor people's food but is now considered healthy, low-fat and low-calorie. But I still wonder, and hope someone can tell me:
1. What kind of tree does this come from, exactly? (It's not really an oak tree, is it?)
2. What kind of nutritional content does it have? (Low- calorie low-fat I believe, but does it provide protein, vitamins, etc.? I found myself wondering this particularly as Baby Play happily slurped down several big pieces.)
3. How is it ordinarily served? The info I found on the Web implied that it's normally served in small portions as panchan, and I did wonder whether most people would really want to eat the enormous amount that came in this order from Cham Cham Cham. And what about that unadvertised soon tofu? Is that a customary accompaniment?
We are still very much in the learning stage about Korean food, so any information from more knowledgeable 'Hounds will be welcomed. Thanks!