This is kimchi stew, brought to the table bubbling hot. And with a stunning array of side dishes -
And this is a meal for one!
Kimchi is of course the salted and fermented cabbage and radish which is a staple of Korean cuisine. The stew comes with strips of pork and tofu and a fearsome combination of spices. Formidable!
'It’s a warm, hearty, spicy, savory, delicious dish that pretty much everyone loves. As long as they can handle spicy food, I never met a person who didn’t like kimchi-jjigae.' So says one Korean website, which offers a recipe too.
And where did I chance across this feast? In a hotel restaurant in the otherwise non-descript town of Sriperumbudur, just outside Chennai. The Kyung Joo hotel is Korean-run, established seven years ago, and up to 90% of the customers are Korean too.
Hyundai opened a plant here in the late 1990s - it's now producing almost 700,000 vehicles a year. It's one of the main manufacturers for the booming Indian car market, and also exports almost a quarter of what it makes here.
Samsung and other Korean companies have followed. There are now 6,000 Koreans living in and around Chennai - said to be the city's biggest expat community and certainly the biggest concentration of Korean nationals anywhere in South Asia.
By and large the community keeps itself to itself - but it has started promoting greater awareness of Korean culture, art and spirituality and at the same time some Koreans have become more curious about South India, its beliefs and traditions.
In Chennai, if you are local you can take classes in the Korean language - and if you are Korean, there's a special course available about Indian film music.
Near where I live in central Chennai, there are two Korean restaurants, a Korean cafe and a Korean bakery (not to mention the Korean consulate-general).
Choi Jung Ae, the proprietor of the Cheong Ki Wa restaurant, told me that she had been in Chennai for the past eleven years. Her kitchen staff are Nepalese; the table staff look Korean but all are from India's north-east, from Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram.
And the food? Great. I had a prawn and rice dish, which came with the inevitable spread of side dishes, including soft-shell crab (recommended!), a scrambled egg type concoction and of course kimchi.
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