- Gwynedd Stuart
- Disregard if you have a stronger stomach than I do.
Chicago newcomer and blogger Gwynedd Stuart loves to eat out, but she also happens to be a poor person because she’s a Chicago newcomer and a blogger. In this weekly feature she seeks out affordable midday meals that don’t exceed five bucks (*actually seven, with tax and tip).
I don’t have a problem with foods that stink. Aw, look. I’m lying. I do have a problem with foods that stink, but I guess what I’m saying is that stink is subjective, and I’ve definitely eaten and enjoyed foods (cheeses and organ meats, in particular) that other people consider inedible. Our senses of smell and taste are inextricably linked for evolutionary reasons, so most people tend to prefer foods that have a pleasant smell, i.e., those that don’t smell like a thousand wet feet that’ve been trapped in vinyl shoes for days.
The subjectivity of smell is on full olfactory display at the lunch counter in Joong Boo Market on Kimball Avenue. For the most part, the place smells fantastic—umami for the nostrils—but after ordering at the register and taking a seat at a low, faux-wood counter, I noticed a sign warning the uninitiated about several ingredients that might not smell or taste so great to certain (or most) people, specifically beef bones, tripe, honeycomb, and fermented soybean. “It will have a very unique and distinct taste and smell that is foreign to many,” the sign says of the three dishes that contain these ingredients. “Some have a hard time adjusting to its taste and smell.” Then there’s the real disclaimer (and I’m paraphrasing): if you already ordered any of these things and you don’t like it, tough tits because you’re not getting your money back.