I went over to the Korean restaurant again, and I got a lot of banchan that was tasty. Unfortunately, it also included the one I don’t like, the one that looks like cole slaw but isn’t.
Except I’m actually starting to get reconciled to it. Once you stop thinking it’s cole slaw and stop being weirded out by the weird squeaky texture, it’s not bad.
And now I think I’ve actually found out what they are: kelp noodles.
The selling point to Westerners is apparently that they are gluten-free. Well, yeah, I guess seaweed wouldn’t have any gluten. However, if you have thyroid problems, be aware that kelp is naturally high in iodine; so don’t eat a giant pot of kelp spaghetti every day or anything.
I also bought frozen fried fishcakes onna stick for Lent, because it was less than $2.50 for a giant bag at one of the Korean groceries. Apparently you cook them in a pot and add your own sauce/broth, what have you. In South Korea they are a common bar snack, so maybe not quite the Lenten feel I wanted! (Probably it was Superbowl food or party food for the holidays, and that’s why it’s cheap.) But they’re still onna stick.
You can also buy bricks of the stuff cut into sheets, and then cut them further into tiny strips, and stirfry them. The picture on top at the second link is pretty much my favorite kind of banchan. You only get a couple strips, but they are tasty.