As hard as you might try to avoid the deeply disturbing yet immensely popular new Korean series Squid Game on Netflix, reminders of the game are all around us, from ddukbokki to umbrellas to...late stage capitalism. Portland’s food scene is no exception, so we tracked down as many eats from the show as we could. This story contains light spoilers.
Episode 1: Ddukbokki from Chimcking
We love Chimcking’s namesake dish, Korean soy-garlic and spicy fried chicken wings. But the ddukbokki also makes the must-order list for us: a little sweet and intensely spicy with bits of savory fish cake thrown in, and with a distinctive sink-your-teeth-in chew. Add cheese on top for a transcendent experience. Why choose between fried chicken and fish cakes when you could have both? 4118 NE Sandy Blvd and 11741 SW Beaverton Hillsale Hwy, Beaverton, chimckingusa.com
Episode 2: Soju and Samyang Ramen from H Mart
Nothing brings people together better than a bottle of soju, right? But be sure to keep a package of Samyang Ramen on you at all times. You never know when you’ll need to whip it out with a grin, crack it open, and eat it straight out of the bag as a salty, crunchy drinking snack. 3301 SE Belmont St and 13600 SW Pacific Hwy, hmartus.com/belmont
Episode 3: Bibimbap from Happy Bibimbap House 2 and Dalgona Coffee from Toki
Nothing brings back happy memories like a bowl of rice with kimchi, veggies, and a fried egg. Happy Bibimbap House 2’s bibimbap of course, is a huge upgrade over the Squid Game bento box version, combining not only hot rice with kimchi and a fried egg, but your choice of protein on top (we like the bulgogi) and a free pancake on the side. 4204 NE Halsey St, (503) 477-6066
We couldn’t find dalgona candy anywhere in Portland (though recipes abound on the internet on how to make your own). We did, however, find dalgona coffee, which shares the same key ingredient as the candy: sugar. At Toki, kick your brunch off with a sweet, foamy dalgona coffee—it’s way easier to lick off the spoon than to try to punch out the shape from the candy. 580 SW 12th Ave, tokipdx.square.site
Episode 4: Soda and a Hard Boiled Egg from...Fred Meyer?
Could soda and an egg be the new breakfast of champions? Maybe, if you grab two of each, crack the egg on your forehead, and use one of the bottles as a shiv.
Episode 5: Boiled Corn from, I dunno, New Seasons
Step 1: Buy corn. Step 2: Shuck corn. Step 3: Boil corn. Step 4: Eat plain, but be sure to save half as a token of gratitude for your bud.
Episode 6: Nothing. Nada.
Skipping breakfast is a sure recipe for disaster and heartbreak.
Episode 7: Boiled Potato—try Trader Joe’s this time
It’s not much, but it’s probably all you can stomach after a day like yesterday. Good for waving in the face of your exes/enemies or nibbling on while crying.
Episode 8: Celebratory Bone-In Ribeye Steak Dinner at Ringside
Nothing says success like a bone-in ribeye steak done rare, especially in a classy, old-school environment like Ringside. The real question is, are you a bone-cleaner, someone who cuts around the bone, or are you a steak nibbler? 2165 W Burnside St, ringsidesteakhouse.com
Episode 9: Salt & Pepper Squid from Sou's
Though no edible squid actually makes an appearance, we can't miss the chance to shout out the stellar salt and pepper squid at Sou's, a new cart at the CORE pod on 82nd. If the thought of squid makes you cringe after this series, Sou's is here to fix that with delicately crisped, lightly breaded squid over a comforting heap of white rice. 3612 SE 82nd Ave, @s0u_ss