Food, Glorious Food

Andrew Zimmern taught me that Korea is a soup culture, that its people eat squid while it’s still squirming. Anthony Bourdain gave me a taste of Korea’s street food and an introduction to soju. A 200-some-odd-page book told me all I needed to know about the different types of kimchi.

I had a laundry list of food items I wanted to try the minute I landed in Seoul. But twenty-three hours of traveling will make you do crazy things—my first meal ended up being a cheese pizza and a bottle of Coca Cola Classic.

Day two consisted of processed fish squares, fermented bean and cabbage soup, kimchi, Korean BBQ and a whole lotta white rice. Since then I’ve eaten jelly fish, seafood pancakes, octopus jerky, mandu, spicy rice balls, peppers so hot I couldn’t speak for 20 minutes, shaved ice topped with red beans and condensed milk, and more spicy cabbage and noodles than you can imagine.

Did I mention I’ve been here less than three weeks?

Other than the first night, and a few necessary MacDonald’s runs, eating in Seoul has been, in a word, interesting. I never know what the school lunch will bring, nor do I know what half the items are until already ingested, but it’s all part of the fun.

I’m just trying to figure out how these Korean women stay so damn skinny.

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