With only seven weeks left in Korea, I thought I’d want to stuff my face with as much kimchi as possible. And while I’m getting my daily fill of fermented cabbage, all I can think of is American food.
Well, let me clarify. I’m not sitting around daydreaming of Big Macs and french fries. I’m thinking about caesar salads. Enchiladas. Medjool dates. Goat cheese. Greek yogurt drizzled with honey. Hummus with warm pita. I could go on, but I’m writing this at a coffee shop, and I’m drooling. People are starting to stare.
A broken ankle, snow on the ground, Facebook status updates on various Christmas activities. A year and four months in Korea, and I’m really missing home. Thankfully, I know just what to do (or eat) when the homesickness strikes: Budae Jjigae and Samgyetang.
My foodie friend Megan Greenberg scoffed at the idea that I would gain weight on anything other than Gruyère and flan during my recovery. The thought of eating school lunches and Lara Bars while wearing sweatpants for a month and a half made her reevaluate our food-based friendship.
I understand where she’s coming from. Hell, I’d much rather be eating large servings of Mexican custard and $15 grilled cheeses. But the fact is, I live in Korea. And Koreans don’t do cheese. Continue reading
Fully prepared to start checking off the items on my Korean Food Bucket List, I set off last Sunday with my friend Jason and a piece of paper. I had written down a few dishes I thought I could easily find in my neighborhood. But after walking around for 20 minutes, I realized why I hadn’t checked them off sooner. I definitely need to do a bit more prep work. Continue reading
Any culture celebrating some form of excess has a phrase to go along with it. In America, a country of consumers, it’s “shop ‘til you drop.” In Korea, a country of alcoholics and binge drinkers, it’s “drink ‘til you die.” And in Osaka, Japan, a town full of hard-working foodies, it’s “eat ‘til you fall down.”
Kuidaore, a phrase derived from the proverb, “dress (in kimonos) ‘til you drop in Kyoto, eat ‘til you drop in Osaka,” has become synonymous with the Japanese metropolis. It’s not uncommon for a businessman to spend all his earnings on food, nor to eat at three different restaurants in one night.
Back in the U.S., if someone were to suggest duck for dinner, I would decline; assuming they had an expensive craving for French fare. However, when a friend asked me to join them for BBQ duck in my neighborhood (Jangan-dong) tonight, I didn’t think twice.
Korean food isn’t fancy. It’s not presented on pristine plates. It’s not drizzled with colorful purées or rich sauces. Meat is served as meat, vegetables as vegetables. And the cost reflects the simplicity. In fact, I can’t recall a meal in Seoul ever costing me more than 15,000 won (less than 13 American dollars). Tonight was no exception.