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Dear Korea #092 - Some Things are Better Left Alone

Oh jeez, I hope you guys don’t hate me yet. I do apologize for being a couple of days late with this strip. You know how us old people get. I’m already starting to lose track of time.


Makin’ PatBingsu at Stumpy Ruffers


Do Koreans Go on Diets?

I received a great question from someone on YouTube about Koreans and whether or not they diet.  What is Korean food like?  What's happening here in this rapidly changing nation?

South Korea has experienced incredible economic growth in its recent history.  It wasn't too long ago that South Korea was considered one of the Four Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea).  That is, nations that showed incredible economic growth throughout the mid to late 1990s.  These countries, once well behind the world economically, rose from their dreary situation to become powerhouses on the global economic front.

Whew, that was a heavy intro...!

Well, most Americans can attest to what happens when a nation obtains economic strength and status.  We get fat and lazy!!  Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but it's safe to say there is evidence that some smidgen of truth is in that last statement.  So it will go for the Asian Tigers.

Out for a delicious 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal) dinner. It’s pork,...



Out for a delicious 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal) dinner. It’s pork, cut thinly (but thicker than bacon). I never used to like it very much, but I’ve developed a whole new appreciation for it recently.


The Privilege of Having Korean In-Laws

Having fairly conservative-minded Korean in-laws can be extremely frustrating, but I do sometimes forget the tremendous privilege it is to have a Korean side to my family.  It is an cultural experience every time I go and see them and gives me a great insight into a very traditional and rural Korean psyche.  On top of this, they really are genuine people and very kind to me.  I often feel very guilty about the amount of complaining I do.  Our differences cause a fair amount of problems, but their cause is nobody's fault, we just have ingrained cultural issues with one another that are not easily fixed.


Rice Burger (밥버거)

I have recently discovered a cheap delicious treat called Rice Burger (밥버거). It’s shaped like a burger, but uses rice as its bun, and it is eaten with a spoon. There are three simple instructions.

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1. Decide what you want. Prices range from 1,500 won ($1.33 USD) to 3,000 won ($2.65 USD). I like the kimchi bulgogi or darc-galbi. I think the mayo or cheese selections are kind of gross.

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It’s pretty cute when it arrives, but don’t eat it just yet.

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2. Unwrap a bit and… smash burger.


Love to Hate Korea: Costco

It’s no secret that Costco in Korea is the epitome of a modern hellhole designed to rip your soul out, divvy it up with a rusty and blunt axe, chew it, then spit it right back at you, so you you put it back inside, then turn around and do it all over again. This place steals so much attention and causes so much heartbreak and frustration, but let’s not forget that all it is is a bloody supermarket!

But why is the place just destined to constantly infuritate me? I blame people. Because, let’s face it, all the ills of the world are brought about by our fellow humans, and Costco in Korea is a perfect example of this.


A Splendid Salad at Seven Springs in Seoul

If buffet chain restaurants were a flock of teenage girls, Seven Springs would be the Queen Bee demonstrating the supreme art of  smörgåsbord dining in Seoul, Korea.

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I ventured to one of Seven Springs’ Seoul locations recently. When a friend mentioned she wanted to go to a buffet restaurant for her birthday dinner I laughed and asked where we were really going. She was excited for this particular salad buffet in Hongdae, and because it wasn’t my birthday I went along with the green meal idea and made my way out of Exit 8 at Hongdae Station and found the veggie oasis.


Men of the Week: Standing Coffee Boys

My friend and I both stumbled onto Standing Coffee's website today. I drink Standing Coffee near Noksapyeong station sometimes. Although the coffee is expensive, its quite well made and the workers are quite attractive. My barrista today was busting out of his button down. I've tried looking at their website before, but it has always been down. Not anymore.


Dear Korea #088 - Not All Snacks

 

Weird weather makes me feel weird. I am so not looking forward to the hotter months. I wish I stopped feeling weird.

Despite my love for Korean food, I have been known to be terribly picky. As much as I adore most of the amazing street food this country has to offer, there are some things I just won’t touch. One of them is the dreaded beondegi (번데기).


Sunday mornings with 전주콩나물해장국 (bean sprout soup) for breakfast...



Sunday mornings with 전주콩나물해장국 (bean sprout soup) for breakfast in 관악구 are awesome.


The Colors of Korea, a Collaborative Blogging Project


South Korea: a nation of kaleidoscopic vibrancy with a prowess to hypnotize any unsuspecting visitor with its technicolor features.

While many might associate the Asian country with the colors of grey concrete, black smog, and neon, there's much more to the palette that illustrates the colorful attributes that make up Korea.

Zen on a Bike, at a Temple, in a Stream and in a Bowl of Bibimbap

Some cynical person named “They” once said there is no such as a free lunch. Which, in the case of Tongdosa is true–unless you live in Yangsan.

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Located roughly two hours from the Yangsan subway station (by bike, the mode we took on Sunday) …


Gwangju Day 1: Duck & Democracy!

 


Bubble Tea in South Korea

It’s getting warmer in South Korea. It seems as if we will have an early summer.


Little known fact, but I make super delicious kimchi jjigae...



Little known fact, but I make super delicious kimchi jjigae (김치찌개). I make it whenever I have some older kimchi sitting in the fridge (i.e. more fermented or “ripe” kimchi). The stew only tastes as good as the kimchi. I like to make mine with pork, cooked and served boiling hot in a stone pot.

Pictured is 참치 김치찌개 (chamchi kimchi jjigae, tuna). I felt a little funny about ordering something so… let’s say “poignant in aroma” for a date, but… he’s cool.


April 2013 in 2 Minutes

 


I enjoy the Korean chain restaurant, Isaac Toast, as a guilty...



I enjoy the Korean chain restaurant, Isaac Toast, as a guilty pleasure. They are relatively simple (and greasy) breakfast sandwiches, but they can really addictive as a late-night treat. The restaurant down the street from where I live is open until 10 p.m., so sometimes I’ll have one even after I’ve eaten dinner.

With the egg, it’s meant to be a breakfast sandwich, but I only like them after a few beers. It’s a unique sort of sandwich, this Korean sandwich, or “toast” as they call it. If you don’t tell the cook how to modify your sandwich, you’ll end up with egg, shredded cabbage, sliced pickles, and some sort of processed meat slapped between two garlic buttered pieces of toast.


Chica Vs. Food : Fermented Skate 홍어

 

The fish

Skates are cartilaginous fish belonging to the family Rajidae in the superorder Batoidea of rays. Stingrays and skates differ primarily in the way they reproduce. Skates are oviparous, that is they lay eggs. Their fertilized eggs are laid in a protective hard case called a mermaid’s purse.


Is It Still Shabu Shabu Without the Noodle and Rice Courses?

I’m not sure. Since it’s only the second time I’ve had Shabu Shabu, and the other time there were noodle and rice courses, my experiences have fallen 50/50 down the middle on having them and not.

Still, whether or not Maru ShabuShabu in Nampo (on the second floor of the same building as Ashley’s, or, Old Country Buffet with Unlimited Wine) is authentic or not, it’s definitely good and plentiful. Hey, if you’re in the same building as a well-recognized buffet, you’ll need to step up your game.

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Back home, I’m a domestic goddess, baking and creating in...



Back home, I’m a domestic goddess, baking and creating in the kitchen. Here, I eat cereal out of coffee cups because I’m too lazy to wash bowls.


Dinner at Lotte Hotel World’s La Seine Buffet

 

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Dear Korea #084 - Addicted to the Melty Stuff

Dear Korea #084

Ack, this comic’s a week late. How embarrassing  If it’s any consolation, I bring you this comic combined with news that Dear Korea will be going back to its old weekly schedule! Yay for regularity! Here’s hoping I don’t run out of ideas too soon.


Our Weekend

This weekend was mostly about makeolli drinking and kimchijeon devouring. Rainy day museum wandering. Brunch at 3pm. Roller derby and random British films. Has anyone seen the film Sightseers which is based in my home county, Yorkshire? Tasha recommended it. Very bizarre but made us laugh a lot.

I'm also lacking in photos this weekend as I didn't really take my camera out!
Deokcheon, Korea
Cheese Kimchijeon

A Korean Birthday Tradition: Seaweed Soup

What have we here?

What have we here?

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Boil, boil

Boil, boil


Why do Koreans eat Pajeon and drink Mageolli on a rainy day?

Culinary Culture and Trends
Korean Food Facts

Koreans crave Pajeon (korean pancake) and Makgeolli (milky Korean rice wine) on a rainy day. According to a Korean news article, sales of Pajeon ingredients actually increases on rainy days. They have a few theories on why this is true:

1. The sound of rain reminds people of the sound of making Pajeon.

2. When humidity increases, blood sugar level drops and people crave flour-based food that increases blood sugar level.

3. Makgeolli is usually paired with Pajeon. It's low in alcohol content (6%). It contains protein and vitamin B and has a sour kick to it. These characteristics make you feel like your thirst is quenched.

4. Both flour and Makgeolli contain lots of serotonin which elevates emotion and appetite. This may cheer people up when they feel down on rainy days.

Rainy or not, Pajeon is always a great snack!
See Hamul Pajeon recipe (Korean Seafood Pancake) here.

*content translated and summarized from: http://www.ebn.co.kr/news/n_view.html?id=386078

Hamul Pajeon, Korean Seafood Pancake
Makgeolli, Korean Rice Wine

Charlie Brown Cafe in Busan

Charlie Brown Cafe

Whilst on the never ending search for new things to do in Busan, I took a trip down memory lane last night whilst sipping on a mint hot chocolate. Amazing.

We decided to go to the Charlie Brown themed cafe in PNU, which is a cafe filled with all things Peanuts and Snoopy. I remember when I was little I used to really, really like Snoopy. I imagine that if I had visited the cafe as a child I might have died from excitement.

There was merchandise, massive Snoopys and models of Charlie Brown everywhere.

A Seoul Spring on the Han

Something about being near water is simply relaxing. When the weather finally agrees to reward Seoul, Korea with a mild and sunny day after a brutally long winter people tend to flock to the Han River. Here are 10 ways to enjoy the river in the coming months.

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seoultower

photo credit: my cool friend James

1) Banpo Bridge


Top 10 Things to Do in Queer Seoul

1) Hit up Homo Hill. What better way to celebrate queerness than the biggest gay party area in Seoul? Hit up Hill staples like Soho and Queen before clubbing at Pulse until the sun rises.

DO NOT Teach English in Korea If You Are...

Teaching English in Korea (or any foreign land) is not for everybody.  I think many people believe it's for them and that it will turn into an epic experience of natives embracing them at the airport, ultra disciplined and respectful students at all times, and a year long toast at the bulgogi restaurant or bar.


Unfortunately, Korea is none of those things.  In fact, for some the reality of it shatters their expectations and they go away disappointed and disillusioned. 


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