Before I arrived, I thought that one of the biggest...

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Before I arrived, I thought that one of the biggest problems that I would encounter is the food. I never knew what kimchi was and I assumed that Koreans eat love eating raw food like sushi, which I dislike very much. However, after eating my first dish I absolutely fell in love with Korean food. On second thought, I have to retract that statement because the first thing that I ate was a hotdog! But it was made by a Korean. Haha 

Koreans love their kimchi. I think it’s safe to assume that Koreans eat kimchi with every meal! I’ve had kimchi for lunch since my first day in school and I don’t think that will ever stop. What is also interesting is that Koreans enjoy cooking their own food in restaurants. Personally, I prefer to walk into a restaurant, order a meal and start munching on the food as soon as possible! However, I think that Koreans really enjoy cooking their own food because it allows them to build stronger relationships with colleagues, family members or significant other. So far I’ve been to at least 2 dinners with my colleagues and we’ve eaten at places that require us to grill our own food. It’s really cool because everybody serves each other food or drinks. However, the only thing that I dislike about eating at most of these restaurants is that we have to sit on the floor! As a tall person, I hate sitting on the floor because I am forced to cross my legs and at the end of the meal I get cramps. Even though I love Korean food, I prefer to eat Filipino food any day! 

In the past month I have developed a passion for cooking. Like I said, I love Korean food, but nothing will ever replace Filipino food! I miss coming home from work with food prepared on the table. Both of my parents can cook well, but my mother is the better chef. People tell me that their mother is the best chef in the world and all I can do is laugh because it’s not true. My mom is a natural at cooking. All she does is look at the ingredients first, add and/or remove some ingredients and BAM! Haha

Christmas is fast approaching and this will be my first time away from home. I won’t be with my family and friends. So how am I going to remedy this? I’m going to cook two Filipino dishes this coming Friday December 17 and Saturday December 18, 2010. This Friday is my co-teacher’s birthday party and I’m going to cook at her place in Kyungsung University. In case you were wondering, yes, my co-teacher is a girl and she is single, but nevertheless she is my co-teacher. Surprised? Ha! The following night I will cook at my friend’s Christmas dinner. The first dish that I’m going to cook is called chicken adobo. 

Adobo refers to a common and very popular cooking process indigenous here in the Philippines. The most famous of all here in the Philippines is the chicken adoboAccording to the history (reference: research only),when Spanish colonizers first took over the Philippines in late 1500s and early 1600s, they encountered an indigenous cooking process which involved stewing with vinegarSpanish called or identify this as an ”adobo,” the Spanish word for seasoning or marinade. Thus, giving way to the famous Chicken Adobo. All dishes prepared in this manner eventually came to be known by this name, with the original term for the dish now lost to history. Thus, the adobo dish and cooking process in Filipino cuisine and the general description “adobo” in Spanish cuisine share similar characteristics, but in fact refer to different things with different cultural roots. While Philippine adobocan be considered adobo - a marinated dish - in the Spanish sense, the Philippine usage is much more specific.

One of the problems of cooking your native food is that you might not be able to find the right ingredients. It’s actually frustrating because you would think that you would find “Asian ingredients” in an Asian country. Anyway, I think I can cook a decent version of Chicken Adobo. I can cook this bad boy in less than 10-15 minutes without following a guide! Honestly, this is one of the easiest and quickest dishes to cook! 

In Filipino foods and recipe culture, lumpia are eggrolls that are deep-fried like a wrapped stick of meat. Lumpia is a spring roll filled with ground or finely mince of pork, beef or vegetables then served it with sweet and sour sauce. It is also known as lumpia shanghai. Filipinos are well known for its unique and one of a kind Lumpia recipe. Lumpia are a type of stuffed pastry, like a spring roll. Lumpia or spring roll originated from the Chinese, and other Asian countries have their counterparts, like the popiah of Singapore and Malaysia. In Indonesia, it is also called lumpia. The term lumpia derives from lunpia in the Hokkien dialect of Chinese. A variant is the Vietnamese lumpia, wrapped in a thinner piece of pastry, in a size close to a spring roll though the wrapping closes the ends off completely, which is typical for a lumpia .

Lumpia! This is one of my favorite Filipino finger food! I love eating this bad boy by dipping it in vinegar mixed with chopped garlic and hot sauce! Now the only problem I have making this dish is that I can’t find the regular 6x6 wraps that Filipinos normally use. I had to settle with 3x3 wraps which, believe me, takes forever to roll!  As for the recipe, people use different ingredients to make this, but when it comes to the taste, I think the secret ingredient is black pepper. So far I’ve made two batches of lumpia: one for my co-teacher’s birthday jam and a second batch for my friend’s Christmas party. Which group will get the better batch (with black pepper), only time will tell!


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