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Crunch King

Up until quite recently I thought the only crunch I was going to experience in Korea was the one that sits atop the gloriously chocolately “Crunch King,” (pictured) a Cornetto type ice-cream that tastes even better than it sounds.

However, things changed dramatically last month when I discovered I was thirty pounds down on my monthly cash transfer to my home account.

Since then the Won has been on a (mostly) downward spiral. My first remittance of 1 million won bought me a cool £500 sterling back in August but that same amount now is worth little more than £400. In fact, the currency is so volatile that if I check the exchange rate online before I leave for the bank I’m likely to get a different rate entirely once I get there.

The situation has gotten to the point where I’ve stopped sending back money entirely. Instead, I’ve decided either to keep the money in my Korean account in the hope that things won’t get much worse, or blow all my pay check on a Crunch Kings and electronics. A tough choice and if I know myself (which I think I do) the latter will prevail.

Still, at least Korea has President Lee Myung Bak to steer it through these troubled times, a man whose sole contribution to the global recession debate has been something along the lines of “we must not lose sight of free market economics.”

In this uncertain climate it looks like Sarah and I may have to put our planned trip of “five or sixth months or so” at the end of our contract on ice, having most definitely counted all our chickens before they hatched.

"Here & Now" opening performance, Danwon Arts Center, Ansan

Yesterday, I was invited to do the opening performance for the Korea Contemporary Art 1000 Artists Exhibition, held in the Danwon Arts Center in Ansan City, just south of Seoul.
This performance was called "Here & Now " and was a symbolic tea ceremony to celebrate the passion and creativity of the 1000 artists who joined together for this exhibition.

The artist rolls a circular black table symbolizing "now" until it intersects with a square black box symbolizing "here".

At the meeting point of "here and now", the artist inscribes these words in Korean and English and then begins to set up the table to perform a ritual tea ceremony.

A square black silk cloth is laid under the round table, and a square gold teatray,and jars of various spices are laid out.

The artist creates a multicultural and fragrant blend of tea and five different spices that are labelled (in Korean and English) as "courage", "passion", "persistence", "self-belief" and "audacity".

These spices represent some of the qualities that artists need to continue to create uplifting and inspiring art in a world that is all too often focused on destructive and materialistic endeavours.

The teapot is marked with an infinity sign, symbolizing the infinite power of human creativity and the infinite power of the "now" moment.

Thus the tea is called "infinitea", and the audience members are all invited to drink the tea to share in the special energy of the creative "now" moment.
You can see a video below:

Korean Egg Quiche, HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (계란찜) (vegetarian)

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Korean Egg Quiche, HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (계란찜) (vegetarian)


6 eggs
2 green onions
3 chili peppers (different colors)
2 & 1/2 cups of water
6 tea spoons of salt


*You will need a steamer and a large bowl which is heat resistant.

1. Boil water in a pot.
2. Chop green onions and chili peppers.
3. Mix 6 eggs thoroughly in a large bowl.
4. Add 2 & 1/2 cups of water.
(you can put less water if you like it more dense. Just remember to reduce salt too.)
5. Season with salt.
6. place a steamer in the pot with boiling water.
7. Steam the bowl for 8 minutes.
8. Sprinkle chopped green onions and chili peppers.
9. Steam for another 10 minutes.
10. Remove from heat and do not leave the lid closed.
(If you leave the lid on, eggs will be overcooked and turn green)

* Feel free to add other ingredient depending on your preference.
(etc. shirimp, ham, onions - just make sure it's something that can be cooked in short time.)

Barbie and The Douche Master

Korea Land is every bit as rich with douchebags as Canada Land. Merely existing here has resulted in exposure to the following charmers:Subway Soju Man, who felt that 9pm was an appropriate time to be a drunk ass.Random Frat Boy, who felt that a bar fight and threatening text messages were the appropriate response to common courtesy.The President of Dyssemia Anonymous (a weak nickname, in

I Love My Baby Daddy

Oh, there are multiple babies? That's okay. I love my babies' daddy.Wait, that's not it either? Multiple daddies, you say? Well, of course there are. I love my babies' daddies!Er... what? Ah, to Hell with it.I'm just sad this isn't my shirt, really. I mock because I envy.(as an aside, I probably shouldn't mock the grammar on a shirt when I'm hours beyond the point at which I could still properly,


I’ll never forget the first time I tried chocolate milk. It was New Years Eve 2001 and I was at a festival in the rainforest on Australia’s southern coast. I was on the tail end of a pretty serious bout of food poisoning that had seen the previous two days (one of which was my 19th birthday) either shivering in my tent or chained to one of the festival portaloos, and chocolate milk was the first thing I had ingested that hadn’t come straight out again in some shape or form.

Over the next weeks and months my friend Pete and I (who shared a similar love) became connoisseurs, tasting and grading every variety we encountered as we travelled from Melbourne to Perth in an ultimately fruitless search of work. For us, nothing else equalled the sensation of having just consumed a pint of cold, chocolatey liquid in less than ten seconds, and we started to really push the envelope, at one point drinking four or five a day.

When I returned to Ireland I searched for something of a similar calibre but always in vain. For a long time the only options were either small cartons of Mars or Nesquick “chocolate flavoured” drinks or a big chunky bottle of Yazoo chocolate milkshake, all with obscenely long shelf lives and nothing approaching the boxy aesthetics and cleansing freshness of the Australian varieties. Later, Iceland and Morrissons started to produce their own versions, albeit with tighter use-by dates, but for me these always tasted somewhat synthetic, and packaged in a plastic bottle, just plain wrong. My chocolate milk career had been cut short in its prime.

When I arrived in Korea, however, everything changed. Remarkably, for a country where dairy doesn’t do so well (non-processed cheese is a precious commodity and natural yogurt non-existent) they’ve somehow managed to hit chocolate milk bang square on the head. As in Australia there are numerous varieties, each with their subtleties of taste and individual characters, but after somewhat extensive testing I have settled on a favourite.

At 305ml Cocoa is the largest volume-wise out of those I’ve tried, but this bad boy has got more than just quantity going for it. Silky smooth and ice cold, Cocoa manages to avoid the sweet excesses of its contempories, while still delivering a cool, throat-coating hit. Moreish by nature, it is impossible to drink one of these slowly, and I usually dispense with mine in no more than a few gulps.

The last time I was in London a psychic told me, unsolicited, that I needed to live in a warm climate to be happy. I believed this for a while, now I just think I need access to a good chocolate milk.


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