Monday, January 25, 2010

You know you've been in Korea a long time, when...

Dinner after a long weeks' work- tteok boki and gimbap. A convenient, traditional, and cheap eat in Suji!
Mmmm tteok boki...squishy rice cakes stir-fried in a spicy sauce. Don't they look appetizing??

Namsan Mtn. Tower in Seoul- visited there with Lindsey, a friend who's teaching in Seoul. Beautiful at night! On the top of Namsan Mtn.
Namsan at night

They LOOK fake...but nope, they are definitely real...and definitely for sale at the market
My best guess: frog carcasses? Sold for some possible medicinal purpose?

These snow pics are a bit overdue- but here is Suji after the snowfall, Korea's heaviest snowfall in 103 years!
My street: nothing MN hasn't seen before...but a pretty shocking scene for Korea
Stepping out of my apartment....SNOW!! are about to work on a Saturday, and you eat Korean street food for dinner.
What a strange week...about to call it an early bedtime on a Friday night (which isn't actually so odd here, considering how exhausted I am by the end of each week), but also preparing for another day of school tomorrow. Making up a recent snow day (see pics above) by working a Saturday. That can really do a number on your work mentality, beginning the week on Monday while bearing in mind that you will only have one day's rest for the next 13 work days. My only solace was my guilty pleasure Korean street food that Shauna and I treated ourselves to after school...feeling MUCH too tired to even consider cooking dinner (although at 2,000Won, or less than $2 each, you'd hardly consider these foods to be a "treat")
The first picture is tteok boki, which is technically a big mess of soft, squishy rice cakes in a sweet and spicy sauce. They sound disgusting, are impossible to chew, and hardly look appealing when you see them all lumped together in a heap of bright orange sauce...but they're also delicious. I can't even believe I'm admitting to loving them right now...I think that's a sure sign that I've definitely been in Korea awhile, because they're one of those foods that foreigners don't quite understand the appeal to, and initially gag at the sight of (and aren't afraid to say out loud, "this is seriously FOOD? And people seriously LIKE this?"). I feel like there's a lot of Korean food like that looks, sounds, and smells pretty that I initially swore I'd never try, or like, and especially not crave. But here I am, feeding my tired body exactly what it doesn't need, but what every other Korean is feeding themselves...salt, sugar, spicy red sauce, and most importantly, some form of rice.
My other latest- and believe me, surprising- craving is gimbap (shown in the second picture avove, with the tteok boki). I like to call it the Poor Man's Sushi...and if you tried it, too, you'd probably agree. Koreans are obsessed with it- they sell it at every convenience store, gas station, traditional restaurant. My students bring it for snacks. Families carry it in their backpacks while hiking. It's like a giant sushi roll- rice wrapped in sheets of salty dried seaweed ("gim" means seaweed, and bap means rice...put the two together and you've got gimbap!) Unlike fancy sushi, however, gimbap can be filled with some or all of the following: cucumber, pickled cucumber, yellow radish, pickled radish, cabbage, pickled cabbage, sprouts, spam, bulgogi (thin marinated beef strips), tuna, and even cheese. Honestly, I don't really want to know all that is in my gimbap...
And I posted a few other pictures here for your viewing delight of the fine delicacies of Korean culture...whole pigs' heads and frog carcass, which I really hope were sold at a market in Seoul for medicinal purposes only, and not for purpose of cuisine.

No comments:

Post a Comment