Sunday, August 8, 2010

Korean Food

I realized that all this time I have been talking about my experiences in Korea I haven't taken much time to talk about the food I eat. I know I have mentioned several times that Koreans eat a lot, but I haven't talked about what. I'll start with my favorites.

The Seven Elevens here in Daejeon have an extremely delicious tuna kimbop that I absolutely love! Kimbop is stuffed with rice and various veggies and sometimes a meat or cheese (it comes in different meats including ham and beef, as I said my favorite is tuna) all wrapped up in seaweed. It is very yummy!!!!

There are many restaurants throughout the city that serve samgipsal. It is the Korean barbeque that I mentioned after I first got here. It is served with many delicious sides. The restaurants have a burner in the middle of the table where they put a small grill to cook the samgipsal. There is different types of samgipsal from thinly sliced bacon to a thicker beef. They place the meat on the grill, and you can add whatever sides to the flavor the meat. I like to put the gimchi and garlic on the grill. They also have a few different sauces that you can dip your cooked meat into before eating it. One is a red pepper paste sauce, one is more of an oily sauce, and then there's a vinegar based sauce. My favorite is the vinegar based sauce. Most Koreans like to eat the samgipsal with just a sauce. I prefer to put it in the lettuce leaves that they serve with the samgipsal. I stuff the leaf with the samgipsal, gimchi, garlic, and the vinegar sauce. It is very delicious this way. However, most Koreans don't like salad so they avoid lettuce...hahaha.

Another popular food here in Korea are "pancakes". These pancakes are made with a bisquick type mix with veggies and various meats added to it. The most popular I believe are the seafood ones. I have not eaten a lot of them, but I do like the octopus ones. They are really good, but I do think that it depends on the restaurant that makes them. I think that some of the pancakes I've tried didn't taste good not because of the type of pancake but because of the restaurant.

One of the most popular dishes and one of my favorites is galbi. There is different types of galbi. My favorite is tok galbi which is chicken. Once again, the restaurants have a burner in the middle of the table, but this time they put a large skillet type bowl with handles on the burner to cook the food. They bring the food uncooked on dishes and dump it all in the big bowl with some sauces. They come by the table to stir it. It is very delicious.

Another popular dish is dopoki. I didn't like it at first, but its growing on me. Dopoki is a really doughy noodle. It's served in dishes like galbi. It is also served by itself.

One of the most traditional dishes is bimibop. The best bimibop I had was at the Buddhist temple I went to on Buddha's Birthday. It was so yummy!!!! Bimibop is rice with sprouts and turnips and I think gimchi too. It's all mixed in together with a red pepper paste. Very yummy!

Perhaps the most popular dish here in Korea is ice cream! Koreans love their ice cream (and doughnuts but we won't talk about that). Every convenient store has a variety of ice creams for less than 1,000 won (which is $1). They even have milkshakes in a pack...its crazy! The most popular ice cream dish I would say is the pabingsu. It's shaved iced with little candy jellies and red beans. It is really good. It sounds disgusting, but its delicious.

There are many other Korean dishes that I haven't mentioned, and I'm not promising that I got every ingredient correct in the dishes that I mentioned. It is very difficult to know for sure exactly what I am eating since it is all in Korean. Most Korean meals are served with rice, gimchi, and soup. Every meal that I have eaten at school has been served with rice, gimchi, and soup. They served spaghetti one time with rice, gimchi, and soup (weird).

Alright, so now that everyone's mouths are watering with the deliciousness that I have shared with you...I will start with the details of my week! This week was very hot and most people are on vacation so the gym was pretty dead all week. However, we did have a visitor. A spider decided to join the class during jiu jitsu and even though I was screaming, no man in the room offered to kill it, and no one would let me kill it. I asked San Ha why no one was killing the spider, and she said that you cannot kill a spider at night time. If you kill a spider at night, you will have bad luck. Seriously?!?!

On Friday, I went out with Kwangjungnim, Song Won, and Mike for some samgipsal after my workout. It was pretty good. Song Won is quite possibly the coolest kid in Korea. He is always at the gym training, but he takes the time to goof off with me to make gym a little more fun. He's hilarious! He helps me with my Korean, and I try to help him with his English, but I think he's the better teacher.

On Saturday, I went to Korean class with Mell. After, we stopped by Jungangno Station for some shopping and some food. We had some dopoki and kimbop. After, I made a trip to Costco to pick up some yogurt and vitamins. Later, I met Mell again for a little snack and some talking. It was pretty relaxed.

Today, I made it to church again! Yay! I was so proud of myself; three weeks in a row! I've really been slacking lately! I met some of the new girls from SLP, and I saw one of the foreign guys that had checked out the gym. He works at Poly which is a very demanding school so he doesn't really have the time and energy to make it to Daejeon MMA. So he joined a gym closer to Munnyeon dong. We talked for a bit, and I talked for a bit with the girls from SLP. They are all pretty sweet! It was a really good Sunday. I even stayed for Bible study. I was kind of hesitant because the last time I went to Bible study, it was mostly men, and I didn't quite feel welcomed to the conversation. But I heard that more women were going to Bible study now so I decided to check it out. It was really good, and I was finally able to ask my question about "seeing God" like physically. They confirmed my original suspicion that it was in fact a cult. For those of you new to reading my ramblings, when I first arrived in Daejeon, I was greeted by a sweet woman who asked me if I was a Christian. When I told her I was, she asked me to go to dinner with her. I said sure thinking it would just be us two. However, a few other women joined and started talking about seeing God physically and asked me why I couldn't see God, and if I wanted to. I was really freaked out. I told them that I had to leave and rushed out. They had said that Koreans were deeply spiritual and that's why they could see God, but the pastor of the church I am attending told me that it was not true. After Bible study, the worship team asked me again to sing with them. I really want to, but I hate saying that I will do something when I cannot truly commit to it. Maybe that is what I need to do though so that I will be more motivated to wake up on Sunday mornings. I told them that I would think about it and let them know in a few weeks after I get back from camping because I am going to miss church again next Sunday to go camping with the gym.

This weekend was pretty chilled because I am trying to rest up for next weekend! I am super excited about going camping! I cannot wait! I am not sure who all is going, but I know that Douchi, San Ha, and Mell are going and that's good enough for me!