Saturday, July 11, 2009

Who's Hungry!?

So, let me tell you about the food in Korea. Keep in mind that we are living in a university and eat every meal in the school cafeteria. All meals pretty much look like this --------->

This particular meal was breakfast. Starting in the upper left corner and working clockwise we have - Kim Chee (phonetic spelling), a dish to mix with rice, dessert (in this case, tomato's), soup, spicy roots and rice. Kim Chee is served at every meal. It's essentially spicy cabbage. I'm not a fan.

The dish to mix with rice usually has a sauce, meat and vegetables. It's hit or miss with this one. Sometimes it's really spicy so I try to avoid that. Breakfast tends to be less spicy than the other meals.

The soup is usually my favorite. The broth is just water and the soup can have anything in it. Sometimes it is spicy, sometimes it's not. Sometimes there's meat, sometimes not. We have a theory that the soup contains whatever wasn't eaten from the day before. There's also a running joke: always dig to the bottom of the soup pot to find interesting treasures. One of our more interesting soups is pictured below.

She dug very deep in the soup pot and got this. That's right, folks. The pale sqwiggly things are intestine. There were also fish eggs, lung and another unidentified organ. She's such a trooper; she tried them all. Other interesting delictables include, but are not limited to: octopus, squid, unknown meat and unknown green plant stuff. Octopus and squid are pretty chewy and don't really have much flavor. I usually eat around them.

Food outside of the university is very very good. They have some American things (like french fries, crackers), awesome fruit dishes and a lot of noodles. They have these wonderful little dessert pastries. The pastry part is made from rice and has a texture similar to a wet Gusher (soft but chewy). The pastry is filled with sesame for sure and perhaps sugar also. The whole thing is about the size of a large marble. Yum!

Some shout-outs to American food include a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins (right outside of campus...about a 15 minute walk), burger fast food, a french bakery, a bar called "Western" and a bar called "Bucks - Milwaukee." I am proud to say that I have not been to any of these as I am trying to embrace the culture. We'll see how long that goes on for.

So the food is actually very good here. The only limiting factor is the language. My friends and I cannot just go out to eat because we really don't know how to order. Luckily, there is a Korean-English club (KEY club). The students in the club take us out and order for us for now. It's a great time.


  1. The picture of those intenstines makes me want to puke. Blargh. Glad to hear you're having fun though. I'll continue to live vicariously through you since teaching will undoubtedly suck any and all ambition out of me. :)


  2. I'm a little disappointed you didn't try the intestines - but I'm sure you'll have plenty of more opportunities. The Milwaukee bar reminds me of one we went to in London - the Chicago Rib Shack. I didn't want to go there at first either, but it ended up being the only place to get girly drinks, plus the bartender looked/sounded just like Johnny Depp, so I was ok with it.
    I'm glad everything is going ok so far! Thanks for blogging & sounds very exciting :)

    Katie O

  3. At least the trays look nice. But let's not be shallow, how durable are they?

    -[insert my name: you're a fulbright scholar though, I'm pretty sure you'll figure it out just from my alias (...and it's my aim sn)]

  4. Can you get seconds? This doesn't look like much food for someone who runs! Mom

  5. yum yum! yes, I did eat all that - maybe not lungs, or maybe I ate them and just didn't know what they were. There are many many different types of kimchee, and some are not spicy. The majority of them are, though. Majid is addicted to it. Jaehoon like them fresh, not too fermented. Once it start fermenting, it doesn't smell too great, I have to admit. Then we make kimchee fried rice. Or kimchee chigae (sort of like soup but thicker and stronger). When we had a big family and also had to feed construction workers and people working on this or that around the house - this was many many years ago - we made several hundred heads of kimchee in the fall (called "kimchang") to bury them in huge clay jars in the ground, which lasted through the winter. That's long before they started selling kimchee in little bottles in the department store. Everybody was worried if the winter was too mild becaues the kimchee would start fermenting earlier. Memories... I don't even know people do "kimchang" in the fall any more in Seoul as there's not much ground to bury kimchee.

  6. haha i love the posting about food! as usual, school cafs don't know what to serve. very good that you are immersing yourself in the culture, but c'mon, bucks - milwaukee?? you gotta go there! haha love the pic.