This one is dedicated to two of my college friends, Katie and Claire, who often reminded me that being a fatty is not a size, it's a state of mind. If you know me at all, then you know that one of the greatest joys in my life is good food. I love eating delicious food, and I love making it. So you can imagine I was a little uncertain how this move to Korea would affect my eating habits. Claire pointed out that the older posts on the blog don't exactly depict a landscape of delicious food in Korea, so I'm going to fix that right now!
Though navigating food has been one of the more challenging parts of our everyday life, it has also been one of the most exciting. We live pretty far from downtown Daegu, so many of the restaurants around us have little to no English on their menus. Which makes ordering difficult. We've tried a few techniques, like pointing to a pictures (this works some of the time, but some of the pictures don't look like what we actually receive), just pointing to an item that looks like the price we want (this usually ends badly, last time we were trying to order lunch, we were pointing to the part of the menu that was for bottles of alcohol, fortunately the waitress didn't bring us that!) and the most consistently successful is just saying the names of dishes we've had in the past that we liked, hoping that the restaurant made that dish. Overall, our success rate for receiving what we thought we ordered was probably 50% for the first month or so. We've really gotten better at this recently (thanks to eating with lots of people who help us) and now we can pretty much ensure we know what we're ordering.
But enough about the difficulties, let me tell you about the joys of eating in Korea. Korean food is delicious. My only complaint is that I haven't found a dessert that I like particularly (but thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law, I've been getting my fix on E.L. Fudges and thanks to Lindsay and Whit I've been baking cookies recently). So for those of you interested in visiting us, here's a run down of the meals we love to eat. This will be an ongoing subject of future blogs, because there is entirely too much for one post!
There are tons of soups, hot and cold, and all of them are delicious. Some are very spicy, others more refreshing. Jess loves this soup that literally has ice floating in it. And at one restaurant it came in a bowl made of ice. It's really refreshing on hot summer days. Many Koreans believe you should fight fire with fire, so on the hot days, you should eat a hot soup. One we tried was a boiling broth (almost all the hot soups come out boiling) with an entire chicken cooked in it. The chicken was stuffed with rice and vegetables. It was perfectly yummy! My favorite soup is mandu-guk. It is soup with dumplings in it. Oh the dumplings! They are delicious. They make vegetable ones, seafood ones, and meat ones. All are delicious whether in soup or steamed or fried. It doesn't matter. As long as they are homemade, they are great.
Another favorite meal is barbeque. This is a totally different idea than the barbeque we were used to in the US, but equally delicious. Each table has it's own grill and you cook your own meat. Usually the meat is pork or beef. There are side dishes as well here (as with every meal in Korea) and you basically make a little taco-like serving, using a piece of lettuce as the tortilla, meat, rice and other side dishes in the lettuce. It's fantastic! It's a great meal to eat with friends. So why don't you come to Korea and visit us and we'll take you out for some delicious barbeque!!!
More about food later!