Recipe: Kimchi Pikelets 2

Pikelets are a type of sweet mini pancake/hotcake. My siblings and I ate them a lot when we were younger. Usually they are eaten with just butter or with jam and cream.

I’ve taken the recipe for Kimchi Jeon (Kimchi pancake) and modified it to make Kimchi pikelets. I use wholemeal self raising flour because it gives it more texture which is better for a savoury type of pikelet/hotcake. The salt and sugar quantities can be adjusted to individual taste. This recipe makes about 8 – 10 but the ingredients can be doubled to make more. It’s a very quick and easy snack to make.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup wholemeal self raising flour

1/2 cup kimchi (chopped or cut into small pieces)

1 – 2 tablespoons of kimchi juice (the liquid that collects in the bottom of a container of kimchi)

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup water

1 egg

1- 2 tablespoons sugar

pinch of salt (or to taste)

olive oil (or any other type of oil that can be used for frying)

Ingredients (except the water)

1. In a bowl put the flour, sugar and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon.

2. Add the milk and water and mix well.

 

3. Add the egg and kimchi juice and stir well.

4. Finally add the kimchi and mix.

5. In a frypan add 1 – 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat on a medium heat and using just a normal size spoon put in some of the mixture. Since these are pikelets you don’t want them too big.

6. The pikelets will now start to rise a bit. To check they are ready to turn over, use a spatula to lift up one slightly. If it’s a nice golden brown colour flip them over.

7. Take the cooked ones out and continue with the rest of the mixture. You can serve with a dipping sauce. Anything you like is fine. I tend to use soy sauce and sesame oil.

Enjoy!

Lucky Pig 4

Since our engagement my husband’s family believes they have had a lot of luck, as things have been going really well for them. They think I’ve brought the luck into their lives so they have called me a ‘Lucky Pig’.

In Korea pigs mean fortune. However, in western culture calling someone a pig is usually an insult! Meaning they are ugly or eat too much etc. So when I first heard his family are calling me that I was like “What?!” But then thankfully it was explained to me. Let’s hope I can keep the luck coming!

My husband, knowing that in English it sounds very different to in Korean, laughed and said in English, “Yeah you are the lucky pig!….. Oink Oink!”

Milo 9

 

Okay so milo is different in different countries. In Australia it has a more crunchy texture and involves some vigorous mixing to get it smooth. In Malaysia it seems to be pre-mixed and more like just a chocolate milk. In Japan I just remember getting it from a vending machine…

Obsession with height- Big Bang example 11

Let’s explore the Korean obsession with height! I think most countries have some interest in height, with women usually preferring taller men, but not many rival Korea’s obsession.

I’m not exactly sure when or why this first started or if it’s just a product of modern culture. I don’t know how much pressure men put on each other but I know Korean women put a lot of pressure on Korean men. The famous example being on the TV talk show where the women said they would rather have a tall husband who was physically abusive than a nice short guy. WTF…

Many times I’ve heard women, and not just Korean women, say they only like tall guys. And not like guys who are the same height or slightly taller, they want men like a foot taller than them!

Because of this Korean men can get big complexes about their height. They are already not very tall compared to many other countries, but does it really matter that much? Unfortunately the message they are receiving is that it does matter. The incident of the women on the TV show hating short guys has been retold to me by many many Korean guys. It was really upsetting for them. Of course not all Korean women place such emphasis on height though, it’s just sometimes the negative views are the loudest.

Now in Korea, it is normal for guys to wear “lifts” inside their shoes to make them appear taller. These are like a foam triangle thing that lifts their heels and gives them more height. I had no idea these things existed until a few years ago when I dated a Korean guy and I was slightly confused to why his height seemed to change day to day. He eventually confessed to me but it was the first I had heard of such things for men and I didn’t ever think his height was a problem.

Now to the reason why I decided to talk about this today: Big Bang. Talking to a Korean friend once, I confessed how much I like Big Bang. Her immediate response was “but they are so small.” Huh? I was so confused. What did that have to do with anything? I was talking about music. How does the artist’s height affect that? The same conversation has been played out many times with Korean people saying to me “but they are small.” I usually respond with “so what?”

Big Bang’s height is in the news again today. There is a summary on Big Bang Updates which makes a lot of international fans go “what??” Such concern about height seems so over the top to us. And the comments about height are often quite nasty. It is used in a way to try to bring them down.

Having a taller height does not give a guy a good personality. There is really no real benefit to the relationship except maybe he can reach the top cupboard easier. I’ve dated extremely tall guys before and their height was not even a positive thing. It made kissing standing up almost impossible and did not magically make those guy’s crappy personalities any better.

So how tall is the guy I ended up marrying? He is only slightly taller than me. If I wear heels I am taller. This does not bother me at all. In fact, I like being able to look directly into his eyes.

So for girls out there obsessed with height: does it really matter that much? You could be missing out on meeting some great guys simply because you aren’t interested in anyone under a certain height. There are better ways to narrow down what qualities you want in a man.

For all the guys out there worried about their height: don’t stress about it. Not all women care about it. If a girl disregards you as a potential date simply because you aren’t tall enough then she is not worth your time.

"Guys! Don't you know that it doesn't matter how talented or popular we are... it doesn't matter because we are too short!" "Aww, okay let's just go home..."

 

Beginner Korean Book Reviews 3

This is just a quick review of two Beginner Korean books I have.

Read and Speak Korean for Beginners

This books teaches very basic vocabulary and things that would be beneficial for someone moving to Korea who hasn’t had much time to learn Korean. An effort has been made with this book to make things more interesting and fun as it has pictures and flash cards. It contains a lot of things needed for someone who immediately needs to use Korean but doesn’t exactly explain much grammar.

It also doesn’t explain how to read hangul and relies too much on romanisation. This is probably because they want learners to know instantly how to say something but unfortunately Korean never translates properly. Reliance on romanisation of Korean words can be damaging to your Korean skills as well. It is also unnecessary as hangul is relatively easy to learn – you can learn how to read and write and basic pronunciation within a week. When I first started learning Korean my teacher told us to ignore any romanisation in text books because it doesn’t help. The sooner you learn to read Korean the better.

This book is not bad though. It contains a lot of activities and comes with a CD. Combined with a more in-depth book that explains more about reading and writing Korean it is beneficial.

 

Easy Korean for Foreigners

This contains English, Japanese and Chinese translations. Now if you are thinking that’s a lot to put in a book, wouldn’t it get messy? Yes… yes it does.

When you are learning another language you really want to focus only on that language. You don’t want to be flicking through pages and your brain getting distracted by other languages. This book does however, explain about hangul and how the sounds are made, but only briefly. It has a lot of pictures of things but no translation of what they are. So if you guess wrongly (for example: does the picture of the legs mean legs, shoes or knees?) you really have learned the wrong thing.

Some of the translations into English are not quite correct. Perhaps there was not a native English speaker involved in writing this book. The book also jumps into sentences without really explaining sentence structure- which is very different to English. The book has a lot of pictures, which is why I bought it, but it really does not explain them well. Nor does it really explain much grammar. There are short grammar lessons at the back but in my experience a beginner needs more examples than what is given. It comes with a CD but I haven’t listened to it as I am too put off by the messy formatting and mix of languages.

This book may be easy to use for Japanese or Chinese learners, but I can definitely say for English speakers- don’t waste your money.

So what books do I use for learning Korean? I’ll review those in another post sometime.

L and R 1

Usually Koreans are quite good at reading and writing in English but lack experience speaking English. My husband is the opposite. His speaking skills are great and his pronunciation is quite good. But the old confusing L and R problem can pop up when he writes English even though he can differentiate in spoken English (opposite of most of Koreans still learning English).

Can be funny though- like a few days ago in a text conversation. (He is in Korea organising stuff for our traditional Korean wedding).

Him: make sure you bring a photo of us in a flame

Me: you want it to be on fire?

Faces of North Korean soldiers 2

 

Whenever North Korea is in the news – and they have been in the news even more this week with their failed rocket launch- I search for the faces of more ordinary people. They are not usually shown as most photographs released from North Korea are of the Pyongyang elite. With foreign journalists allowed in for the rocket launch we have seen some close ups of young soldiers at the rocket launch site.

What surprises me about these photos is how familiar the faces look. It really shouldn’t be a surprise as the countries have only been separated for about 60 years but I’m so used to thinking of North Koreans as so different and so alien. And I know their lives are so different to my own South Korean family and friends so it’s almost a shock to see faces that resemble people I know.

But then at the same time there are such differences: the expression on their faces, the gauntness due to lack of food and the wary look in their eyes.

 

Book Review – Waiting for Mummy 1

Waiting for Mummy by Tae-Jun Lee

This is a famous children’s book that has only been published in English somewhat recently. It was written in 1938 by author Tae-Jun Lee who wrote many famous stories and was well loved in Korea. In this edition the illustrations are by Dong-Sung Kim and they are painted on traditional Korean paper (han-ji) and use traditional Chinese ink line techniques (muck-sun).

I saw this book in an Australian book store and noticed the Korean names on it. It was only after I bought it and did some research that I realised how special this book is.

It is a simple but heart-wrenching story of a young boy waiting for his mother at a tram stop. The first time I read it I thought there was no conclusion or indication of whether the little boy’s mother returns or not. I actually cried. I realised later that the ending is shown on the very last illustration but you have to look carefully.

Though simply written, the story is incredibly moving – particularly when you know Korea’s history and that this was written during the Japanese occupation – and it really stuck in my mind for days. The illustrations are beautiful. Some are quite simple but they convey so much. And the little boy is so adorable but looks so small and insignificant. What is even more poignant is that the author Tang-Jun Lee was actually an orphan himself. He was a war correspondent during The Korean War but settled in North Korea afterwards and disappeared in 1956…

I have seen some comments online by parent’s that think the book is too sad and they wouldn’t read it to their children but I disagree. It is such a beautiful and moving book that I will be reading it to my future children- in both English and Korean.

 

Konglish- Fighting! 2

This happened about 3 years ago while living in an apartment in Sydney with my brother and a bunch of other people (some Korean).

I’d had a bad day and was upset or stressed about something. My brother was trying to cheer me up.

One of our housemates could see I was upset and came over to us.

I had no idea that he was using an English word in a Korean way to say something like ‘cheer up!’ or ‘try your best! or ‘you can do it!’ I just thought he was accusing my brother and I of fighting… which we were not doing at all.

I didn’t realise the real meaning of this Konglish until much later and when I remembered this incident it suddenly all made sense!

 

New research about learning another language 1

Today I read this article in New Scientist about how taking time off from learning another language can be beneficial. Though only a small study, it is thought that having a break shifts language from declarative memory to procedural memory.

I hope this is true because I haven’t studied Korean for a few weeks! My husband is currently in Korea for 2 weeks and it’s been the holidays between terms so I haven’t been to any classes.

I always get this feeling of panic that if I haven’t studied in a few weeks that I will lose everything I’ve already learned and I’ll have to start over.

So I’m hoping there is some truth to these findings so I don’t have to feel so guilty. :-)

First meetings and G-Dragon 21

The first time we met it was with a group of people and we did stuff like dinner at Korean restaurant and noraebang. We’d already been talking for hours already but eventually what K-pop I liked came up in the conversation. (There were many more people there but I was too lazy to draw them).

We ended up dating and I forgot that he said that the first time we met.

However, about 6 months later I remembered…

Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

 

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