We try some old Korean candy:
What candy do you remember eating as a child?
Korean food and recipes
This was amusing to me because usually I’m the one that is horrified by weird food combinations in Korea, but this time he was annoyed by an unusual combination. To me the hotteok tasted really good, it was nice and savoury. But for him it was sacrilege. He insisted that hotteok is supposed to be sweet. There are definitely more unusual combinations of Korean food in Seoul, but the strange combinations of Western food has infiltrated all of Korea. Like the sugar on garlic bread, or corn and broccoli on pizza, and don’t even get me started on Italian food.
Also the mixing of Korean and foreign food can go horribly wrong. The word “fusion” used to seem exciting and promising to me, but these days it makes me shudder. I’ve had way too many bad experiences with fusion food.
He was so outraged by this hottoek. He even tasted it and said it tasted terrible, but to me it was pretty good! Hopefully there is a little bit more understanding between us about what it’s like seeing your culture’s food combined in a weird way.
This japchae hotteok is sold in Hongdae and we spent quite a lot of time in Hongdae on our recent trip to Seoul. Here is the first vlog from our trip:
This is the latest craze in Korea.
While I’m sure lots of people genuinely like them, we found them to not live up to the hype.
There are always many crazes in Korea, much more than in Australia, which I think relates to them being a small country and the way society is here. Many things that are not actually that good, especially foods, become very popular for a while and then disappear again.
I’ve also heard that the way products come to being popular in Korea can be different to many other countries. For example in another country there may be snacks made by a very small company, a start up company, but their product is so good that word of mouth spreads and they get bigger. The snack or food becomes popular because it’s good and the creators of it believe in their product and are passionate about it. In Korea, there are very big companies that dominate all industries, so when they want to make a good snack they can just throw money at it and create something and sell it whether it’s good or not. Smaller businesses don’t stand a chance against them. So if someone out there has made an actual good version of honey butter chips, it’s too difficult to promote against these huge companies that control everything.
Have you tried these chips? What chips do you think are nice in your own country?
Well at least he is optimistic!
Also check out our vlog from the weekend where he tries to kill me with ice (actually it looks worse on camera than it actually was). This is what happens when we are cooped up inside for too long and finally allowed out.
Even though I know logically there are lots of food that are hard to get in Korea, especially if you live in the countryside, my brain seems to love dreaming about them. And for some reason I’m reveling in an avocado and sour cream shower… strange because I don’t always eat those foods together.
I’ve heard people say that their avocado experiences in Korea have always been disappointing so it’s one of the reasons why I don’t really try. In Australia I’d eat them almost every day, so I think chasing that past life may just make me homesick while trying to come to terms with a bad quality avocado.
However, sour cream is obtainable in Seoul so I may try to bring some of that back to the countryside.
But it seems that the longer I go without some of my favourite foods, the more ridiculous the dreams get. What ridiculous food dreams have you had?
Here is our vlog from Saturday as well. You can see some of the kimchi making. If you want to see the vlogs as they are uploaded, make sure you subscribe to the vlogging channel.
That’s why we have a bread maker… because we don’t have an oven…
So as I’ve mentioned, normal Korean homes don’t have ovens. It slipped my mind when I asked for an oven mitt. Of course there isn’t one! There are other things for handling hot pans on stove tops of course but for some reason not in our house… even the tea towel we used was one that I had sent from Australia as a gift. I really miss having a drawer full of fresh clean tea towels! The things you end up missing while in another country…
When we do eventuality get our own place I will be able to have tea towels!
You can see some of the bread making in yesterday’s vlog.
It would be great if you subscribed to the vlogging channel. It’s free!
Yes we have conversations about tea. Yeah Aussie girls! (With British heritage). Cuppa just means “a cup of tea”. I drink so many cups of tea.
Also, speaking about the word “tea”, when Mr Gwon first stayed with my parents, he got confused because my mum also calls dinner “tea”. And then to be more confusing, my nanna called lunch “dinner” and dinner is “tea”. And then we also drink lots of tea!
Does anyone else start dreaming about food when they move to another country and can’t eat their favourite foods? Now before someone starts to reply with “But you can get pancakes in-” Let me just stop you there and explain what I mean. I know you mean well but, as those that follow the vlogs know, my situation is pretty different to those who live in Seoul or even people who live in country areas but by themselves.
So why is it so hard for me to get western style pancakes? Well it’s just not a food that is eaten here much. I sometimes see people’s photos of eating brunch in Seoul at cafes and it seems like a world away. To even get the right ingredients is hard here, but that’s only one aspect of it. Our kitchen is very much a Korean kitchen, things you might take for granted in your kitchen – like measuring cups and wooden spoons – just aren’t here. There was not a knife and fork in this kitchen before I came, so currently we have a knife and fork for when I’m eating something western and we also have a bread knife. That’s it. One fork in this house.
Now the other aspect that makes things a little bit more difficult is that I’m living in a Korean family and my mother-in-law does the cooking. It’s rare that I’m even allowed to cook dinner. Now if I want to cook something for myself I need to fit it into the normal schedule without it affecting my appetite for dinner, because then I could end up offending by not eating much. This type of complexities is not something that other expats need to think about usually. I’m always very worried about offending my mother-in-law when I make something for myself to eat. She has accepted the fact that I will eat bread in the morning, though there has been a lot of worry about me getting sick because I’m not eating enough rice. It doesn’t matter how much my husband explains that rice actually MAKES me ill when I have too much of it, it’s a mindset that is difficult to change and it’s because she cares about me.
People like to suggest me places to go to in Seoul, which I am always grateful for, but most of the time we don’t have the time. When we do go to Seoul we are always very busy and not able to go to specific areas for food.
I have actually come up with a solution for the pancake dilemma though. I can get my mum in Australia to send me those shake pancake mixes that only need water. That way I don’t need a mixing bowl or anything and I can have some pancakes for breakfast without using much in the kitchen and it won’t affect other meals. Why didn’t I think of that earlier??
I really miss “Pancakes on the rocks” in Sydney and all this talk of pancakes has made me remember back in my childhood how Sunday nights were always pancakes nights.
We show you a tea house in Jinju that we like to go to. Modern cafes can be quite noisy with too many people and loud music but a tea house like this is a very relaxing place to hang out in. Maybe we are just showing our age?
This new segment where we show you food (and drinks) in Korea is called “What a nice!…Food”. I think Mr Gwon wants to show you barbecued intestines next. Does anyone want to see that?
Before anyone asks this question – yes we do have a separate kimchi fridge, but that is more for storage of kimchi that isn’t being eaten yet, so there is still kimchi and other very strong smelling side dishes in the main fridge. I’ve found it much better to just keep all my dairy products in another fridge that mainly holds drinks.
Have you ever tasted milk that has absorbed the kimchi smell? It’s not nice!
So rather than Wednesday just being Mr Gwon Time, we’ve decided that it can either be Mr Gwon Time or another video. We film a lot of stuff and find we just don’t have time to edit, so hopefully this way you guys will be able to see more of the stuff we do.
If we have a food segment, should we have a name for it? Any suggestions?
He was referencing a quote in the book and movie ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. I dragged him to see it because I’ve been waiting so long to see it (Korea got it so late) but of course he loved it!
Now onto terrible Korean pasta. We’ve been a little bit spoilt. We found an awesome pizza and pasta place in Jinju, so after going there a few times we forgot how bad most Italian food in Korea is. We didn’t have time to go across town to the good Italian place so we tried a new place. Most Italian food places in Korea have crappy Koreanized pasta – but some are not too bad. I can stomach it as long as it’s pasta. This was horrendous though! I posted a few photos on Instagram for those that want to get an idea about what I mean. I asked for some salt and pepper to try and make the plastic pasta taste better and the waitress was very confused and finally brought me a 2 plates with a pile of cooking salt and pepper on them. We both felt sick afterwards. Mr Gwon even said that he could easily make better pasta than this place and he isn’t even very good at cooking. Not only was it terrible because it was nothing like Italian food at all, but whatever type of fusion they were trying to achieve failed miserably. We laughed through our tears. I actually really hope that place shuts down so other people aren’t subjected to that. It’s likely to simply because businesses spring up quickly in Korea with not much planning or research and shut down again quickly. Nothing is very long term.
Actually I was very homesick today, which is why there wasn’t a comic earlier. That pasta just made me feel a lot worse. The Fault in Our Stars didn’t make me feel worse though! Of course it made me feel sad, but it made me feel better about things.
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