Korean food and recipes

Motel TV 5

Motel TV

So much watching people eat on Korean TV.

We’ve been in Seoul for another project and got home last night. Will be trying to catch up on videos and comics over the weekend. (Fingers crossed, still dealing with some health issues).

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More Cookies 16

More Cookies

Since there isn’t really a baking culture in Korea, for some Koreans (my husband in particular) tasting real home made cookies can be like a religious experience. In Korea, cookies (or biscuits in Australian/British English) are just store bought ones and even ones in cafes are not that good. Whenever we are in Australia Hugh demands more and more cookies. There are a lot of people living at my parents’ house so he was very concerned about other people eating the cookies. Several times I caught him trying to hide the container of cookies in our room.

It’s also interesting comparing childhood experiences with Koreans in regards to cooking. For example, baking is a relatively safe activity to do with children and my siblings and I were able to bake and make cakes and cookies from an early age. Since most homes in Korea don’t have ovens, it isn’t possible to get children baking at a young age and other types of cooking (stove top cooking) are more dangerous for young children. Not only are baking skills not learnt early on in Korea, but even buying simple baking items like measuring cups and wooden spoons can be difficult.

Did you learn how to bake when you were young?

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Retro Korean Candy 4

We try some old Korean candy:

What candy do you remember eating as a child?

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Japchae Hotteok 21

Japchae Hotteok

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:

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Do Honey Butter Chips taste like bad butter? 7

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?

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Fresh Bread 5

Fresh Bread

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.

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Food Hard to Get 21

Food hard to get

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?

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Making Kimchi 11

Making Kimchi

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.

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Pepero Day 7

Pepero Day

No one told me that I didn’t have to eat them ALL on Pepero Day!…..just kidding. I did manage to eat about 4 boxes though…

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Making Bread 10

Making Bread

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!

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Talking about Tea 20

Talking about Tea

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!

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What a nice!… Rice Paper Rolls 4

Also check out yesterday’s vlog! You gotta subscribe if you want to see these as soon as they are uploaded!

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Pancakes 28


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.

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What a nice!…Tea House 4

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?

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Milk in Fridge 17

Milk in Fridge

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!

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