Friday, September 18, 2009

A lesson on food.

We are constantly confused about food here. We are usually not sure what we are ordering, we can't read in the grocery store so we pick random foods, and half the time we have troubles picking things up with our chopsticks. I'm better than Andrew, he's still learning. :) The following will describe (with photos) some of the foods we have eaten recently, starting with Topoki.

Topoki (pronounced tuh-poh-key) is something I saw our coworkers eating in the teacher's room. I thought it looked good, so I asked them what it was. I wrote it down and they told us where we could find it. We were told this is about as famous with kids here as spaghettio's in the US. Figuring it sounded harmless, we went to the restaurant and ordered two servings, costing us about $3.00. We got home and dove in.

The main part of the food is a very thick noodle. It is covered in a red sauce. Fairly similar to spaghettio's, right? Wrong. We are very quickly learning that anything red is extremely spicy. I was having troubles getting it down, so I made some rice on the side to cool our mouths down. It didn't help.

My mouth was literally on fire, snot starting to drip, and the sweats began. We grabbed some juice. We thought it was apple juice when we bought it (it is in a carton, so we can't see it). We were wrong. It is creamy white with a slight pink tint. We now think it is plum juice, but we can't be sure.

I couldn't stomach it any longer, and the texture of the massive noodle was getting to Andrew. So I took the noodles and put them in the strainer. I rinsed off as much red as I possibly could. It was then like eating a massive slimy finger.

We deemed it a fail.


As I've mentioned before, Kimchi is fermented cabbage. It is possibly the most popular food in Korea. Koreans eat it with breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is a very spicy food, as Koreans are big fans of spice.

While at the food court of Home Plus (the massive store I mentioned earlier), we decided to get dinner. Alaina and I felt like having a taste of home and had McDonald's. Andrew was a little more adventurous and ordered Kimchi soup. It came with a side of rice, seaweed, and a meat which we have no idea what it is. We decided to call it chicken, but we are nearly positive it is not.

We are pretty sure all of the Koreans must have been having a bet on how long it would take Andrew to ask for help. In the bottom of the soup was basically a whole head of cabbage. Now try eating that with chopsticks. Alaina and I finally convinced him to go ask for a fork.

As he approached the counter, everyone started laughing and had a scissors waiting. I'm pretty sure there was not one person who wasn't watching us. He sat there, cut all his cabbage in small pieces, then returned the scissors.


Andrew's Kimchi Soup:

Now our next adventure was more successful. We actually just got back from this restaurant tonight. Our Korean co-worker Howard took us to this restaurant two weeks a go. We loved it so we found our way back. The food is Syabu-syabu (pronounced sha-boo - sha-boo). It is a Japanese style food.

The restaurant a traditional Korean style restaurant where you sit on the floor.

A pot is brought to the table which has somewhat of a boiling stew. Again, the stew is spicy, but not ridiculously spicy. There are mushrooms, potatoes and green stuff (we're not sure what it is) boiling in the stew.

Then there is a plate of thin raw meat. This is so thin it is like paper. (Now try getting that apart with your chopsticks)

Now that you finally picked up a piece of meat, you drop it in to the stew. It boils for about 15-30 seconds and it is cooked and brown. Now you dip it in soy sauce - and eat!

Once all of the meat is gone, the next course is udon noodles. The noodles get dumped in to the stew to boil. Once they are done it is dished out. The noodles are eaten with chopsticks, and the soup is sipped with a spoon.

The last course starts to be prepared when the noodles are done. There is a bowl sitting at the table which has raw rice, broccoli, and an uncooked cracked open egg. The workers take this away, and it comes back cooked. (It tastes a lot like Gina rice, mom!)

Alaina (Laney)

Stuffed and happy! Great success!

Last Friday we decided to go to a restaurant that is on the same floor as our school. When we went there a lady came up to Andrew and just started bowing. We didn't know what the heck she was doing... but someone came up and said that it was the parent of one of Andrew's students, Stllo. (She says her name is Stella, but she spells it Stllo. Whatever). As it turns out, she works there, so now whenever we walk past the restaurant, she bows at us as we pass.

The restaurant had similar to food of what I've posted before. Raw meat, cooked at the table... mixed with veggies and rice - eaten on a leaf.

This dish is egg whites. It comes to the table boiling. It takes a lot like scrambled eggs. Very delicious!

Well there is a lesson on food. I'm positive it will not be the last!

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