Kimchi jiggae

20121026-114352.jpgMuch to my delight the grocery store I normally go to finally has a teeny, tiny Asian section.

Last night in a burst of nostalgia for South Korea, I loaded up on kimchi, tofu, eggs, seaweed, garlic, ginger, onion and all the fixings for a delicious kimchi jiggae. I used this recipe from Zen Kimchi with two substitutions, chicken in place of the pork belly and vodka in place of the soju.

I still have not found soju in Utah!

Someday the DABC will hear my sorrow and purchase South Korea’s liquor of choice without forcing me to buy an entire pallet.

The kimchi jiggae was boiling hot and delicious. Although not as spicy as I would like, I think I’ll have to try out another kimchi and search for some gochujang. It was lovely to have a nice reminder of South Korea in my Salt Lake City home. Eating this soup all the memories of school lunches, nights in and out came back warmly.


The View From Here

Aerial Hong Kong #1 , 2001

Hong Kong from the sky as seen in 2001 by Digital Freak. Can’t wait until it’s my turn to snap a pic!

In my travel planning, I’m starting to dream of looking out airplane windows. The window seat, it’s my favorite. I love looking out over the sky, land and sea as the world changes below me. I wanted to share some of the most amazing window views when I realized I’m a bad photographer and have never managed to take a photo looking out from the best windows on the world.




Here are some of the world’s best aerial views from more conscientious photographers than I on Flickr, as inspired and seen on BuzzFeed.

The Midwest

Farmland Allsorts

Taken from Flickr.

New York, New York from JFK Airport. 

Aerial NYC

Another Flickr

The Great Salt Lake
Colorful Landscape

Taken by Tom Kelly.

Foggy Chicago

fog blankets chicago

Kind of makes me wish Chicago had been stormy when I visited. (Link here.) Now that we’ve seen some of the United States ever changing landscape, let’s move on to Asia.

Seoul, South Korea

South Korea - Seoul

Hazy with a view of the lazy Han River. Yep, sounds about right.


"Malaysia Truly Asia"

Between bus, train and air to get around Peninsular Malaysia this is probably the most familiar view to my eyes–fields of rubber trees and gray clouds. It’s definitely still a country at the top of my “Live There” list.

Bali, Indonesia

Aerial view of Bali

These kind of sights made it clear Bali was beautiful before the plane even hit the tarmac.

Bangkok, Thailand

I don’t believe this photo was taken from the seat of a plane. However it’s too fantastic not to share.

The highest Aerial view of Bangkok Highway at Dusk in Thailand

It totally brings to mind my first views of the city as I took a midnight taxi to my hotel for a week of steamy heat and even hotter food.

Next time I’m on a plane, I will be camera ready to take some incredible shots.

For all 100 aerial photos see the original post on BuzzFeed

Lost my voice

Something strange is going on with my voice.

Or my brain, I’m not sure which.

It all started in Busan–I was out with Hostel and a nice couple from the UK. At one point, Hostel and I decided it would be hilarious to imitate their accents. (Only David’s British, one. I have no idea what he was saying when he went Scottish.) And it was amusing for a solid three hours.

But now I can’t stop.

Every time I talk to someone I automatically start imitating their accent–Korean, Australian, Canadian, American, British–I can’t stop.

I hear a different voice and my brain registers that as MY voice, somehow that is the sound I should be making when I speak. I don’t do other accents particularly well, either so most often my voice comes out in a slurred mash-up of mangled English no one is likely to understand.

It doesn’t help that other people, mostly waygookins, are starting to notice. Something is seriously wrong with the way I’m talking.

I feel like Ariel did when she lost her voice, it’s just when my voice comes out it doesn’t sound like my voice at all. Is this normal? Is this a side effect of culture shock? Where did my voice go? I miss my Utahccent.

It’s really fucking annoying listening to yourself talk and hearing someone else’s accent, especially for 7 hours a day.

I’m hoping a nice long Skype chat with my sister, my twin of sight and sound, will fix this. I just want to sound like myself again. ‘Cause right now I sound like this guy’s sister after she drank a few too many vodka jello shots.

(Anyone else think he should thank Seth McFarlane for about a quarter of those voices?)

Cookies in Korea

And the wonder of imported goods costing so much less when they come from Europe. Now I have a new taste for crappy cookies from Italy.

I’m sure these cookies I love to munch on between classes are giving me cavities and thick thighs, but I don’t care. They are light and flaky. Plus some of them have a delicious cream filling–vanilla, lemon and chocolate. Oh, how I love their dessert-y goodness.

As for their Korean counterparts, I just can’t quite figure out them out. They’re sweet and crispy, but missing something…I think it’s the butter. The richness of the cookies is low. And the chocolate, oh the chocolate, it’s always chalky and low quality on the sweet treats. I can’t wait for the day Korea has a food revolution and someone starts making high-quality chocolate.

Until then, it’s me and my Vicenzi.

A Sunday kind of morning

The lovely weekend was a rush around Seoul for most of Saturday night complete with kebabs, Long Islands and salsa.

I met Jennifer and her crew in Itaewon for a lovely sushi dinner at Rollin’ Japanese. We had a lovely time talkin’ shop and discussing all the changes hagwons are constantly experiencing. I ordered a rainbow roll and California roll, more excited about seeing my two favorites on the sushi menu then really focusing on whether or not they were the kind of rolls I wanted.

In that wonderful way of being in Korea, the sushi rolls came out completely different than I expected both were stuffed with crab meat, carrots and cucumbers then topped with the ingredients that determined the rolls name. Each roll was delicious though I think they would benefit from less crab meat and mayonnaise in the future. The entire experience has me wondering what sushi is like in Japan.

After dinner we checked out Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. I ordered the caramel cheesecake on a regular cone. For my inaugural Basin Robbins visit, it was a poor choice. The caramel was much too sweet and overpowered the cheesecake ice cream. The whole thing left me wishing for real cheesecake more than appeasing my appetite for ice cream.

Next we settled on Caliente. As far as I know, the only salsa club in all of South Korea. We hung out for a round of drinks. I ordered a Long Island that came out far too strong and far too watery. It was shocking to see Korean men and women out on the dance floor showing off their best Latin-inspired moves. I was sufficiently intimidated after the first song and remained firmly in my seat until moving on to Hongdae where I met up with the Chungju EPIK gang.

I first met up with John, Hannah, Sarah and Ken in BEF–Best Friend. The bar is trendy, cool and modern. Yet another Hongdae haunt going for the industrial warehouse re-imagined vibe. The bar was nice and quiet, a great place for a second dinner of chicken and coleslaw. We played a couple of drinking games as I introduced Hannah to cojingmek which is apparently called cosomek as well.

Around 2 a.m. we made our way to a nearby club joining up with the complete EPIK posse. Even Karlie came, despite having moved to Seoul just a few days before. I helped myself to a free beer and jumped on the dance floor.

Just as I was gettin’ my groove on with Sonia I was asked, “Hangukin?” As in “Korean?” Only it wasn’t me the older Korean man was interested in. It was Sonia. I replied letting him know that we are both American, “Migukin.” He nodded, turned around and left. I had no idea it was so easy to turn men away.

Not too much later, we found ourselves catching up and winding down at another club. I have no idea what the bar was called, but it looked like the kind of place you could smoke a joint. If you could get weed in Korea.

We sat around drinking beer discussing teaching, Korea, relationships and all the usual  conversation before heading back to Chungju at 6 a.m. Just the kind of night I love that makes me never want to live in a place where bars close at 1 a.m. (Ahem. Utah!)

The super sweet bartender even let my drunk self talk to him in Korean. I’ve been needing someone to encourage my efforts at hangeukmal. He answered my questions in Korean, spoke slowly and asked me questions too. It was practically a whole conversation–short and basic, but still I’m going to hang on to that accomplishment all week.

At some point after the kebabs on the slow walk to the subway, the group shrank from everyone to just Scott and me. It was nice to reconnect with my old neighbor as we took the subway and bus home through the breaking dawn.

By the time I made it to my comfy bed at 9 a.m. I was more than happy to crash out for the next eight hours.

Just another Sunday in the ROK.

Korean food blog love

I’ve been in a Korean food funk lately.

Unless I’m eating kim bap, bibim bap, kimchi jiggae, bulgogi or galbi tang, I’m probably not eating Korean food. (There’s a lot of eggs and toast going on over here.) I miss cooking so much, I stare at these blogs and drool. I think it’s time I get inspired to get cooking or at least expand my food horizons when ordering Korean food.

Korean Food is no longer updated, but has a great archive of recipes and information on traditional Korean food. I’ve got more than one idea for future food adventures from this site.

Maangchi pretty much has me praying I end up in New York so I could take an amazing Korean cooking lesson in English. Also her measurements are in American, not metric, so I can actually visualize the recipe before I try it out.

Life in Korea has a little food section that I adore. Every recipe leaves me inspired to try it out in my own little kitchen.

Korean Food Recipe doesn’t seem to update very often, but there are a few easy to follow, easy to do recipes I would love to try. I’m especially excited about the sesame leaf kimchi. I know I’m going to love that one.

Digging through the archives of My Korean Kitchen is also promising some tasty recipes and future food experiences to come. I’m a little sad to say this blog is also now defunct. Is there some sort of three year blogging curse no one’s warned me about?

I hope you feel inspired to try out a few Korean dishes too. Good luck in your kitchen.