Chicken Feet Please!

12 02 2013

I got the courage to make my first telephone food delivery order. I ended up with chicken feet!

Well I wanted to order 깐풍기 (a Chinese-Korean chicken dish). Kyle and I always ate it a restaurant in Tacoma, and I’ve been wanting to eat some here. Fortunately, I found out that 중국집 (Chinese-Korean restaurants) in Korea also serve this dish.

If you live in Korea, you’ll notice that your apartment door becomes an advertisement wall that attracts magnetic restaurant directories every few weeks. I’ve already collected three–although I threw all of them out but one.

I opened it and searched for 깐풍기 , but I couldn’t find it anywhere. So, I picked something else on one of the menus that read, “불닭발” (AKA spicy chicken feet). I read “불닭” and knew it meant spicy chicken, not realizing the last word. I picked it because it was the cheapest thing on the menu, and I wasn’t looking to spend much on food.

After calling and talking to three people–they kept passing the phone off to someone else–and giving my address, the owner said I needed to buy “이인분” (two servings). This makes sense, since they are delivering food and need to make a profit, but I was only going to order for me. After already making an ordeal on the phone, I went ahead and ordered it anyway. I wasn’t going to do all that work for nothing.

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FYI: My Korean friend said that most places won’t deliver “일인분” (one serving) or less than ₩10,000 (~$10) worth of food. I found this out the next day.

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I called Rosa up to ask her to come and help me eat food! She did, and we also ended up ordering 탕수육 (a fried pork type dish with a sweet soy-terriaki-tasting sauce).

Here are the delicious–bit of sarcasm–chicken feet:

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A spicy chicken foot.

A spicy chicken foot.

After she arrived, she found 깐풍기 in tiny font at the bottom of two restaurant menus. Ah! So I could have ordered it to begin with. 이인부 (two servings) of the chicken feet cost ₩14,000 (~$14).

Chicken feet don’t necessarily taste bad, but the feet are so crunchy. I felt like I was eating spicy bones. You mainly eat the top part–the three toes–but then you can eat the part around the rest of the foot. Mmm! -_-

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Where Did the Snow Go?

27 01 2013

For anyone who’s been wondering about the weather in Cheonan, South Korea, it has been cold! Well, since having a blizzard last month, the snow has been slowly melting away. For a while, just ice covered the sidewalks and streets, but that, too, melted away recently.

However, today it started snowing again. But it isn’t sticking very well. As I write this post, the snow is already disappearing.

Weather Update 
Jan. 27 12:34 p.m.
Current Temperature: 26°F, lightly snowing

Snow

A view from my apartment in Cheonan, South Korea.





Toast

23 01 2013

I didn’t realize what a luxury  certain kitchen amenities were until I was boiling water in a pot to heat up a pre-cooked bowl of rice. Many apartments don’t have an oven or microwave  in Korea. My apartment didn’t come with a toaster, and I didn’t want to spend extra money buying something I would leave here. How would I toast bread without a toaster?!  Simple. Toast it on a frying pan.

Even if you have a toaster, I’m telling you that a frying pan works much better. First of all, it also doesn’t take as long.  It also toasts the bread evenly. Some bread I’ve tried to toast always had a  soggy edge because it was too big to fit in the whole toaster.

Toast 1Toast 2





Mung Mung!

21 01 2013

I wanted to share some photos of me and Rosa’s younger sister. This is her white maltese puppy that had never seen a foreigner before, so he was barking a lot when I arrived.

That night, Rosa’s mom made us a traditional Korean rice tea called shikhye. It’s made from malt powder, rice and sugar. We drank it cold, and it was a delicious, refreshing and sweet treat.

Me and Rosa sister

Vocabulary
식혜 Shik-hye (a traditional Korean sweet rice drink)





Kimchi Mania

21 01 2013

When talking to other Koreans, Rosa refers to me as “kimchi mania” when we’re out at restaurants or eating somewhere. I don’t know if that’s a common phrase for people who like kimchi or just some funny nickname she gave me. Kimchi is a delicious spicy,  fermented cabbage dish. Koreans eat it in the morning, afternoon, at night, and any snack time in between. Kimchi is special, because each time it’s made it tastes slightly different.

After spending my whole day blogging and futzing around on my computer, I thought I should be more productive and make kimchi. I hadn’t made kimchi for at least six months. I forgot how long it takes. I ended up not finishing until 2 a.m, and today I was so sleepy.

Kyle’s mom first taught me how to make it. I love her kimchi. After carefully analyzing each ingredient and how much she puts in, I always end up making kimchi that tastes the same each time I make it–and it never tastes like hers.

My ingredients for kimchi are:
Nappa cabbage
Green onion
White onion
Garlic
Small fermented shrimp (blended/mushed)
Korean red pepper
Hondashi
Sugar
Salt

Kimchi that I made last night. I let it sit out for 24 hours, but usually people let it ferment for around one week.

Kimchi that I made last night. I let it sit out for 24 hours, but usually people let it ferment for around one week.

I also made a radish kimchi, called musaengchae. It’s shoe-string cut radish with many of the same seasonings.

Musaengchu. This is a type of radish kimchi that is fairly quick to make.

Musaengchu. This is a type of radish kimchi that is fairly quick to make.

Vocabulary
배추 Bae-chu (nappa cabbage)
파 Pa (green onion)
양파 Yang-pa (onion)
마늘 Ma-nuerl (garlic)
새우젓 Sae-eu-jeot (small fermented shrimp)
고추루가 Go-chu-roo-ga (Korean red pepper)
혼다시 Hon-da-shi (Japanese seasoning, seafood/salty flavor)
살탕 Sal-tang (sugar)
소금 So-guem (salt)
무생채 Mu-saeng-chae
 





Korean Dish 1: Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)

20 01 2013

I had another night of mouth watering food and an aching stomach.

First, Rosa and I hit up a samgyeopsal restaurant in Cheonan. Many restaurants carry samgyeopsal. If you like bacon, you’re sure to love this dish. Samgyeopsal is quarter-inch sliced strips of pork meat. It’s a popular late-night meal that goes perfect with soju. But bacon fan or not, if you get the chance to order this dish, do it!

Did you know? While pork is an extremely popular meat in Korea, and many Korean meals have meat, Korea’s pork consumption per capita in 2010 was 42.5 pounds (KREI). The USA’s pork consumption per capita in in 2009 was 49.6 pounds (USDA).

1. What It Is
It’s such a complex, yet simple, dish. The meat isn’t seasoned or marinated, but it’s accompanied by an array of Korean side dishes, such as different kinds of kimchi or bean sprouts. Samgyeopsal always comes with some staple sides: raw garlic (that you can cook on the grill), sliced, green hot pepper, ssangjang and lettuce.

wpid-IMG085.jpg2. Preparation
The meat cooks as strips. Make sure it’s cooked all the way since it’s pork. Once it’s cooked good enough, cut it into bit-sized pieces.

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 3. How to Eat
Now it’s finally time to eat. Carefully wrap the meat in lettuce with ssamgjang and any other sides. There’s an art to wrapping the lettuce. I use to try and fold each side over the other (like I was wrapping a present), but the lettuce snaps, and you’re left with food falling in your lap. It’s much easier to pinch all the sides together at the top and shove it your mouth. Wash it down with soju, and that’s it. It’ll be gone before you know it.

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Korean food in a nutshell:
삼겹살            Sam-gyeop-sal (a Korean dish made with thick cuts of Korean pork)
소주                 So-ju (a popular Korean alcohol)
고추장            Go-chu-jang (hot, red chili pepper paste)
된장                 Dwen-jang (fermented soy bean paste)
쌈장                 Ssam-jang (mixture of gojjujang and dwenjang)

Sources:
Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDS)
(ESV)





Korean Dining 101

20 01 2013

I will try and post as many different Korean dishes as I can. I will tell you what it is, what to eat it with and how to eat it.

Blog photo scissors

1. Kitchen Scissors at my Table?
Koreans are smart. They use kitchen scissors to cut almost everything. That’s why scissors are at most Korean restaurant tables. You just snip meat into pieces–rather than try and cut it with a knife on a plate.

2. Raw Meat
Some restaurants in the USA are popular for dishes that chefs cook right at the table. In Korea, most restaurants that serve meat have gas burners and pans built into each table. The owners bring out raw meat or soup ingredients, and it cooks at your table. It’s fresh, and you don’t need to worry about it getting cold.

3. Soju
First distilled around 800 years ago as a drink for the high class, today soju is a an important aspect to Korean meals. This popular Korean alcohol usually ranges from 20-30 percent proof. It’s mainly made of rice but is usually mixed other ingredients such as barley, sweet potatoes or wheat. It has a similar taste to vodka, but it is much smoother and refined. All soju that is sold now it diluted (rather than distilled). Jinro is one of the most popular soju brands–it’s sold in the USA as well.

4. No Tipping
This is self explanatory. You don’t need to tip anyone for anything–not for taxi drivers, hair dressers or people at restaurants.

5. Side Dishes
Any restaurant meal always includes at least three small side dishes, called banchan (반찬). A combination of countless sides may appear, but common ones are various kinds of radish kimchi, cabbage kimchi, green onion kimchi, seasoned bean sprouts, seasoned spinach, braised tofu, and sweet soy sauce glazed potatoes. These are included with your meal, and you don’t order them. Feel free to ask for more.

6. Sharing Food
While most foreigners are use to each having their own plate of food, Koreans share food from the same bowls, plates and heated pans. Korean meals are about being close with your friends and sharing the food. Just take your chopstick and eat what you want.

Sources: 
American University
Princeton University
TriFood.com