Archive for category Food

Still Sweating in Cambodia

We spent a few days in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Sihanoukville

Minimal waves, comfy umbrella chairs, yummy coconut drinks, lazy days…

Orange, peach, cream and periwinkle stripe the sky at sunset.  I can’t convey how amazing it is to see the night like this with only palm trees in the skyline.  It reminded me of something I’ve seen on a T-shirt.

Visited Kep, Cambodia today for a short visit.  It’s a quick tuk tuk ride away from Kampot, which is where we are staying right now.  Several people have told us that Kep serves the best crab around.  They were right!  The crab was scrumptious, veggies were perfection and dinner ended with free pineapple.  Two people, only $12!

You! I´m gonna eat you!

Travel time is winding down for me.  I’m thrilled to get home because I miss my family and friends, but sad because I love to travel.  Sometimes I wish the world wasn’t soo big and I could fit in quicker trips home.

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Krabi, Thailand

For me, the best part of traveling is tasting the local cuisine.

I love Thai food.

Coming to Thailand was always on my list of ‘Must Go’ places because of the food.  In the States I would enjoy the occasional curry, and even made a few myself from pre-made curry paste packages.  Never did I imagine all the different flavors found here.  Honestly, I’d have to say that it’s a Flavor Explosion with every meal.  Two times a day I eat some sort of curry: Green, Red, Yellow or Massaman.  Before coming to Thailand I would have said that Green was my favorite, now it’s most definitely Massaman.

I can’t only brag about the curries, because most of the Thai food is equally as wonderful.

My Favorite Thai Foods:

  1. Massaman Curry – “Muslim Man” Curry is originally from Persia, but the Thai people have been perfecting (at least I’m guessing because it tastes soo darn good) this recipe for a long time now.  It is made with peanuts and potatoes.  That sounds weird, I know, but trust me it’s amazing.  This curry is usually eaten with chicken or beef, chicken being my favorite.
  2. Rice baked in a Pineapple – This is usually served with shrimp.  The rice and a few other veggies are baked right in a hollowed out pineapple.  I love pineapple even more when it’s warm.  This is a real treat for me.
  3. Thai Spring Rolls – I specify Thai spring rolls because they are made with rice paper, where Vietnamese Spring rolls are made with flour.  Usually they are vegetarian, but they can be ordered with any kind of meat you prefer.  I’ve only eaten the vegetarian ones, and they’re fabulous.  Plus, spring rolls are served with an orange sweet chili sauce.  It’s similar to the Duck sauce you get at Chinese restaurants back home.
  4. Fried Rice with Chicken – I’ve had this a few times and it’s different everywhere I go.  The fried rice is very different from the typical fried rice varieties I ate in the States.  This dish is the most simple of my favorites.  It’s a good choice because you can add your own spice and sauce to suit your mood of that particular meal.  In Thailand, there are usually four condiments on the table at all times: sugar (in case you like your food sweet or it’s too spicy for your liking), crushed red peppers (for even more kick), vinegar/soy mixture (don’t know the name but it’s used instead of salt), and a clear spicy sauce with chili bits (this one is super hot!).
Massaman Curry

Massaman Curry

Pineapple Fried Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice

Spring Rolls

Thai Spring Rolls

P3051845

Chicken Fried Rice

Condiments

This is what's on every table.

Trip Update

Panorama - Maya Bay - The Beach
Phi Phi Islands

  • “The Beach” – this is where the Leonardo Dicaprio movie was filmed in ’99
  • More snorkeling with views of coral and fish in a rainbow of colors
  • This place was too touristy and too expensive.  I enjoyed the sights, but we left right after our snorkel trip

View from Our Balcony at Ko Lanta
Koh Lanta

  • Less people
  • Stayed on the West side of the island on Long Beach
  • Super cheap food and shopping
  • Rented motorbike – a bit scary for me, but had a blast
  • Cooking Class!!!  – learned how to make my very own Massaman curry paste (I’ll have to do an entire blog on this later.)
  • Night Carnival – found some shirts that actually fit me, Seth ate giant bugs (ewwww) and I got some cotton candy
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Christmas in Korea

Christmas in Korea is like any other day.

E-mart, along with every other store and shop in Sanbon, remained open.  Unsurprisingly, Koreans celebrate holidays quite differently than we do in the States.  There is a large Christian population (along with the Buddhists), but people don’t go wild with store closings or gift-buying. In America, Christmas is a huge commercial holiday with families spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on gifts.

When talking to my students, very few of them had Christmas trees. Even fewer said that they will get presents. Christmas is not a gift-giving holiday in Korea.

I also wasn’t bombarded with Christmas songs non-stop since the day after Halloween.  When I did hear the random Christmas song, I was surprisingly happy to hear it. Sometimes I sang along.   Back home, I get soo sick of Christmas music, hearing all the remakes of the same stupid songs, over and over again.

I did buy a tree.  Albeit a small tacky tree, but perfect in every way.  :razz:

Our director at work gave all the teachers cakes.  Seth got a bigger and different cake than the rest of the office.   His had a huge cookie on top. Mine was a cheesecake.  In the few days before Christmas, all the store windows were lined with red, green and blue boxes of cakes.  Everyone we passed on the street seemed to be carrying a cake too.  Instead of giving presents, I suppose giving cakes is an appropriate way to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas lights make me happy, but finding them in Seoul was a rarity.  When we did see twinkling lights, they were beautiful and reminded me of home.  Sanbon had no decorations of any kind.  These two pictures are from Itaewon and around City Hall.  Areas where foreigners frequent were the only areas decorated with Christmas cheer.

Hanging out with some friends of mine.  Just thought it was a cute pic.  It was a Christmas Eve Eve get-together.  :mrgreen:

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Kim chi

Korea is known for their spicy kimchi.  It is served with every meal, and if you ask any Korean they will tell you their grandmother makes the best kimchi.

To make kimchi you must have a kimchi pot.  This is a pic of old upside down kimchi pots of different shapes and sizes.  You get the point of what they look like.   That’s my little head in the middle…

The ingredients must soak first.  While walking in the night market of Dongdaemun we ran across this giant tub of cabbage being prepared for kimchi.   I thought it was hilarious they used a crate of soju bottles on top.   Onions will be chopped and added.  In the bowl to the right, you can’t see, there is a huge pile of red pepper powder, salt and some other ingredients I couldn’t recognize.

Once the cabbage is drained and spices are added, it will be placed in a kimchi pot and buried in the ground.

Kimchi can be eaten right after making, but is best when it ferments for at least 2 weeks.  I have heard that some kimchi is left as long as a few months.  Originally, kimchi was made to be consumed in the winter months when the crops weren’t in operation.

There are over 100 different kinds of kimchi.  The most common is made from cabbage.  Other varieties include radishes, cucumbers, bean sprouts or onions.   My favorite kind is cucumber.

That´s A Lotta Kim Chee! Kimchi at Kimbap Chunguk! So Many Kimchis

Kimchi is definitely not for everyone, but you can’t come to Korea without trying it a few times.  Every restaurant has their own special recipe and it tastes different every time I eat some, which is quite often.  A good way to eat kimchi is hot, cooked on a grill.  Soo good.

:mrgreen:

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Chicken is Good

The bright orange sign calls my name on a nightly basis.

Chamnara Hof (hof = pub)

Just around the corner from our apartment, is a pub that serves the best rotisserie chicken.   I’d go as far as saying it’s the best chicken I have ever eaten.

<– close up view

First off, I’d like to say that I love eating with two forks.  Most places in Korea do not even have forks, but this place gives you two!  It’s the easiest way I have ever eaten chicken.  I love this idea and will probably use it in my own home at one point or another.

The entire rotisserie chicken is cooked to juicy, golden brown perfection.  Then it’s chopped up into random chicken bits and served on a wooden board.

Served on the side is honey mustard, salt and Yom Nyom.  The yom nyom sauce is as close to BBQ sauce you will find in Korea.  Sweet and spicy.  I love it, but Seth doesn’t… so it’s definitely a personal preference kind of thing.

The best part of Chamnara’s yummy chicken is that we can eat an entire chicken on our break.  We have 40 minutes for dinner, some nights, and this is a wonderful place to grab a quick bite to eat.

This place is super fast.   :razz:

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Thanksgiving in SK

Celebrating the holidays away from home is difficult.  Finding the perfect location to spend these home-away-from-home holidays is the key to happiness.

My friends decided to all head to the mountains for Thanksgiving.  There is an online group called ‘Meet Up’ and it organizes various outings for foreigners like me.  Around 50 people of various Western backgrounds, mostly American, spent an evening in a cabin eating turkey and singing songs.

It was a music filled adventure.

The cabin had a piano that one of the visitors played beautifully.  Seth brought his guitar and not only played solo but with piano accompaniment.  The owner of the cabin was an actual jazz musician and he played a few songs for us.  It was such an amazing surprise to listen to saxophone while chilling out after dinner.  Also, hidden away in the back of the cabin was an norebang!  Complete song list and videos.  Certainly didn’t see that one coming.

Thanksgiving in Korea… success.


Thanksgiving Dinner Menu:
Turkey *
Ham*
Gravy
Stuffing – 2 kinds*
Green bean casserole
Apple Crisp
Sweet potato casserole
Mashed potatoes
Macaroni and Cheese*
Pumpkin soup
7-Layer salad
Cranberry jelly*
Rolls*
Pumpkin pie*
Smores (by a bonfire)
* = from the Army Base
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Weird Chocolate Ice Cream

I normally don’t eat chocolate ice cream.  In fact, I normally don’t even like chocolate ice cream.  But for this, I had to experience it first hand.

Wrapper.  From the outside, it looks normal.  Except the turtle looks a bit like he’s trying to get frisky with that tiny circle guy.  What??

Looks like a peanut.  Super funny.  Almost too cold to handle.

The ice cream is encased in a balloon.  I have never seen anything quite like this.  Never.

You cut the tip of the balloon and then after the ice cream melts a bit, it squeezes out the top.  But to really eat the ice cream, you have to suck on the balloon.  Soo strange.

:razz: Empty balloon.  Shrunk and shriveled the ice cream has been eaten.  Not bad, but I wish it came in different flavors other than chocolate.  A good coffee or caramel ice cream in a balloon would make me happy.

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Food Week 2009

I love food.  So, why not go to the Food Week Expo?

Overall, a fun experience.   Big crowds, pushy old ladies, long lines, but the free samples of amazing Korean food made up for any of these annoyances.

<– samples of rice cakes and salad with onions

It was only 3,000 Won to get into the Expo.  Located at the COEX mall in Samseong, giant exhibition halls hold events such as this.  So after eating delicious food, we went shopping. Win-win situation.

People wandered around getting into various lines and sampling mostly traditional Korean foods.  Such a good way to try new cuisine and drinks.

Organic food was a big part of this Expo.  Fresh vegetables, juices, and teas…. wonderful.

<— soo many mushrooms

Transgenic animals were even featured in this Expo.  I was surprised to find a bin of pigs and chickens in the back of a food expo.  How funny?!

These are animals that have heightened genetic qualities.  The pigs on display were possible heart transplant candidates.  The chickens were producing eggs that contained more vitamins in the white part of the egg.   I’m fascinated at what science can do these days.

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More Street Food

At all hours of the day and night delicious food can be found.

Fish biscuits are a common street food.  I’ve seen them in every part of Seoul I have visited.  My students eat these too.  They’re cheap and yummy.  (I’ve never actually eaten one, but I hear all about them.)  They’re a sweet bread filled with a bean paste.  Usually costing only 500Won ~ $0.45.

Ahhhh, mandu.  Meat or kimchi filled dumplings.  Every night, like clockwork, a mandu truck sits in random spots throughout Sanbon.  It’s always packed with people enjoying these tiny cones of goodness.  To accent the mandu, there is always a warm broth you can drink for free.

Egg bread is usually the I’m-about-to-get-on-the-subway-snack.  It’s cornbread with an egg cooked in the center.  Two of these for 1,000Won.  Seth rarely ever passes these up when heading into Seoul.

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Market Food

YUM. Corn pancakes from the Anyang Market.

It starts as a bowl of cooked corn.  Scooping big cup-fulls into this stone grinding mechanism the corn turns to mush.  Once the mush accumulated, other ingredients were added.  Two types of onions, garlic, bean sprouts and maybe carrots are all mixed together with the corn mush and then fried like a pancake on a flat grill.

Corn grinder.

This is at the market in Anyang.  I was thrilled to find this food vendor because I could actually eat this corn pancake since there was no wheat involved.  It tasted wonderful.

There are a few seats around the grill for people to sit and enjoy these culinary creations.  Other than corn pancakes, they made some sort of meat pancake too, but we didn’t try those.

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