Korea

What a whirlwind of a trip!  Two weeks and three days of jet lag later, I’m finally back in the swing of things in New York.  And what a short summer it has been, ever since I moved back up here from DC in early July.  Oh right, did I forgot to mention that DC is where I have been in the past seven years?

Anyway, I spent the last two weeks in Korea.  South Korea, in case you’re wondering which one… but then again, if you’re reading this blog you hopefully aren’t wondering.  A big deal because I haven’t been in eight years (when I was a doe-eyed 17-year-old girl).  A lot has changed in the last decade.  I didn’t even know where to go when I stepped off the plane; the neighborhood where all the cool people hang out seems to change every year.

I enjoyed eating the food in Korea, but I chose what I ate.  The first thing people asked me after I came back to NY was whether I ate live octopus.  Uh, no way!  I know it’s an authentic experience, but I have too deep an emotional scar to ever try that dish again.  When I was five, my uncles took me on this short cruise/ferry ride where they serve a live or raw version of pretty much anything you find in the sea.  I remember trying live octopus for the very first time, but was so scared of it that I swallowed the moving tentacle in one gulp.  With a serious look on their faces, my uncles told me that because I didn’t chew it into tiny pieces, it was going to eat me up from my insides and that in a few hours I would die.  Ever since then, I have sworn off live octopus forever.  These are the same uncles who fed me wasabi on a spoon and told me it was green candy, but that’s a story for another time…

This time around, I had everything from vendor food, sushi, fancy Italian, Korean-style pizza, traditional Korean cuisine, to street candy made in front of my eyes.  The food was as good as I remembered, but my body tended to bloat and retain water easily after eating meals in Korea, causing much discomfort during the trip.  Basically, I would still choose my mom’s home cooking over anyone else’s in Korea.  However, I will say that the cost of eating everyday food in Korea is much cheaper that I had anticipated, especially when compared to NY.  The fanciest places in Korea were definitely up there in the price range, but for a normal 25-year-old girl with enough relatives I haven’t seen in ages who took me out to eat, my two-week stint in Korea was easy on the wallet.

My final thoughts: Koreans love cute cafes and foreign food.  An example of this was eating carbonara-flavored ddukbokki at a hip cafe in the trendy Garosugil area of Sinsa-dong (best comparison: NYC’s SoHo, think boutiques and restaurants).  Seriously, carbonara-flavored ddukbokki?

Note: My chunky camera was at times too much of a burden to carry around, especially since every day seemed muggier and hotter than the last.  So I left the camera at home most of the time, but luckily managed to snap a few pictures of the food I ate.

I know that this post doesn’t have anything to do with Danji, but I wanted to give you a glimpse into my thoughts on Korea and Korean food today.

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