Adventures of an American Seoul-Sister

Adventures and Observations of an American Seoul-Sister

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Un-Fair Food

I absolutely love fairs, festivals, and food.  All of that cotton candy and fry bread is hard to resist.  Korea, however, has its own version of festival faire.  And although I cannot eat most Korean food without dire intestinal consequences, I am still in love with Korean festival food.  First of all, it is so brightly-colored, I am sure that one simple dish could have inspired Manet, Monet, Warhol, and Lady Gaga.  The orange is so orange, and the purple so purple, that the food actually radiates.  If you are like me, the way to your stomach is through your eyes.  I certainly would love to dig into these glowing wonders.  Then, there is the enticeabililty of the strangeness of all this food.  I look at some of the offerings and ask, "What is that?"  Yet, I am sadly aware of Koreans ravinous spice addiction, so I must feast only with my eyes and sample only with my camera.  It's cruely unfair! 

Here's some of the culinary concoctions I can't eat...

An array of spicy seafood, beef, and chicken stirfries.  All of the dishes are orange-red because they are slathered in Korean spicy red paste. 

Food is displayed on tables lining the walkway.  Seating is behind these tables and ordering is done restaurant-style.

 ...some foods I didn't or won't eat...

Green onions and stuffed squid, complete with purple skin, can be eaten like a Hot Pocket.

Pig roasting on a spit (totally edible and delicious) and ribs of some other animal (not edible and quite possibly dog).

Stacks of yummy-looking crabs of questionable freshness.

...some foods I could easily eat too much of...
Candies and cookies sold by the gram.

Roasted chestnuts are everywhere.
 No festival is complete without fry bread--even in Korea!  This guy works hard for his money.

...and finally, a word on beverages:

Caffeine-crazed Americans know to bring coffee with them to Korean festivals.

It's easy to get drunk while hanging out with Russians. 

Drink of choice: Soju (the Vodka of Korea) served in paper shot glasses.
When you've finished, wipe your mouth with a Korean napkin--a roll of toilet paper hanging from the ceiling.

Even though I have difficulties with some Korean food, I certainly encourage everyone (armed with plenty of antacid and an adventurous palate) to try it.  It's dangerous but delicious! 


  1. Are the Koreans big on pastries?

    I was surprised when I was in Japan how popular and plentiful bakeries were. I was wondering if it was just in Japan or a general Asian liking of pasteries.

  2. Hi Karen--A lot of my students have told me bread is their favorite snack. And bakeries are plentiful.

    Naomi, Great post! I love the food talk.