Adventures of an American Seoul-Sister

Adventures and Observations of an American Seoul-Sister

Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Posts Have Moved with Me

If you are interested in Southeast Asia, you are in luck.  I've just imported all my posts from my VietNaomi blog to my ChungJuicy blog.  Now, they are all in one place.  I hope you enjoy the stories and pics. 

In the New Year, I will try to be more diligent about posting.  I have lots of catching up to do, including the entire holiday season and some lovely palace tours.  Also, future blogs will include my upcoming trip to Beijing, China for Chinese New Year. 


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Neighborhood Herb Garden

I took a walk in my neighborhood a couple of months ago to find a nature preserve that ended up being closed for the day, but I did end up finding a really cool herb garden on the hill across the street.  It was a lovely circular garden with benches, picnic areas, and some star observatory platforms.  The herbs were lush and aromatic, including bergamont, mint, and bush sage among many others.  I haven't been back since, but look forward to visiting again in the spring.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumn in Olympic Park

Olympic Park is only a couple of blocks from my apartment.  So, the other day, I took a walk through the park to see the fall colors.  Here are some of the snap shots. 

A field of grass on the way to the park.

Little dog waits patiently for his ajumma to leave the gazebo.

The main gate seen from inside the park.

The Olympic Torch

Huge neon spider.  Can't see it here, but this spider and its web were neon yellow.  The spider was about 3 inches long.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crockadilly Kids

This was a really good bunch of kids.  I taught them an old playground game called Crockadilly that they loved.  They would sing the song in the hallway between classes and beg to play it during breaktimes.  Soon, they will have spread Crockadilly throughout all of Korea!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last Week's Kids

I'm a little late on posting last week's kids.  Maybe because I really only liked a couple of them.  The rest were...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cooking in Korea: Myeolchi Bokkeum

The first time I tried this, it was part of the school lunch at work.  I loved it immediately, so my coworker, Jessy, shared her recipe with me.  This is a quick and easy recipe.  In the States, the most difficult part with be finding the fish.  Any Asian food market it sure to have it, or if you have a neighborhood fish shop, the patron can probably order it for you. 

The ingredients:

(Note:  Many of these ingredients can be substituted.  Read recipe for details.)

3-4 Tablespoons of oil for frying
200 grams of tiny dried anchovies (about 4 cups)
Two handfuls of chopped nuts
1/4 cup of honey or corn syrup or rice syrup
Optional: garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds

The most essential ingredient is tiny dried anchovies.  I am using sliced almonds and walnuts, but any kind of nut(s) can be used.  Sliced garlic can be used in exchange for or in addition to the nuts.

Oil for frying.  I am using plain veggie oil.  Olive oil or sesame oil can be used or whatever kind you have on hand.  I am adding a small amount of sesame oil later on in the recipe because the cooked sesame oil is too strong for my taste.  You will also need soy sauce and about 1/4 cup of honey.  Honey is EXPENSIVE in Korea, so the recipe can be altered to use slightly watered-down corn syrup or rice syrup.  Jessy generously gave me honey from her father-in-law's beehives (and in a cute container).  I'm so lucky!

Surprise!  My anchovies included almonds in the package.  One of the benefits (or detriments) of knowing very little Korean is that I often have these little surprises pop-up in my food.

Heat 3 or 4 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan.  If you are using sliced garlic, brown it in the pan before moving on to the next step.  Add the anchovies.  Toss them around until they are all lighly coated in the oil.  Allow them the fry, stirring frequently.  You will hear them popping happily away like tiny bits popcorn.

Meanwhile, crush any whole nuts.  Do you know how to crush nuts?  I was appaulded when someone suggested pounding away at nuts with a hammer.  Hammers are for nails!  The most efficient way to chop nuts is to put them in a plastic or paper bag.  Use a rolling pin to roll over them as if making a pie crust. 


When the majority of fishies are lightly browned...

...add the nuts. I am using walnuts and almonds.  I've also tried this recipe with cashews.  Yummy!  At this point, add a sprinkling of soy sauce (about one teaspoon) and, if desired, about 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil and a few spoonfuls of sesame seeds.

Give it all a good stir and let it fry for a couple more minutes to toast the nuts.

Turn off the heat.  While the bokkeum is still warm, add the honey (or syrup).  Toss.   Use enough to coat all the little pieces without drowning them.  Taste it.  Try to find a nice balance between salty and sweet.  If needed, add more honey. 

Serve as a sidedish or bento snack. 
 Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoy this unique, Korean dish: Myeolchi Bokkeum

맛있게 드세요!  Masitkke deuseyo! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bebe Mignon 베베미뇽: Doobi Dooba 두비두바

Another Kpop music video.  This one's pretty mellow and short.  The guy is kinda cute.  What do you think? 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lost in Translation

...or Stolen in Translation. 

WTF?!?  Does George Lucas know about this?  And what's with the teddy bears?  Baby Chewbaccas?

"Star Wars" on a box of generic pencils

This Week's Kids

This week's batch of Korean cuteness.  My little lovebugs gave me so many hugs! 

Too bad Arabella is blinking, but John looks super cute.  He's my Best Effort Student this week.

Alice (in front) won my Global Citizen Award..

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hoi An

Hoi An is a surprisingly lovely town.  It boasts a quaint atmosphere perfect for long strolls, easy beach access, a small harbor for catching tour boats, a couple of islands for biking around, and of course, the best deals on custom-made silk garments.

The town was originally a tiny village, but a boom was created by American soldiers looking for a little R&R, making it into the size it is today.  The goods sought then remain the biggest tourist draw today.  These are the many tiny shops offering custom-made clothing.  In fact, Hoi An is still one of the few places for foreigners to buy clothes that fit our larger body sizes (Vietnamese sizes compare to children/junior sizes in the States), and the deals on silk are incredible. 

I took a long, slow stroll through town, finding hundreds of tayloring shops and a few cafes here and there.  Unlike other Vietnamese towns, Hoi An was a clean, unhurried place with comparatively little traffic.   

Silk Tie Display
Custom Jacket Samples
Find a shop (among hundreds) with the sample garments you like and choose from their fabric selection, or bring a photo and some fabric.  They'll make anything you want in one or two days. 
Like I said, you can get anything you want, but PLEASE DON'T get a dress that makes you look like a giant swirly cone.

Silk Lanterns

Relaxed street in Hoi An

Along the Harbor

Sitting out the afternoon torrential downpour--a Vietnamese staple.

Next blog:  More Hoi An Pics

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cooking in Korea: Rice-Cooker Yogurt

It's really difficult to find affordable, plain yogurt in Korea.  So far, I've found mostly sugary yogurts and one brand of overpriced plain yogurt (about $3 USD per cup).  I came across this idea when searching for alternative uses for the rice-cooker that came with my apartment (since I'm never go to make rice in it, rice already being the easiest thing to cook on the planet).  I've been making my yogurt at home ever since.  Now, I can make about 10 cups of yogurt for $3!  Plus, I know exactly what is in my yogurt--no refined sugars or other mystery ingredients.  Here's how to make it:   

Fill your rice cooker with fresh milk (우유).  At the same time, set aside about a cup of plain yogurt so that it can warm up to room temperature while the milk heats.  The first time you make this, you will have to shell out for store-bought yogurt.

Set the cooker on heat.  Close the lid.  Check on it every few minutes.  If you are the forgetful type, you can set it to the "keep warm" setting, it just takes longer to heat the milk.

Heat the milk until it is hotter than bath water but not too hot.  It's the right temperature when you can keep your clean pinky finger in the milk for 10 seconds without burning your finger.  Unplug the machine.  Stir the yogurt into the milk.  If the yogurt is not perfectly at room temperature, it's not a big deal.  Stir it in anyway.  Close the lid, and leave it closed overnight or while you are at work all day.  Don't open the lid to check on it!  You will only lose the heat needed for the yogurt bacteria to grow, and you risk ruining the batch.

About 8 hours later, open your rice cooker and see all the wonderful yogurt you've made.  Transfer it to a jar or other airtight container and refridgerate.  If you like your yogurt sweet, add honey or a thawed package of frozen berries.