It was a busy weekend! Of course I had 7.5 hours of desk warming at work today to recover. 🙂 (More updates on the job situation in a bit…)
Saturday Karen and I went to O’ngo Food Communications for their kimchi and bulgogi cooking class. It was lots of fun and I highly recommend it for anyone living in or visiting Korea! I don’t even like kimchi, but we got to take that home so hopefully Daniel will eat it before it stinks up our fridge! Bulgogi is my favorite Korean food and it was delicious. Hopefully I can find the right kind of meat at the store so I can make it at home.
First the chef instructed us on how to prepare the dishes. The cabbage for the kimchi needs to be brined (soaked in salt water for preservation purposes) so she showed us how that is done. Our cabbages had already been brined so we didn’t have to worry about that part. Then she prepared the bulgogi so it could marinate in the fridge while she made the kimchi. After the bulgogi was marinated, she cooked it up on the stove and then presented both for sampling. (Kimchi can be eaten fresh or fermented for up to four months.)
After the chef’s instructions, we went to our cooking stations. First we prepared the bulgogi by thinly slicing onion and green onions (I accidentally diced mine – oops!) and dicing ginger, garlic, and Asian pear. We mixed those ingredients and the meat with sesame seeds, sesame oil, sugar, and soy sauce (I opted for no mushrooms and gave mine to Karen).
I had already made kimchi before so I kind of knew the drill. We julienned radishes (Karen did a much better job!), sliced green onions, and diced garlic and ginger. After thoroughly mixing the radishes with red chili powder, we combined them with the green onions, garlic, and ginger, and added sugar and shrimp sauce. (We were told that monks use soy sauce instead of shrimp sauce since they are vegetarians and persimmons instead of sugar since it’s more natural.) Then we smeared and stuffed the mixture onto and into each cabbage leaf.
Last we cooked our bulgogi and made a chive salad to go with it (which I also gave to Karen – I want meat, not a big chunk of onions!). And then we ate. Yum!
The class was in Insadong so we decided to wander around, take photos, and shop for a bit. (I have been a shopping fiend lately – Karen and I also went to Myeongdong last Sunday. I have so many new spring things and am ready for the weather to cooperate so I can debut them!) Highlights included my new bling-bling ring, fresh flowers, and poo bread.
While in Insadong we also went to the Bird Flying Tea Shop. Another highly recommended place to visit in Seoul! (Contact me if you need directions.) We got the best seat in the house, the corner table by the window where all the birds hang out. I ordered citron tea and Karen had cinnamon punch and we sat there terrified for a little while! It was quite disconcerting to have birds constantly flying by your head. And no, they didn’t poop on us or in our drinks (I’ve been asked that twice already)! Although I can imagine it happens… Before we left a family sat near us and the boy was feeding his rice cakes to the birds. He had no fear!
Sunday Daniel and I met German Daniel and other members of “The Seoul Hang Out, Travel, Hiking Group” for a KBL (Korean Basketball League, like the NBA of Korea) game. We got free tickets and, as always in Korea, it was BYOB (no crazy drink prices like at events in America) so it was a good, cheap time. Basketball is the one game I actually enjoy watching (as it’s fast-paced and usually a relatively close score) and understand (I had a brief stint as a basketball statistician in high school). And most of the basketball lingo is the same in Korean and English so it was easy to keep up with what was going on and chant along with the other fans (defense!).
I only know the name of the home team (SK Knights), and they pretty much sucked. The other team was leading the entire game and won. The Knights had a few chances to catch up but they blew them all. I thought it was pretty amusing that the star players on both teams were foreigners. And I still have the SK Knights song in my head unfortunately (to the tune of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da).
The opening was pretty cool, with the cheerleaders and court glowing in the dark. In fact, the parts I enjoyed most were the cheerleaders and mascots dancing… ha ha. But the best was when a guy proposed to his girlfriend at halftime… he even had a coordinated dance he did with the cheerleaders! And she said yes. 🙂
I am now an administrator for Your Korean Adventure. Here’s the first post I made all by myself… took me awhile to get the formatting right and it’s still not perfect!
Teddy Bear Museum
So, on to the work drama. I was extremely stressed out and depressed last week but I’m pretty much over it and seeing the silver lining. Like… getting paid for barely teaching for the next two months. And having the opportunity to travel in May. If my brother finally sets a date and gets married I will be going home and if not I have planned a two-and-a-half week trip to Thailand which includes a group tour to Khao Sok National Park, Ko Samui, and Ko Tao and solo excursions to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I really wanted to do Australia but it just seemed too expensive, and Daniel and I now have our sights set on doing the one year work/travel visa there after Korea…
Weird Korea Part 8: Since Daniel and I were just discussing this tonight… Koreans are into reading blood types kind of like we read our zodiac signs/horoscopes. Your blood type is believed to be linked to certain personality traits. I don’t even know mine so I can’t report on its accuracy or lack thereof but here is the link to an article that provides some more info.