Summer in Korea! – Part 1

It was a peaceful first day in Korea. I woke up from a surprisingly good sleep (I thought I would be pretty jetlagged because I slept quite a bit on the plane), and waiting for me was a yummy concoction that Grandma put together – an all-natural slushie with apples, yogurt, carrots, and paprika! I was a little hesitant to try it at first because of the strong smell of the paprika, but it was actually really good. Like really good.

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I went to run some errands with my awesome aunt, and stopped by at a Bunsik restaurant (분식 – small street-food-type food) which happened to be on my Korea bucket list.

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Here’s some mini kimbap (Korean sushi) You can’t really tell from the picture, but you can actually finish a whole roll in 2-3 bites!

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And all the rest of this goodness! These are ddeokboggi (spicy rice cake dish), Fish cake skewers, and tempura – all of which I was craving so much. yummmm.

For dinner, the family headed to a Korean restaurant that serves a special kind of soup…

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(but before, let’s take a moment to appreciate the banchan (side dish) that almost all Korean restaurants offer for free)

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And…here it is! This soup is called choo-uh-tang, aka loach soup. The soup base is created by cooking a type of Asian Catfish. The fish are boiled and ground into a powder, which is added to a bunch of other ingredients to create the soup. In addition to the deep flavor of the soup itself, I really like the boiled radish stem inside the soup.  The soft leaves just soak up the soup and taste amazing.

Here’s a little sneak peek at breakfast the next day. I really like everything that my Grandma makes…maybe the only thing that bugs me a little is when she tells me to eat more and offers more and more food although I am completely full (maybe it’s an Asian parent thing… She is NOT satisfied until I’ve gained at least ten pounds, I’m pretty sure). I understand her goodwill and her love for her grandchildren, but I’m a fan of light and sweet breakfasts, so a full-on feast with meat was not the most comfortable for a breakfast menu for me. Nevertheless, everything was absolutely delicious.
ImageHere’s her salad of lettuce and cucumbers topped with dried blueberries, golden kiwi, and pine nuts. Right before we dug in she drizzled some sesame apple salad dressing!

ImageOne of my favorite guilt-carbs is the glutenous rice cake, aka sticky rice cake. But some types can be nutritious and healthy – this green rice cake was made with mugwort plants (‘ssook’ in Korean) and has a very subtle but fragrant flavor.

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This was my great aunt’s kimchi. It’d been fermenting for a while, and the flavor was amazing.

ImageA grand shot of my Grandma’s breakfast feast 🙂

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