Monday, June 16, 2008
i haven't figured out how to post pictures on this blog since i've been 'illegaly' logging in, i need to work on it. i am soon going to dedicate a whole entry to the school's cafeteria, it's worth a look. we are fortunate enough that our school provides us with a free, healthy lunch every day. the whole menu is vegetarian, which i don't have a problem with (except when they present us with fake meat). otherwise the core is always white rice, along with a soup (korean soups are the best, so spicy and filling), and various side dishes. kimchi (fermented cabbage, korea's national dish) is always there, along with a 'fruit of the day'. i always pig out on the fruit... since fruit is soooo, soooo expensive here, i go crazy with the school's fruit. sometimes we gather handfuls of it and run home to make smoothies, yum. sometimes the school lunch is very disappointing (aka white rice and that awful black bean sauce) so i end up starving all afternoon, but it doesn't happen too often. i think we lucked out on the school, they serve pretty good meals.
food outside the school is another story. as i mentioned before, we mostly go out to eat since it's waaayy cheaper. sounds crazy, but it's true. i usually need two small meals, since we eat so early at lunchtime, and i work out at the gym. my favourite options are the BBQ meat- you sit around a grill, you order your choice of meat, grill it and wrap it in lettuce leaves. it comes with various side dishes, which i love. korean food is amazing for that: you never get just one dish, you always get at least 5 or 6 different side dishes along the main course. i also love the porridge, i posted a picture of the pumpkin kind a few weeks ago. i also like gimbap, which are similar to california rolls, and kimchi mandu (dumplings).
western food is available, but rather limited, pricey, and unsatisfying. for instance, pizza here is served with ketchup and mayo splattered on top, and pizza toppings include sweet potato and nacho chips. not always what you have in mind when you're craving a pizza. italian food is a popular option, but most pasta sauces are sugary, which a self-respecting half italian girl should not touch. there are very few other ethnic options, such a middle eastern food, which i came to love and crave since living with my last roommate, an arabic girl with amazing cooking skills.
i must admit i am having a hard time with the food here. some days are great, but others are difficult and frustrating. the problem is not with korean food itself: it's a great type of cuisine, healthy for the most part. the problem is myself, a girl who used to feed herself with a daily salad-and-sandwich combination, or my hummus-pita-baby carrots combo. it's a huge change for me, and i miss salads and hummus. produce is so overpriced here, that keeps me away from making too many salads, and the choice is rather limited.
and some days i get tired of going out to eat, i just want to chill out at home and enjoy some homecooked food. i'm not much of a cook, but i am trying to visit the little market more often to pick up ingredients and get creative. although seeing a 15$ small watermelon and a 10$ tiny bag of cherries makes me want to cry.
the funny thing is, i know i'll miss korean food like crazy when i go home, i'll be craving kimchi and will probably cook rice a few times a week. alright, i'm off to cook some pasta (with 'real' prego tomato sauce, thanks to costco) with mushrooms and green peppers.