Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seoul Food

I don't think I'll ever get tired of word games using "Seoul". When I first got here eight months ago (I still cannot believe it's been that long), I was so happy about the prospect of eating a healthy diet of Korean food on a daily basis, and I also loved the idea of going out for every meal. It was so much fun to try all the different places, and to not have to cook or clean or worry about picking up groceries. However, that phase did not last too long. I got quickly tired of Korean food and started to miss familiar food, like bread and cheese and lots of fruit and vegetables. I also started hating going to restaurants, which are loud and crowded and often smell of cigarette smoke. I longed for some home cooked meals, but I thought it would be impossible to cook anything other than pasta.

I got started a few months ago, and since then I barely go out anymore, and it feels great. Many ingredients are difficult to find in Seoul, but with some creativity and willingness to travel a bit further, you can find pretty much everything in Seoul. After all, it's a huge cosmopolitan city, and Koreans love to follow new trends, such as ethnic restaurants or brunch cafes. Before coming to Korea, I thought I would spend a year without seeing a Starbucks. I was so wrong- there are more Starbucks in Seoul than probably the whole province of Quebec, and they also have The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which Canada doesn't even have. I'm telling you, Koreans are so quick to pick up on all the trends, for food and fashion in particular.

So, I'm not ashamed to admit I traveled one hour in the subway to pick up a single can of overpriced chick peas. I successfully made my own hummus, and it's pretty amazing. I would never have done that back home, when it's so easy to find. I also spend a bit more money on fruits and vegetables instead of getting angry by the prices. I should take pictures at the market next time, I see 15$ watermelons and the small box of tangerines with a hefty 24$ price tag made me gasp. You can also buy 3 apples for 5$. However, if you feel more adventurous, you can hit the markets and buy the produce for much cheaper, from the farmer's truck. Did I ever mention the vegetable truck? It's a truck full of vegetables and fruit (duh.) that travels around the back alleys with the loud-speaker on, announcing the deals on fruit or something like that. It's kind of funny at first, but it gets very irritating when you're trying to sleep in on a Saturday morning. The first few times I heard the vegetable truck I always got nervous, I thought North Korea was invading or something, I had no idea what was going on. Speaking of noise, I think Korea's motto is: louder is better. The streets are hardly ever quiet.

Stay tuned.

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