Busy, busy

Well, we have been super busy over the last month to say the least.

We wrapped up our contracts with our hogwan (private after school education centre) and have moved on. To Uiwang, to be exact!

But before we get to that! I have a few quick food related things to post!

1. Maaaamoth Mandarins

Related to my last post about sweeties, here is a new treat we were able to try. I can’t find any information online as to their origns but, as you will see, they are quite impressive:

On the left is a 'regular' orange of average size. And on the right, a mandarin looking orange of mammoth proportions.

On the left is a ‘regular’ orange of average size. And on the right, a mandarin orange of mammoth proportions.

It peeled and tasted like a particularily delicious mandarin orange. Wonderful!

2. Cute Crabs!

Check out these crab flavoured chips. I love all things in fun shapes.

Once you get over the fact that they do indeed taste like crab, they are pretty good.

Once you get over the fact that they do indeed taste like crab, they are pretty good.

Oh, and my nails were painted like penguins. Why? Why not!

3. Chicken noodle soup – Korean style

The last time I had a cold I was directed to check out a ‘rice soup’ or ‘rice porridge’ restaurant. I was happy to try it! It is supposed to be very good for your health. It is about the consistency of water-y oatmeal (D you would hate it!) with a mild flavour of chicken and ginseng. It is served hot with all the traditional Korean side dishes. It was perfect to have when I was feeling sick.

Chicken and ginseng porridge

We will update you soon about what is going on in 2013 for us!

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Around Osan: Sweeties

A nice grocery store find:

Sweetie Grapefruits

Fruit is so expensive here and these were 2 for 1 so I was able to get $8 of these bad boys for $8. I figured, they look like green grapefruit…I like grapefruit….what do I have to lose?

Turns out these are called “sweeties” or “oroblancos” and they are a cross between grapefruits and pomelos.

They are the size of a large grapefruit but have very thick porous skin so that the size of the fruit inside is much smaller.

Oroblanco size before and after

The flesh is a yellow-y colour. The way Sandy and I would describe it is a mild taste of orange with the sour/bitter (me: delicious, Sandy: horrific) taste of a grapefruit.

Food adventure #6282 deemed: Me — Successful!! Sandy — Unfortunate.

Things the Same: The Movie Theatre Edition

There is a surprisingly large amount of movies from the US that come to our area, but sometimes it feels like disappointingly few. (First world problem)

We were so excited to see the new Bond movie and after a few weeks of it out, we went into Suwon to see it. But guess what was playing… not Bond, no, no. It was Twilight! Noooooooo! Common! Twilight!? Bond was taken out early for that?

*sigh*

Anyways, we were not going to let that happen again, so we were set on seeing The Hobbit as soon as it came out. Plus, we were pretty excited  to see it (okay, very, very excited).

Hobbit size!

Fun facts about movie theatres in Korea:

1. They serve beer. They do look at you strange when you buy one in the afternoon though. What? If you can buy beer, you have to buy it at least once! No? Just me?

Can you see? That’s 2 beer and 2 hot dogs for your movie going pleasure. $9 well spent

2. No lines! Okay, well, there are a lot of people but everyone takes a number and kind of mills around until their number comes up. It’s nicer than being confined to a line, though.

You can wait about 5 min to buy tickets from a person. Or you can use the machine (with an English option) for your convienence

You can wait about 5 min to buy tickets from a person. Or you can use the machine that has an English option

3. When you buy your ticket you will notice that there is a seat number! All tickets are reserve seating which I think is pretty awesome. But, it has its down side, too. If you want to go to a popular movie spur of the moment, there may not be any good seats left. I think the reserve seating is related to the next fun fact:

4. You are not allowed to go into the theatre until 10 minutes before show time. Rather, you wait outside in the lobby area where they have seating and a big screen with trailers/ads. When it’s time to go in, it will show up on the sign (yellow and green in the picture) in Korean and English. Reserve seating helps prevent a mad rush for good seats.

Waiting at the theatre

5. They have ‘Sweet Heart’ seats which are essentially love seats with cup holders. They cost about $34 in total, but you get a wickedly comfortable movie spot that has great views and no arm rests digging into you when you try to hold hands.

6. There are Korean subtitles! Not surprising of course. All the big Hollywood movies are subtitled but have original audio. I have heard that you may come across dubbed Korean movies but we haven’t stumbled onto any except for childrens movies which we can only find dubbed (we wanted to see Wreck-it Ralph!) but that seems pretty reasonable.

7. Tickets are cheaper than in Canada! A typical movie will cost around $8 and only slightly higher for 3D or Imax. If you want to go Sweet Heart seats though, those tickets bump up to $17.

I hope you enjoyed learning about movies in Korea!

A Korean Wedding

A couple of weekends ago we had the chance to see a Korean wedding. It was a great experience and one of those things we can check off our list of things to see and do in Korea.

What it was like:

The ceremony: it was a beautiful room! It was at a Wedding Hall Centre where all they do is weddings. There is an area off the room where the ceremony will be where the bride sits for pictures with the guests before the wedding. They do not do the ‘hide-the-bride-till-the-walking-down-the-isle’ thing. The wedding is very casual. People were not dressed differently than they would normally be dressed and there was quite a lot of socially acceptable talking going on during the ceremony.

The dress: there were 3 or 4 dresses between the photos that were taken weeks before and the dress worn the day of. There was also Korean Hanbok they wore after the wedding. But I think the most important: besides the Hanbok, all the dresses were rental!! Why don’t we do this in Canada!! She was able to have different dresses at a very reasonable price (much, much, much cheaper than buying one dress).

The cake: it was big and white…. but, it was really frickin’ tall!! and they cut the cake from the very top to the very bottom which was cool. There was also a champagne tower which was a nice addition. Something different: both were equiped with fog machines.

Before

After

The food: after the ceremony you take the coupon you were given when you handed in your gift (the gift is normally money and this goes to the Brides Family in order to pay for the wedding, not to the couple) and head to the dinning room where there is a big delicious buffett. There were guests from the other weddings there as its a communal area and you ate before the couple came to the room.

The dancing: there was none. After you ate and the cake was cut (I didn’t see anyone touch the cake or champagne tower), you went home!

A different version of a similar tradition. Works for me!

Around… Hiroshima

From our time in Japan, here are a few items that are difficult-to-categorize (My first phrase of choice was ‘un-categorizable’ but apparently ‘that’s not a word’. Whatever spell check, whatever.)

First up: A beautiful park outside the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum:

With the biggest koi fish that we have ever seen:

These pics do not give them justice; I was a afraid of these things. (You may also notice a sneaky extra in that last photo).

Second and on the topic of nature:

I spoke of the only remaining building that was built pre 1945. Well, these are a few trees that also survived the blast.

Finally:

We don’t normally talk about alcohol on the blog but these were really different. It was typical draft beer but they really held back on any kind of foamy head. That is, until they brought the beer to this frozen drink machine and gave our drink a healthy dose of frozen head. That is an actual icecream-like swirl on that beer made with slushy-ish beer! (Ya, I said ‘slushy-ish’, spell check be damned!)

Talk to you later!

Canada Day!

Well, this comes a little late doesn’t it? Well, let’s just say I am posting this in light of the patriotism one may feel during the Olympics… yeah…

We headed into Seoul on the Saturday before Canada Day to celebrate with some fellow Canadians. We went to the foreigner district called Itaewon. We wanted to celebrate in true Canadian style: with other Canadians and with some Canadian beverages and food!

We went to Rocky Mountain Tavern, a Canadian themed bar.

It really has the feel of a Canadian pub like Hudsons. It was dimly lit, had a bunch of sports and Canada stuff on the walls, had good beer on tap and familiar food on the menu. To Sandy’s delight, they played TSN on every TV. It was funny, but also very necessary, how explicit they were when it came to the ingredients of their Caesars!

Sandy had to investigate.

They had 4 live bands that night. Two were tribute bands: one for Great Big Sea and the other for The Tragically Hip. It was a blast!

Next we went to Gold Bar. A quirky place nearby. I will leave you with a few pics. (I apologize for the quality of all these photos, my camera does not do well without perfect light!)

Happy (very belated) Canada Day Everyone!

When in Osan Update

We have to apologize for the delays in postings the last few months but as of today we have a slightly altered schedule that will allow for more time for the blog. (Seemingly contradicting facts: as of today we are working more hours AND we will be dedicating more time for blogging. It’s a long story!)

For now, enjoy a picture of my birthday cake!

Tay Tayo! Tay Tayo!

Food Finds!

Ate some delicious food this weekend! Here is some of it.

Mmm mmm mmm! This ice, ice cream, blueberry, cheese, red bean and wine flavouring treat makes for a great summer treat. Irony being that it was dark and rainy when we had it! These are offered at the many, many coffee shops you come across as well as fast food places like Lotteria and Burger King. I think this will be a great alternative to Macs’ slushies in the summer.

Korean pizza, as I have heard it been called, is awesome! It has onions, hot peppers, squid, and carrot in savory pancake batter. You break it apart by using your chopsticks like knives and slide them across the pizza from one side to the other. Delicious!

This was an interesting street food find. (He looks unimpressed, but he did like it!)You find many many tents with food set up along walking streets and near the subway stations. This bite sized snack caught Sandy’s eyes and nose while we were walking around Seoul. It was a sweet cake/bread with an egg (with a noticeably large yolk) broiled on top. Tasty and another example of how some of the ingredients we keep strictly savoury in Canada are combined with sweet here.

And here is some 닭갈비 dak galbi, a favourite dish of mine, at the beginning of the simmering process. They bring the chicken, red pepper sauce, cabbage, sweet potato and tteok (a chewy rice cake that is kind of similar to very thick pasta) uncooked and it simmers away on the table oven until it is ready! Quite spicy, but amazing!!

Check out this wikipedia entry for a picture of the completed dish.

That’s it for now!

How things are really just… the same? Pub food part II

In some areas of Osan the restaurants close relatively early, around 8 for some places. After that, you have to go to a 호프 hof to get food. A hof is a pub/bar that serves drinks and 안주 anju. We had an interesting dish a couple weekends ago.

 That is a hof fruit platter (with a yogurt sauce)! Notice that there are olives and tomatos. Tomatos are totally treated as the fruit that they are whereas in Canada they are seen and used more as vegetables. The olives… not sure about that one.

Anyways, a fruit platter is not something you would generally expect of a pub, but a pleasant surprise as one bad thing about hofs is that they don’t really have meals but just pub snack food like fried chicken and fries which makes for a rather unhealthy dinner. We had originally ordered two deep fried dishes but the server came back and suggested that those choices had ‘too much oil’ to be consumed whilst enjoying a brewsky. You may be thinking, “What? Greasy food is the right choice for a pub!” Well, many dishes are served with specific types of alcohol in mind and, as I understand, greasy food is often paired with soju (a popular rice alcohol), not beer. So, she suggested a fruit platter, and what a good suggestion that was! Mmmmm, delicious fruit.

Now, if only we could read Korean and could see what other healthy dishes are on those menus! ‘till then, we will stick with golden deep fried goodness!

Around Osan

For another edition of Around Osan I present: FRESH fresh seafood restaurants. Walking in restaurant areas of town you will see a number of these places that are made so distinct because of the big tanks out front.

There is one place right near where we walk to work, so I always look to see what kinds of new fish they have as the big tanks change regularly. This past week, we were in for an unusual surprise; in the process saying “oh look, there is a really big fish today” I realised… that’s no regular fish. My exclamation developed into, “oh look, there is… a shark!” Wow.

I won’t go into the ethics of all of this as that conversation is for a different space aside from a travel blog, but I will say that if his fate is to be eaten, I hope he gets eaten soon so he can get out of that small tank!

I’ll leave you with a pic from a different restaurant than the above mentioned and pictured. At this place, the tanks were lit at night and made for a pretty effect!