I have been in Korea about for about a month and a half. I will admit it feels like I have been here ages already.
And here is the deal: the only spice I have is turmeric, the only appliance a rice cooker, and I rarely eat dinner at home.
So how do I blog about food, you ask?
I will start off by telling a little about my life in Gwangju so far.
Gwangju is a fairly large city- actually it is the sixth largest city in South Korea (source: Wikipedia). My first weekend here I stocked up on necessities- some kind of chard, spinach, rice, etc. I pay 40,000 won/ month to eat dinner at school, which mostly consists of rice and kimchi. Occasionally there will be bibimbop or Korean pancakes.
I almost instantly started craving chick peas, and two weekends later (which was a five day holiday I mostly spent in solitude), I made it my mission to find chick peas. I spent a good few hours wandering around, but eventually found the said item at a restaurant (or underground market) where I had eaten a few times.
Admittedly, I tried to quick soak rather unsuccessfully the first go-round and ate a bowl of severely crunchy peas slathered in red chili paste. It wasn’t fine dining at its best.
Then it struck me. “What if I cook my beans in the rice cooker?” I pondered to myself. Yes, I have started speaking out loud to myself at this point.
Also, by this time I didn’t have internet in my apartment and my phone had broken after a dancing catastrophe, so my experimentations fell victim to my whims. However, I couldn’t see why the rice cooker wouldn’t work exactly like a pressure cooker, cooking the beans quickly and efficiently.
My first experiment was a success- two cups of soaked chick peas, several cloves of diced garlic, half an onion, salt and a spoonful of red chili paste. I really like the flavor; the onions were cooked to perfection and the garlic a tad crispy.
I haven’t really been grocery shopping since the first time, with the exception of buying fruit or snacks. I feel like I don’t eat at home enough and that it’s a waste. I would, however, really like to have a warm bowl of oatmeal, and I have found a website where I can order oats online.
Overall, my time in Korea so far hasn’t been bad. I would say that I’ve hit the acceptance point, surpassing honeymoon and crisis rather quickly. That is not to say I won’t go back to crisis, but I think I spend too much time at work to really dwell on crisis.
More rice cooker experimentations to come…