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Monday, 31 July 2006

The Food Network post: Iron Chef Korea

Ok, so we bought some ingredients to cook at home for the first time. It was like Iron Chef...Iron Chef Korea that is! I had to come up with a quick three course menu given the ingredients we had...here it is:

Appetizer: Grilled Monterrey Jack Cheese Sandwich, Rye bread Entree: Pan seared Atlantic Farmed Salmon, Chef's Selection of Seasonal Greens, Hydrogenated Margarine Reduction (insert sarcasm: nice and healthy!) Dessert: Warmed Oven Baked Red Bean Honey Pancakes

On a side note, we had no salt or pepper or cooking oil. Just the ingredients and a tub of margarine. We had a non-stick pan, a spatula, and ONE dinner plate.

Here is our non-secret ingredient, Atlantic farmed salmon, previously frozen from Costco:

Other ingredients including Monterrey Jack cheese, seasonal greens, hydrogenated margarine, and dessert:

15 minutes have elapsed, and the rye bread has defrosted and buttered:

"30 minutes to go":

Here's our "kitchen stadium", sans aggressive Japanese camera men:

The grilled cheese on the..."grill"...before...

...and after! BAM! Nice and golden brown, baby!

Remember, you need a pre-heated pan on high heat to get some good sear marks:

..."10 seconds to go"...the final dish plated (look at the sear marks on the salmon, sealing in those farmed, antibiotic laden juices!):

...and the grand finale, warmed red bean honey filled pancake pastries:

All in all, it was a successful night as I won the first ever Iron Chef Korea challenge. I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I had writing it. And yes, it is directly related to teaching English in Seoul, South Korea. :-)

Sunday, 30 July 2006

Internet is down for now

My internet is down at our place so my blog posts will be slowing down for a while. We should be getting our ARC cards soon, so I will have internet by the end of this week hopefully. Thanks for visiting!!! =)

Insadong...a nice tourist trap

So, after visiting Costco we took a 30 minute subway ride to Insadong, an art/antique district. It also a primary tourist trap but the area is really nice. We visited a nearby park (with Murf as our tour guide) that contained a pagoda originating from 1467!

I think these are monks marching down the street (correct me if I'm wrong):

Sex sells, and that is also the case in Korea. Here, product models are dressed up handing out plastic fans to every person on the street:

Here, they strike a pose for a photographer. I happened to be there. No, I did not purchase their Vitamin C supplement drink:

Walking to the top of an outdoor market:

View from the top:

Korean couples love to dress the same..."we're in love":

Delicious street food:

Insadong Culture Plaza

Look at the bamboo...it's beautiful:

Proclaimation of Korean Independence (this is inside a park):

Lots of people were here relaxing on a Sunday afternoon:

Some Korean seniors:

A fish pond:

A misc. flower macro shot:

Here is the 12m high pagoda from 1467, but restored in 1947:

This guy really wanted our picture...so we let him take one of us (notice the squat):

Here, I attempt to recreate the infamous "Asia squat"...it's like sitting down, but without a chair and not on the floor!

Ok, this picture is priceless. No, this fellow is not possessed; no, Devante did not beat him up; he is taking a nap and I happened to be there to capture this Kodak moment (maybe that position is good for his back):

More from Insadong here: a traditional tea house and more interesting sights


Ok, check it out, check it out, check it out...time out. Who here loves Costco? I do! Now, there are six Costco stores in Korea and it just so happens that one store is located 12 minutes away from our place by bus!

Murf, one of the local teachers here (and a fellow Canadian) was nice enough to show us how to get there. When we did arrive, the sight of the Costco logo on the side of the warehouse put a smile on my face (come on, everybody loves Costco)!

Inside, most of the products were tailored to the Korean market, but there were lots of products that I recognized from the Costco back home. The store layout was identical, but this store had two levels.

Now to the best part, the food court! Back home, everybody is familiar with the $1.99, all beef, 1/4 lb Costco hot dog and a pop deal. Well, here it is in Korea:

We've decided to start cooking at home (who wants to start an office pool on how long this will last?) and picked up some groceries. Does this look familiar?

We also bought some cheese (2lbs for $8), cereal and bread:

The memberships here in Korea are much cheaper than back home. Regular memberships cost 33000w whereas back home they are $55cdn+tax! So it's a savings of over $20cdn. My membership expires soon, so I will be renewing it here. What a deal! muhahahah! ;)

Saturday, 29 July 2006

Nore-bang aka karoake, Korean style!

After our dinner on Friday night at Dani Sushi, a few of us decided to hit up a Norebang...also known as a Korean karoake bar! It was pretty cheap, about 15000w an hour, especially with the five of us. There were LOTS of American hits and we had a blast!!!

After realizing there were numerous songs available by the Backstreet Boys: "Quit playing games with my heart..."

Check out that sweet setup...oh yeah!

Our coworkers having a blast:

Visit to Myeongdong - shopping district

Yesterday afternoon, we left at 4pm (yes, we left at 4pm after sleeping in) to head to Myeongdong which is a busy mid-level shopping district in Seoul. We took a 25 minute subway ride and arrived without a hitch. Once we got there, wow, this was the true scene of Asia I am used to. The streets were jam packed with people and being over 6 feet tall, all I saw was a sea of black heads. This area is full of younger people, all shopaholics. There were lots of American and international brands everywhere. Lots of knock off stands and street stands selling food as well.

Caffe Pascucci looked nice...but we didn't venture inside:

"Excuse me, coming through...excuse me, coming through..."

Look at all these people...it's like herding cattle!

Shops, galore...

Whoops, she looked up right as I was taking the picture:

We were starving...so here comes another food picture. This time, it's KFC...I barely eat KFC back home (literally less than once a year) but in Korea, it just tasted so much better (probably because I've been eating nothing but Korean):

We went shopping inside this department mall called Migliore...and inside they had a few luxury floors filled with designer clothing. Of course we went crazy and spent all our money--wait, I'm not that rich:

Korean clothing is VERY expressive. Lots of colors, designs and fabrics. Sometimes a bit too much. We tried to find some clothes we liked but it was pretty hard. Some stuff is just too crazy for my taste--plus, it's the same stuff on every floor! Let's hope for better luck the next time we go shopping.

One more thing, Von Dutch is HUGE here. Everyone wears Von Dutch hats and Polo hats. It's everywhere.

Check it out, a four storey Starbucks! It's really expensive to have Starbucks in Korea. The price of a tall frappuccino is around $6cdn!

We noticed everyone had these plastic fans. So we asked this Korean girl where she got hers. She pointed to this cosmetic store that was handing them out by the hundreds. What a brilliant marketing campaign!

Everyone knows I'm a sucker for deals...well this time I got punk'd. After walking for two hours I was super tired and we saw the following sign:

So, we decide to walk up the stairs and take a break. The moment we sit down we are served tea and the free "cake and fruit dessert". We were gonna share a sundae but it turns out there is a minimum charge for each person (nothing is free in life, except for Costco food samples, remember that line):

So we order a sundae and chocolate milkshake. I was expecting a nice looking sundae, but I was disappointed when I was served the following trio of NEOPOLITAN! D'oh!

OK, fine...so this wasn't a bright idea after all. But, there was a happy ending after all with this picture--look how low the ceiling is...I'm not sure if this so called "level" is even legal!

Us waiting for the subway back to Mokdong after a long evening of walking:

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