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Step 1: Teaching in Korea FAQ
Step 2: Read The Top Posts of 2006
Step 3: How to Find a Job Teaching in Korea

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Review: Phnom Penh Restaurant in Vancouver's Chinatown

Another week of work gone by, and more encounters with Korean students at work! I taught at a high school on the westside this week, and two ESL social studies classes consisted of 50% Korean students. When I mentioned to the class that I had previously taught English in Korea for a year, their immediate reaction was "WOW (throw in a few golf claps)! Do you like Korea?"

Ahhh, the joys of teaching Korean students once again. My answer to their question was "I love all countries," haha. Most of them where here studying and living with homestays, some were here with their mothers (which they are still scared to death of) while their "salary-man" fathers are back in the motherland, and some have been living in Vancouver for quite a while. What I find humorous is how these students come over here to learn English, but they end up hanging out with other Koreans, which impedes their ability to practice English 24/7! I even caught a few of them dropping some "18's aka shee-pal's" in class, which I told them not to say. It was interesting to practice some of my limited Korean though!

Anyways, enough about the work recap, let's get onto the food. Last weekend I ate at Phnom Penh, a Cambodian/Vietnamese restaurant located in Chinatown. Named after the capital city of Cambodia, this restaurant is notorious for its famous chicken wings and "butter beef" dish, to recall a few. The last time I dined at this place was years back--so I was eager to get my eat on there once again!

With its location in Chinatown, get ready to wait in line for a seat at Phnom Penh. The place is always jam packed during the week, but since we went on a Sunday afternoon, we were lucky to avoid the lunch rush:

The menu at Phnom Penh is massive. There are over 100 items. Some of their popular dishes are their Cambodian dry egg noodles. Check out the one I ordered below, served with slices of pork, prawns, and liver. It comes served with soup, which you can add it, but by itself tasted very fresh and was deeeeelicous:

Here comes the moment you've been waiting for...Phnom Penh's famous chicken wings. These are seriously the best wings I've ever eaten in my life. They are seasoned to perfection and deep fried till crispy, yet not chewy at all. It comes topped with stir fried garlic, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and a lime-pepper dipping sauce---hot diggity!

Alrighty...you're probably wondering what the heck "butter beef" is. According to their menu description, it's "Thin[ly] sliced specially prepared (medium rare) beef on a bed of brown garlic, cilantro, served with our special sauce" and butter! It's one of those dishes where you just have to taste it to really experience it, minus the looks. The beef is so tender it literally melts in your mouth--my mouth is watering!

So we finished the wings, butter beef, and my noodle dish. What's next? Another order of wings of course! There were 5 of us total, so we had to order another plate of chicken wings. The funny thing is, their consistency is not the same when it comes to portion sizes. Compare this picture below of our second order, to the first order above--what gives?!

Phnom Penh is one of those restaurants where you know whatever you order, it will be consistent every single time. That equals repeat business. Throw in efficient customer service and you'll have a recipe for success. The restaurant is located on 244 E Georgia St, Vancouver...Telephone: 604 682-5777. By the way, I'm heading back there tonight for dinner! This time I'll bring my SLR and get some real action shots!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Blog Review: The Thinking Blog!

There are lots of websites out there on the internet. Some are interesting, some are not. One blog that I've stumbled across over a year ago was The Thinking Blog, which started in Dec 2006. The writer of this blog is ilker, and originally the blog was hosted on Blogger but now is on Wordpress. ilker is also a designer, and he has actually helped me out immensely over the past couple of months. Now it's my time to help ilker out by talking about his blog! :)

Going with the tag line, "Knowledge Grows When Shared," ilker's blog has some pretty cool and interesting posts, garnering just under 1800 RSS subscribers. That's what makes his blog unique, is that he always has something interesting to read. Some of my favorite posts are:

How To Eat Vegetables We Don't Like
7 Tips to Deal with TMI (Too Much Information)
Please Do Not Feed Internet Trolls
Weirdest Named Places On Earth
Top 10 April Fool Pranks 2007

You can check out some more by reading the Top Posts. The cool thing about his posts are pretty original and unique. It's pretty hard to sort through the millions of blogs out there on the internet. At least you know with The Thinking Blog the posts there have some high quality content that is actually interesting!

The Thinking Blog

Some of you may have already visited my domain, www.thedailykimchi.com! As you know, it's been sort of a work in progress over the past couple of months. I am planning a transition over to Wordpress but I haven't really had the time to do so. It's an ongoing project that will get done, but it's going to take small steps at a time. So feel free to check it out and stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Food I've Eaten in the Past Two Weeks

It's hard to stay on top of updates when I'm not in the land of kimchi. However, I do try to maintain a connection to Korea with my life here back home. For example, you saw my post about the locally fermented kimchi. When I am teaching, I always give a short intro about myself. I tell students where I'm from and that I taught English in Korea for a year. I then ask if anyone is from Korea.

85% of the time, I have at least 1-3 kids say "me!"...then I like to drop an 안녕하세요 bomb on them and you should see the look on their faces! I've come to the conclusion that Koreans are everywhere...secretly hiding in places where you least suspect them to be. They're taking over...the world! In this one school, one student labeled a Korean student "kimchi boy". Of course, I made the kid apologize to "kimchi boy". Some students have picked up English super quick, while others are still trying to master the language. One student told me "I've been here 5 years, but my English still sucks." Hmm...maybe you should stop hanging out with fellow Koreans so you can practice English!

Anyways, to finish off this week I thought it'd be nice to take a look at some of the grub I've consumed over the past couple weeks. These are completely random and pictures were taken with my iPhone. Enjoy!

Curry seafood fried rice in a dim sum restaurant...

Pasta and ice cream from Boston Pizza...

Veal Parmigiana on my sister's birthday...

Craving pasta during last week, I made some homemade pasta (no kimchi was used)...

Flavorless Chinese food from the local mom and pop Chinese restaurant...

Fresh pomegranate and frozen yogurt...

...and Thursday night's dinner: Salt and pepper prawns, beef flank, and gai lan with oyster sauce:

That's it...hope you had a good week. Live long, and prosper!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

A Long Awaited Kimchi Update

Hello there, my name is Gdog and I currently am teaching English in Korea...errr...umm...wait a minute, that just doesn't sound right anymore! For all you patient people out there, I do apologize for not updating daily anymore. I wish I could, but now that I am busy working I don't have much time. Well, I have time now so tonight I'm going to give you a kimchi update--literally!

When I was in Korea, no matter where I went I always thought about "hmm...this could be a potential blog post!" Well, the same thing still comes to mind back home. Just yesterday I was at a local Asian supermarket chain, T&T Supermarket in Richmond. I was roaming down one of the refrigerator aisles and what did I see? You guess right--KIMCHI!

I've seen this kimchi/Korean aisle before, but today I decided to snap a few pictures. Man, Koreans who are living here must love being able to buy pretty much anything from back home in Richmond (and Coquitlam). I visited an Asian specialty shop and was able to find all sorts of Korean snacks, such as Pepero and those chocolate filled cookie thingies with cartoon prints on them (you know what I'm talking about--the pink and green boxes):

This little tub of kimchi goodness is made in Coquitlam...no time to make your own kimchi because you have to drive the kids to soccer? No problem, buy it here and save time!

As for a food update, it's been a while since I've posted about the morsels of deliciousness that have entered my body. Well, here is a picture of some homemade hummus (with lots of garlic!) I was eating yesterday with Stacy's baked pita chips (which is hiding under that tiny mound of hummus). It was darn good, but I think I might have gone overboard with the garlic. Everytime I burp, it still reeks of garlic. Awesome!

As for an update on the job front, I've been working pretty much everyday on call. It's been a mixture of high school and elementary school. Either way, I've come to the conclusion that Koreans are everywhere. I met a grade 11 student in my class today that lived in Mokdong prior to moving to Vancouver! Small world. Hmm... I thought to myself...let's see how Korean he really is...

I asked him about "fan death", the health benefits of kimchi, and if he had a "handpone". He wasn't sure about what "fan death" was, he said he didn't like the smell of kimchi, and when I dropped the "handpone" bomb on him, he replied "you're more Korean than I am." I was so overcome with emotion that I almost cried. Gee, thanks kid!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

New E-2 Visa Regulations for Teaching in Korea

If you haven't heard already, the application process for teaching English in Korea has just gotten a bit more complicated (before, it was just too easy). Anyways, the Korean government is now requiring all candidates to:
  • submit a medical health check,
  • submit a criminal background check,
  • and have an interview at the nearest Korean consulate (near your hometown)
On top of that, the ever popular visa runs to Japan will no longer be a possibility. These changes are a result of the recent problems that have plagued the education sector (note, the apparent pedophile that taught in Korea), such as fake degrees by so called "graduates". This is more common than you think, as we had one teacher from our campus fired because he lied about having a degree...way to go, buddy!

Anyways, I was surprised myself at how easy the application process was to teach in Korea. All we did was send in our resumes, a picture, and original copies of our degrees. Foreign teachers in Korea who have stayed in the country for years will have to do some traveling to renew their visas now. Who knows what will hold for the future of teaching English in Korea!

For more reading, check out Lao Ocean Girl's post and the report from Teaching Kimchi. Will these new visa rules affect you? Thought I'd post about this to hear how those teaching in Korea are going to deal with this. Let me know!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Top Posts of 2007: Part Deux

The last time I posted about the Top Posts of 2007, it was only the months January-June. Today you are going to see a list of the most popular posts from the last half of 2007, either the ones that had the most comments, or posts that I just enjoyed writing about. Let's get on with the show!

Alrighty...so there you have it, the top posts from the last half of 2007. I didn't get a chance to post as often as I would have liked, due to the fact I started a new job which ended up consuming a lot of my time. Anyways, for those who have just landed here on my blog, take a moment to go through some of the memorable posts from 2007. Thanks to everyone for reading up on the blog.

By the way, I'd like to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister if she's reading this! I'm tired, it's late...that means I'm going to bed. 잘자!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Welcome to 2008 Everybody!

Just like that, another year has come and gone. Man, as you get older these years sure do whip by like lightning. Anyways, 2007 was an especially important year for us, as we both had so many fantastic travels. Thanks for reading up on my endless food posts and some other Korea-related posts too. Let's hope for an awesome 2008! Wishing you the best wherever you are. This blog will continue to be updated!

Anyways, I haven't finished compiling the top posts of the last half of 2007. That will come in the next post! So instead, I am going to leave you with some pictures of the Christmas lights from the 2007 Festival of Lights held at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver. We went there an hour before closing, which meant it wasn't very busy. That meant perfect opportunities for pictures! These were taken with my Canon Digital Rebel XTi/400D. Enjoy!

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