Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Chocopie, how I love you so. This one was a gift, and that only makes it that much sweeter.

Apparently I haven't been eating enough kimchi because I'm sick. I felt like poo so I took myself to the doctor. It was the best medical experience, probably of my entire life. I went to the doctor's office right in my building three floors down. I walk into the office, showed my medical card, and sat down. The nurse took my temperature in my ear, and sat me down at little machine that took my blood pressure. Two minutes later the doctor saw me. I went onto his office and sat down next to him. His office was modern and simple. His office had a lot of stuff, but it was organized and neat. His desk had a few piles of medical books in English and some pictures. He was professional, had a gentle face, and spoke English very well.

The doctor had a high tech little corner of fun. He misted some stuff down my throat and some other sweet medicine mist spray up my nose. Next he put a tiny camera up nose and took pictures that were instantly displayed up on a monitor in front of us. That was crazy. I sat there looking at my swollen nostrils wondering if he was going to ask if I wanted to download the pictures to my cell phone or something crazy like that. He took one look and said "You have a sinus infection. I will give you a prescription. Also please take 3 minutes of infared therapy." High tech fabulousness!

Cool. I went back out to the nurse and she asked for the 3,000 won co-pay. That was it. I was in and out in under 15 minutes.

I went to the pharmacist on the first floor and picked up my antibiotics and "the fun pack" along with a vitamin drink as service. I forgot to show them my card so I got charged 4,000 won instead of the standard 1,000 (basically my medical visit and prescription cost me about 5 bucks--the way health care should be). I have no clue what kinds of crazy meds come in the little extra packs, but I got a little yellow one, half a white one, and an extra slightly larger white pill. I've heard they often like to give you codeine. I'm kinda excited about that. It makes having a nasty sinus infection and a fever a lot nicer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

kimchi cures all

This is fantastic. I have yet to post on the wonderful world of Kimchi because there is so much to say and such a long history to look into. However, I couldn't pass up the chance to post this link to an article. Koreans tell me all the time that kimchi is really good for your health. I have started to conclude that it's somewhat like "the tussin" that Chris Rock has made mention to in his comedy routines. It's like a cure all. This article talks about how it has been scientifically proven to help cure/ prevent the bird flu and bronchitis!

So, if you're feeling under the weather, go get yourself some kimchi and put on your eatin' dress.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Unending Traditional Korean Meal: Dong Chimi

To follow the pumpkin soup the ajiuma brought out a seafood soup with mussels, those cute long enoki mushrooms, onions, etc. The soup has a fishy tomato taste and the broth is quite thin and watery, but, of course, quite delicious none the less.

The Unending Traditional Dinner: soo jeung ga

This came last. It's a cold persimon punch with some pine nuts. It's sweet and tastes like you are drinking some kind of cinnamon candy.
a recipe. and another.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Unending Traditional Korean Meal : Raw Fish

The next dish was a platter of "hwae" or raw fish. I was thrilled when this beauty came out. I really enjoy eating raw fish. I am not sure why, maybe it is the texture. I am often concerned about the texture of a food. Fried tofu is one of my favorite textures. I like the way different fish are tougher or squishier than others.

The fish in this dish were laid out on a bed of some strange straw like noodles and garnished with a cute beet swanlike thingie. I could have ate two or three more plates of this. mmmmm....

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

...and the chopsticks ran away with the spoon

The basic utensils to eat Korean food are a spoon and metal chopsticks (not wooden or plastic). The metal chopsticks are a little more difficult to operate. They are slightly more slippery and tapered than most chopsticks I've encountered. However, I've found that eating has become, in general, a more elegant and delicate act. I enjoy using them and many Koreans pride themselves on their chopstick abilities.

I also dig the spoon. I've become accustomed to eating rice with chopsticks, and I've found this can be troublesome at times. From my experiences thus far, Koreans don't bother trying to eat rice with chopsticks. They dig into the rice with a spoon. I like this a lot. There are a lot of stew like dishes placed in the center of the table, so you just go for it with your spoon and take out the big exciting parts with your chopsticks and put it in your bowl.

I found a nice pdf about the utenicls and the traditional cloth wrapping. Another interesting tid bit about the utencils: you're not supposed to leave your utencils in the food. It's seen as rude and you only do this when you leave food for your ancestors.

To be honest, I haven't missed a fork and a knife.

word of the day

cosmopolite \koz-MOP-uh-lyt\, noun:
1. One who is at home in every place; a citizen of the world;
a cosmopolitan person.
2. (Ecology) An organism found in most parts of the world.

At first, Audubon made comparatively little impression in
America, but he was an immediate success in Britain, where
he presented himself alternately as a rustic backwoodsman
and a sophisticated cosmopolite.
--Alan Fern, "A Great Original's Great Originals," [1]New
York Times, December 12, 1993

He was a big-city sophisticate and moved easily in
international film circles but, like his exact
contemporary, the Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima (also a
globetrotting cosmopolite), Pasolini rejected the glossy
consumer culture that had made him famous in favor of the
standards of an earlier, more rigid and more traditional
--Edmund White, "Movies and Poems," [2]New York Times, June
27, 1982

Behind the professional caution is a figure of storied
warmth and charm, an American-educated cosmopolite as
comfortable in the Midwest as in the Middle East.
--Paula Span , "Man of Many Worlds," [3]Washington Post,
February 28, 1998

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

mr. giles - my favorite daytime drama

Mr. Giles and I were born on the same day (July 4th in Australia for him and July 3rd in the US for me). I'm guessing this is one of the reasons we get along so well. Others reasons include his potty related sense of humor and his silly poetry. My current favorite is The Town 9: A rubbish fable

Monday, March 07, 2005


Originally uploaded by misskoco.
NICOLE! What big eyes you have!

One of the most common comments people make to me in Korea is about my eyes, and how big they are. This is new. I never thought about it before, but I guess they are.

My first reaction is to reply, "The better to see you with my dear."

Saturday, March 05, 2005

artbox goodies

I want to know who writes this stuff, but more importantly, the real question is: where is the poodle?

The Unending Traditional Korean Meal: Course One

The fun begins!

The first round of dishes arrive. There is a salad, some clear noodles with veggies, cabbage rolls and squash.

The salad was more impressive than the salad I've experienced thus far in Korea (usually just a bunch of sliced cabbage and some thousand island-esque dressing). There was a mixture of greens with some cabbage, carrots, tomato, and to top it off it was sprinkled with almonds. A nice touch. The dressing was nice--subtle but a little sweet.

The clear noodles are pretty common. This dish is called chopche. I like it a lot. The noodles are cold and mixed in are some vegetables, notably spinach.
Here's a recipe
and another recipe

The cabbage rolls... well, they aren't my favorite. They are cute, and magnificently put together with thin slices of cabbage wrapped into one another with other vegetables in the center. The thing I didn't enjoy about them is that they are pickled and it reminds me of sauerkraut.

The squash was delightful. Cut into 4 even pieces with the skin still on the outside it was presented quite beautifully as well. It was soft, but not too squishy, and garnished with crushed nuts. This was one of my favorites out of all the dishes.


I woke up this morning aching for brunch. Cafe Mogodor... the funky spot in Williamsburg that doesn't have a name but has fantastic french toast... Beau Monde in Philly... I want a mimosa and overly sweetened english breakfast tea with cream, some nice potatoes with rosemary and an omelet with avocado or goat cheese. Even IHOP would be heavenly right now.

Korean breakfast is not any different from Korean lunch or dinner. There's rice and always kimchi. Post-soju early afternoons on the weekend and kimchi just don't go together in my head. Cereal just isn't going to cut it. Bring on the pancakes!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Snow in Seoul
I was dreaming it was snowing. I woke up to a text message from Yuna telling me to be careful because it's SNOWING! I feel like a child. I get to use a new word I learned in context "nun!"

NYC Snow
The last time I remember a real snow in the city was in 2003. I woke up thrilled. But I was sad to see the plant that I had killed covered in snow. I had neglected and left it out on my balcony.

The Unending Traditional Korean Meal: Pumpkin Soup

The first dish to arrive was a lukewarm pumpkin soup called hopuckjuk. It had a thick sticky texture with a sweet taste. The black beans in the soup were slightly tough, like extra al dente, so I'm guessing they were there mostly to serve as a nice garnish.

I've recently discovered that pumpkin is really good for you. It has a lot of "carotene, which aids in the absorption of Vitamin A, and also contains a diuretic that is effective for reducing the swelling of pregnant women and for treating people with kidney ailments." There is a Korean saying that "to protect against stroke, pumpkin should be eaten on the winter solstice." Great! Eat pumpkin!

Additionally, the spoon had a nice weight to it, made out of bronze or something (EG noted that they were expensive and joked around with the ajiuma that he'd like to take a few with him when he leaves). When the spoon hit the bowl it chimed like a bell or one of those singing meditation bowls. Overall, it's a nice way to start a meal.