This has certainly been a summer of adventure for me — always a good thing for a writer, as every new experience has a way of slipping into the work somewhere. After a day home post-Seoul, I took off again for Quebec for a few days with friends. More on that soon. But for now, a look back at some of the food experiences I had in Korea.
I have been a practicing vegetarian for many years [seventeen, I think…]. I don’t talk about it much, as it’s wrapped up in choices about myself and my world. Within those parameters I do try to be pretty open-minded about the food I eat, though, so I thought I’d be able to veggie my way through the mostly meat-laden Korean cuisine with little difficulty. It ended up being a little tougher than I had thought, but it was an amazing experience and I am delighted to share some of the highlights with you here.
The shot is of my first meal in Korea — a sort of waldorf salad, with apples and mushrooms and tomatoes in a mayonaise dressing.
This turned out to be a more common breakfast staple — kimchi and rice with beans. There are something like 600 varieties of kimchi, which is a fermented cabbage dish, in various levels of spicyness. I was travelling with author Lee Edward Fodi, and another highlight included Lee’s insistance on finding and devouring ‘Poo Dough’, a kind of doughnut with bean paste in the shape of a pile of poo.
One night, a group of us [including mentors, parents and kids] were treated to a traditional Korean banquet, which had more dishes than I can enumerate.
This is Joon Park, co-founder [with Lee] of CWC, sharing dishes that included [but were not limited to]: tiny fried fish, kimchi, rice, octopus, sauted mushrooms, korean soft tofu, pickles, beef, noodles, beer, beans, bok choy, rice liquor, tea, and more. It was amazing. Later, we headed out to a tea house to finish, and the kids devoured giant bowls of green tea sorbet. [I had hot chocolate…!]
An unforgettable experience.