Friday, October 21, 2011

Korean's Obsession with Bread and Coffee

When you think of Korea, you probably think kimchi and rice, right?  Wrong.  Korean's have this obsession with bread and coffee that I never expected.  I thought there would be no way that I could find a bakery or a good coffee shop when I first came to Korea, but in fact there is both just about everywhere you go.

Not only do Korean's love bread, but they love the French and have named all of their bakeries after them.  Tour le Jour and Paris Baguette are two bakeries that you will see all over Korea, even if you are in a somewhat small town.  They usually have a variety of pastries or "bbaang" (Korean for bread) which probably will include something containing red bean or something surprisingly sweet.  I have stopped trying to buy "garlic" bread anywhere because it usually is covered in sugar as well.  Sweet and garlic bread just don't go together if you ask me.

My absolute favorite bakery, here in Andong, is a place called Mammoth Bakery.  It's safe to say that we are regulars there since we generally go once a week to enjoy a pastry and an Americano.  Most Andong-ians would agree that Mammoth has the best bread in town, and I also love it because of the atmosphere as well. 

All the goodies...
Our favorite place to relax.
Danny and I love to go in the mornings when they are bringing out all the fresh baked goods.  I think the workers there might wonder about us "waygookins" (foreigners) because we stare down every new baker who is bringing out a new tray of goodies.

My favorite is a chunk of toast that is dipped in a sugar/butter concoction and then it is baked till it's nice a crispy...oh it is so good.

Danny likes to try a variety of things, as usual, and some of his favorites include a brown-ish raisin coffee cake, vegetable croquets, and cinnamon rolls (that they have only had on rare occasion).

Even more then bakeries, coffee shops are litterally EVERYWHERE in Korea.  We have more coffee shops then I can count here in Andong and we are in a relatively small city. 

There's Angel in Us, Holly's Coffee, Caffe Bene, The Alchemist, Starbucks, Cafe Myungga and much more.  Just so you can feel like a local, here are some tips on how to speak Korean when it comes to coffee shops...

Angel-in-Us .... pronounced "angelinusuh"
Caffe Bene....  "capaybenay"
Starbucks... "sta-bucksuh"
Mammoth Bakery.... "mammot"
and coffee is easy... "copi"

They have basically any coffee that you might find in America, however one thing they don't have is decaf.  I prefer to drink decaf, but even in big cities like Seoul Starbucks doesn't carry decaf!  Also is is more rare to find drip coffee, instead you usually have to get an Americano if you don't like the sweet stuff. 

And let me tell you, Koreans LOVE the sweet stuff.  There is some sort of national rule that Koreans can't admit that they like sweet things or that many of their breads and beverages are ridiculously sweet, because most Koreans will say American food is too sweet!  I think not (ahem...sweet garlic bread?).  I want to introduce you to how you make a Korean style coffee with a coffee packet...

Put the coffee packet (which is about 75% sugar, 15% fake creamer, 10% instant coffee) and  in the tiny Dixie cup...

Pour in a splash of water (seriously they fill the already tiny cup up about half way!)...

And stir with the packet (which is something I recently realized probably isn't that sanitary)...

And there you have it...Korean-style Coffee!

In some ways, coffee shops are Danny and my escape from Korea.  When we just need a break, we go to a cozy coffee shop, get a hot drink and pretend we are back home.  Even though it was a surprise to find the two obsessions of coffee and bread in Korea, I must say that I have enjoyed it a lot.  I hope you too can find your "home away from home" at your local "copi" shop!

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