Friday, January 27, 2012

Kimchi for Breakfast's 100th POST! Woop WOOP!

Today is the 100th post of this ol' blog and we're celebrating!  At first I wasn't really sure about starting a blog, and I really only did it to update our family, but after 100 posts I can say that now I really enjoy it.  Danny and I never really thought we would make it this far, but here we are... we survived 711 days of this crazy Korean life, and Kimchi for Breakfast is all about that journey!

To celebrate post #100, we are doing a GIVEAWAY!  We are giving away 2 prizes next week to 2 randomly chosen people! 

Yes, that's right you could be the lucky owner of a Bibimbacon shirt ...get it bibimbap...bibimBACON...get it? (Made by yours truly and will come in the size of your choice)...

Or of an original "Korea" artwork done by yours truly (you'll see the final one next week)...

Here's how you enter: 

Step 1:  I want to spread the news of this blog, so to enter you have to leave a comment at the end of this post in the "comments section".  Let us know what's the craziest food you've ever eaten (Korean or otherwise) OR just say hi...either is ok.

Step 2:  In addition to leaving a comment, you need to post on Twitter or Facebook that you just registered for this giveaway.  (Please copy and paste the following words: I just register for a free GIVEAWAY on Kimchi for Breakfast,, and you should too!  Go and check it out!)

 Step 3:  If you would like to have more then one entry, you can leave additional comments below, but then you also must specifically tell 2 people about our blog.  It's as simple as THAT!

I'm hoping in doing that, Kimchi for Breakfast will spread across the globe, and then Danny and I will be offered Travel Channel jobs, and then we will be bbillionaires, and then we will be the most loved couple in all the world, and then we will help find a cure to cancer, and then we will be able to live off our riches and die happy, in love and full of delicious food!  Whoa, I got a little out of hand there...sorry.

The winners will be announced next week so make sure and check back to see if you are the lucky winner!  Good luck to you all and spread the word!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to make Jjimdak... it's Andong FAMOUS!

If we mention to anyone who knows a little about Korea that we live in Andong, usually people say "Oh, the jjimdak place!"  Danny and I laugh because people from Andong say that it is "famous" for about a thousand different things, but it actually is really famous for jjimdak.  Jjimdak is one of my favorite Korean foods and I was really excited when friends, Sara and Heelak, wanted to try to make it.  I will have to tweak the recipe a little to make it just perfect, but we are on the right track.

So for your eating pleasure, here is how to make the one and only ANDONG JJIMDAK!! (said with an echo ; )  I am not a expert when it comes to Korean food by any means and when I cook I do "a little of this and a little of that" so sorry if this isn't as specific as you would like.  I will add a specific recipe at the bottom you can try, but here are the general directions for now...

Ingredients you need:  "glass noodles" or starch noodles, soy sauce, pear and vinegar marinade (you can get this at a Asian grocery store, but I think you can omit this if you have to), corn or rice syrup, sesame oil, carrots, potatoes, red and/or green chili peppers (dried or fresh), LOTS of garlic, what I can only call HUGE scallions (maybe leeks?), white onion, chicken (you choose boneless or not), water, salt, and pepper.

Step 1:  If you get bone-in chicken you need to soak it in the marinade and remove the skin.  Koreans think the bone adds a lot of flavor, which is true, but I'm sure you could do this boneless and save yourself the time of picking the bones out while eating.

Me and Heelak "de-skinning"

Step 2: Cut up all your vegetables. 

We had lots of helpers, so it went quick.  Cut your potatoes and carrots into 1/4 inch thick rounds.  Then cut up your scallions into longer strips and your white onion into chunks.  Now can you take some heat?  Cut as much red and/or green chili pepper that you want... in Andong we have to ask for it "tol mepgay" which means "less spicy" because I can take some heat, but full-strength Andong Jjimdak is ridiculous!

And cut up a RIDICULOUS amount of garlic.  Seriously, I cut up like 20 cloves... so I guess this isn't really a "first date" kinda meal ; )

Step 3: Soak your glass noodles in water.  We've had jjimdak that has tdoek (Korean rice cake) in it and that was an awesome addition but you traditionally there is only glass noodles in it.

Step 4:  Combine all the ingredients for the amazing jjimdak sauce!  Put together soy sauce, sesame oil, corn syrup, lots of cloves of garlic, scallions, red chili pepper and start it a boilin'.  You want the sauce to get thicker so you gotta boil it for a little while.  *** Taste the sauce and make sure it has a good flavor...some like it a bit sweeter so if that's the case you can add a little brown sugar at this point.

Step 5:  While sauce is boiling, boil the chicken as well.  Don't cook the chicken fully, but just boil it enough to get all that "foam" stuff to come off the chicken.  Skim the foam off the top and pour out the chicken water.  (Reserve a little just in case you need some for the sauce.)

Step 6:  Combine the partially cooked chicken and the sauce together and continue to boil it.  (side note: take out the garlic cloves from the sauce.)  Keep it going for a maybe 10 minutes so the chicken soaks up all the amazing soy sauce, garlic, chili goodness.

Step 7:  After a few minutes add the vegetables, glass noodles, and minced garlic.  Boil all the ingredients together till the potatoes, carrots and onions are cooked through.  Pour your completed dish of jjimdak into a large bowl or platter and ENJOY!  (As you can see our jjimdak was a little lighter then the true Andong version, but I think we just needed a little bit more sauce to make it right.)

**Some tips to make your Jjimdak seem really authentic:  this amazing dish usually has a side of pickled radish that helps with cutting the heat in between bites and a bowl for your discarded bones if you use bone-in chicken.  Also, since the noodles seem never ending, it's really helpful to have a pair of scissors at hand so you can cut the noodles where need be.

There you go!  Go out and make yourself a famous dish that will make you fall in love with Korean food like we did.  But know that no matter how perfectly you make jjimdak at home, you still gotta come to Andong to try it on the "famous" Andong Jjimdak street... the smell of garlic wafting through the air and restaurant owners beckoning you inside is a cool site not to be missed : )

WAIT, here's some exciting NEWS!!!  Next week will be my 100 post for this blog and I'm really excited!  I honestly didn't think I would make it this far in posting and Kimchi for Breakfast has really been a surprisingly fun way for us to share our adventure here in Korea.  To celebrate that we stuck with it, Danny and I are going to be doing a GIVEAWAY next week!  It's a secret prize so make sure and check it out.  See you next week!

Here's a link for the completed Jjimdak recipe: 

(I will try to post the official one that we used, but it's all in Korean as of now so we have to have it translated.  Anyways, enjoy!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kai, Bai, BO! Koreans love of Rock, Scissors, Paper

Sometime in all our lives we learned the rules of Rock, Scissors, Paper (RSP). It's almost as though it is engrained in our DNA, and even though I feel like I'm surrounded by aliens on a far off planet sometimes, Rock, Scissors, Paper has even reached the world of Korea.

In fact, not only has it reached Korea, but it is serious business here. RSP is the ultimate decider in Korea and every man, woman, and child knows it. I'm actually surprised that more political offices aren't won by doing Rock, Scissors, Paper here... that is just how hard-core these Koreans really are ; ) Anytime I have a dispute in class, I just pull out RSP and students can't argue the results anymore. No "Teacher, unfair!"  No "Teacher, why!?" ... it's a magical thing.

In Korea, RSP is called "Kawi, Bawi, Bo!" or short "Kai, Bai, Bo!". Students do it in large groups here and go so fast that it is still hard for me to figure out who really won. All I know is one kid usually ends up cheering and excited while another kids hangs their head in resignation.

I doubt I've gone a day at school without hearing a Kai, Bai, Bo tournament going on somewhere and if you are in Korea or visit you should make a tally of how many times you see it. All I know is that it has saved me from many an argument and I think it might be my preferred way to decide who has to do the dishes with Danny now : ) Good luck to you in your many Kai, Bai, Bo games and if you know the "official" Korean rules, let me know because I'm still clueless.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Only in Korea... a Scavenger Hunt!

As I mentioned before, Danny and I had a great holiday season and we rang in the new year in an especially exciting way... A SCAVENGER HUNT!  A friend of mine gave me the idea to do a photo scavenger hunt, so on New Year's Eve, a group of us competed in an "Only in Korea" hunt.  The list of 40 different things were things that you would see "only in Korea"!  It was an epic one hour battle between "Booty Domination" (the girls) and "Team Shark, Riding a Ninja, Riding a Bald Eagle, Riding a Dolphin, Screaming the Word FREEDOM...!" or something like that... I couldn't remember the whole 50 part name because it was so ridiculous(the boys).  It's funny that most of this stuff is "normal" to us now, but really when we leave Korea and don't see pig heads smiling at me at the local grocery store, I will know that I'm not in Crazy Korea anymore.  Oh and did I mention that team "Booty Domination" won?!  GO GIRLS!

Here's the list for your enjoyment...

1.  Socks with sandals

2. Tacky Tiger picture (3D extra half point)

3. Animal head meant to be eaten (No fish heads, BORING)

4. Matching couple: the girls only got matching shoes

5. A Hyundai car not in black, white, or silver:  this actually isn't common in Korea... black, white, or silver are definitely their desired colors for a car.

6. Traditional ajuma wear (visor, flower prints...basically not matching)

7. Jindo Dog

8. Kid in a school uniform (One point for each kid in the same picture): we picked the ONE day we couldn't see any kids in uniforms but even on Sunday we often see uniforms!

9. Soju bottle in a outdoor public area

10. K-Pop poster: the groups are usually ridiculous... like Backstreet Boys on crack ; )

11. Someone eating bundaegi (silk worm larvae) or gulbangy (tiny snails in the shell): YUCK.

Here's the cute old man who was so excited to have the rest of the cut of bundaegi after Sarah and Suzanne gagged eating them...

12. Singing Noraebang

#15 Aren't they FREEZING!?

13. Picture of the 28 bus

14. Old man in a fidora

15. Girl wearing shorts: this is also common in winter... in 16 degree weather...crazy, I know.
16. Person wearing a mask (doctor mask...or luchedora that would be awesome): this is either to help not get sick or help others not get your cold... I don't know which.

17. Pretending to ring a traditional bell

18. Old Korean people playing some sort of Korean game

This game is called Majohng and older Korean
LOVE it!

19. Black Lespo, old man bicycle:  also the bike that... ehem... Danny owns...ehem ; )  Just kidding Buddy, I think its cool!

20. An American flag (Bald Eagle included plus 10 points)

21. Person wearing fun Korean socks: we only saw a baby with them, but I know under all their shoes and boots that every Korean were wearing them.

22. Coffee in a dixie cup

23. Korean hiker: it's like they are off to Mt. Everest.

24. Person in a hanbok:  this one didn't exactly count because those are REAL people, but nice try boys!

#24. Traditional Korean hanbok.

25. Flowers in front of a new business

26. Korean Movie poster

27. Advertisement for Oriental Medicine

28. Picture with an Andong mask (the biggest mask gets the point):  who's is bigger? ; )

29. Love Motel:  these sound really shady, I know, but they aren't so bad ; )

30. Cardboard collector:  for a lot of older Koreans, their job is to collect cardboard all around town, and they can get a LOT as you can see.

31. 90 degree lady (Really, no one from your team):  to explain, this is a lady that walks at a 90 degree angle.  I think their back is bad from working in harder labor a while ago... really sad but common to see.

32. Picture of an Elementary School sign

33. Picture of a Middle School sign

34. Picture of a High School sign

35. Free hugs sign:  we did see this later that night AND get on the local Korean news giving "free hugs!"

36. Danny's REAL Apple Truck (Automatic winner):  we still haven't seen the real truck in the flesh so of course it would win instantly!  If you ever see this truck, get a picture!!!!!!!!

37. Someone eating ramen:  how is it that BOTH groups had to buy ramen... we couldn't find one Korean eating that day?!

38. Konglish shirt:  this is a shirt that makes absolutely no sense... accomplished!

39. Someone exercising on an outdoor machine: I guess the boys scared away the actual exercisers...

40. Team pyramid (If there is a tie, most interesting place wins)

Team "Booty Domination":  Oh yeah.

Team "Team Shark, Riding a Ninja, Riding a Bald Eagle, Riding a Dolphin, Screaming the Word FREEDOM...!" ... ok, boys this is pretty good : )

Overall it was a fantastic hunt and even though it was a rough battle...

... we all remained friends for the new year.  Oh and did I mention the girls won?! ; )

The competitors: Emily, Chris, Lizzie, Jonathan, Pete, Sarah,
Gabi, Greg, Suzanne, and Danny and I!

And, just for your viewing pleasure, here are a couple more things that you would see only in Korea. This...


And this...

(nice moves Buddy ; )
I hope this encourages you to do your own scavenger hunt... Korean or otherwise!  Happy 2012, the year of the Dragon!