Hi, My Name is ShenaniTims, and I’m Proud to Say I Will Eat Anything
I promise I won’t become a food blog, I promise I won’t become a food blog, I promise I won’t become a food blog, I promise I won’t become a food blog, I promise I won’t become a food blog, I promise I won’t become a food blog, I promise I won’t become a food blog, I promise I won’t become a food blog, I promise I won’t become a food blog.
I really have no interest in becoming a food blog.
Unfortunately, one of the tough realities of moving to Korea is that food becomes a major part of your day. Given that I’m now nearly mute (I know two phrases in Korean, “hello” and “thank you;” which are really the only two I’ll need), and the native, written tongue is still indecipherable to me, means buying food is a challenge. Pictures work great if the restaurant has pictures, which is important since the Korean diet is (literally) worlds away from the one found in the US. Things that are big back home (i.e. cheese and butter) aren’t found easily over here. Green peppers and mushrooms, on the other hand, and found nearly everywhere.
So like most foreigners, I’ve become a fan of gimbap. Gimbap is the Korean equivalent to a sub; only with rice wrapped in seaweed substituting for the bread. It’s easily made (i.e. quick), cheap, and pretty ubiquitous, making it the go to meal after work.
The one major hurdle I face with (slowly) becoming a gimbal connoisseur is that their menus can easily be confused for a math quiz (see photo above). A gimbal shops don’t have pictures, so if you don’t know the symbols for a chamchi gimbap (tuna), then you’re shit out of luck. In the restaurant each table has a pad of order forms and a pen, and you just check off what you want and hand it to the nice cook hovering in the wings.
So my homework has been (after taking an order form home) to look up new gimbaps each night after I go home. I look up the Korean characters, type them into Google, and then stare at the images trying to figure out what is what. I usually end up confused anyway, as modeum kimbap looked like black beans, but didn’t really taste any different than chamchi. And for the sake of experimentation nudeu gimbap is pointless, as it’s “nude” gimbap – so rice, seaweed, and what I assume are sliced up vegetables.
Luckily I’m down for eating anything, so I’m pretty comfortable just ordering blindly off the sheet too. When in Rome, right?
Tonight I hit the jackpot by also ordering kimchi dumplings, which, in actuality, are more like kimchi pierogis. So if you’ve ever wished your pierogis came stuffed with spicy and sour fermented cabbage instead of cheese, meat, or mushrooms, then kimchi mandu is for you. I’m proud to say that Jeonju is the Korean food capital, and kimchi and I have hit it off splendidly, so I’m sure this one will be in rotation for awhile now.