On most days I eat the same lunch that the kids are having, not just because its too much of a hassle to plan to have my own ready and eat it in the 30 seconds of free time I have between classes, but also because I want to try real Korean food and this is a pretty good way to do it. Most days it involves rice, a kind of soup, Kimchi (fermented cabbage, Korea’s national food), and a couple other sides. Today, the soup didn’t look like soup and smelled really familiar for some reason. They kept on calling it ‘curry’ but that didn’t sound right to me. Halfway through eating it I realized that it was dhal, a kind of lentil dish that Indian people ate with almost every meal. Hence why it smelled so familiar. I ate that stuff everyday for five months straight.
The Korean teachers are all impressed that I’m eating what they are eating (can’t lie, so am I) and the American teachers keep saying things like ‘oh god, don’t eat the _____ its disgusting!’ and then I try it, and its nothing that foreign. A good example of this is the ‘curry’. They kept on saying don’t try it! Its not like normal curry, it tastes weird! And in all reality its much closer to curry than anything they’ve ever tasted.
While I’m on the subject of food I might as well add that Koreans seem to love pizza – or rather, their idea of pizza which is not really our idea of pizza. I have been told several million times by my coworkers that Korean pizza is terrible, it nothing like our pizza, yadda, yadda, yadda. Since in my opinion their judgment is suspect, due to the aforementioned ‘curry’ incident, I decided to try for myself. I ordered 'Italian cheese pizza' which seemed pretty straight forward – bread, sauce, cheese, done – and except for the addition of kernels of corn baked into the cheese (wtf Seoul?) and being really greasy it was pretty normal. However, the other pizzas I saw were nothing like what I was used to. Some had strange toppings, some had weird looking crusts and some had things like mayonnaise and mustard swirled on the top.Koreans also seem to enjoy meat snacks of all varieties. Jerky of all kinds and flavors (Squid Jerky!) can be found at any convenience store and one of these days I will get up the courage to try some. They also have these awesome 'yogurt drinks' which I am addicted to. Some taste more like milk than yogurt but all are equal in deliciousness.
I was in Lotte Mart (Asia's answer to Wall-Mart) which is about five stories tall and takes up two city blocks and I was looking for something to make my hair not freak out at all the humidity. I was unsuccessful in that but I did find 'squid ink', a kind of shampoo made from, well, squid ink, that is supposed to be good for you hair. I almost bought it out of sheer curiosity but it was a huge bottle so I though it was probably a bad idea.
Tomorrow, I have to take the two youngest classes to the 'Recycling Museum'. Just me. With about 15 kids who don't speak English. Fun. I'm not sure whose the conductor in this Orchestra of Crazy but I'm pretty sure they aren't paying attention.