November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Since Seoulites don’t get Thanksgiving holiday, we’ll be celebrate over the weekend.  Turkeys can be found at Costco, as can pumpkin pies.  I’ll be making all the sides from scratch.  For those who are less ambitious but equally homesick, there are expat gatherings you can pay to attend (Wein Gallery Bundang).  Also, fancy hotels sell cooked turkeys (COEX Intercontinental).  And then there is turkey dinner at the USO Canteen in Seoul.  Gyopowife is grateful for her family, friends, blessings and readers.


Frozen turkeys sold at Costco by weight, prices range from 59,000W-80,0000W.


It’s a Korean tradition to make all your winter kimchi at one time.  They say that napa cabbage harvested after a cold snap tastes better.  Last week was the first day of snow in Seoul.  This week is a bit warmer, but that just makes for easier kimchi ingredient shopping.


My local market sells a mountain of napa cabbage for winter kimchi 2008.

When it’s time to refuel on books and non-Korean food, I head to Itaewon.

My favorite bookstore is What the Book, located next door to Foreign Food Mart which is next to Foreign Restaurant (owned and supplied by Foreign Food Mart, FYI: good weekend buffet).  What sets this bookstore apart from other bookstores in Korea is the wide selection of used books (sell back your dusty titles for money or store credit).  Also, magazine subscriptions and special order books can be arranged for very reasonable rates.  It’s nice to browse books, buy specialty groceries and then grab a kabab sandwich (at Foreign Restaurant or a street vendor) up the hill in Itaewon, away from the over-crowded main drag.




Chicken kabab street vendor at Itaewon subway station.  A flour tortilla wraps the sandwich instead of pita bread.

While browsing the aisles of Emart, I found both small and large flour tortillas in the freezer section.  I bought some and must say that they were quite good — hearty and fluffy.  It’s a relief from having to make my own flour tortillas at home (each one took about 20 minutes to take from ingredients to finished product) or buying the 100+ package from Costco.  If you’re an expat in Korea, please buy a packet and hopefully Emart will keep them in stock.  I was miserable when they stopped carrying canned roma tomatoes because I was the only person buying them.


Tortillas near you for only 2,400W-3,200W (approx. 3 USD).

November 11th is Pepero Day, a marketing holiday where you give cookies to anyone close to you.  Convenience stores are filled with special displays of these chocolate covered cookie sticks.  The numerical date 11/11 resembles four of these sticks.   Stateside, I knew them as Pocky.  Today, they will be a nice with a cup of coffee.


It finally feels like autumn has arrived in Seoul.  The leaves are turning orange, gold and red.  It’s time to find your sweaters, jackets and coats.  Now, just maybe, life can resume without rabid mosquitoes!


Ginko trees with golden foliage.

Gyopo needs can be met in Gangnam by going to Kyobo Tower Bookstore and Dos Tacos around the corner.  The English-language section at Kyobo is sizable and extended browsing is no problem.  You’ll pay a little higher than retail for your new book, but the cost is no worse than ordering from Amazon with international shipping costs.  In passing, I spotted a neon “taco” sign on the big street and wandered in for a taste.  The hard shell beef taco was made with ground beef, lettuce, tomato, cheddar and jack cheese, sliced black olives, sour cream.  The store’s own hot sauce was a bit on the rough side, so use it sparingly.


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