July 2009

At the bookstore the other day, the children’s section featured this book:


It’s the Korean translation of Barack by Jonah Winter, illustrated by A.G. Ford and this title literally translates to “I want to be the hope of the world.”

Recently I wondered why I couldn’t find soybeans/edamame in Korea. I was told that they are a seasonal item. Seems it’s bean season right now. There are big long beans (right) from which you shuck peas. And there are soybeans (left) finally. Buy bunches while they are available, wash and freeze them in small batches for use over the next few months.


The neighborhood toy store makes me sad. It’s a delapidated warehouse filled with cheap Chinese junk.


Necessity is the mother of invention. I have begun to sew toys at home. This one uses colorful scraps to great effect in a daisy chain that reminds me of a Christmas tree garland. Strips are cut, sewn into tubes and then linked up together. The toy is a hit with my 6 month old.


For an extra fun factor, add pieces of crinkly plastic into the links.


July in Seoul means hot humid rains or jangma/장마. There was sunshine on Sunday and we took a stroll along Cheonggyecheon Stream and came across a doll enjoying the stepping stones in the park.


Then we ate dinner at Gwangjang Market…so many delicious food stalls.


The bean pancakes are a must-eat.

The upside of all the humidity and hot rain in Korea is the delicious summer fruits. Stone fruits have flooded the market. They look and taste delicious. It’s less likely to be frankenfruit since it’s a small country the travel time for fruit from farm to store is short. Fruit here tastes like it’s been purchased at the local farmer’s market rather than the nationwide grocery store.


Yummy nectarines, peaches and plums.

Today is Cho-Bok/초복, which marks the start of the height of summer. Really it’s the heat of summer. Koreans mark this day by eating sam-gye-tang/삼계탕, a steaming hot bowl of chicken soup. Eating hot soup is supposed to cool the body. I’d rather eat naeng-myun/냉면, cold noodle soup, and sit by the fan…that entertains the baby since adding ribbons on the handle.


There was this thing in my kitchen that I didn’t know how to use. I found a way to make it useful to a gyopo, it’s a makeshift baking rack for home-baked cookies. Actually meant to be used to grill fish over charcoal (연탄), nowadays they are more often used to toast seaweed laver on the stove.


Oatmeal raisin cookies cooling on my what-cha-ma-call-it (석쇠).

Strange but true, I have yet to see a four-pack of toilet paper. Instead all I can find are 24-roll packages. It’s hard to find space to store this much toilet paper in my apartment. Perhaps that is why toilet paper is often used as napkins at hole-in-the -wall restaurants and in some homes. We have twenty -three rolls in a closet with my leather boots.


The standard size 24-roll package of toilet paper sold in Korea.

This is the funniest street sign I have seen in Seoul.  We had to scramble for the camera and pull over to the side of the road to snap this picture. Thankfully, we didn’t run over any slow moving elderly in the process.


Konglish for elderly is “silver,” as in silver town and silver channel.