Bread options are getting better in Korea but it was still hard to find English muffins outside of American fast food retailers (McD, Dunkins). Nearly tempted to try baking my own, they magically appeared at E-Mart. They come whole (not pre-cut) and are quite tasty, unlike other Shany products. Look for them, sold four for 1,400W (less than $1.40 USD).


We wish you a Merry Christmas!

Here’s a picture of our little tree (less than 22 inches tall). It was purchased at Daiso for 3,000w, the silver and gold balls came in a pack for 2,000w, the candy canes are handmade, the garland is a re-purposed styrofoam pouch, the star was made using part of  a kitchen sponge, and the tree skirt is actually an artfully clipped pillow cover.

It’s Halloween this weekend and this is the extent of the display at my local E-Mart. Thankfully I have thoughtful family and  friends who sent us cute baby costumes and candy corn in the mail.


Happy Halloween!

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.”

We had a hankering for budae jjigae/부대찌개 or “army base stew” yesterday. It is a hodge podge stew made from what could be scavenged from US Army base trash during the Korean War when food was scarce. The soup base is spicy hot (made using gochu jang/고추장) with contents including sliced frankfurters, chunks of canned ham, scallions, onion, beans, cut corn, peas, tofu, ramen noodles and even a slice of American cheese. It is affordable, fun (boiled at the table) and seems appropriate to eat in light of the current economic downturn.


The lesson learned while dining out was this: if you have a baby, beware of ajumas/아주마. The waitress dropped in the ramen noodles and then walked off with my baby. We were dumbfounded and had to demand him back. My husband taught me this essential phrase: eggy manjy jimah say yo (please don’t touch the baby)…you have to say this more often than you think in Korea.

Serving sizes are smaller in Korea.  It is best demonstrated in soda cans. The fat, wide can is the standard American size. The tall and short thin cans are found here…none has more than 100 kcal…which worried me ~ is it one thousand times more?? No, a kcal is the same as a calorie.


If you’re interested in touring the DMZ with or without visiting guests, sign up through the USO (  They offer the most affordable day trip ($46 USD versus +90,000W) and they get the most access because of their close ties with South Korean military.  Plus, the guide spoke pretty good English.


Photo opportunity at the DMZ.

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