Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Korean Things I Have Eaten - Long Weekend Edition

Korea doesn't really 'do' Easter, at least there isn't a holiday for it. So while all my New Zealand (and Aussie) friends were talking about their trips to the beach I was suffering through regular days of work. Ugh.

Luckily, weird Korean holidays came to the rescue! Korea has Children's Day on May 5th and Parents' Day on May 8th, and my school gave me May 6th off so four day weekend, hurrah!

Initially my travel buddy and I intended to go to Jeju, Korea's "Hawaii" - an island off the South coast - but as the ferries were all booked out we ended up gallavanting around the countryside for a few days. And here's (part of) what we ate.

Sweet potato (or kumara to us Kiwi dudes) is readily available in Korea but it's not usually roasted and served with some kind of dead animal. Instead it's a dessert treat, dished up with coffee and rice cake and frequently dried out and gross. A few months ago I ordered a sweet potato latte from a coffee shop in town and it was revolting, like liquefied mashed lumpy kumara. Nevertheless, when I spotted this in a store near the train station I needed to eat it.

The Hangul translates to 'Thanks Kongo.' WHAAAT?
It's a roasted sweet potato ice block (note the hot coals on the wrapper) and I.... I kinda liked it. Clearly enjoying sweet potato flavoured desserts is a sign that I need to get the hell out of Korea and back to somewhere normal.

Purple 'skin' coating.
Continuing my culinary tour, I visited Woobang Land in Daegu. It's one of many theme parks scattered across Korea and I found that if you visit after 4pm it's super cheap. 14,000 won ($16.50) gets you a day pass and access to a whole bunch of matching couples! Photos of them to come soon, I promise. Between screaming my lungs out and being flung upside down I ate some Dippin' Dots. We don't have them in New Zealand but apparently they're global - ice cream mix is flash frozen in liquid nitrogen creating tiny dots which are stupidly cold and stupidly delicious. This particular variety is made from milk and honey and is refreshing and sweet.

Apologies for the look of cragee in my eyes in the next pic, for I had stumbled upon the Best Street Food of All Time! The Never Ending Potato Chip.

Not helping my diet.
This delectable treat is a spiral of potato, deep fried til crispy and then dipped in a cheese or bulgolgi (meat) or spicy powder. I had it once before in Seoul and it was AMAZING, this variation wasn't as crispy but still good.

And finally, on the packed train home from Daejeon I had this:

Google translate probably comes up with 'Drink of the Chunk'.
I'm starting to doubt you, formerly reliable internet tool.
This is Sikhye, or 'Korean Nostalgia Drink.' It's made by pouring malt water onto cooked rice, then boiling it with some sugar. I know! Gross right?

I actually really like it, despite Lauren stating that she '*expletive* hates that stuff.' Nostalgia tastes like very  sweet tea and has rice floating in it. Who knew?

I LOVE bubble tea and drinks with chunks so this is right up my alley, along with this blog called Drinks With Chunks. Isn't the internet amazing?!

Sikhye is usually served as a dessert, so I had it after my huuuuge slice of Costco Pizza, pictured above. For those of you in Korea, the Daejeon Costco is RIGHTNEXT to Seodaejeon station, and fortunately my lovely boyfriend was kind enough to sprint there and pick me up a slice of their cheese pizza. I know what you're thinking - but Anna, your oft-mentioned diet! I'd done several hours of sightseeing and a solid 45 minute block of pedal-boating that day, so I'd earned that sucker, and it was delicious.


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