There are plenty of things I’d expect in a subway tunnel. Magazine stand. Check. Maybe a food vendor. Sure. An entire shopping mall in between two subways stops? Well, I guess I’ll let it slide seeing as there isn’t that much space. But having the entrance to a grocery store right by the exit of a subway? A bit strange, no? I’ll take it nonetheless.
For the past two weeks, I have been eating out almost every meal. It’s not as bad as it sounds – I can eat out for dinner (well, mind you) for about five dollars. Lunch? Two dollars. Breakfast? Provided by my work (since it’s such a crazy schedule right now). But when I eat out for every meal, there isn’t that same connection with my food. I don’t feel like its mine as much.
Because I didn’t handle it, because I didn’t manipulate it, because I didn’t create the dish, I feel like I’m missing something. I also think, on a day-to-day basis, I’m missing something. It’s not the running or yoga or interactions with people (all of which I do on a daily basis), it’s the cooking.
So today I set out to the grocery store located in the subway station (Grand Mart) to pick up a few ingredients to cook up. The biggest problem when I was there wasn’t the language barrier, or the stares I got when walking around the produce section, but the fact that I don’t know many of these ingredients.
I mean I’ve spent my fair share of time in grocery stores back in the states, but I didn’t ever go hang out in the Asian markets (except for Win-Lee’s Oriental Market, and that was because that was the only place for miles that sold a dessert that I was obsessed with for about six months after having it once at the Thai restaurant I used to work at). So these leafy greens, and strange circular root vegetables and packages upon packages of tofu leave me wondering what I should cook.
I ponder: I could just grab a few ingredients, and throw them into a sautee pan and hope for the best. But what about the seasoning? Maybe I’ll just grab some bottled sauce from the shelf and hope it’s soy sauce? Maybe I should just buy a bundle of garlic being sold by an agashi off the back of the truck outside of my apartment. Maybe I should add some rice or noodles or kimchi?
What it came down to was: pumpkin sautéed up with tofu, zucchini, bean sprouts, garlic, and a Napa Cabbage (before the cabbage scare of 2010).
Not to toot my own horn, but I think my first cooking endeavor (save the oatmeal packages I have eaten as a snack every mid-morning) was a success.
That’s not to say I will be opening a Korean Restaurant anytime soon, but it does mean that I’m going to be on the hunt for a hagwon to teach me how to cook (once I get my first pay check, that is).