Don’t you hate it when people go abroad and all of a sudden start writing in different languages, as if it were their own? Don’t you hate it when I do stuff like that? Like what is “두부?” pronounced “dubu.” Don’t you hate it when they then try to explain what it is as if you wanted to learn something. My god you just want to sit back, look at some pretty pictures and read about food!
Well I apologize. I never meant to make you angry or agitated or even frustrated. That little Korean word is “tofu.” So that makes the title a little more interesting doesn’t it? Branded tofu. Sounds standard.
Alright, let’s get down to it. Over the past few days I have continued my wanderings, my adventures, and have found myself at another temple, in the middle of a typhoon, and lost in a national park.
The typhoon wasn’t anything big, other than then winds that kept half of Seoul awake from 3am to 6am, taking down branches and taking church steeples right off their hinges. That’s right, the church that I live right next to suffered a defacing blow that took their steeple right off the top of the roof. I didn’t realize this until the next morning when I awoke to four men walking around the roof of the church (which happened to be at my window’s height). They’ve now just taken the steeple right off.
The temple was absolutely amazing. It was so surreal insofar as that it was so quiet, peaceful, and still in the smack dab middle of Seoul. I wandered around the grounds for about 3 hours and still did not see everything. But what I did see were two amazing reflecting ponds, the changing of the guard, and some pretty spectacular buildings. Luckily, the sky cleared up as I was in walking around the compound. It was ideal weather.
And the national park? Well it is massive. It’s also only a twenty minute subway ride away. I just hop on line 6 (a five minute walk from my house) and ride it to the second-to-last stop, hop off, and walk for 10 minutes and I’m there. Seoul, you are so crazy.
I entered in one of many Southern entrances only to wander from path to path, be schooled by elderly Korean men and women who scurried up rock faces with the ease of a billy goat, and meet a woman who would like to pay me money to marry her daughter (who has very good Konglish). I’d say that, coupled with the awe-inspiring views, was worth my five hours this morning. I finally was spit out of the park about half way in between the Southern most part and Northern most part and then had to figure out a way back to my humble abode. Buses, let me tell you, are a god send. Especially when I finally recognize a number that comes near my house.
Okay enough adventures, let’s get down to the meals. And oh what a 20 something meal this is going to be. Actually this entire week will be filled with the experimental, ingenious meals. Why this week in particular? I have 30 dollars to make it from now until Friday. I have widdled down the money I brought over here to a measly 30 dollars.
That’s not to say that I spent lavishly or went out and bought my students dinners every night. It’s just to say that start up costs of moving are more expensive than I had anticipated. More than anything, I just couldn’t sit on my butt the first month and not go places. The subway costs money, didn’t you know?
Okay food. This is what I have until Friday. I will get some other things here and there, but this is it.
Some eggplant, bean sprouts, a pumpkin, a zucchini, garlic, onions, bananas, and that thing in the middle is a certifiable hunk of tofu.
This isn’t any tofu. It’s probably the best tofu I’ve ever had. It’s super firm and has the consistency of fresh mozzarella cheese, which takes well to pan frying or simply dousing with go-ju-jon (spicy sauce). And on top of all of that, it’s straight up branded.
I also have a small loaf of “Mocha Cream Bread.” I got it 1. Because it is delicious. 2. Because it has a crap ton of calories for not a lot of money. Mainly number 1 though. Because it is de. lish. ous.
For this whole loaf, it was about 1 US dollar. That’s right folks, Korea’s got baked goods. And they can do them right. this little diddy is a soft bread with a slightly sweet dough and raisins scattered around the bread, with a nice flakey crust (and not a lame crust, but one that is like… CRUST) and in every-other two pieces there is a healthy smear of mocha-cream-mouse. It’s all topped off with powdered sugar. It’s dessert. I’m fully aware. But when you are strapped for cash, anything goes.
What are the meals that are going to come out of this mixture of foods? Well probably a sautee, maybe a soup (with the pumpkin) and maybe just snacking on them raw in between classes just so I can freak my little children out. No, I’d never do that. “Teacher what is that? Garlic? AHHHHH!”
Well the count-down begins. 30 dollars. 6 days.