So yesterday as I was checking out the daily news on BBC, I came across a very interesting article about sandwiches. The headline for the story: “Toast sandwich is UK’s ‘cheapest meal’“. In the UK, this “toast sandwich” is basically a slice of toast in between two other pieces of bread…. if this doesn’t sound up-to-snuff for you, you can add jelly, butter, mayo or any other preferred condiment.
Ironically enough, South Korea also has something called “a toast sandwich” but it has a little more sustenance in my opinion. If you say “toast” to a Korean, they assume that you mean a fried egg, lettuce, cheese, sweet and hot sauce and pickles in between two slices of grilled bread. It’s very similar to what I would call a “western sandwich” back home. And they are amazing! You can easily find vendors selling these delicious snacks/breakfasts at bus terminals, train stations, near popular landmarks and anywhere really you might feel the need to eat a “toast”… they’re honestly, everywhere.
All this talk about toast leaves me to wonder… if given the choice between the UK’s “toast sandwich”, Korea’s “toast” and North America’s idea of “toast” (a slice of bread slightly browned with butter, cheese or jam), which of these would most people choose???
This weekend is the second “Canadian Thanksgiving” I’m missing since moving abroad and it has got me thinking about different Thanksgiving holidays around the world. For me, growing up in Eastern Canada, Thanksgiving gave me an extra day off school and a turkey coma a few times over. Traditionally, the turkey was accompanied by stuffing (no boxed stuff – my mother would never allow it), cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, turnips, carrots and of course, gravy. Some people will deck their home in gords – pumpkins and the such, corn, cornucopias, etc for the occasion which takes place the second Monday in October.
Last year I partook in my first American Thanksgiving which is pretty well the same event with the main difference being the date. Thanksgiving in the USA takes place the fourth Thursday in November (which is when it’s colder for us Canadians hence why ours is a little earlier). This holiday is quite important (being on of the “big six” major holidays) to Americans and many schools reenact the story of the pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving at school plays… And let’s not forget the parades… and football!
It seems that most countries have their own celebrations of harvest such as Germany, Liberia, The Netherlands and Norfolk Islands. Now, I can’t speak from personal experience in relation to the celebrations in these countries but I can for the Korea equivalent… Chuseok.
Chuseok celebrates the end of the fall harvesting season and falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (so anytime during September – October) and last three days. During these few days (usually coupled with a weekend to give a longer vacation) families travel from all over to visit the graves of ancestors to remember… this makes travel around the country a nightmare, but it’s a very important duty to be with your family. Younger Koreans will traditionally dress in Hanboks and bow to their elders in exchange for a few thousand won. When it’s time to eat, the food does not stop coming. Compared to the turkey and dressing in the west, Koreans indulge themselves on fruits, fish, chicken, tteok, kimchi and most importantly- songpyeon… a sticky and chewy mini-cake made of rice. And don’t forget the soju!
You cannot walk into a Korean-style restaurant anywhere in the world without coming into contact with this essential side dish. If you’ve never heard of it or tried it, let me give you a brief rundown as to what it is…
Kimchi is a traditional dish of the Koreas. It is made of vegetables (traditionally cabbage) and a variety of seasonings and then left to ferment to bring out the spiciness and flavor that so many people love or hate.
Many foreigners who come to Korea for the first time have never tried it and many hate it at first but with time, come to either accept it as part of their new life, or even love it.
My first experience with kimchi actually took place back in Canada before coming over here. A few weeks before my departure, a friend of mine took me to a Korean restaurant so I could try some of the food I would be living with over the next year (well it actually became longer but that’s for another time) and with my bibimbop came a little dish with a substance like I had never seen before. Luckily for me, I enjoyed it and so when I arrived, it wasn’t a shock for me. The shock was how many different variations to this dish there are. They have different kimchi based on region, vegetables, seasons, seasonings, holidays, preparation times – you name it, they’ve got a kimchi for it. My favorite goes by the name of “oi kimchi” which means cucumber kimchi. It’s much less spicier and more juicy than traditional cabbage kimchi.
If you’re interested in learning more, check this out – Kimchi on wiki . Also, check out this video on food (including kimchi) and foreigners in Korea.
If you have ever travelled to a foreign country then you know there are many differences to overcome. Of course there’s the language, the customs and traditons, and importantly – in my opinion – the food.
I have decided to set up this blog devoted to food… why? Well because I love food and want to share my experiences with the world! – and get feedback as to what else is out there to try. So… a little bit about me and this project I’m about to take on.
- I’m a 25 year old Canadian (eh!) born living in the amazing country of South Korea.
- I love food and learning about the different foods from around the world.
- I love tea.
- I have a cat that loves to eat bread.
- I’m a pseudo-vegetarian (I don’t eat red meat / seafood / pork but I will occasionally eat chicken) BUT don’t worry all you meatatarians out there, I will be talking lots about meat friendly meals 🙂
Anyways, to anyone reading this, I hope you enjoy what you see and don’t hesitate to comment on anything you might want posted. Happy reading!