Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ggaman kong drink hits the spot

Ggaman kong means black bean. As a drink, it's delicious! I can taste roasted beans in every sip. The drink contains no sweetener. My friend says this drink is popular here.
I drank mine at Gyerong Station, near Daejon:
This tea hit the spot after a dehydrating weekend at the buddhist temple.

Musangsa Temple Stay

I enjoyed my brief weekend at Musangsa, a buddhist temple near Daejon. This temple was perfect for foreigners, since most of the monks were European or American. In fact, I met a few twenty-something American monks. (Do they write "unemployed" on their income tax forms?)
I expected strict rules based on a booklet I had read. I knew the food would be vegetarian, based on local produce, and free of onions, garlic and other spices. (Perfect for me!)
The first night we ate in silence on individual mats. Fortunately they served pasta and sandwiches along with Korean food. I chose carefully because we had to eat everything. At the end of the meal, the monks filled their empty food bowls with warm water, swished it around, and drank it. I sneakily wiped my bowl with a napkin and went to bed thirsty.
The next morning after at 3am wake-up drum, 108 bows in the Zen Room, morning chanting, and 1:20 of sitting zen, I enjoyed gruel in silence:
The gruel was a tasty mix of grains and pine nuts. Side dishes included peanut butter, soy sauce, kimchi'i, radishes, beans, and tofu.
I could barely stomach another meal in silence. I guess we were supposed to focus on our food. Instead, I yearned for social contact. Fortunately, after this meal and some chores we had a second breakfast. We shared lively conversation about movies and ate chocolate, homemade pizza, fruit, and tea. One monk made a Polish fruit-and-nut concoction to share.
Fortunately on Sundays the lunch was open to the community and thus very lively. The monks ate in silence at separate tables. Here was the monk spread (eaten with rice, of course):
Here is a view of the mens' table from the outside:
One thing missing was a drinking cup. If we didn't drink from our dirty bowls then we went thirsty. I know that in many countries people do not drink water with meals. Americans, though, are drinking water anywhere, all the time, these days.
Anyway, our meal included salad, Korean pancakes, side dishes, and rice:
We also ate pumpkin rice cakes:
Don't be misled - they might be called "cakes," but they are not sweet!
We also ate this delicious corn chowder:
In our free time we took walks. We found the temple's kimchi'i pots:
And watched several older ladies pick this plant (ssuk), an ingredient for some green-colored rice cakes:

I hope to return again in June or July!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why No New Posts?

The time has come to bring my blog to a close. We're leaving in a few months. My interest in Korean foods has waned as my focus has shifted towards my next home. Since my area will have a Lotte Mart, I'll be able to buy my favorite snack foods. I'll abstain from the photo-taking though!
This blog will end, but I will keep writing. My friend and I have been discussing plans for a new blog. I might have to steal her ideas again if she doesn't write anything!

April 4 - Eight Year Anniversary

My husband and I celebrated our eighth anniversary with a pasta/pizza dinner at Timo in Itaewon. I had pizza with sweet potato piped on it like icing on a cake. Before dinner we took our annual "reminiscing route" around Itaewon. In 2001 on my first Saturday night in the "ville," I met Eric at Pancho's (then Nickleby's). He gave me his number on a napkin! A week later we met near the Hyatt, a hotel between our apartments. We had our first date at this nightclub: Our "route" starts at Eric's old apartment and follows a narrow, steep path to my old apartment. Then we continue towards Itaewon, where we pass each significant bar and tell stories about the old days. We thought we should have drinks and go dancing at Spy Club, but we've passed that phase in life. Instead, we were home by 9pm and up early for a duathlon!
Much different from the old days, when we drank Kool-aid and soju from cut-off soda containers (Mandy) and ate greasy egg sandwiches from the same old lady's cart (Eric).