Friday, December 26, 2008


Well, after missing the special menu during my Thanksgiving trip to Outback, I was sure to ask for it last night when I went there again for Christmas. Steak Wellington was a steak cooked with a layer of bread around the outside. It was really delicious. The sauce was surprisingly good, since in my previous Outback experiences their sauces weren't very good. This one had a hint of red wine taste, but a gravy texture. To my surprise, I could only eat about half of it!

I must say that the longer I live in Korea, the more I prefer the Korean-style of grilling your beef at the table, usually in small bite-sized pieces. Not that I go very often, but I don't think I'll be going back to Outback much anymore.

I must comment that this is the first photo I've posted of me with my beard. This started on a whim a few months ago, as I was getting tired of shaving. The first time I went to get my haircut after that, the lady didn't spare me her feelings. She said it looked really bad on me. Made me look dirty and like a homeless man! But at that time it was fairly new, so we made a deal. After 6 weeks, she would tell me her honest opinion and I would keep it or shave it accordingly. Well, after 6 weeks I changed from homeless-looking to "normal" looking I guess, and she told me that to her surprise, it now looked good on me. I've kept it, but it turns out that having a beard is no less work than shaving every day. I have to trim it every week with an electric trimmer. I still have to shave around the edges of the beard (especially my neck), although I can do it every other day instead of daily. But basically it as much or more of a pain than shaving daily. I decided to keep it until Christmas, in the hopes of getting invited to lots of Christmas parties as Santa (good idea, but it didn't happen). Therefore I'll be shaving it off tonight.

Here are a few more bearded photos I have for reference...

You can see that my beard grew in two colors. My natural hair color, which used to be a very dark brown, and my new hair color, gray! The whole effect reminds me of a dalmation!

A few weeks ago my Korean friend "Gee" invited me to his birthday party, which concluded singing Karaoke. Here we are giving the Korean photo mandantory "V" sign. Here you can see the dalmation effect more clearly.

Here is my beard in profile, and you can also see my broken nose profile as well. Usually I'm embarassed about my nose, but there was something about this photo that made me proud instead.

Making an intelligent retort to something Trevor asked me. (Thanks to Trevor for taking the above two photos.)

Anyway, that's all for Christmas. The Stumbler will be clean shaven from now on.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pitiful Pine

I remembered suddenly that we have a small artificial Christmas tree. John bought this back in 2004 when we first came here. It's been sitting in a box for a couple years. I'd forgot I had it until this afternoon (Chrismas Eve) when I saw it sitting on top of a cabinet at the office. So, for one night I have a small taste of Christmas:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

International Party

I found a notice on my door the other evening. I was invited to an Christmas Party for the International Residents of my building! Since I only know of one other foreigner here, I was surprised there were enough to make up a party! But it turns out there are four homes with foreigners here, two from Canada, me from the United States, and one family from Columbia! Plus at the part, a friend of the host was from The Netherlands.

I thought it was just going to be snacks, but we were also served a delicious meal as well. Hungarian Goulash. My neighbor told me he calls it Western Kimchi Stew.

Anyway, I had a fun time, and it was nice to meet the neighbors.

This reminds me of a story from a Korean I know who was essentially raised in the USA. He is back in Korea now, and I need to point out is reportedly an excellent cook. He told me he would opened his doors to the neighbors when he moved in, and cooked a huge dinner for them. He said these neighbors had lived on the same floor for years but had never actually met each other!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fire Gawker

As I went to bed last night, I saw a lot of smoke coming from a small building, and the fire trucks were all there with their flashing lights and spraying water on the fire. Well, this morning I had to to walk by and see what had burned. It was a small warehouse structure, with an electronics shop in the front (which seemed to have taken most of the damage).

Somehow these images turned up to bright. To my surprise, all the various image processing software I have can easily brighten an image, but there are no options to darken an image. That's really strange.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Outback

As I have in the past for Thanksgiving in Seoul, I headed off to the Outback Steak House at Balsan. I usually have a Ribeye Steak, which is what I had last night.

Along with a salad and baked (jacket) potato:

I had been interested in a steak that I saw advertised on TV. It is a steak wrapped in a layer of bread. I didn't see it on the menu, so I ordered the Ribeye. But after I ordered, I saw a separate, special menu which showed this new item - Wellington Steak.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Night View

Been meaning to update my night view. Since this post in March, the skyline has changed slightly. That is, the Samsung Tripalace has been completed, and is well illuminated at night. Looks pretty cool, much better in person that my camera can capture.

Uncle Oinkers

Ran into these new breath mints the other night. All I can say is unusual.

Beer O'Clock Break

Trevor and MY will be temporarily closing Beer O'Clock for three months. They had wanted to relocate, and were in the process of looking for new places. Suddenly someone came forward to buy the current place. I'm guessing it was a good offer, because they decided to sell and wait until after MY gives birth in January to open a new place. Saturday will be the last day at this current location. I went by Wednesday to say goodbye to both of them. I might avoid Saturday, since I guess it will be super crowded (but the beer prices will be slashed)...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sad Saturday

I was going to meet my friend JI for dinner on Saturday, but his mother needed sudden heart surgery and understandably he couldn't join me. I decided to go by myself anyway, and get some Mexican food at "Dos Tacos". I have mentioned before about taxi drivers ignoring me, presumably because I am a foreigner. Well, this night I had a first - the BUS DRIVER refused to stop and let me on! I've never had that happen. I gave up and took a taxi, arrived at Dos Tacos just behind a large group of people who took the last seats in the place. So I decided to eat at the Subway next door, since they offer hot sandwiches. I carefully chose a sandwich from the "hot toasted" side of the menu, one whose name conveys heat - "Subway Melt". Well, the sandwich was delivered to me stone cold. I wasn't going to say anything, but the clerk came to me after my first couple bites and said they had forgotten to put the bacon on. I told her she also forgot to heat it up, and she said no, only the Italian-something sandwich came hot. All minor irritations in the scheme of things, especially compared to JI's mom. Get well soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I've been delaying making a post, because my phone/camera seems to have gotten a virus! But by using photos that don't have to be rotated, I can proceed to make a post. We went back to the bank last week, on a Thursday, when the coin change counting machine would be operating. And it was.

You slowly pour the coins onto this small conveyor belt, and the coins are gobbled up by the machine. It makes all sorts of interesting noises. Clunks, clinks, rattles and clanks. On the computer display screen, you see a running tally of how many of each coin type has been counted. As fun as this was, it could have been a better experience - IF THE MACHINE WAS MADE FROM GLASS! Then you could watch all the coins being "processed" and counted.

EDIT: Anonymous "K" correctly pointed out that I omitted the amount of change in my two buckets. Roughly there was $203 worth of change. I had prevously guessed $250, so I was about 25% high. Yikes!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Brand Envy

I saw this car on the street last month. Ssang-Yong is a Korean automobile manufacturer that's been around a long time, although recently they were purchased by a Chinese company. The Musso is one of their popular SUV models. But this car has a Mercedes-Benz logo on the back! I thought this fellow just wanted a Benz, and stuck this logo on his car. But as I searched on the internet, apparently Ssang-Yong had a partnership with the Benz for awhile. Maybe this is a legitimate logo?

But regardless, this is a good marketing opportunity - sell luxury car emblems for consumers to install on their cars. Change that Kia into a Cadillac for only $15.95...hmmmm, good idea?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Coins Changed to Cash...

...NOT. I don't like coins. In Korea and in the USA, I empty my pockets into a box or container at the end of each day. In the USA, I used to get Young Stumbler #3 to sort, count and roll the coins, for which I would give her 10% of the total. In Korea, in the past I gave them to CH, who would take them to a special bank branch that had a automatic coin counting machine. In Korea, as best I can figure, they don't take the coins if you roll them yourself, nor do they take mixed coins at the bank.

Well, as you can see, I've been saving for quite a while this time (and I've finally found a good use for those empty sour cream buckets from Costco). CH and I had to go to a meeting on Friday, and he wanted to show me how to use the machine. We drove to this special bank on the way to our meeting, parked about a block away, and lugged these two heavy buckets of coins to the bank. When we got to the machine, it was turned off! We saw a sign that said this machine is only available on Tue, Wed, and Thu!!!! CH asked the teller why the machine was off. She said that the machine broke down too often when it was used 5 days a week, so they restrict it to three days per week! I dare anyone to try that with their boss!

So, I'm still the proud owner of two large buckets of coins. I'm guessing its about $250 - in the past 1 smaller bucket was about $90 worth. Maybe mid-week we'll try again.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Red Ginseng

These are the Red Ginseng "pills" that I recently began taking. I was feeling completely drained of energy for about a week, and my Korean friends told me I needed to take some Red Ginseng.

There are many ways to get Red Ginseng here in Korea. You can get an extract, tea, candies, and I even say Red Ginseng alcohol. However, I don't like the taste of Red Ginseng, so I chose these "pills". Look like BB's from a child's toy gun. I'm supposed to eat 5 balls, three times a day. But I'm intentionally overdosing myself. Since I'm much larger than the average Korean, I'm eating them 4 times per day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ramen Redemption

I've been visiting this convenience store, GS-25, in our office building occasionally since we moved here in February. I really don't shop there very often, but they gave me a point card to use. Furthermore, this point card is only good at this one store, not other GS-25 stores. Here in Seoul I have a variety of point cards, but in almost every case I have no idea how to use/redeem my points. Well, that changed yesterday.

I wasn't very hungry, so I went to the GS-25 to buy a sandwich. Turns out my card had collected enough points since February to earn me some ramen (the Korean spelling in English looks funny to me - ramyeon - so I'll use the more common English spelling). I thought the clerk and store owner were trying to tell me I could get 4 cups of ramen, but no.... I earned 4 cases of ramen! There are 40 packs per case, making a total of 160 ramen packs! You'll see in the photo there are only 3 cases - turns out they only had 3 cases in stock yesterday. I'm supposed to come back Monday to get my fourth box.

I'll have to chance my blog name to The Noodling Engineer if I eat all that!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Corn in a Box

One of my friends who has left Korea told me where I could buy some more canned tomatoes, which I used recently to make a Burrito. There is a small shop inside Hyundai Department Store which sells a selection of foreign foods. I found these cans of tomatoes, which includes "chilis and spices". Should be great for Burrito, I think.

Then nearby I saw this BOX of corn! I've never seen corn in a box before, so I'm going to try it. Inside a Burrito maybe?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Have Hibachi...

As a kid, I remember The Stumbling Parents had a couple of small cast iron grills called "HIBACI's". This drawing I scavanged from the web is as close as I can find to those long ago grills (unless The Stumbing Brother still has them collecting dust somewhere in his basement):

You couldn't cook a lot of food fast, but they were very portable. Which is just what my neighbor G and I were looking for the other evening. We have a grand plan of grilling some meat outside on the roof-top garden outside my door. And such an Hibachi would be easy to store for apartment dwellers.

Well, with a little assistance from my Korean language teacher, I have located and ordered the Korean equivalent of an Hibachi. In Korean they call this a Hwa-roh. They arrived this afternoon:

They even came with a pair of gloves (which probably won't fit my big hands). The ones I've seen over the years in America were from cast iron. This Korean one is made from clay - at least it looks and feels like a clay pot. All I need now is charcoal and a cool breeze....

[I'll have to ask one of my English teacher friends why I want to say "an Hibachi" versus "a Hwa-roh"...]

Saturday, October 04, 2008


I met a foreigner a couple weeks at at the sandwich shop where I sometimes eat breakfast. Turns out he is on a team staying here in Seoul, contracting to a large Korean company. Their office is just around the corner from my apartment. We made an appointment to meet at Trevor's bar Beer O'Clock last night. Honestly in the afternoon I was feeling so tired I almost wished I didn't have an appointment. In hindsight, I'm glad I went.

Usually I can count on meeting someone new at Trevor's bar, but last night was especially interesting. First, the gentlemen from my neighborhood arrived. One fellow came from Arizona, and turns out he had worked with a company that I had worked with as a contractor back in the 80's, and he knew the fellow I worked with! Another man was from Boston, and the third man was from Poland. We had an interesting time, shared some good stories about living in Korea and international travel.

After they left, I met a guy who started a software company here in Seoul, writing educational game software for cell phones. Really interesting situation, and I hope he and his partners succeed. But he does have a backup job as an English teacher. Finally I met an American guy who was in the radio broadcast industry for many years until recently. He lived a couple years in the countryside of Korea, and was exposed to a different lifestyle than here in Seoul.

Then finally, just when I was about to leave, I got a surprise phone call from our old friend and former housekeeper SY. She was just leaving the baseball game, and wondered if by chance I was at Trevor's bar (which is just across the street from the baseball stadium). She's heard me mention this place, but has never been there. Well, she dropped by, had a beer, and met Trevor.

So, it was a fun evening, filled with many new and interesting faces and stories. I'm glad I went after all.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Korean Food 102

Dishes, that is, not a course number. This week's Joongang Daily reported that Agriculture Ministry will unify the English names of 102 Korean dishes. Since I know everyone has been waiting for this, I wrote to the reporter, and was sent a list of these 102 foods and their new names.

I apologize for the poor formatting. I had hoped to get a link to the government's website, instead all I got was an MS Word file. I was going to format it myself into a simple HTML table, but I ran into problems. Normal text filtering and processing utilities (grep, sed, head, tail, sort, etc...) don't work well with Korean (unicode) text. At least the simple versions I have on my PC don't. I was able to convert "text to table" in Word, then after a little simple editing, save it as an HTML file. But it's ugly. Sorry.

I was too busy formatting, and haven't studied the list closely. A couple of things did jump out at me, however. Changing "Fermented Soy Bean Paste Soup" to just "Soy Bean Paste Soup" is a step in the right direction. I also noted that The Stumbling Mother's favorite Korean dish, "salted pollack intestines", didn't make the list.

BTW, I did search for this list on the Korean Agriculture Ministry's English Language website. Unlike some English language websites of Korean organizations, this one seemed reasonably up-to-date (Latest news was 2 Sep, less than 1 month old). While I didn't see the list of 102 foods, there were some interesting pages on a few main Korean foods (look under the "Seasoning & Style of Korean Food" tab).

Speaking of Korean foods, I've always relied on this webpage for a fairly comprehensive list of Korean dishes and a description of each. Many of the entries have accompanying photos, and there is an attempt to guage the spiciness of each dish. I don't think there are 100 dishes, but well over 50 it looks like (I'm too lazy to count them).

Elevator Corollary

Realed to the Taxi Theory of mine, I have developed the Elevator Corollary. Whenever The Stumbler arrives at the elevator on the 6th floor, wanting to go down to the main street level, there will always be someone on the elevator going UP to the very top of the building, say the 25th or 26th floor.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mack The Knife

There's an ongoing shakeup of my Korean satellite TV these days. CH received a call this week, saying they were going to quit providing the HD channel. That in itself isn't such a great loss. They didn't have a lot of good programming on that channel. On the other hand, there are a LOT of satellite channels that are transmitting original HD progams in standard definition, so you think they would have plenty of HD programming material to make it an interesting channel. Well, their reported plan also includes adding two movie channels which I think were previously billed as extras, and also adding more childrens' channels. Ok, I guess I can live with that.

That is what they told CH. In practice, they've added the two movie channels (the reason for this post), the HD channel is still being transmitted, but unannounced to us, they have removed the National Geographic and most importantly The Discovery Channel! I don't know what I'm going to do about that. I watch Discovery very often. CH said he would call and see about it, he was surprised they removed it, too, since (a) they didn't mention that in their detailed report of changes, and (b) Discover Channel is VERY popular with Koreans, too.

So what is the point of this? And what does it have to do with Bobby Darin?

Well, I was watching one of these new movie channels last week while cooking dinner, and they were showing a movie Beyond The Sea. It's a movie based on the life of Bobby Darin, and it was fascinating. He was a really interesting character. So now these days I'm listening to his music, having discovered him only 40 years too late...

Freaky Fingers

The last time I went to the bar, I absolutely could NOT believe what I saw on the bar tender's hand. She had a metal letter "D" attached to her fingernail by a small chain which passed through a hole in her fingernail! I was told this was a new kind of "accessory" girls are wearing these days!

I asked her if it was any problem. I'm imagining a lady getting her "accessory" caught in the elevator door, closing a drawer, or just accidentally snagging something when moving your hand around. Yikes! It gives me the shivers just thinking about someone having a fingernail ripped off by one of these accessories. What the Korean ladies do "in the name of fashion" is sometimes crazy. I'll have to ask Young Stumbler #1 if she's seen this trend among her friends back home...

Chusok Re-Gift

The week leading up to Chusok, the Korean "Thanksgiving", many people, families and companies give Chusok presents. In the stores there are huge displays of various Chusok gift sets you can buy. These gifts can be many different items, honey, meat, SPAM, olive oil, etc. Or, if you are like my Canadian friend G, you might get fish. His boss gave him a package of special Jeju Island Mackerel. Unfortunately for G (fortunately for me), he is alergic to fish! As a result, he was able to re-gift these fish to ME!!!! It was a very timely gift. Whether at home, where I frequently cook Salmon steaks which I buy frozen at Costco, or at restaurants where they are served as a side dish, I've been enjoying fish more and more these days. Also, this gave me a chance to use the "grill" feature of my combination oven (that would be the "broil" setting for my American friends). If I understand it right, the combi-oven uses a special halogen light bulb and a fan when operating as a convection oven, the magnetron when in the microwave mode, and it has a set of conventioanal oven heating elements for the grill (broil) setting.

The mackerel fish grilled esily and was delicious. I didn't use any sauce, just plain fish. I served it with hash browned potatoes and zuchinni slices which are dipped in egg and flour then pan fried (this is a common Korean dish). The resulting plate was not very colorful, but it tasted great. Thanks G !!!!!!!

Treble Sauce

I was treated to this interesting sauce at lunch time recently at one of the restaurants here in our office building. You can see the obligatory dish of Kimchi on the left...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dizzy Day

Today started off okay, until I went to the dentist office. I was supposed to have a final imprint of my teeth for the permanent bridge/crown. What I didn't realize that they were going to do some additional drilling and preparation of the two teeth which will hold the bridge. That in itself wasn't a problem, but what was a bit odd was the novocaine anesthetic. He told me that one of these teeth (canine tooth) has really deep roots, and he had to give me a lot of the medicine, and he gave it very deep into my gum. [Syringe image shamelessly borrowed from this NYTimes article]

The first odd thing was as he gave the first shot, I had a sudden but quick HOT sensation at one spot on my face. That went away, but just as he was about to start work on the teeth, I started feeling very light-headed and dizzy and hot. I told them to stop, and give me a few minutes rest. They brought in a small fan, which helped with the sweating somewhat. After a short break, I didn't feel much better, but told them to go ahead anyway. The procedure went well, with no problem. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that I felt dizzy the whole time. After about 1 hour, everything was done. The impression was made, my temporary bridge was re-installed and I was released until next week.

But for the rest of the day, I was completely worthless at doing work. I could not concentrate on anything more complicated than checking email. I tried some serious engineering work, and just had to give up. I did a few administrative things, and finally gave up around 5pm.

Got home, and decided to cook some chicken breast. I figured cooking wouldn't require too much deep thought. Surprisingly, what I prepared came out pretty good. I thawed out one of my frozen chicken breasts from Costco in the microwave, and peeled some potatoes to boil and mash. After a couple cycles of thawing the chicken breast, I decided to try the "combination" feature of my combination oven. If there is a detailed way to control the combi mode of operation, I haven't found it. Instead, there are a few choices, such as C-1, C-2, C-3, etc. I found one labeled for chicken legs, and used that. ( Chicken legs, chicken breasts, at least it was the same animal. ) Then the oven wanted to know how many kilograms my chicken was. I guessed at 1/2 Kg, then pressed start. The time popped up 20 something minutes, and I fired it up.

Then I decided to make something to put on the chicken - mixed up a big spoon of garlic, some butter, and a Japanese rice seasoning that my Hawaiian friends introduced me to for use on fish. ( I know, chicken, fish, but at least both animals live in the ocean... ) In Korea this product is called 친구밥, literally "rice friend". I brushed this mixture on the chicken and went on preparing the mashed potatoes and mixed frozen vegetables (also a Costco purchase).

This was almost as good as something I would get in a restaurant! And pretty easy to prepare, also. The combination mode worked really well. I checked the chicken breast with my meat thermometer when it was done, and the temperature was at the correct value. The outer surface was a little crispy with the garlic crust, and the inside was moist. I'm not sure how much cooking time was saved using the combination mode versus using the ordinary oven mode. I would guess it only saved about 10 or 15 minutes. Regardless of the cooking time, I'm proud of myself. I'll make this again.

And as I write this, my dizziness has almost subsited. I should say I'm very happy with this dentist, despite this odd reaction. The Stumbling Mother says I'm developing an allergy to the -caine family of anesthetics, like she has. I hope not. Next week they will install the permanent bridge (fortunately no anesthetic is involved with that procedure), and that will end this particular dental experience.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


I was listening to some Canadian friends describe the hotel breakfast buffet at their vacation in the Philippines. Suddenly we realized there weren't any pancake restaurants in Seoul (feel free to correct me if anyone knows of any). And since then I've been craving pancakes. Turns out I had all the indgreients except syrup. I quick trip to the store solved that problem last night, and this morning I made a pancake and bacon breakfast. The pancakes were good, although I had the heat a little too high. The maple syrup I found comes from Vermont, but I'll bet the Canadians only eat maple syrup from their homeland (which makes 80% of the world's supply of maple syrup).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Observations

A few random observations from 2 weeks of on and off summer Olympic watching from Seoul.

This ain't my father's handball

When I was a kid, I was introduced to racquetball and handball at the place where my Father worked. To me, handball is just like racquetball, except played with a slightly smaller ball (not unlike a squash ball) and the players just use their hands, not racquets (they do wear padded gloves as I recall). I turn on the Olympic games to see a handball game one evening, and they're not playing in a small room. They're playing on an indoor field (looked like wet Astroturf). It was kind of like soccer, but using a ball in your hands instead of kicking. Accoring to Wikipedia, this Handball is played in Europe (and I presume Asia, since there were several Asian Handball teams on TV). The handball I know is called - please sit down for this - American Handball. This reminds me of the Soccer / Football / American Football name confusion. Can't we at least agree on the names of the games???

They're playing hockey on GRASS!

I need to consult my Canadian friends about this, but one night I turned on the TV and they were playing Hockey on grass! Field Hockey it seems. I guess this is poor-man's hockey? Or perhaps "warm-weather" hockey? The stick looked different from regular ice hockey, and come to think of it, maybe it was THIS sport that looked to be played on wet Astroturf.

Game coverage in a foreign country

I really enjoyed watching the games from another country. I get to see new (to me) sports that aren't popular in the USA, which was quite interesting.

Olympics + HD = Good Match

Despite my Korean satellite service advertising they would be covering the 2008 Olympic games on their HD channel, I never once saw a single event. However, I can pick up most of the over-the-air HD broadcasts. I let me say, HD video is a great match for sporting events. The only slight problem is that usually all the broadcasters would be covering the same event, so if you wanted HD quality, you were stuck with one sport. My other method was watching NBC's coverage of the Olympics using my USA Sling Box installed at The Stumbling Parents home. That was a big contrast between internet video and HD. But at least I could understand the narration of the announcers over the NBC station. They also had a great website devoted to the games, the only problem for me is that all video (live and replays) was blocked for anyone outside the USA.

Archery; how on Earth do they even hit the target?

Archery is very popular here in Korea. Their archery teams (mens and womens) have long winning streaks at the Olympics, as do their individual archers. As you can imagine, I saw a lot of archery. I suddenly gained a huge admiration for the sport when I saw a high speed camera played back in slow motion. When the arrow leaves the bow, it isn't straight. It is like a rubber snake! Oscillating back and forth. I can't imainge how they can hit anything, especially when you also consider the lofted trajectory the arrow follows.

Absent Athlete?

Where was Mark Spitz? He was snubbed?? What's this about? There must be more to this story. I wanna know more... Does everyone remember this famous poster? I think ever girl had it hanging on the wall that year

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fusion Ramyun

Or as we spell it in the USA, Ramen. Actually, I think what we ordinarily buy in the states as Ramen is a Japanese product. The Korean product, Ramyun, is basically the same food modified to suit Korean tastes. For all I know the Chinese have the same dish as well. I was watching some Olympic coverage tonight from home, and decided to prepare some Ramyun. As I've posted before, my Korean friends have repeatedly warned me just how bad a food Ramyun is, and not to eat it often. While all of it is probably not the best food, I think they are particularly concerned about the "instant" style that is sold in all the convenience stores (usually in a styrofoam or thick cardboard package). I've heeded the warning about Ramyon so well, the small 5-pack I have in the kitchen is past the expiration date by 4 months! Given that there's nothing really to go bad in the package, I ate it anyway.

I had been planning to make SPAM Ramyun (thus making it even more unhealthy), and decided to make another variety in addition - cheese Ramyun. Here are the simple steps to making a delicious fusion Cheese-SPAM-Ramyun dish.

Boil the water, get out the Ramyon package:

Prepare the extra ingredients. You're supposed to use green onions, but all I had was regular onion (tasted pretty good to me). You're supposed to only use 1 egg, but I used 3. I didn't have cheddar cheese, so I used some pepper-cheese instead.

Put the noodles and spice packets into the boiling water:

When it's all boiled for 4 minutes,

Add the extra and boil a couple more minutes.

Serve and eat:

This could serve two people, or three thin people. Even The (Large) Stumbler couldn't eat all this, and had some left over for breakfast.

EDIT: Nothing goes better after a Ramyun dinner than a chilled Choco-Pie (see earlier post here).

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Games Begin

Our friend from a few years ago, SC, had moved to Busan a few years ago, opening a successful Curry Restaurant. SC used to work with us, and served as a part-time travel guide during a family visit back in 2005. He came to Seoul this month to visit, so we all got together Friday night for dinner and to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics at a sports bar.

(You will notice SC is wearing a Curry-colored shirt, which we teased him about all night). Another reason for our gathering that night was another friend JI was departing for a week long vacation in Italy. JI is the fuzzy guy on the right (these photos were taken with the cell phone camera, which doesn't have the best quality optics)

The opening ceremonies were really great. I ended up seeing the whole program in about three sittings. We watched most of the entertainment portion Friday night live. Then Saturday morning, I was able to see the parade of countries portion on NBC using my Slingbox. Then Saturday night I caught a repeat of the entertainment portion on local Korean broadcast. At the sports bar, you couldn't hear any audio, so I got a little bit more out of it the second time around.