Gimbap

2014-05-29 13.39.49When I was traveling in Europe this past month (yes, I’ll be milking this for as long as I can), I enjoyed a lot of nice sit down meals at restaurants with wine and all that jazz, but sometimes I needed a quick bite. There were always places selling sandwiches nearby. These sandwiches were cheap, filled with delicious local ingredients that couldn’t be easily replicated anywhere else, and could easily be eaten while walking around and taking in the sights. Seoul does have a fairly ubiquitous sandwich consisting of ham, fried egg, and shredded cabbage on buttered toast, but it isn’t really distinctive like the sandwiches in Spain and Italy were. I started to think that it was a shame that Seoul didn’t have the same sort of iconic sandwich like Madrid’s bocadillo de calamares or Rome’s panino con porchetta that that tourists could look for. But then it occurred to me that I was going about this in a completely wrong manner. Korea didn’t need to have some kimchi and Spam sandwich to market to tourists (although I certainly wouldn’t say no to that idea), it already had a perfectly good substitute that is cheap, local, and can be eaten on the fly. And that’s gimbap. Continue reading

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On Noonchi

What is noonchi*? Noonchi (눈치) is a Korean word used to describe the ability to gauge the situations that one finds oneself in and act accordingly. I suppose the closest one-word translation might be tact, and a better translation might be the ability to take a hint, but noonchi is so much more than that. Since I have absolutely no idea how to explain the concept in an abstract manner, I’ll show some examples of noonchi and hope that it makes sense and if it doesn’t, like I said, it’s an untranslatable concept. Continue reading