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UFOs in Korea

Ever Evolving Primate: Travel, photography, food, cooking, and just about anything else.: UFOs in Korea

Thursday, March 24, 2011

UFOs in Korea

Today I coined a new term to use in my life here in Korea., not the alien spaceship kind, but rather the kind that often appears in my school lunch, at the food stalls on the street, or even as bahn jahn with a nice meal. Unidentified Food Object. UFOs are sometimes great, like Mung Bean Jelly was before it became a Named Food Object. Some of them are not so great, and these usually appear in meals from the school cafeteria. Here are a few memorable ones from this week.

1) It looks like noodles, but no, those aren't sesame seeds, they're EYES! You're eating tiny, clear, BIG EYED fish. These often come with some sort of sweet seasoning and almonds. They have a gag factor of about 6/10. I haven't had the opportunity to photograph them, but I'll get a picture one day. When I see these on the kids' trays in the cafeteria my heart sinks because I'm going to be hungry all afternoon. It's hard to describe the flavor, I think they fit the idea of "it tastes like what you dip it in," but the texture is somewhere between copper wire and cardboard. And they look at you.

2) It also looks like noodles, but I don't know WHAT it is. Probably some sort of candied radish? These are difficult to eat because they're kind of pointy and don't want to go into your mouth easily. They taste like...I don't know, candied radish maybe, but the texture is quite similar to the tiny fish described above. They have a low gag factor though, I'd say maybe a 2/10.

3) It looks like pineapple chunks, but covered in kimchi paste. And it tastes like...candied kimchi paste. It might actually be candied or pickled radish in kimchi paste. Very low gag factor unless the bite is too big (there's no cutting your bites when you eat with chopsticks.)

4) That orange-ish brownish stew. You put the stew in your bowl and then cover it with broth. I believe this might be called dubu jigae, but I'm not sure. Usually there's lots of cabbage, onion, and radish leaves, chunks of something that looks like blood sausage made of tofu and there might sometimes be hot dogs or SPAM in it. I like it better with hot dogs and spam. The gag factor varies between a 1/10 and a 6/10 depending upon the ingredients.

5) Those long black things that look like noodles or black green onions. I don't have a clue what these are. The texture is similar to what the texture of a much larger tiny fish would be, the flavor is "whatever you dip it in" and it often occurs on bibimbap day. Strong gag factor 5/10. I also get sad when I see this.

6) The leftovers fried rice. You can usually tell most of what's in it. But it's never good news. Usually it's the leftovers of all the items mentioned here at the end of the week. You can't blame the school food service for using everything it buys, but you'd better eat a big breakfast when this rolls around. High gag factor 8/10.

It's really funny because I used to be quite the picky eater, but now I'm happy if it has tentacles because at least I have a clue as to what it is, and if it has leaves I know it doesn't have eyes. It's the UFOs that cause my gag reflex to warm up.

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At March 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

I would SO love to be a fly on the wall when you put these UFOs into your mouth! I guess the gag factor of lettuce used to be 10/10?


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