By: Julie Dickinson, Foster Undergraduate
I wouldn’t be doing Korea justice if I didn’t pay homage to one of the countries greatest delicacies…its cuisine. Before going to Korea I had never tried Korean food…not even once. I had heard it was incredible and quite honestly I’ve never met a food I didn’t like (except quiche) so I was very much looking forward to trying out a new thing. However, Korea presented three realities that I was extraordinarily underprepared for: 1. In Korea, you only eat Korean food 2. There are thousands of different Korean dishes but they basically all consist of the same four ingredients 3. This last one is embarrassing but…Korean’s use chopsticks…exclusively. Needless to say upon arrival I was like a fish out of water, or rather a white girl without her beloved fork and knife. My lack of chopstick knowledge is absolutely pathetic but honestly I’ve spent hours on end trying to perfect the art (I can’t hold a pencil correctly either so I suspect there is a high correlation between the two). Not only are fork and knife not used in Korea, they are unheard of. My amused but gracious Korean friend suggested I buy a bag of forks and keep them in my purse at all times. Luckily for me, my western tendencies amused the Koreans to such a great extent that I was able to make fast friends by bonding over my lack of knowhow. I digress…the point of the story is that Korean food is out of this world and if you’ve never tried it I highly suggest you embark upon trying it ASAP. Kimchi (fermented cabbage) is served with literally everything and by everything I mean everything… Upon leaving Korea I was having such bad Kimchi withdrawals and unfortunately unless you know how to make it yourself its hard to come by in the States. Not only does Kimchi taste amazing (in my humble opinion) it’s also one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Not to mention Kimchi is so steeped in Korean history that there are entire museums dedicated to the art of fermenting the cabbage. Needless to say, if I had to spend the rest of my life eating one cuisine I would be more than ok with that cuisine consisting of spicy, fermented, sticky Korean food…even if I did have to fumble around with chopsticks.