About Time

For the first time ever, the Korean government will publish a comprehensive white paper on Japan’s sexual enslavement of women, euphemistically referred to as “comfort women,” during World War II. More here



An All-American Day

On Day 22, I caved and went to a Korean Starbucks. And boy was I glad I did. They didn’t just offer Frappuccinos. They served RED BEAN COFFEE Frappuccino with an extra shot of espresso. Wow. It’s a good thing I didn’t discover this delicious, frothy drink earlier. (It’s not a good photo but Korean shopkeepers don’t allow photos inside any restaurants or shops so I had to move quickly.) 



Followed by LE’s request to have pizza for dinner. I saw this on other “American” restaurant menus but I need to report that there is always a “Gorgonzola Pizza” offering that is ALWAYS served with a side of honey. The idea is that you DIP the Gorgonzola pizza in honey. It is bizarre but with an open mind, tasty.


Seoul Traffic

It’s hard to get around a city like Seoul where traffic is highly congested. One taxi driver explained to me that there is the rush hour period from 8:30-9:30/10am and then the “Ajumma” rush hour period from 10-11:30am where all the housewives come out in their cars to go meet their friends for lunch or coffee. Then you hit lunch hour traffic. Then you hit school traffic, followed by leaving work traffic. Luckily, I’ve been getting around without too much K-rage or difficulty but I’ve also learned to avoid going out at certain hours. 

No wonder some of my friends here have chauffeured cars. Who could deal with all that K-rage road-rage? 


The Lady Just Wants a Fried Egg

I need to address how terribly weird and indecisive Koreans are about what whets their appetite. Let’s be clear about one thing: I love the combination of sweet and salty and sour and sweet but these folks have it all mixed up. What do I need to do get a plain fried egg around here? Go to a fancy hotel and get in line at a gross buffet? All the restaurants that serve “brunch” fare around here serve their one or two egg options with a sauce that is made up of one of two ingredients – cheese whiz with ranch sauce and or ketchup based salsa. At one restaurant, when I asked the owner what his “English Egg” dish came with, he said it came with his “secret sauce” on top of the fried egg. When I asked if I could have the egg plain on an English muffin, he looked at me as if I had asked him some outrageous question and then proceeded to kindly explain that “in Korea, people don’t just eat a fried egg.” I wanted to tell him that there was nothing “secret” about his “secret sauce” and wanted to unleash some K-rage but decided to politely ask for a side of plain roasted potatoes. I’ve heard Koreans are considered the “Irish of the East” and maybe that’s true. Lots of potatoes on menus. Guess what the potatoes were served with? A side of gross ketchup based salsa. This was my 12th attempt since arriving in Korea to get a plain fried egg. 

And what is this? Tteokbokki is a rice cake dish that is served typically spicy with lots of gochujang. They made this into a snack? Spicy and sweet. I just had to try it and I could see how this might appeal to Koreans but it is a truly bizarre snack. I would actually describe it as a “schizophrenic” snack. It’s like you can’t make up what you want to taste – spicy, sweet, salty, starchy? 




Inside Zaha Hadid’s Latest Creation

Here’s what I wasn’t impressed with: how little there was to see inside this massive structure known as the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Not sure the folks running this joint know how to present exhibitions or understand the art of curating. There were no permanent exhibits. This 3D building took 5 years and $450 million to build and there is nothing to see inside?!?!
More here.