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BHC Chicken N’ Beer

25 Jan

Checing out #BHC for their chicken ‘n beer menu! It’s quite tasty! The owner recommended this chicken – spicy sweet n’ sour. Delicious with a good fry! It was a really fun restaurant, kind of like a local pub. ❤ If you’re in #Seoul, give it a try!

I tried the one in Chungmuro — Take Exit 2, turn right and walk a while. It’s on the corner with a few steps leading up and the a door with stairs going down to the lower floors. You can check out their other locations too!

Coronavirus Alerts

23 Jan

Well this coronovirus is slightly disconcerting 🤔😷 But aren’t my students so sweet? 😍 Rumor has it a lot of towns are now out of face masks – told my kids to drink orange juice and get sunlight for their immune systems. 💪💪. In Korea for now, will hopefully avoid it.

South Korean Mung Bean Pancakes

23 Jan

As proclaimed food appreciators, we had to test out the Korean Street food. Mung Bean and pork mung bean pancakes! Tried the pork one and it was pretty good! Kind of like a hashbrown texture? Very onion and potatoesque 👍These pancakes were cooked fresh at the street stall in Namdaemun, Seoul. 🇰🇷

Have you ever tried mung bean? What’s your thoughts?!?

Riding with Zao Jun

21 Jan

Kitchen God (Zao Jun) was on my bus! Hope everyone gets a good report this year

Little Chinese New Year

18 Jan

Today (January 17th) is the ‘Little Chinese New Year‘ – also known as the Kitchen God Festival (北方小年)! It’s the day to start the ‘pre-new year’ preparations.

There are two versions of the holiday:

  • 北方小年 or Běifāng xiǎo nián which represents the ‘Little Year’ to the north. Celebrated on January 17, 2020.
  • 南方小年 or Nánfāng xiǎo nián which represents the ‘Little Year’ to the south. Celebrated on January 18, 2020.

*Based on students’ responses, it appears there is a difference in when the holiday is celebrated based on geographic location. Same holiday, different days.

The Stove-top Origins

In ancient Chinese culture, the stove was a very important part of the family’s wealth. Closely related to signs of prosperity and unity.

The home to house the stove and food to cook within were signs of abundance and wealth. While the family who ate food produced in the same oven represented a family at peace. When a younger son started his own family line, he would produce his own stove and carefully shift coals over to show that his household now stood independent. (Source)

It is little surprise then that myths surrounding a kitchen god formed.

The Legend Begins

The stories vary, but the most popular version is one which started in the BC era. There once was a man named Zao Jun (灶君) who for some reason did wrong by his wife. Some say he had an affair with a younger woman, other that he was poor and sold his wife to another man in marriage.

Whatever the reason, he then fell into greater poverty and misery. Wandering earth, he happened upon his wife again in later years and confessed his regret and sorrow at his past actions. A good cook and virtuous woman, his wife forgave him and offered him some food and aid.

Unfortunately, he is either overwhelmed with guilt at her kindness or misunderstands her good intentions (depends on the version) and commits suicide in grief. The heavens take pity on the poor man and turn him into a kitchen god where he is reunited with his wife.

The Current Myth

Modern versions of the tradition hold that each home hosts their own ‘Kitchen God’ who sits watch over the family throughout the year. He is assisted by his wife who keeps a careful written record of the family’s good and bad deeds. He and his wife may even by represented with a portrait or painting of his depiction placed in the kitchen where he keeps his watchful eye.

Then, during the week before the new year, the kitchen god and his wife take their account back to the immortal world. There he gives his report to the Jade Emperor who will pass judgment and issue corresponding rewards or punishments to the family.

The goal is to receive blessings, and make a good start for next year. It’s a time of reconciling, cleaning the house, and putting old misdeeds and history aside. A time to get everything ready for the new year to come.


The Holiday Today

No photo description available.
Door Hangings for the New Year

Even families who don’t believe in the legend anymore still participate in the fun traditions surrounding it. Some of the fun activities include:

  • Getting a hair cut ~ the young guys are out with dapper style in their new do’s.
  • Getting new clothes and putting aside worn out older sets. Time to clean out the closet!
  • Take down old decorations and put up new ones. In China, many of the new year decorations are left up all year long – particularly those on the doors and the Chinese lanterns hanging everywhere.
  • This includes taking down the old picture of the kitchen god, burning it, and replacing it with a new portrait.
  • Burn sacrifices, money, and foods for the ancestors & family gods in hopes that they will intervene with the heavens and help spread good stories about the family. Lots of burning in the streets right now up north.
  • Eating homemade dumplings
  • Giving the house a thorough scrubbing
  • Shoot fireworks to help encourage him on his way!

One of our favorites comes from a student who shared that many people will eat sticky maltose-based candies and offer them as sacrifices. Apparently their hope is to either bribe the kitchen god with sweets or stick the mouth shut of his wife because she’s too gossipy.

Either way, we’re always in where candy is involved!

It’s mostly a kind of ‘spring cleaning’ festival, but be careful – don’t clean on the first of the holiday or you’ll offend the kitchen god! As one student put it ‘don’t throw out the rubbish or he’ll think you see him as rubbish’. So get your cleaning in now!

Grape Cheesecake

9 Jan

New Taste Testing!

My student brought me some grape cheesecakes 😃🍰🍇🤔

Tried them today and its. . . very grapey? If that makes sense? Tastes like a combination of cheesecake with dimeatapp / grape soda if that makes sense? Not bad really! Very sweet though 😃😃.

Asian Architecture

23 Dec

View through the hidey hole 🌷🔍 I love the round windows in East Asian architecture. This is inside a greenhouse – you’d never guess it was -5 outside 😊☃️

Walnuts For Sale!

13 Dec

Did you know when you buy walnuts, you should shake each one first? If it rattles, it’s dried and you should put it back! Find the ones that don’t shake 😃

*I know this because I was,shopping like an uncouth wild thing just picking up a handful and a Chinese nai nai shook her head in a tsk-tsk manner and started teaching me the proper way 😊

(Nai Nai – grandmother -奶奶)

Mental Health

3 Dec

We all need a good break down every so often! But I’d prefer not to do it in a Korean tea shop bathroom 😂

Tea Time in Insadong

30 Nov

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