Saturday, August 27, 2011

Abundance Thinks: Eating Dogs

It's a topic that will inevitably come up if you are planning to come to Korea or already here. That is the topic of the Korean cuisine known as boshintang (보신탕) a soup that includes dog meat. I for one have never tried this food and still can't as I just don't see myself eating dog meat. But there are other foreigners in Korea who have tried it out and lived to tell the tale. Included in today's "Abundance Thinks" are those experiences along with posters who have spent some time talking on the humane side of the subject. I hope these posts clear some questions you might have about this kind of food in Korea.

1. In My Time...: An old traveler to Korea, but had a boshintang experience. Here she gets a "pot of dog" and goes at it. Certainly she knew about the controversy but wanted to try it anyways. To hear about the taste and experience check out the post.

2. Hangook Summer: Here we take another person's experience, but this time he just watched his friend eat it.

3. Roboseyo: Now let's get into the issue of raising and slaughtering dogs for meat. Rob highlights for us the animal and cultural rights that this cuisine has created. He articulately gives us an understanding from many view points and also gets you thinking about whether it is right of us to come in and try to change this aspect of Korean culture. Check out the post for a good read.

4. Karori to Korea: Generally speaking there have been times I have wondered if Korea even has an animal rights group. I've seen animals on TV programs abused and handled in awful ways. Well on this post we see that people do care and even take their angst to the streets.

The topic of eating dog meat might come up someday with your Korean counterparts at work. It might be a good idea to get an understanding of the issue from all sides before leashing out some opinions. Remember not all Korean people eat dog meat and some even don't want to. In that case, don't assume all people in Korea eat it or support the practice. I hope these posts give you insight into the taste and political aspects surrounding this kind of food.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Abundance Aid: Visiting the Doctor

Whether it happens to you in your first week in Korea or not until your 12th month it is inevitable  that you will get sick living here. This is especially true being a teacher and being around the not-so clean habits of young students. (Not covering their mouth when they sneeze or cough and not washing their hands after a trip to the bathroom.) So it is that you will find yourself at a local doctor's office or hospital visiting someone who you hope speaks English. Today's Abundance Aid post takes you into Kbloggers experience with visiting the doctor in Korea (for various reasons) and the wisdom that they can pass on.

I for one have never had an unpleasant experience at a doctor's office here in Korea, and found both the price and service to be quite satisfactory.

1. Plate Full of Onions: If your nervous about going to the doctor your first time in Korea, well don't be. Here one of the authors had the sniffles and got out just fine. They also highlight one of the interesting things of getting a doctor's visit and that is the pill packs you get. Check out the post to get a better idea.

2. Biz and Steve: Although the two have returned home and finished their journey in Korea their posts are still valuable. When it is cold and flu season in Korea there are some cultural remedies that you can use to thwart getting sick. Here they explore a citrus example to try and stay healthy.

3. Seoul Searching: Here we have a tail of a Kblogger spending some time at a hospital. I actually visited her while she was there and would say that the "normal" accommodations are like being shacked up in a dorm room, but with old-sick people. It seemed pleasant enough with privacy curtains to give a bit of comfort. Take a look at her post to get a more real understanding of what it is like.

4. Karori to Korea: Another set of folks almost on their way out of Korea, but do have a doctor tale to tell. Again we see how it is a simple operation to go to the doctor and get your pills.

5. Kiwi Wonju Blogger: There are times when western medicine isn't so cutting edge, and one would rather try their hand at oriental medicine. Thankfully, Korea is abound with oriental medicine clinics. After having some muscle pain he decided to try his hand at one of these clinics, to find himself having a unique experience including acupuncture and other things. Check it out!

Whether we like it or not someday we will get sick in Korea (knock on wood) and we could try and stick it out, but the best thing is to see a doctor. I hope these posts give you some insight into what it is like in Korea, and also that it isn't such a big deal.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Abundance Buzz: Cat or Dog Cafes

Purrrrr! Woof! Woof! Being far from home you know you miss your parents and friends. But you might not expect that you miss those furry pals in your life. With the lack of back or front yards and our houses usually being the size of shoe boxes, having a pet might seem like a bad idea. Although, many folks do have pets in Korea. Yet if you are craving some fur ball love than there are places to go that can help you get your fix. These are called cat or dog cafes, and I believe they got their start in Japan. In fact my first experience at a cat cafe was in Japan, and I was really blown away at how awesome the concept was.

Since my three years in Korea I have seen cat and dog cafes blossom around Seoul and elsewhere. The following are Kblogger's encounters with pet cafes.

1. Eleonora's Life in Korea: In Hongdae you can find the Geo Cat Cafe, which is one of the better known cafes. Here the writer had a good time playing with some cats and enjoying the atmosphere.

2. Seoul Searching: If cat's aren't your thing than maybe you would be interested in a dog cafe. Another Hongdae location and called the "Bau House" here you can pet dogs and play with them, for a small fee of course.

3. Karori to Korea: Perhaps you don't still get the gist of what a cat cafe is like, than why not check out the videos in this post to get a better visualization.

4. Coco in Korea: She takes us to "Hello Cat" in Cheongju where you not just pet pretty kitties but also sip on some yummy drinks. She remarked on how the place smelled clean, which is to show that these places are not really as dirty as we may think.

As for myself I practically live in a cat cafe, except so far the occupancy is just one cat. But I like to get out to these places as it is fun to watch the animals play and do whatever it is they do. (Mostly sleep)

Have you been to a pet cafe? If so do share!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Abundance Yum!: Seafood

Korean cuisine is one that has many varieties, where you can go from a tasty rice dish to a strange configuration of sea creatures. I for one am not a fan of eating seafood, especially if it isn't salmon and not cooked over an open flame with a hint of lemon. When it comes to seafood, in Korea, you can pretty much find about anything. Live octopus, sea squirts and eels are just to name a few. Now and then people try their hand at this out-of-sight food and the results can be surprising. Today I will show you a list of Kbloggers who have tried their hand at seafood dishes in Korea and came out safely on the other end.

1. The View From Over Here: Let's start off with some fresh live fish! On her post she takes us to Jeju Island where she experienced 회 or non-cooked fish. The post is a fun read and also gives you info about stuff to do when in Jeju. It definitely shows you how varied your choices are of seafood here in Korea.

2. Ah-lum-dahp-da: From fish I now take you to the spiky crab. In this post she ventures to Yeongdeok for some very delicious but also expensive crabs. Another good post here and also one that shows you another side of Korea you may not have seen before.

3. Buhay sa Korea: What do you think when I say the word, "fishballs"? Probably not exactly appetizing thoughts. I for one don't like odeng but a lot of other people do. In this post we go into the kitchen and see the author cook up some fish balls. Go check it out to see what it is all about.

4. Shinshine: Lastly I take you to the wonderful world of octopus. You cannot get me to eat one of these guys, and as much as my school likes to hide little bits inside pancakes or soup I still refuse. But there are many people out there who just love to eat up this 8 legged creature. Here you can see a recipe and also maybe learn something?


silken tofu 순두부 (sun du bu)
oyster (gul)
garlic chive 부추 (bu chu)

Maybe the next time your out looking for something to eat perhaps you will be interested in the creatures of the sea for your next dinner. If so do share it with us. :)