Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fun Korean Stuff: Dyeing Your Fingernails With Garden Balsam 봉숭아

1.      In Korea, girls and women dye their fingernails and toenails orange using Garden Balsam
         (Impatiens Balsamina 봉숭아).
2.      The flowers can be found everywhere during the summer months.
3.      If you can’t find the flowers, you can buy the powder instead (봉숭아 묻들이기).

For the first week the orange color will be a bit too strong and look like nicotine stains, also your fingers will be stained for about two weeks.

This is two weeks later.  You'll notice that there are no longer any stains on my fingers and that the color on my nails has faded nicely.  The only problem is that the color is not even.  My pointer fingernail is much lighter than my pinky.

1.   In the olden days it was used to ward off evil spirits.
2.   In China it was used as a nail polish, I'm guessing it was the same in Korea as well.
3.   A cute love tradition – if the orange color remains by the first snowfall then you will marry your true love.
4.   It’s pretty.
5    These days it’s done as a way of preserving tradition.  Koreans are big on that and it’s cool.

1.      In Korea, the flowers and leaves can be used after the heavy summer rains, mid to late
2.      The flowers and leaves can be frozen and used year round.

1.      Pick the flowers and leaves off the plant.  You will need one handful for one hand.
2.      Crush them.  I used the bottom of a rolling pin and a bowl for mixing face masks.
3.      Apply the mixture to your fingernails or toenails, wrap in plastic, and tie with string or tape.
         (I didn’t use string and the plastic kept on falling off while I was sleeping cause I move around  a lot).  The mixture will go onto your fingers as well.  No worries, it'll wash off in about two weeks.
4.      Sleep, as in go to bed. kkkkk
5.      When you wake up, remove plastic and wash the mixture off.
6.      Apply a clear coat of nail polish to make it look brighter.

Other Uses for Garden Balsam:
1.      You can use the mixture to make dyes for clothes.
2.      In the olden days, Koreans would plant them around their homes to ward off bad spirits ie.
         Cholera,  and other diseases.
Korean Movies and Songs that Refer to Garden Balsam:
1.      Daddy Long Legs – 키다리 아저씨
2.      A Millionaire’s First Love

Naver How To Links:
      2.    How To Do It Again - This Time With Salt Added? – is that salt added to the mixture?
3.    You Can Buy The Mixture: 봉숭아 물들이기 – you can buy the flower mixture rather than making it on your own.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My First Korean Paragraph: 증도 여행

이주 전에 우리 가족들은 증도에 여행을 갔어요.  증도는 우리남편의 고향이에요. 한국 남서쪽에 있는데, 관광지로 유명해요.  거기에서 태평염생식물원을 방문했어요.

그곳은 너무 재미있었어요. 짱뚱어, 농게, 퉁퉁마디를 봤어요.

중도 식당에서 맛있는 장어를 먹었어요.

증도에 가는 길에 망향휴게소를 방문했는데 호떡, 도너츠, 통감자, 고구마스틱, 호두과자 먹었어요. 우와 맛있었어요!

Link to my post about Korean rest stop food: Here

Monday, August 15, 2011

Daughter of Korea's Favorite Korean Things: Highway Rest Stops 휴게소

Without a doubt one of my favorite things in Korea is the highway rest stop (휴게소).  It's part and parcel of taking a vacay in Korea.  You can't find these rest stops just anywhere though, they can only be found along the major highways.  The reason I like them so much is that there's such a variety of food and so much to see, it's like cruising a Taiwanese night market - well not quite but kind of.^^

The Korean word for rest stop is 휴게소.

This is typical rest stop food, it's also typical street food.  It's chicken galbi on a stick.  To be honest I've never eaten one while in Korea cause I have a bad stomach and don't wanna risk getting diarrhea on a road trip@@  The reason I think I have such a bad stomach is cause I only ate night market food while in Taiwan for 2 years straight.

Waffles and next to them on the left fish sticks?

Corn dogs.

Corn on a cob.  I never touch this either - too healthy kkkkk

Dukbolgi - the most typical Korean street food.  I only like to eat it in the winter.

Squid.  Very smelly but delicious with beer.

This is the Korean sign for walnut cakes.

The inside of a walnut cake has a walnut and red bean paste.  Taiwan has a similiar cake but there is custard inside as well.  I personally like the custard ones better.

These are rest stop potatoes.  Maybe just as famous as walnut cakes because you can only find them at highway rest stops.  Here's a recipe for them from my favorite Korean food site Aeri's Kitchen Rest Stop Potato

Hodduck is an oily flap jack (not pancake but fried bread dough) with brown sugar and seasame seeds in the middle.  Super tasty - once again I only like to eat it in the winter cause it's hot and oily.

Sweet Potato Fries.

Korean Toast - Super yummy!

Meat on a stick.  These go for around $2US.

The only thing that I've noticed Korean rest stops lack is proper and delicious coffee.

These places are always super packed on the summer weekends.  Here you can order typical Korean food - fried rice, cold noodles, rice rolls, fried pork cutlets, soups, ect.

You can pretty much buy anything you'll need for a trip to the beach or mountains or wherever you're going.

Not all rest stops are created equal of course but some are pretty awesome.  The one we went to - 망향 - had loads of information for tourists, maps, nursing rooms, children's potties, bank machines, restaurants, ect.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Best Korean Bean Sprout Soup Recipe: My Korean Kitchen

Well I finally found a recipe for bean sprout soup (kongnamul gook) that works.  I've tried 3-4 before and I've always been disappointed.  One time when I made hubby the soup, shortly after he said he had a stomachache and wanted to throw up@@  Bean sprout soup seems so very basic yet it is finicky and delicate. Cook it too long and the taste goes down the drain, add too little garlic or salt and the taste is so bland, too much seasoning and well you'll feel like my hubby did^^

Link to My Korean Kitchen Recipe: Bean Sprout Soup

Recommendations: Let the anchovies and kelp boil for at least 5 minutes before removing them, add 1 tsp of minced garlic instead of 1/2.  You can serve this soup cold as well.  When you serve it, add a dash of seasame seeds. Don't skip out on the green chilli, it really adds a very subtle enjoyable slightly spicy taste that even toddlers can eat.

I served the bean sprout soup cold with bibimbap.  The fresh, light taste of the soup helps relieve the mouth of the burning gochujung fire^^  Just in case you are wondering, the green leaves in the bibimbap are perilla.

For my son, I served just the broth and was sure not to scrape up any of the "stuff" at the bottom of the soup - you know all the ingredients that settle to the bottom of a bowl - the bad stuff that'll give you cancer - I know this cause I saw it on TV^^ For his bibimbap I skipped the red pepper paste (gochujung) and used seasame oil to flavor the veggies and rice.

Look at that color!  It's perfect.  Exactly what you wanna eat on a hot humid summer's day!

Thanks to My Korean Kitchen I can now make bean sprout soup!  There are a lot of other recipes on the site that I want to try.  This site looks like a good find for people who want to make Korean food with proper recipes that actually work. ^^

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Free Door-to-Door Korean Classes for F2 and F5 Expats Started

 Information about the classes in Seoul + the rest of Korea and how to join: HERE

 Classes started today.  I thought they were for 10 months but found out they last for 20 weeks. This information is confusing though because friends of mine told me that their classes are for 40 weeks.

 The teacher gave me two notebooks for practicing writing with a cute little pencil case that contains two pencils, an eraser, and blades - I guess I should use them for sharpening the pencils ^^ The textbook is specifically made for wives of Korean men living in Korea.  I asked my teacher today if there were books for men married to Korean women but there are not.  As well there are only books 1 and 2 so far, apparenlty books 3 and 4 will be coming out soon.

The first class is all about filling out forms and taking a test.  The test is both written and spoken and both are pretty easy.  I'm at a level 2, below you can see what Chapter 1 level 2 is like.  It's not so hard.  The teacher talked so so much.  Hopefully she was doing so cause she was nervous cause it was the first time meeting.  The teachers are volunteers so have patience with them.

Classes are 2 a week for 2 hours. There are also classes for children from 3years (international age) and up.

I will post some pictures of the topics from the book, they are pretty interesting!