Monday, November 17, 2014

100 yeeeeaaaah booooooooooiiiiiiiii !!!

Made it! ....and it's not even December, ha! In your face procrastinating me!

To make it to the BIG 100, it's all about food. Yes, I am a puerca!

97. Stinky fruit called ginkgo. Imagine it's mid autumn. You're walking down a nice lane with some beautiful trees. A cool breeze hits your face and you smile. And then, you smell vomit.  Ugh.

It's a tree that bears something called the ginkgo nut. It's a small yellow-orangeish little thing that when it falls to the ground and rots, it emits the most awful smell. Well, to me it is. I am very sensitive to anything that smells like vomit, like papaya, big ew! When I first smelled it, I had nooooo idea where the smell was coming from; I even looked around for the vomit. I think I then saw a post from another person asking what the smell was, and someone told them it was the ginkgo fruit.

There are a ton of these trees everywhere in Korea, even here in the big city. Apparently they also exist in some U.S. cities, but I've definitely have not seen them in San Diego.

When I went to the Jisan Rock Festival in 2012, I saw some harmonies picking up the fruit from the ground and off the trees. I didn't understand why, but then I found out that inside the fruit there's a little nut that people eat. I'm still not sure how it's prepared, but if it smells the same after it's prepared, I would not try it in a million years. Sorry, gagging is just not something I enjoy. But I am still interested in how it's prepared, so if you have any insight, shoot!

98. Gogoma (sweet potato). I've talked before about sweet potato lattes, yum! But in Korea, gogoma is everywhere! ...and it's delicious!

Gogoma chips.
Gogoma pizza.
nuf said.

99. Cheonwon waffles. In a hurry? On a budget? Need a snack? Want something sweet? All these questions can be answered by this delicious treat that will only cost you 1,000 won (about .90 cents). Usually inside subway stations you can find stands that sell them. They will always be made ahead of time, but they warm them up, so it doesn't take long to get one. Most places will offer two flavors: vanilla and strawberry, both with a layer of some honey-type spread; I always have ttalgi. However, if you're lucky, you may run into a stand that also has ice cream waffles for the same price!! Helloooooooooo sweet darling, come to momma!
talgi waple 와플 (yes, you have to say it like this otherwise the ajummas won't understand you)
And trust me, it fills you up enough to get you through your next meal. They're especially irresistible because the stands also sell manjoo, a little bread filled with custard. Since they make those almost non-stop all the time, the smell of fresh bread will always make you hungry. 


100. Tteokbokki. My all time favorite street snack! Rice cakes bathed in a spicy red sauce. So simple. Two very basic ingredients. Magic! ...sometimes fishcakes are added, but I don't care for those too much.

Tteokpoki is a common street food found almost anywhere and it's eaten on the spot. Most stands will sell a small bowl of it for 1,500won. 

My favorite is this mom n' pop's stand near my house. They sell a huge portion of it for only 3,000 won. Though it's not meant to be a meal, I make it one. How? I bring it home, and I add either shrimp or tuna and top it off with cheese. Serve with a side salad and red wine, yuuuuum!!!
My homemade(ish) tteokbokki with an omelet and side salad

I sometimes also make it a home though not from scratch. I buy the rice cakes and boil them. Drain and then add the sauce; my favorite one is the Ottogi brand sold anywhere. Easy peasy!

Damn, this is why I avoid writing about food, I'm hungry now!

Peace! ...gonna make some dinner.


  1. Regarding your question, how Koreans prepare ginkgo nut, I'll give you the answer. As you know ginkgo nut trees are really common in Korea because it's known for purifying dusts in the air (plus, it lives a long life). So people pick up ginkgo nuts and bring them to the kitchen and wash them out. Then dry them properly because this process help remove their odor. If they're dried, we put them in the empty milk pack and cover it with something else or close the pack's entrance. After that, microwave it around 1 minute. Then it will pop like a popcorn. Some people cook ginkgo nuts by pan and others sometimes add some salt or herb flavours in it. Ginkgo nuts are also added to many of Korean traditional foods. You can also find rice porridge made of ginkgo. Though I have no idea what its taste like cause I don't really enjoy it, I can say many Koreans enjoy this nut.

  2. Wow!! Thanks M! I'm now curious about the taste of the gingko popcorn hehehehe

    Thanks for reading!

    1. ps. It does pop, but it'll not look like usual popcorn we know :) It just makes 'popping' sounds. Oh, and make sure peeling the surface of them if you want to have some. They might be softened if you cook them. My dad said ginkgo nuts are salty cause most people add salts while cooking. It'd be nice to try some. And I hope you keep uploading these lists cause it's one of my pleasures thesedays :P