Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Food Cravings...

The closer I get to going home, the more I start thinking about what foods I am looking forward to eating again.  Korea has welcomed a lot of new foods and avenues of cooking in the past few years, but there are still a few things that it doesn't have just yet.

I'm fortunate enough to be arriving home in time for Easter dinner, which means I can try and combat my impending jet lag with my mom's ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits, corn, and collard greens.  But what about after that?

Instead of visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, I think it's more like Bojangles biscuits, pulled pork barbecue sandwiches, and frozen yogurt that fuel my food fantasies.  With every day crossed off on my calendar, I think of another food that I can't wait to eat.  It's said that being in Korea can erase a lot of your food cravings, and that is true.  But some cravings never go away, no matter how much time or distance you put between yourself and those treats.

When I sat down and actually thought about making a list, I was surprised at what ended up on the list, especially when I let my mind wander to all the things that you can't readily get over here.  For example, I am stoked for Mexican food at some of my favorite restaurants at home--with fresh cilantro and limes!  Korea has a bevy of different places you can eat Mexican food (or some version thereof), but most of those places are located in Seoul, which can be quite a trek for anyone not living nearby.

And while I've become used to the Korean version of Chinese food, what I wouldn't give for some "American food court style" Chinese, complete with egg rolls and spicy mustard.  I'm crossing my fingers that the delicious buffet near my house is still open.

The one thing that I haven't been able to have in Korea since Hard Rock Cafe in Itaewon closed:  pulled pork barbecue.  Whether you take it with the tangy vinegar sauce or on the sweeter side with a tomato-based sauce, either way it's delicious with some coleslaw, hush-puppies, and a cold glass of sweet tea.  Give me that or a Bojangles chicken biscuit for a pregame meal, and I'm in heaven.

I also am looking forward to having more variety in the cereal aisle.  As anyone who's ever gone shopping in a grocery store in Korea can attest, the range of cereal available is sad.  Most of the options are the sugary kinds geared towards kids, with few options in the healthy category.  It's gotten better over the past few years with the addition of more Tesco brand cereals, but I am still missing brands like Cheerios, Kix, Chex, and Raisin Bran.  (A box or two of Lucky Charms would be nice, too!)

Another thing I miss a lot is a variety in chocolate candy.  Chocolate you buy here tastes different than chocolate you would get back home, and lacks that "oomph" in the flavor I enjoy.  I recently received some mint chocolate that was made back home as a gift, and the taste between that and a Market-O chocolate was quite different.  Plus, there are some candies that haven't made the jump across the ocean yet. I've only ever come across Reese's Peanut Butter Cups twice in my time in Korea, and both times the price was shocking.  That's the beauty of places like Target and WalMart I suppose!  I also miss York Peppermint Patties and Baby Ruth's.

While living in Korea has eliminated some of my cravings, some can never be forgotten.  Not only am I looking forward to enjoying those foods soon, I get to try and exercise the important skill of moderation with re-introducing those foods to my diet.  Unfortunately, I learned the hard way during my first visit that it isn't easy to go back and eat the way you used to at home.  Certainly more prepared this time around.  


  1. It's amazing how big a role food plays in our connections to places. I swear at least (LEAST) once a week I wish for a Bojangles to appear in New England or some Pulled Pork & Hush Puppies to appear on my doorstep.

    But now I also miss some of the Hungarian food I grew to love. I'm sure that will be the case with you from Korea. Foods you take for granted now, after five years, will become the things you crave because you can't get your hands on them!

    You must be getting so excited!

    1. A lot of my food cravings are tied to places or memories that I shared with people whilst eating those foods! It'll be nice to get to eat home food again, but I know what you mean about wanting to eat Hungarian food again. I'm sure at some point I will have a craving for some Korean food, just thankful that there is a sizable Korean population in Raleigh and a few restaurants that can satisfy those future cravings!

      I am majorly excited to see people and enjoy a slower pace of life for a change. I feel like I've been running on 4 cylinders for my whole time here. :)

  2. European chocolate is the best chocolate imo. Hope you have a safe trip back. :)

    1. European chocolate is definitely delicious, and I have a higher regard for it over Hershey's. :) If I could rank them, European would be first and Asian would have to be last on the list, sadly. I don't know how they are making it here or what happens behind the scenes, but it has just never tasted the same.

      Thanks for the well-wishes! I hope to see you in Sanford soon!

  3. I don't think I'll ever stop missing having a slice or two of pizza from Joe's Pizza with fresh mozzarella on top. Also, having grown up with REAL Hong Kong/Cantonese style Chinese food from Chinatown I would kill for a bowl of wonton noodles with roast duck, char siu bao (roast pork buns), a proper roast duck and some cool chrysanthemum tea for summertime. I nearly wept when I found a Chinese place that served those noodles when I visited Shimonoseki a couple years ago. I am thankful that at least there is a Filipino community here and I can eat our good food and speak Tagalog with other Pinoys.


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