Life in Korea – the land that delivers –

honey bread and coffee at I'm Home in Korea

honey bread and coffee at I’m Home in Korea

How is life in Korea? Many friends and followers have asked..Ask me a few months from now and I am sure I will probably tell you something totally different.  And I will most likely look back at these postings and be surprised how differently I feel. But today, after trying to settle here for some time now,  I have to honestly say that things have not been easy. I think I underestimated how long a period 20+ years is. Just like good friends who have lived apart for many years and find that they have changed a lot – I think both Korea and I have changed so much that it will take a while for me to adjust…

So in addition to my regular Korean food posts (my next one will be on sauces), I decided to blog about my new life in Korea while I am trying to settle down. For each post, I plan to write one thing I like (CRISPY), one thing that I really don’t care for (SOGGY) and finally something about restaurant food (YUMMY).

CRISPY

DELIVERY!! Korea, especially Seoul, has amazing delivery service. They are fast too – even furniture is usually delivered within 2-3 days. From fast food, groceries, dry cleaning to furniture, Koreans will deliver just about anything. And if you were to buy some furniture, not only will they deliver, they will also come and assemble it for you. I bought two book cases from a store and they delivered, assembled them in my home and then even inserted shims under the legs to make sure the book cases were leveled. Now, that’s service for you!!

I think this came about mainly because of three reasons: First, Koreans want everything quickly. Second, traffic is so pretty bad here and similar to people who live in big cities in the US, not everyone owns a car so it’s not easy to transport things – especially large heavy items. Third, husbands are usually too busy at work or not handy enough or just not willing to help at home, so professionals are needed to install or set up things for wives who need help.

So if you don’t like to assemble things or carry around heavy items and have very little patience – Korea is the place for you.

SOGGY

NO PERSONAL SPACE. One of the first things I always notice whenever I come here is that Koreans really don’t seem to have any sense of personal space. People bump into you in a crowded store, on the bus, in the elevator and they say nothing. Some people even push you out of their way to get through and usually without saying anything like “excuse me”. Of course, when I lived here before I moved to the US, I don’t think I was bothered by it at all. But now that I’m used to having my personal space, I can’t help but feel that these people were simply being very rude! After spending some time here though, I think I know why this is. Every place is so crowded here and space is so limited everywhere that if you tried to give each other personal space and not fully pack in an elevator, for instance, that would mean you would have to wait another 5 -10 min to take the next elevator. Also, if you were to say ‘excuse me’ every time you bumped into someone, I realized you would be saying that all day long.

Things have changed recently and I see more people who apologize when they bump into me or will wait for the next elevator and not try to totally jam pack an elevator.

So if this ever happens to you, don’t get upset and think they are being rude to you. It’s just what many Koreans are used to.

YUMMY

After few weeks of eating mostly Korean, Chinese, Japanese and then some not so good Italian food, my husband and I were craving for some American food. While looking for a place to go, I found this cute restaurant that served American Breakfast. The restaurant was very appropriately named “I’m Home” –

We ordered a Set Menu which is a very popular way to offer a meal deal in Korea with drink and dessert included. The honey bread (pic above) was freshly baked (bread in Korea is cotton soft – not sure how that’s achieved but that’s the standard bread texture here), served with a spread made from sweet condensed milk.

After the bread, we were served a combination of pancake, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, hash brown and salad. Served with ketchup and pancake syrup. The pancake was a little burnt and the sausage could have been a better quality (tasted like a store bought cocktail sausage) but we were just happy to see and eat a very familiar food. For a couple hours, I felt I was home…

pancake breakfast

pancake breakfast

restaurant I'm home in Seoul

restaurant I’m home in Seoul

 

Comments

  1. Jinny says

    Sorry, I must say that that breakfast doesn’t look too appetizing actually. That was my problem in Korea..soft bread! Come on people, bread is all about a its nice crusty exterior..unless you are 90 and then I understand that you may only want to eat that soft crap! :) I did discover one of the best bakeries ever in Seoul: Amandier near Insadong! Better than most bakeries in Europe! Delivery service is great indeed in Seoul but I found out that people who do that work are paid extremely low salaries and have a really hard time making ends meet, that’s sad.

    • says

      Haha.. I know what you mean about the soft bread. I am also a crust lover – esp. with breads like baguette. There are very good bakeries in the Seochodong(서초동) area too – esp. the ones in Seorae Maaeul (서래마을).

  2. says

    Love this post, keep writing! It’s like a letter from the home I haven’t gotten to live in yet. 😉 Personal space – it was the same when I lived in India – you could be sitting in an empty room and the next person to come in would sit right next to you. I think you’re right, it’s a matter of overcrowding. But also, in the US, we are used to living alone, and that was unusual in Asia (until recently, I think). I know one of my Chinese friends fills his apartment with his sisters just so he doesn’t have to live alone.
    “. . . craving for some American food.” I find this hilarious. I simply can’t imagine wanting American food – I’ve eaten American food only about 2 or 3 times in the last year. But that’s what happens to converts, we become obsessive. 7 kinds of kimchi in my new fridge – yeah – obsessive. 😉
    Looking forward to sauces!

    • says

      Glad you enjoyed my post! And yes, my husband and I both chuckled as we saw the name “I’m home”..it’s funny how you start to things that you didn’t think you would..

    • says

      Thank you! Yes, Korea is very different depending on where you live. Seoul almost seems like a whole different country when compared to the rest of Korea. Hopefully you can visit Seoul sometime soon.

  3. Kaz says

    It’s interesting reading this as I was born in Korea but never returned. I lived in South America, US, Australia, and now Singapore. My husband is Canadian and he wanted to see Korea so we’re going to Seoul in 4 weeks time. I left 36 years ago!
    I’m getting very excited about this trip and have no idea what to expect, so will be reading up. I would appreciate any suggestions/hints to make it a memorable trip, especially with a toddler and a baby.

    • says

      Wow!! 36 years!! Good thing you are coming in the fall time – it’s just too hot and humid right now. Unfortunately I’m no expert on touristy things in Korea but Jeju Island is a must. A visit to 한국민속촌(hankook minsokchon)will get you started in the culture. FYI there are 2 websites that can be helpful – HiKorea (http://www.hikorea.go.kr) and Ministry of Tourism (http://www.mct.go.kr). Look around and if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer whatever I can. Good luck!

  4. says

    Hiii! i just discover your blog and really love it :) i just got married to a native Korean so you can imagine im scrambling around trying to learn how to make Korean food:) Although i learned a little bit from my mom, i realized after i came to Korea that my actual Korean cooking sucks! hahaha! anyways, its been 2 yrs that i have been in Korea and i was wondering, which neighborhood or location is the “i’m Home” restaurant? i would love to eat some real American food once in a while! Thank you so much for all your recipes…

    • says

      I am so happy that you found my blog too!! The “I’m Home” restaurant has 2 locations (동판교 dongpangyo, 죽전 jookjeon) which is near bundang, outside of seoul.The one I went to is in pangyo (성남시 분당구 백현동 578-8) cafe street. The one in jookjeon seems to be bigger and has more trees. Recently I found another one called “Flapjack Pantry (성남시 분당구 판교동 566-9)”. It’s quite small but the food was better. Their pancakes are actually huge and more authentic tasting. It’s really crowded on weekend mornings so you should try to go early (before 10am) or just prepare to wait. Let me know if there’s anything else! You are very welcome and hope you enjoy it!

  5. says

    I always wanted to visit Seoul. I heard from my many Malaysian friends its a great place to visit. People are nice and polite there. May be they compare with ours; Malaysian, that personal space is almost impossible hehe. So there is still much better. South Korea is a popular destination for us. Thank you for the Hallyu stars that gain huge reputation in far east Asia :).

    • says

      Haha..yes, I hope you get to visit Seoul soon! Lovely weather in fall or spring so visit then. DO NOT come here in summer, it’s too hot! And winter is soooo cold..

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