One of the harder things about living in Korea is being so homesick for "American foods" that we took for granted when at home. You know, things like cheese, salsa, strawberries, bacon, and tortillas. It's true that some of the things that we miss ARE available in Korean stores but many are only available at foreign markets in places like Seoul. Those that are easily found are crazy expensive though.
Strawberries must have just come into season wherever the stores import them from because we are seeing them appear practically everywhere. At home on a good day I would buy a pound of strawberries for $1 or $1.50. Here the cheapest we have seen them is for about $5.50 a pound!
We are able to find cheese at the stores as well. Unfortunately it is all the super processed, sliced, Kraft-singles-esque types of cheese and all of the varieties we have tried have been horrible. Needlessly to say we are always surprised and excited when we find a "Korean" substitute for something that we ate at home.
One of my favorite winter breakfasts is oatmeal and bacon. Both of those items are basically on our "unattainable" list here in Korea...until now! We have found that pressed barley is a passable substitute for oatmeal. It is slightly more dense and is missing a little of the nutty flavor of oatmeal but it is 1/5 of the cost! Yay!! "Bacon" is our other new discovery this week. Here, our equivalent is sold in little, semi-frozen curls. (I don't know what the Korean use for curly strips of pork is, but it looks fun.) I wish that I had a picture of the semi-frozen curls but, alas, mine have all defrosted and slumped together.Hyrum and I tried some today with some sauteed greens and mushrooms and except for the missing smokey flavor I wouldn't have known the difference! While these curls are still rather expensive, as ALL meat here is, it still comes out at half the cost of an equivalent weight of bacon.
The longer we are here, the easier it is to find a taste of "home" in the Korean stores with the occasional help from places that ship internationally like iherb.com. Some things like Macaroni and cheese and enchiladas will probably have to wait until we are back in the US but until then barley and curly "bacon" may just help me on the days I am homesick the most.
As it is related to the whole "bacon" discovery, I would like to mention what an amazing son I have. I mentioned that I made sauteed greens and mushrooms for lunch today. What I didn't say was that it did not turn out good...at all. I made it for lunch because I knew that with mushrooms and onion in it Soren would not eat it. I, on the other hand, like onions and mushrooms. I didn't even finish my serving. Hyrum however powered through it and left only a few pieces of mushroom behind! How many people can say that their 15 month old like mushrooms and swiss chard?! Most struggle with things like carrots. Not Hyrum though! As long as the pieces are manageable in size and texture, he is game. It's pretty amazing! Hopefully this next one follows in his brothers footsteps! I guess that that is the end of my "mommy moment" for now.