One of the original reasons I started this blog years ago was to share tips on how to survive on the Korean economy–one where cheese is scarce, coffee is expensive, and ovens are luxuries. I’ve made it my mission to find ways to bring home a little closer to my adopted home because we all know that one cannot live on kimchi alone–well, okay, Korea’s citizens can pull it off, but that takes early childhood programming. I’m not quite wired that way.
That’s why we have Food for Foreigners.
It’s a category for tips and recipes for those foods you miss from home using the following guidelines:
- No ovens. Most expats in Korea don’t have them. So it’s a waste to give recipes using devices that people don’t have. I’ll admit that there are a couple of oven recipes in the batch, but I state upfront that they are oven recipes. Some of them you can get away with performing by using a toaster oven. And toaster ovens you can find cheap and secondhand online. I did.
- No Costco. Not everyone has access to Costco, especially on a consistent basis. I try to stick to ingredients people can find at their local ajosshi marts and big box supermarkets. Occasionally I head down to the international markets like the ones in Itaewon and Ansan. There were a couple little Chinese shops near me when I lived in Sillim-dong where I scored cilantro and ground corn (for polenta and mock grits).
- Keep it affordable. A trap expats run into is paying way too much for home comforts. With a little flexibility, you can make decent substitutions and not only create an old favorite but discover a new favorite. Insisting on a narrow set of ingredients is stubborn and shows no imagination. You’re just not going to get veal demi glace in Korea. Get over it.
Some of the most popular posts highlight making your own ingredients, like Mock Ricotta Cheese and Corned Beef. Shinshine has even shown how to make a Cake using a Rice Cooker, and I used a tip I found from a book on food science to make Cappuccino in a Microwave and have made real unsweetened Yogurt in a Thermos. A good example of using local ingredients as substitutions is the Cheese Ravioli in Soju Sauce, which is really a vodka sauce with soju instead. In the near future, I’ll post how I took the Mock Ricotta Cheese one step further to make my own goat cheese.
Yes, I can show you how to make goat cheese for under W5,000. And it’s pretty dang good. So remember to subscribe to our feed so you don’t miss out on the fun, and share with your friends (using one of the links below).