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I have been working at the same location for three years.  For that time, lunch has been a daily challenge.  We don’t serve lunch at our workplace, and the choices in the neighborhood are sparse–pizza, fried pork cutlets and mayonnaise-drenched sandwiches.  There isn’t any decent Korean take-out.

Every now and then, I stopped by my local E-Mart on the way to work to see if they had something I could use for lunch.  For a good while I bought their pre-made salads.  Yet like most things at E-Mart, once I like something they either discontinue it or cheapen the ingredients.  The bright mixed green salads devolved into piles of shredded cabbage with thousand island goo.

In the past two months, little frozen dinners have started appearing.  Many of them were store brand.  At just 3,500 won a pop, I had to check them out.

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Nakji Cheolpan Bokkeumbap 낙지 철판볶음밥 (Octopus Fried Rice) was one of the few choices that weren’t the store brand.  This was one of the better rice offerings.  The rice was a little dry, and the octopus was a bit stingy, but the octopus you did get was plump and flavorful, not too chewy.

Pineapple Curry Rice 파인애플 커리 요리밥 was also not a bad choice.  It tasted like East Asian curry and had enough pineapple to make a difference.  The shrimp were not plentiful, but they weren’t those nasty baby shrimp that “shrimp” products tend to employ.  It was begging for some good protein to top it, like a grilled chicken breast.  This makes a good side dish.

The Treccine Carbonara 까르보나라 트리치네 did not disappoint.  I’ve had some nasty Italian frozen food in the past, so I was expecting the worst.  The sauce was thick and creamy.  The pasta wasn’t too soggy.  It held up well.  Sparse vegetables.  It worked well with some sliced garlic baguettes from the local Paris Baguette.  It’s a starch bomb.

And now for my favorite, Lasagna 라자냐.  In Korea, Lasagna can only be found in certain Italian restaurants and Costco.  Finding a cheap frozen option has been a treat.  I’ve actually eaten this for dinner, not only for lunch.  It’s not very meaty, but it makes up for it with its cream and cheese.  It’s a big gooey comforting mass.   The cheese stretches for almost a meter.  The tomato sauce is hearty.  This is another one that needs a baguette for sopping.

Not pictured but not so bad is the Chicken Teriyaki 치켄 떼리야키.  Like the other options, the protein is minimal but good.  There are some other frozen entrees I have yet to try.  New ones are poppin’ up all the time, such as a tropical fried rice that includes kiwi.

Have any of you tried these yet?

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