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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Food shopping in a foreign land

One of the questions friends from home ask is: What do you eat?

The obvious answer is "Korean food," but for those of us who don't eat a ton of Korean food, what's a girl to do?

Eat out a lot. Seriously. I've always loved restaurants and dining out so, why not? We (me, Melissa and whomever we can coerce to go with us) go to a lot of restaurants -- every Monday night is Indian at Everest in Dongdaemun. Yum.

But occasionally I am forced to cook and the menu at Casa Erin never varies for two reasons:

1. Sheer laziness and lack of planning
2. The limited number of identifiable products at the local grocery store

Twice a month, I walk to Orange Mart and buy almost the same items:

Lunch: Scrambled eggs with tuna and broccoli

Dinner: Either grilled chicken salad, deliciously seasoned thanks to spices sent from the USA by my lovely mother, or plain and simple spaghetti.

Foods I miss being able to buy at an average/non-foreign grocery: black beans, cheese, whole wheat bread, skim milk, hummus and pita bread, baby carrots, Annie's macaroni & cheese, peppermint patties and good peanut butter.

Foods that are surprisingly better at Korean grocery stores: many organic foods are cheaper than in the US, especially chicken breasts and eggs with beautiful orange yolks -- healthier and more delicious -- although unfortunately according to this article, 88% of organic foods in Korea are fake.

I miss Whole Foods. Variety and being able to read food packaging = heaven.