Thursday, November 4, 2010

Easy peasy.

Current favorite food: The Sweet Potato

(For those of you who don't know...)
I live in Seoul, South Korea.

This is an example of a conversation that I have had approximately a billion times (One of my faults: exaggeration). EVERY time that I have to engage in this, for some reason, it never gets easier for me. Of course it is not the other person's fault... when a someone shares info about him or herself with me, I am curious to learn more about the said fact. However, I suppose due to my personal insecurities, I usually feel awkward. :)

But then again, when I trip over my feet while walking on perfectly, unadulterated pavement-I feel awkward.
Or... when I realize that I've been a complete facebook/blog stalker-I feel awkward.

Geesh.. I can never easily or briefly say/write something.

Oooo...that is another situation where I feel awkward: when engaged in conversation (or obviously, when I'm writing a story about xy or z,)it never can be conducted simply. Long winded stories tumble out of my mouth uncontrollably as an avalanche picks up speed.

On to the convo:(note...I am never frustrated by this convo, I just always feel like a big weenie explaining myself)

Random person (whether it be a foreigner or Korean): "Wow. You're vegan? Really? Like.. you don't eat any meat?"

Me: "Yes... I'm really vegan, and yes, I don't eat any meat."

RP: "But.. do you eat fish?"

Me: "Mmmm...nope. No meat (nicely stressing the no and the meat)" *smile* " And actually, I don't eat any animal byproducts." *awkward smile, accompanied by a polite, conversation-lightening laugh to emphasize that I am not trying to be rude*

RP: "What? milk, either?" (oh no, I just became weirder plus five..)

Me: "No...milk. cream/cheese/butter.... and eggs."

RP: "Oh my gosh.. I love eggs. I could never not eat eggs. So...what do you eat? Wow!! Isn't it hard to be vegan and live in Korea??"

Me: *Big smile* No..not really at all.

RP: "But...what do you actually eat?"

At this point in the convo, I am reminded of one of the many reasons why I LOVE living in Seoul. I'm grateful for how gloriously abundant the produce is (minus a few items...). EVERYWHERE that I travel, vendors have fruit/veggie stands, and frequently, regardless of time or temperature!!

There were a few dietary adjustments upon landing in Seoul:

1) Learning that most Kimchi is made with itty-bitty shrimpies and some type of anchovy/fish paste (I was informed of this after being repeatedly assured that it was animal free)

2) Most of the soups are made with fish stock

3) I don't want to generalize, but in my own experiences... most Koreans don't consider fish/chicken "meat"

But other than those few examples, being vegan in Korea is not hard.


I take that back. I do struggle in one area..and that is the social aspect of my veganism (hence the convo). It sucks, and I always feel that I'm being a huge inconvenience (which is something that I just need to learn to get over...).

ANYWAYS.. back to food. This is supposed to be a month about vegan food blogging...

The food rut that I'm currently stuck in: sweet potatoes.

*they are delicious: sweet, soft, chewy-melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness
*there are various varieties and ways to cook them: steamed, sauteed, baked, boiled, roasted..
*they are SIMPLE to cook: 1) wash 2) put in steam pot 3) continue being a facebook/blog stalker while briefly waiting
4) finished!
*they are super convenient: sweet potatoes even have their own little protective shell!!
*they are fairly inexpensive, and since it is fall...right now, they are cheap!!

On my daily travels, I love seeing all of the produce vendors that line my neighborhood's streets. Since it is the season for sweet spuds, vendors have tons of little red baskets overflowing with potato joy!!

Today?? I enjoyed a couple of them steamed to ultimate perfection.

Again, simple veg tastebud heaven...

(eating suggestion: pair a sweet potato with coffee...)

1 comment:

Islaborg said...

I can relate, I don't really like to bring up my vegan diet unless I have to due to the situation. I usually don't mind talking about it if the other person is genuinely curious and would like to know more about it, but I suppose I've just grown tired of explaining it over and over again. And then there is always the odd person who just has to let you know how unhealthy they think your diet is, eek!

Anyways, I enjoyed reading about your experiences in South Korea. From what I've heard a lot of Koreans like to give food as a present when they're invited somewhere? That's pretty neat! :)