Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Top 3 Things I Have Bought in Korea

With my contract coming to an end in about 3 months, I have been thinking about my stay here. There has been plenty of good times and I have enjoyed it all. When I first got here, there hadn't been a foreign English teacher at my school for over 6 month. That meant that my school had to let go of the apartment the previous foreign teacher had and find a new one for me. I have friends whose apartments came fully equipped with everything a person could need in an apartment, down to the cleaning supplies. I bought everything myself, which was a huge learning experience. This isn't because I haven't lived on my own before... I learned many of those wonderful "on your own for the first time" things in college. Korea is a whole different world: a new language, a different climate, different appliances, etc. 
Who knows if the laundry detergent I just bought has bleach in it? I guess I will find out when I throw it in my load of colored clothes... when I do my laundry in the machine with only buttons in Korean. You mean one week I will need the air conditioner and the very next I will need a heater? And the heater is in the floor? And it heats the water as well? Everyone drinks instant coffee here? There isn't an oven? Where are all of these mosquitoes coming from? This huge cabinet by the door is actually a shoe rack?
I could go on and on but there are a few things that really helped me get by...

If I had to pick the top 3 things I have ever bought in Korea, they would be:
1. Coffee maker
2. Toaster oven
3. Space heater

You know how when someone says "coffee," they usually mean brewed coffee? Not here. Coffee means a little instant coffee pack (containing "coffee," sugar, and non dairy creamer), poured into a shot glass-like paper cup, and mixed with water. Talk about an extreme sugar high, sans caffeine high!
Sorry, I stole this from someones blog but it perfectly captures all that is Korean instant coffee.
So, long story short... a coffee maker was a must. I bought one at HomePlus for about 20,000 won (I forgot the exact price) and there are even cheaper coffee presses. Ground coffee is a little expensive here, but for a coffee addict like me, WELL worth it! It helps to go to Costco and just buy a huge bag of it for about 15-20,000 won. Anyway, TOP purchase by far.

Ok, I take back the "TOP purchase" comment. This one is a close second. I used to use the oven at home to make random stuff... usually in order to make a frozen pizza a little more crispy. People don't have ovens here! People don't bake at home or anything. I mean, of course there are a few, but most homes aren't equipped with that. And, I'm not normally super creative with cooking. I stir fry, I make pasta, I heat up frozen things in the oven. This gets incredibly old after awhile. I know I only had 4 months left in my contract when I bought it but.... OMG. For any English teacher who remotely like to cook, I recommend it. You can get super creative in this thing. Check it out:
"Enchiladas".. or my attempt at it. Still pretty delicious.
Baked garlic/soy sauce/ginger chicken with baked veggies.
Bacon and cheese "quiche" with dumpling wrappers. I donno, they weren't exactly like quiche but I tried. They were still good though.
 The love of my life.... at least for the winter. This California girl doesn't do cold weather.... I survived my first winter because of this little gem. When temperatures are below freezing, your floor heater takes at least 30 mins for you to feel the slightest warmth, and it costs you way too much to turn on.... the space heater is the way to go. Ok, granted, my boyfriend bought it for me so I wouldn't freeze to death so it technically shouldn't be on my list of top things I have purchased. But, all the same, excellent purchase that anyone should look into... especially if you have a teeny tiny apartment like me!


Michael "Skipper" Donnelly said...

Enchiladas look goooooood!

Allan said...

I agree, those enchiladas look good! Another plus with the toaster oven is buying those Take and Bake pizzas from Costco and heating one of those up in the toaster oven. They seem to serve them a little more doughy than I like here in SK.

noeme teofilo said...

Hi, I am new here in Korea but I found a site that is very convenient and practical with regards to shopping. Visit Fatbag Korea and see for your self. They have amazing products with prices straight form the manufacturers price list. Click on it and enjoy shopping.

sara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sara said...

where can i buy a cheap toaster oven? i ive just outside of Daegu