After a whirlwind 2 weeks in Japan we ferried over to South Korea. Just a heads up – make sure to figure out if you are prone to sea sickness before you board a 13 hour overnight ferry. I had been on a cruise once with my parents and got terribly sea sick but then again I was also 11 and can’t distinguish if it was real motion sickness or if I was just being a brat. Well now I truly know that it must have been sea sickness. Two hours into the ride I started to feel the kind of nauseous I get after a bad night of drinking, minus of course all the fun memories. Nyquil is a blessing though and I was able to easily zap myself into a deep sleep.
There’s nothing quite like waking up to a whole new country. Especially when your 13 person ferry room was only occupied by you and your travel partner, in which case this is how you set up the sleeping situation:
After 3 slow paced days of sightseeing in Busan, with some accidentally adventurous eating situations (we mistakenly ordered an entire plate of boiled and stewed chicken feet once) and an eye opening fish market visit (where we saw eels skinned alive), we ventured into the South Korean countryside – Gyenjou.
There we spent 2 nights couchsurfing with a Korean couple – Minju and Philip, who are actually in the midst of planning their own year long world adventure to start early next year. They welcomed us into their home and together (with me assisting and observing) prepared a delicious authentic Korean meal for us. Acorn jelly salad, Japchae and bibimbap awaited us.
The star ingredient is as you can imagine the acorn jelly. Sold in large blocks, there is a special serrated acorn jelly knife to help cut the wobbly substance into large squares. Just plain the jelly tastes a little bitter and has that jelly-like consistency that most Westerns might not be particularly fond of. Tossed in the salad and with the dressing the jelly is a hit. With crispy salad leaves and carrots, accompanied by a flavorful home made dressing the acorn jelly really shines. An incredibly interesting salad, and one that I hope to make again in the future. Hopefully the Asian supermarkets back home carry the jelly and Korean red pepper powder – a key ingredient in the dressing. Overall the entire dinner was delicious and we are incredibly grateful to Minju and Philip for hosting us!
- 2-3 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled, halved and sliced
- 1 package acorn jelly, cut into large chunks
- For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 1-2 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- In a small bowl combine dressing ingredients and mix until smooth.
- In a large bowl toss salad leaves with carrots and acorn jelly.
- Pour dressing over salad and mix until smooth.
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