Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Instant Congee

I was browsing around the tiny market (shijang) near my dorm and found cups of instant Korean congee (AKA jook in Cantonese).
I've actually been quite the sicky which is really rare for me as I haven't been this sick in years. I've had a cold three times already and I'm still recovering from one but I haven't let it get in the way of outings. I think it's because of the combination of insufficient sleep (I can't sleep past 8AM no matter how late I go to bed) and lack of well balanced meals (they love carbs and protein here way too much and fruit is quite pricey).
Anyway, jook is eaten when one is sick... a Korean chingu (friend) of mine in Baltimore heard that I was sick and offered to order jook (in Korean, it's called jeuk) for me and have it delivered to my dorm! How sweet is that? Unfortunately, after trying a few restaurants, he couldn't find one that delivered so I didn't end up having any... so this cup is my closest alternative until I come across a jeuk shop!

They had different flavours like tuna, abalone, and vegetable. I chose beef.
It came with a package of seaweed flakes, a spoon, and some sesame oil, I think.
I couldn't read the instructions (no pictures, all in Korean) so I assumed I needed to heat it up... so I did via microwave for a minute.Not bad. Some flavourful stuff -- of course, I'm sure the real thing will be better, but this was quite edible and temporarily filling for 2,000won!

Today, in Korean Culture and Society class, we further discussed how Korean culture and values are based upon Shamanism (the belief that everything in life has a spirit and that spirits have influence on our life and fate) through Korean names. Most Korean names have some sort of meaning attached to them. For example, my KUBA buddy, YeJin, means politeness (Ye) and truth (Jin). A lot of the time, the meanings have to do with success, prosperity, and being a 'good person'. BUT, some people have funny names like Jonggi (which means zit... and also my classmate's father's name), Am (cancer), Moosik (moron), SeongByong (STD), Mechunbu (prostitute), and Hongsu (a male name meaning sister-in-law)... and many many more. WHY on earth would parents name their children such things, might you ask? Shamanism! Shamanism involves fortune telling and healing. When a child is born, some parents go to fortune tellers to gain insight regarding their child's future. These fortune tellers tell them, for instance, that they must name their baby __[insert auspicious name]__ or else their baby would die within three years. Isn't that awful (and totally ridiculous)?! So now the baby is stuck with this embarassing name. Because of these superstitious parents, over 2,000 Koreans have legally changed their name since 2000 (when name changing became legal) because they felt it brought them bad luck (and probably a lot of teasing, too)!


  1. wow... instant jook. that's a new one!
    did it taste really msg-y like cup noodles do?

    haha so in the western/english world, ppl do weird names only because they just feel like it! as opposed to shamanism. nonetheless, ppl in the western world still do weird names even though they're not "forced" to :(,22049,25107613-5012895,00.html
    lol - ana sasin, stan still, carrie oakey XD

  2. wow, i would totally wanna become a shaman just to mess with ppl. hahaha!! I AM SO JUST KIDDING!!!!

    ps. how are the instant jook cups?!?!! the concept reminds me of instant adding of the flavour packets!!