Thursday, December 10, 2009

Like a vegan

I've been getting so tired of eating the same few things that after school today I took the long trip (a short bus ride and fourteen stops on the subway) to Insadong, the ten-block long area where last weekend's Veggie Society dinner was, to visit the other restaurant I saw, the one with the vegan "meat".

It was a perfect time to visit Insadong, with rain-slicked streets but no rain, unseasonably warm just after dark, and very few people out at dinnertime on a weeknight, so I could stroll around and really look at the courtyards, alleyways, and shops. The latter, hundreds of them, carry an amazing array of traditional Korean clothing and art, and innumerable ticky-tacky items. Insadong is a much higher-class area than Itaewon, which is right by the US Army base, and I only saw one instance of the double barber pole, which is the sign in Korea of an establishment of ladies whose pecuniary motives are strong and whose virtue is negotiable. The Christmas lights were on all around Insadong and it was very pretty.

I bought a half-dozen frozen vegan items, not actually having any idea how to prepare them, but upon arriving home I found the company's website, in English (more or less, like nearly everything translated into English by businesses and the government, and even by our "American" school), for example: "high quality vegetable hamsausage. Once try the favor, then twice will be surprise at the taste" and "soy protein processed to taste chicken... enjoy conveniently it with ketchup or honey mustard in one mouthful". Mostly, I had no idea whether to grill all this stuff, nuke it, or shove a stick in it and lick it like a Popsicle. The website says "warm in microwave or on fryer". So, basically, it just doesn't matter.

It's kind of pricy, about ten bucks a pound, it's a time-eating, often uncomfortable hassle getting to Insadong, and I don't know yet if the food is any good, but I am so ready for "vege soy meat" and "soy chicken ball". Maybe I can cut the eggs and hashbrowns down to three times a week; I've been eating the same stuff ova and ova.

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