Musings: Joys and pains of moving, friends and barbecues and random links

Cheapest way to purchase lentils, chickpeas, chia seeds in Korea (that I've found so far)

If there's one thing that's good about the slow but definite globalization of Korea, it's the fact that many ingredients previously considered "exotic" here that I loved to eat back in the States are becoming more readily available as knowledge and demand for them grow.

Take chickpeas for example. When I first saw them showing up in some of the major and foreign marts a few years ago, I was pumped and even willing to purchase them at their exorbitant prices (about 8,000 to 10,000 for 800 grams or so.) Then I got to know iherb which blew the local prices out of the water and became the go-to site for most of us here craving those goods from home and abroad.

Now though, the prices for these goods have become even friendlier for consumers here. Chickpeas, lentils, and the likes have begun showing up on local online social commerce sites for some crushing deals. Go to an aggregated social commerce site such as couponmoa or coocha and if you search for chickpeas ("병아리콩") or lentil ("렌틸콩") you'll get quite a few hits of some unbelievable deals. Doing a quick search just now, I found 1kg of lentils for 4,300 won PLUS free shipping or 1kg of chickpeas for 4,900 with free shipping... Compare that with iherb which lists 453g of lentils for $4.26 and 453g of chickpeas going for $4.51, both without free shipping (without a code), and these local Korean sites are definitely some slam dunk deals.

Screen capture of a search on lentil as an example

Similar searches for other trending food items such as chia seeds reveals comparative prices too. 340g of chia seeds on iherb is going for $9.70 while a search on Korean sites ("치아씨드" in Korean) has one place selling 450 g for 13,900 won (at the time of this post's writing).

I snatched up 2kg of chickpeas and 1kg of lentils recently this way via the social commerce sites and they are smashing. I'm definitely getting hopeful we'll see more imports of good stuff at cheaper prices in Korea!

Bountiful summer produce = new found appreciation for killer salads

It doesn't compare to the summer produce haul from the west coast but the arrival of summer has ushered in some great produce at killer prices in Korea, at least around my hood. Concord grapes, colorful bell peppers, packs of cucumbers and whatnot have dropped to some unbelievable prices (at least comparatively in Seoul). Tomatoes of all kinds have especially been great deals as you can easily get some 2kgs or more of them for only 2,000 to 3,000 won. I've been enjoying all these produce especially in some killer salads which is strange as I've I found salads to be rather boring before.

I've found one of the keys to making salads a kick ass side or meal is to really get it appealing. First, go for a lot of variety in there... not just lettuce and cucumber slices but juicy cuts of tomatoes, crunchy broccoli florets, crispy bell peppers, lightly pan fried oyster mushrooms, etc. This is one of those times when more is better.
Then, add a bit of finishing protein touch to make that ish sexy. Something a little irregular or fun to add that element of pleasant surprise to your bowl. Tofu cubes (baked or raw), chickpeas, lentils, mixed unsalted nuts, hard boiled eggs, homemade ricotta, homemade hummus... these have been just some of the things I've been topping my salads off with.

Then force yourself to really relish it as you eat... spend time with your salad, get to know your salad. You'll discover salad is so much more three dimensional than you thought with such a wide variety of textures and flavors. My roommate and I have been trying to eat more fresh and lightly lately and one of the ways we've been successfully doing so is by making big old packs of these and enjoying them as prepacked breakfast (sounds a little weird but it's still great in the morning) or lunch to eat whether at home or to go. Join with it some of that bountiful fruit in season or even a simple fried egg sandwich with whole wheat toast... and you'll feel light but fueled enough to hold you over until dinner.

Greens, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, oyster mushrooms, chickpeas, broccoli, almonds, and homemade ricotta

Greens, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, peppers, corn, mixed nuts with a simple open-faced fried egg sandwich and steamed squash

So make use of what's left of the summer and get your fruits and veggies in folks! It's not hard to do and you'll be surprised how energized yet light you feel!

New home! And... video recipes/reviews in the future?

It was an arduous ordeal- complete with a lot of sweating, coffee, sometimes mild cursing, and help from many friends- but moving was successfully accomplished a few weeks ago!

This move reminded me just how much I love food as a good 5-6 or so of some of the larger boxes were all stuffed with things that were food or cooking related. Having to sadly chuck out some of the food stuff past their expiration dates also reminded me to enjoy those goods in the moment...

But there's something about moving to a new environment that pumps one up. To be honest, I was kind of in the doldrums before the move and feeling uninspired by most things... including cooking. In this new, brighter, bigger, and spacious place, I feel more motivated to be proactive again and one of those ways has been in the kitchen as well.

A glimpse of the new pad

With so much more space, pantry, and room to move around in the new kitchen, I've been trying out new stuff and improving upon older works to get things going. I'm a bit backlogged in sharing those results with you but I've been putting up some of those things on that Instagram I started up a month or so ago. So if you want an occasional preview of some of the things you can expect to come up on this blog, be sure to follow! I'm also always open to requests!

I've also been tinkering around with the idea of doing more videos, whether it be recipes or reviews. Truth be told, I still get a bit tongue tied and uncomfortable in front of a camera, audio, or video recorder but I'm thinking that if I do more videos I can get posts up more quickly rather than writing it all out. Let me know what ya think and if any of you have done video blogs before let me know how that experience was/is!

Random Food News and Links

And to round things out, here's a look at some fun and interesting food-related news and links I've come across recently:

How Nongshim is screwing over Koreans at home (Korean article but you can still understand through the pictures)

Why you may want to think again about ordering that delivery chicken in Korea via a mobile delivery app... (Korean article).

Korea may be impeding on imports of organic food to help foster and grow its own organics businesses

On sambok- the three hottest days of summer in Korea- South Koreans typically eat samgyetang (some of the old folks still eat dog on these days...) But what do North Koreans eat? (Hint: Rabbit...)

Uh oh, carnivores. A bad tick bite is making some allergic to red meat...

How to best organize your fruits and vegetables in your fridge to maximize shelf life

Ways to eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Why not?

Just when I was craving dim sum lately, Buzzfeed comes up with a look at some of the best dim sum dishes

27 ice cream shops around the world you need to visit before you die according to Buzzfeed (hey! Salt and Straw in Portland is on here!)

This insane guy attempted to hit up and eat tacos from the 35 best taco joints in LA in one day. (ONE DAY. He's absolutely crazy but I completely respect him)

21 burritos you must try according to Buzzfeed (That tuna sushi burrito? WHAT? My mind is saying no, but my stomach is saying HELL YES).

10 most fascinating facts about Costco according to Neatorama (Because I worship the grounds all Costco are built upon).