Friday, January 11, 2013

It's Good For Your Health!

Yes, I'm sure it is, but can you do something about the taste?

Yesterday afternoon, I went to my favorite "toast" shop for some quick dinner. I came in the store coughing, and one of the shop owners handed me a packet of instant tea mix along with my order. She explained something about the tea to me, though I assumed she was just telling me to drink it for my cough. I thanked her (it really was nice of her) and headed home. At home, I made the tea. I could smell ginseng. Uht-oh.

Now, when my mom came to visit, she was all about looking for healthy teas to drink for diet and whatnot. Jecheon is known for it's herbal concoctions, and so in our search we came across Ginseng tea. Ginseng tea by itself tastes horrible. It's almost impossible to drink... at least for me it is. Whereas my mom and phone friend managed to drink all in their paper cup, I couldn't bring myself to finish the last 1/3 amount.

So, I was wary about this tea that I had just made. Little chopped nuts were floating in it as well. Part of the mix. I wondered if that affected the taste much. I hesitantly took a spoonful and slurped it up. What? It tastes different... I thought. Hmm. I took a sip from the cup. It was a slightly sweet, slightly ginseng-y, but overall bearable cup of tea. The nuts were a bit of a distraction, but I drank it all.

In every Korean-food-related experience I've had here, the phrase, "It's good for your health," has always come up. If I hesitate to eat the unknown morsel, my MT is quick to use this phrase. So I try it, and I either like it or put up with it. Most of my food experiences here have been good, but I still find it hard to believe that such a phrase can be used so lightly. I feel like, at some point, something got lost in translation. Surely, they mean to say, "It's ok to eat,"  or "It tastes alright."

If you come to Korea, be willing and ready to try the cuisine (I'm not referring to foreign food that has been "Koreanized").  Chances are it'll be good for your health.

'Til next time,


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