happy thanksgiving: a montage of my korea trip

I recently went to Japan and Korea for a much needed vacation away from my laptop and cell phone (though I ended up working throughout the vacation anyway–gotta get that much anticipated cookbook written!). I regret not doing crazier things in Japan worth capturing on video, but I made up for it in Korea. I ate so much food overseas that a friend’s mom rubbed my belly and exclaimed something in Japanese that alluded to my being pregnant. The thing is, I’m not pregnant! She’d just fed me a delicious dinner of shabu shabu, so if anything, I was pregnant with her shabu shabu baby! It didn’t matter that I was drinking beer over dinner…sigh. Time to lose the pot belly. It is no longer cute.

Anyway, here is a video of our time in Seoul, Korea. I try live octopus and do the Gangnam-style dance in the actual Gangnam district. I was quite embarrassed doing it because: (1) it was in public at a subway stop, and (2) I hadn’t had any shots of soju. But I did it for the fans since it got a laugh from so many of you. Enjoy the video, and happy Thanksgiving to all.

21 Responses to happy thanksgiving: a montage of my korea trip
  1. J. Dent Reply

    I tried to post earlier, but it acted a little weird when I tried to post. I don't know if it took it, but if it didn't, I guess I'll try again. If this makes a repeat, then my apologies.

    Cool video. There sure was a lot of interesting food. Way different than what I'd find here in the midwest. How'd the octopus taste? I've never had it, dead or alive. Nice dancing too.

    A very happy Thanksgiving to you too. For food lovers, this is the big holiday. Since I'm not on Twitter, I hope you don't mind if I answer the question here. It was about the same as it is every year. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoe casserole (both made with home grown spuds), all kinds of salads, rolls, and several pies. I ended up eating my way into a tryptophan-induced food coma afterwards, but I do that just about every year. lol And now, comes the after-Thanksgiving. At least there's plenty of omelet meat for me to use up.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and I hope that the turkey turned out great.

    • Christine Ha Reply

      Octopus tastes clean and slightly chewy when eaten that fresh. It's hard to describe the taste as to me, there's not much of a taste. You usually have to dip it in something.

      • J. Dent Reply

        Sounds like shrimp just in reverse. lol

        It sounds like it was a great vacation, even if you did work through it. I do hope that you'll be able to take even a small break from everything, especially as the Christmas season gets closer. Working through a cookbook and your memoir sounds like a full plate. So, take care, and, in the words of Red Skelton, may God bless.

  2. Ega Biba Reply

    Happy thanksgiving!
    Nice video, and great to see you smile ear-to-ear!

    My Thanksgiving was special – my mom is visiting the US for the first time, and she had no idea I could cook and that I cooked regularly. Somehow she did not register what we were telling her.
    The menu was almost standard and not too extensive, it was only three of us: cranberry sauce, mushroom gravy, roasted potatoes, mashed sweet potato, Brussels sprouts with pancetta, grilled king oyster mushrooms, and grilled hangar steak. We were running late from the morning hike, so I had to rush and make this all in under 2h. Luckily it all turned out well. I've never seen my mom eat so happily :)

    My wife made poppyseed potica (http://almostbourdain.blogspot.com/2010/03/poppy-seed-and-walnut-potica-with.html) ahead of time. Paired with a very sweet muscat it completed the meal perfectly. I think you'd like the potica she made. The sweetness is not overpowering, so one can enjoy the menage of flavors.

  3. Ren-Yi Reply

    ooo – that live squid looks so intriguing. was it weird to feel something still alive and moving? they have it here in flushing too…
    love your gangham style impression…;) you're too funny!

    • Christine Ha Reply

      It was definitely weird to have the octopus tentacle still moving in my mouth, but I'd had a few drinks before that to help ease the willies.

  4. kaveman Reply

    Hi Christine, I just watched a youtube vid where you mentioned your blog and I wanted to drop by and say hello. I'm sure you have received countless comments about how amazing your story is and blah blah blah…but I wanted to let you know that I called the winner of Masterchef for both season 1 and season 3 based on the audition alone.

    Season 1 was Whitney Miller, Season 3 was you…I had no clue on season 2, but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

    Anyways, I plan on returning here hoping to find some recipes. I came to cooking in my 30's and regret I didn't experiment earlier with cuisines. Fish sauce is one of those things I love the flavor of but get a little sick when I research how it's made.

    OK, now I'm rambling, but I just wanted to say that I love everything you are.

    • Christine Ha Reply

      Thank you for dropping by my blog to express your thoughts. :)Fish sauce can be intimidating, but I always tell myself that if I'm going to ingest it, I need to accept how it got to the table in front of me. I.e., if I'm going to continue eating meat, then I have to be aware of how it was raised and slaughtered, and I have to be okay with that. Yeah, the fish sauce process is definitely a queasy one, but I have yet to get sick off eating it, and it's just so good. So it's A-OK in my book. ;)

      • kaveman Reply

        After re-reading my 1st comment, I feel like I should clarify. I called you as the winner not because I thought you were a gimmick for TV ratings. I watched how you carried yourself and how you answered the questions posed to you. I was intrigued by your story from the start.

        I called you as the winner after the following exchange…

        1. Gordon: Do you know what I'm going to give you?
        2. Christine: A white apron.
        3. Gordon: A white apron.
        4. Christine: I'll come and get it.

        Based on that and that alone, I just knew.

        One more thing I wanted to say. Every year my mother asks me what I want for my Birthday and every year I try to tell her that I have everything I need except her recipes. For my 30th Birthday, I asked for all of them. I was somewhat disappointed to learn that she doesn't have any. She cooks based on taste and constantly adjusts, just like you do.

        She gave me rough(very rough) outlines and I have had to try and re-create those flavors, just like you.

        Measuring cups, tablespoons, teaspoons and all that crap collect dust in the drawers. I've moved on to pinches, dashes and splashes.

        Something you can appreciate.

        • Christine Ha Reply

          What a great observation. :) ANd udos to you for attempting your mom's recipes with very rough recipes. I know exactly what that's like. But you are really lucky to have her around to show you. The best way is to just get in that kitchen and cook alongside her.

  5. Manish Bansal Reply

    You are eating them alive? Isn't it enough that people kill animals for food. Disgusting.

  6. Ian Ong Reply

    Hi Christine! That was a very brave thing to do! – eating live octopus and doing the gangnam dance in gangnam-ju itself… =)
    May I suggest that for your next excursion, you pay a visit to south east asia for a gastronomical experience!

    • Christine Ha Reply

      Working on it!

  7. Yui Reply

    When you eat a live octopus you should say "Release the Krakennn! In my mouth!" Yum.

  8. 12450miles Reply

    I cannot express how much I love this video! I plan on showing it to my four-year-old tomorrow … he is currently obsessed with street food and Gangnam Style. He'll love it! Thanks for sharing!

    • Christine Ha Reply

      You're welcome.

  9. Warbirdali Reply

    eeeeUUUUUUUWwwwwww! I love Octopus sushi so have no problem eating it raw but squirming??? No I would have had to have a lot of drinks. You are a better man than I, girl. You are also a better dancer…did you have to line up to do the dance? You would think the area would be swarming with tourists doing the dance. Kinda sorta like here in Memphis every tourist strikes an Elvis sneer for every photo. Thanks for posting and keeping us laughing AND squirming

    • Christine Ha Reply

      Glad I could entertain you. :) No, I was the only idiot doing the dance at that particular Gangnam stop.

  10. Jerome Reply

    Oh my gosh that live squid looked really yummy @_@ Anyway really laughed at the ending there! You're a great dancer!

  11. Marcy Reply

    Those shots of the live octopus on the grill make me so sad. Absolutely despicable cruelty.

  12. Janet F. Robinson Reply

    I would love to visit South Korea one day. Seoul has a lot of interesting dining places with some western influences as I saw in Arirang TV. I have to try their various Bibimbap meals. and see the shopping districts.

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