Give me a break.

Japan has an obsession with Kit Kats.

Weird Kit Kats.

This was first brought to my attention back in September when Mary and I visited Japan. Mary frequented a lot of convenience stores in search of Cherry Blossom flavored Kit Kats, a gift she previously received from her friend Nick. We were unsuccessful. They all sold milk chocolate and occasionally dark chocolate Kit Kats. How disappointingly normal. At the end of a week, I began to question Mary’s choice of words. Perhaps what she meant to say was that the Kit Kats had a pretty picture of a Cherry Blossom on them- you know, as a seasonal promotion to celebrate the arrival of spring. (Sorry Mary, I never meant to doubt your intelligence.)

How could I be so ignorant?

I had an extra couple of hours to kill after we went our separate ways at Narita. There’s nothing exciting about this airport. It’s small, it’s boring, and it’s eerily quiet. I stumbled upon an origami museum. I counted the number of bathrooms and water fountains. I wandered into tacky tourist shops-and then I found them. Massive boxes of them. Not just Green Tea- Cherry Blossom but Wasabi, Soy Sauce, and Sweet Potato, too. Dreams really do come true.

So now let’s fast-forward three months to December. I’m back at the same sleepy airport wasting time until I get the privilege of spending half a day on a flight to Chicago. Except now, it’s a scavenger hunt. How many strange flavors exist? And how many boxes can I buy with my leftover Yen?

The answer?

A lot.

There were a lot of flavors and I had a lot of Yen. And I will always be a sucker for Cheese flavored Kit Kats. That is, until I try them.

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the starting line-up of the “not-quite-right” Kit Kats that will grace our dinner table on Christmas Day: Wasabi, Green-Tea Cherry Blossom, Cheese, Root beer, Lemonade, and one other missing an English translation. None of them look (or sound) appetizing but let’s be honest- the reactions are half the fun.

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December 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , . food, japan. Leave a comment.

Fermentation

or, Ferm Wednesday for those of you who’ll get the reference.

Yesterday was day two of my metamorphosis into an (educated) alcoholic. We began the process of making makgeolli, Korean rice wine. 

First, we washed the rice and stuck it in a blender, transforming it into a fine white powder.

We calculated our ratios, measured our ingredients,

and added boiling water until it formed a paper mache- like goo.

Then we added yeast

and dumped the unappealing mess into a plastic jug. Let the fermentation process begin.

Look what I made, mom!

And walked through a monsoon to get there. If you look close enough, you can see my name written in Korean.

Makgeolli really is nothing more than rice, water, and that crumbled up wheat block I made last class (called nurook in Korean). I spent the entire class waiting for the catch– you know, the excuse as to why I’d never be able to make this at home. I haven’t found it yet, other than I’m not Korean and it’s not whiskey. In fact, it just might be a good way to utilize some of the 20 pounds of rice collecting dust in my kitchen cabinent. If only it could be made with jalopenos.

And the best part? Our makgeolli sampler was served with a side of biology lectures- anaerobic respiration, enzymes, and CO2. Music to my ears.

August 19, 2010. Tags: , , , , . food, korea, rice. 1 comment.

The pseudo arrival of fall

I like apples.

A lot.

Certain friends would call this an understatement. I used to average about three a day during high stress seasons and usually had a few in my purse or backpack to share with others.   What can I say? I told you I liked apples.

For the past four months, I’ve settled for the only variety of apples available in Korea- a large pink globe of crunchy water. It’s been a tough adjustment, one that’s left me trying to figure out ways for Mary to smuggle some good ol’ Granny Smiths through customs in September. For the record, she’s refused.

Lucky for her, I can retire from campaigning. I returned home from Bali to a mound of green apples gloriously displayed front and center in the produce section at my local grocer.  Words cannot describe  my excitement or the ecstasy of my fellow foreigners. The topic has dominated our conversations, text messages, and Facebook statuses. It was only natural that we allowed our minds to wander to the topic of apple pies.

Yesterday, Natalie, Lauren, Emily, and I gathered together for an afternoon of wine and pie making as we attempted to make an apple pie from scratch using a toaster oven.


The finished product.

Natalie and the toaster oven

The verdict?

맛있 었어

It was delicious.

August 15, 2010. Tags: , , . food, korea. 1 comment.