Kimchi for Breakfast

Kimchi for Breakfast

Ah, kimchi.  South Korea’s primary, and most famous, food.  What is it?  Why, it’s pickled cabbage (or other common Korean vegetables) that’s been mixed with some spices and red bean paste until it has roughly the consistency and appearance, if not the taste (sadly), of lasagna.  It is then crammed into a jar and left to ferment for a few weeks.  No, seriously. To a westerner like myself, this sounds horrifying.  More so when I learned that this was a staple part of the South Korean’s diet every day, 3 meals a day.  Fermented, pickled cabbage for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Yikes!

Meals at EPIK orientation (at least in Jeonju) are served to us buffet style, by South Korean men and women wearing tall chef’s hats and gleaming white coats.  And each of them bears a serious expression and a militaristic devotion to making sure meals are perfect.  And yes, there’s kimchi.

Breakfast yesterday was rice, kimchi, salad with dressing, pumpkin soup, and then some amenities for us westerners, sausages, scrambled eggs, and buttered toast and coffee.  I am proud to say that I tried the traditional Korean breakfast.  I had salad and kimchi on rice.  I didn't  try the soup (can’t quite wrap my head around breakfast soup yet) but I must admit that everything was delicious.

Then I went back for sausages.

The early part of EPIK orientation involves a fair amount of unassigned time.  On the first day, you have to be up for breakfast between 7:30 and 8:30, but after that, you largely have a big chunk of the morning to yourself.  There's a campus tour that takes roughly a half hour, and you can then kick around the town and see a few of the sights.  We wandered Jeonju a bit, and took in the shops, stores, and beautiful scenery.