Growing up in the United States, I can’t really call myself a Korean. I don’t know enough of the culture or language to fit in. Interestingly, the one thing I can’t get over is the food. Having bread more than 2 days in a row actually makes me sick, and I never feel like I’ve actually had a meal without having rice. It actually reminds me of a patient we saw in the clinic. He was a young boy who was constantly throwing up and having acid reflux because he was eating too many refined carbs.
Being in Arizona on a limited budget and alone without my mother’s well-stocked kitchen was wrecking my stomach. Luckily, one of my housemates is Chinese and called a cab service to get us to a large Asian supermarket half an hour away. The aisles were divided by region and the Korean section was pretty sad. I picked up hot pepper paste, but had to travel to Japan to get the rest of my materials. I thought it was a travesty that they didn’t carry dried anchovies and that the bottles of kimchi they had were ALL OPEN and leaking. What a public health nightmare. I’m actually now seriously considering making kimchi at home. The best part of my day was choosing a 20 lb bag of rice to lug home.
My children will have a watered-down Korean exposure, but for sure, they’ll be eating kimchi and rice.