Korean decor

Korean bible verse

I have been looking for a wooden plaque with a Bible verse to put on the  wall for some time.  I have sourced them out, priced them out and even contemplated making one myself. But in all my researching, I had yet to buy one.

Then the girls found this one! The church that hosts our Korean school had a huge bazaar and garage sale.  For $5 this was a great deal! It is wooden, and it is a Bible verse. It had all the elements I was looking for, except it was in Korean!

Nothing says “get back to studying” better then a large plaque on your wall you can barely read! 🙂

So what does it say?

Jehovah Is With You

Dear Friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John vs 2

july 100

Sam gyup sal – pork belly bbq

sam gyup sal

Sam gyup sal translates as “three layers of meat” or simply as “delicious”.  Pork belly is fried up with salt and pepper, topped with seasoned bean paste and flavoured onions and wrapped up in lettuce.

Pork belly, a boneless cut from, you guessed it, the belly of a pig, is the star of this BBQ. It is very popular in Korean cuisine (see dwaeji bulgogi) and in this dish it is unspiced, unseasoned and uncured. And as you can see, it resembles bacon.

pork belly

It caused quite the exchange between my older brother and me.

“What are you having for lunch?”  “Pork belly.”

“So… bacon?”   “No… pork belly.”

“So, bacon.”  “No, pork belly.”

“So, bacon!”  “No, pork belly!

Got to love older brothers 🙂

My Korean class wrap-up lunch featured this fabulous feast.  My classmate hosted and in the spirit of eating Korean-style, he cut the legs of his dining room table so we could sit on the floor!  It was a potluck so there was plenty of meat, rice and side dishes. My teacher brought the essential green onion salad to enjoy with our pork belly (not bacon). <Recipe to follow>.

The things you need:

  • sliced pork belly cut into 1 inch pieces
  • lettuce
  • perilla leaves
  • green onion salad
  • seasoned bean paste
  • rice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a grill plate
  • table top stove

The how to:

  • set up the table top stove and grill plate in the middle of table (cutting table legs is optional!)
  • salt and pepper the pork belly and fry until it is cooked
  • enjoy wrapped in lettuce and perilla leaves, topped with seasoned bean paste and green onion salad

 sam gyup salsam gyup sal

sam gyup salsam gyup sal

Green onion salad – pa mu chim – My teacher, Yun jin Choi’s recipe

Pa mu chim

  • a bunch of green onions roughly chopped into thin strips
  • some shredded lettuce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp hot pepper powder

Combine the dressing together and add to the green onion and lettuce. Mix well with your hands. Enjoy!

(Interestingly, this is the very first thing I ate in Korea. See here!)


Ham Ji Bak restaurant – Langley/Surrey

Ham ji bak

This restaurant is located right inside Hmart in Langley/Surrey. It’s menu features Korean style Chinese food and traditional Korean dishes as well. My Korean class went out for lunch after our grocery shopping field trip.

jajang myun

Most of us ordered the jajang myun, black bean noodles, since it was on special. It came with some standard side dishes of pickled yellow radish and radish kimchi. None of us were overly impressed with the noodle dish; there wasn’t enough sauce and it was quite salty.  My one classmate thought there were too many onions, but the dish is mostly made of onions. 🙂

tang su yuk

My generous classmate ordered tang su yuk, sweet and sour pork for us to share.  This was definitely the most delicious part of the meal. It wasn’t over overpoweringly sweet as it sometimes can be. And it had quite a few vegetables and some cute carrots flowers in it. Who doesn’t like carrot flowers?


One classmate ordered kong guk su, a cold bean broth soup with noodles.  He thought is was refreshing.  It is quite a bland soup that you add salt too, and he added too much salt 🙂 But he awarded it a 7/10 anyways!

The service was not great; the waitress was neither quick nor friendly.

So overall, it was okay, not great.  In my opinion, if you are at Hmart and hungry for some Korean food, go next door to Baik Mi Korean restaurant for a good meal. (check out the review here)

Ham Ji Bak on Urbanspoon

Korean mask dance

korean mask dance

Our Korean language school had a concert in which all the students performed; my adult class agreed to participate as well.  When we asked what we were to do, we were told “just a dance”; a traditional Korean mask dance, no less.  This was all carefully explained to us of course… in Korean.

Now dancing isn’t really my forte since I don’t really have a sense of rhythm. But it was fun to learn and if nothing else, it made all the children feel less nervous since they were only singing, and we were dancing with funny masks on!

korean performance 012

The fabulous mask dancers with our teacher.

korean performance 006

My daughters sang a lovely rendition of “Do re me” in Korean.

Korean speech contest

korean speech

Speeches can be nerve wracking.  The anxiety of speaking in public, the stress of forgetting your speech and the worry of messing up have you wishing you could stay in bed.  Now try that in a language you are less than proficient in.

We had a speech contest at Korean school this week.  The girls and I were really nervous and spent the week working on our speeches.  Jaina’s was about her favourite Korean foods.  Kyah explained how to make rice and I shared why I was learning Korean. My yobo enjoyed the turned tables as I struggled with my pronunciation and worked on fluency to not sound like a stilted robot.

Now the girls were apprehensive, but they are kids.  What do they have to lose?  But me? I was scared that the 10 year old Koreans and their lengthy monologues would make me look ridiculous as I stumbled through my short speech.  What did I have to lose?  Self respect, dignity, pride; all the things you can’t care about when you learn another language!

Click this link to watch the girls’ speeches:

2013 Korean speech

(Unfortunately the sound didn’t work at school so the girls did their speeches again for me later.  Once there was no pressure, it was easy!)

So we did it.  We survived it.  We didn’t do so bad. In fact, Kyah won for her class!

korean videos 017

We made the news!!

news article

Our Korean class was a buzz this weekend when we saw that we made the Saturday edition of the Vancouver JoongAng Ilbo, a Korean newspaper.

So, what does it say?  The article mentions that our Korean class is one of the only adult classes in the Vancouver area. It discusses each of the students and why they are studying: Maria loves Kpop and Korean dramas; Stephen likes the culture and the food; Leslie is married to a Korean man and blogs about food; and Daniel’s wife is Korean and he thinks it is fun. My teacher is quoted saying it is sad that there not more opportunities for people to study Korean.

There we go.  We are pretty much famous now!

Korean language school

Every Saturday morning, Kyah, Jaina and I head off to Korean language school.  We pack up our backpacks with our books, binders and a snack and enter the world of Han-gul for the morning.  The girls really enjoy that the mom goes and studies too, and I really like that I have a few hours every week to exercise my brain.

As we inch towards a basic knowledge of Korean, we get to sprinkle our conversations with more and more Korean vocabulary and expressions.

Today’s lesson in my adult class involved prepositions of place (in, on, under).  My fabulous sentence of the day was: There is coffee in my cup.  Important things I need to know how to say!

Note: if you can read Korean, the sentence above is my wonderful classmate’s sentence.