Today in Seoul 23: Spam

November 6, 2016

The tap water here is potable, although Gillian says the locals don’t drink it. I sampled it a couple days, and my digestive tract… well, nothing extreme, but enough to say let’s do as the Romans (er, Koreans) do. We lugged (okay let’s be honest — Janet did most of the lugging) two-liter bottle six packs home from the store a couple weeks, then she reached for a more sustainable (and lighter) solution: a charcoal filter bottle, bought online and delivered free by one of the scooter guys. Janet has been shopping Asian markets and cooking her own version of pan-Asian cuisine for years — that hasn’t changed here, except to go full time. There has been one culinary surprise: Spam. Just seemed like a good idea the first couple days we were here. Intrigued, I checked the nutrition label (online, in English): some protein and lots of fat — a paleo diet dream. And it’s rich in electrolytes — sodium, potassium, magnesium, some calcium — a workout junkie’s dream. 스팸is phonetic Korean for Spam (looks kind of like케핀). The house brand is 리챔 (we’re seeing a pattern here) — Rich Ham, the English label tells us, with an Asian twist: green tea. I haven’t had Spam since growing up (no green tea included back then), now it’s a staple of my diet. Writing that, I notice how easily the word “staple” comes to mind. I wonder how many years I’d have to study for that to happen in Korean. Makes me amazed to think how our brains learn our first language, mostly unconsciously. Could use some of that about now.