Thanksgiving Abroad

Hello everyone!  How are you all doing?  I hope you’re staying warm with all the cold weather!

Did you guys have a good Thanksgiving?  What all did you eat?  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I was interested to see how I could swing a totally American holiday overseas.

Thanksgiving day itself was like any other day, except I missed my family a lot and ended up skyping with my mom and dad four times over 36 hours.  My cousin, who is a teacher here, and with whom I spent every single Thanksgiving with since we were born, was busy on Thursday teaching so we had to hold off our celebration until the weekend.

Come to find out, there are actually a lot of events held all over the city for Thanksgiving for expats, although they are really expensive.  Some dinners even cost over $300! You can also find dinners that are less expensive in Itaewon, the foreigner area of Seoul, which can be a little on the sketchy side.  It’s also really far away from both of our houses, so we both decided to celebrate on Saturday.

Saturday morning we set out to go to an art exhibit and then to do a little shopping for our families for the holidays, and to sort of replicate black Friday shopping.  We went to a pretty cool place in Seoul called Insadong, where there are a ton of little shops selling replicas of tradition Korean items and souvenirs.   While there, we also saw a traditional drum performance, but the people playing the drums were dressing in animal footie pajamas!  It was so cool!

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Then we headed to a big store, similar to Fred Meyer back at home.  They have everything there it seems!  For dinner we decided on fried chicken, since my cousin (and most people in Seoul) doesn’t have an oven, just a gas stove with two burners, so we couldn’t bake anything.  Turkey is also very hard to find in Korea, and if you can find it, it’s very expensive, so stove top chicken was the way to go.

Once we returned to my cousin’s apartment, we got to work!  Together we made the chicken, chicken gravy, cheese sauce, rice, and broccoli.  This was very similar to what we eat at home with our families, just without my dad’s mashed potatoes and her dads stuffing.  I absolutely love cooking, so I was very happy to be in the kitchen again.

Cooking!  The pic is a little blurry since I was trying to take it before the chicken burned!

Cooking! The pic is a little blurry since I was trying to take it before the chicken burned!

from left to right, top to bottom:  Chicken and cheese sauce prep Gravy Our finished meal My cousin and all of our hard work, featuring a very messy  mini kitchen in the background

from left to right, top to bottom:
Chicken and cheese sauce prep
Gravy
Our finished meal
My cousin and all of our hard work, featuring a very messy mini kitchen in the background

We ate until we were stuffed, and then took a traditional Thanksgiving nap.  Once we woke up we headed out for some dessert, and found a cute little coffee shop that served hot cocoa and a Korean dessert called toast, which is a think piece of bread with sweet goodies on top.  Ours had honey, caramel, chocolate, and whipped cream.  Oh man it was so delicious!

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All in all it was a fun experience, but left me wondering a few things.  I know from my Korean friends here that having a full sized kitchen is very rare, and the norm is to have just a stove.  It leaves me to wonder how normal everyday families cook, especially for a lot of people.  How do holidays work with the kitchen, or are Koreans more likely to go out and eat for special occasions?  Cooking in Korea was a great experience and I hope to try it again soon!

Do you guys like to cook?  What is your favorite holiday meal?