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EMERGENCY! Meeting my Korean parents for the first time here, what to cook?

The short story is that I and my twin sister were adopted from Korea when we were babies and grew up in America. When I turned 18, I allowed my adoption file to be viewed by my biological parents should they ever inquire of my whereabouts. Frankly, I never actually thought anything would come of it. Lo and behold, two years later, I get a slew of pictures and a heartfelt letter from the parents detailing their lives and how they desperately wanted to meet my sister and I. I actually went to Korea last year after they insisted and I had an amazing time...they were SO hospitable and gracious....I actually stayed at their house for a week eating and traveling all throughout the country, catching a glimpse of the childhood I never had. The food, well it was incredible. Garlicky bulgogi, tender kalbi, firey kimchee... i still dream of these meals. They took me to the finest restaurants in Korea and these remain some of the most memorable meals of my life. My mother is also quite the cook--i know where my voracious love of cooking comes from. :)

Now, a year later, we're in the middle of a recession and life is so much different than when i took this trek. money is extremely tight and I'm looking for a job. I get a phone call and my parents are coming to america in a few days (on Friday!) to stay for just 36 hours ( WHAT!) See, they never met my twin sister, she didnt come with me. So they are getting impatient and desperately want to meet her too. She just got a job as a teacher and is in the process of getting her Masters. She isnt exactly swimming in cash either. So here's my question: We are going to eat out for dinner one day and lunch another. But to save money we are going to do breakfast and dinner at home. I heard Koreans dont eat much cheese, or dairy for that matter so I'm unsure of what to do for breakfast. Does this mean they would be repulsed by buscuits and gravy or cheesy breakfast tacos? When I was in Korea, we had bulgogi, kim bop and salted fish for breakfast...i doubt my sister would go for that. I am cooking at her house and I want them to be impressed. I just dont want to make anything TOTALLY foreign. It also seems that most breakfast items could be potentially seen as dessert....french toast or pancakes drenched in syrup, cinnamon rolls, danish, etc. And I know again, asians arent huge fans of heavy starchy sweets. Please somebody help!

And while you're at it, any asian friendly (semi-inexpensive) dinner ideas?? I thought about chinese but then I figured that would be kind of lame. besides I'll never begin to even come close to how well they do it, so I might as well not set myself up to fail....

Thank you SO much!!

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  1. The standard fried egg and rice seems to be a pretty universally accepted asian breakfast.

    For dinner maybe you could cook with your parents? Ask them to teach you a dish and that way even after they leave you will always have the recipe and the memories. ;-)

    6 Replies
    1. re: phyrefly44

      I'm Chinese American and I can ell you I never had fried egg and rice for breakfast growing up, ever.

      1. re: KTinNYC

        I'm Asian-American and I have had eggs and fried rice for breakfast many a time. Asking the parents to leave you with the legacy of a family recipe they can teach you sounds like a wonderful experience as well.

        1. re: JungMann

          Aren't you Filipino? Not to get in a fight but Asia is a big place and I can tell you that the statement that fried eggs and rice is a "pretty universally accepted asian breakfast" really isn't true.

          1. re: KTinNYC

            Yes, I'm Filipino, among a smattering of things. I must be writing too much about adobo and lumpia if people are recognizing my ethnicity already.

            I suppose that "universally accepted" is a bit grand, but to my knowledge, they are at least eaten in Japan, Korea, with modifications in India and Thailand and heartily in the Philippines. Not universal, but it has somewhat broad reach.

            1. re: JungMann

              I would probably cross Japan off your list. It's rare to find a fried egg with rice, though onsen tamago (very soft boiled egg) is much more common for breakfast.

        2. re: KTinNYC

          I know that my friends in Korea ate it often for breakfast, in areas around Seoul, Pusan, and out in the country as well. Often it was served with kimchee and sometimes dried fish.

      2. I think you should avoid trying to cook Korean food. Food in Korea is prepared quite differently from what I am used to here in Hawaii, for example. It is usually a good idea to serve beef to people from Korea.. throw some inexpensive steaks on the bar-B or serve perhaps chicken, like fried chicken wings with a spicy seasoning. Have kimchee on hand if possible, rice, a salad with watercress and/ or beansprouts. Mochi wrapped ice cream for dessert, and you are good to go! Good luck with your parents, and congratulations! BTW As you know, Koreans are really westernized so they won't fall apart, regardless of what you decide to serve!

        1. I would also recommend steak or steak strips, either grilled, broiled, or quick fried.
          Get some leaf lettuce, garlic, and some chili peppers.
          Some steamed white rice.
          Make a simple dipping sauce with a little soy sauce, ground red chili or pepper flakes, and a touch of sugar or honey.
          Wrap a bit of rice, a piece of steak dipped in the sauce, and a slice of garlic and pepper in a lettuce leaf.

          1. What a privilege to cook for your parents and sister under the circumstances!

            When we visited Korea we made our hosts pancakes and that was really well received. (I don't think we had syrup, but splurged on whip cream and fruit) Back in Canada, Korean roommates loved cold cereal but when their parents visited it got a 'What is this? It looks like dog food!' reaction. Omelets and fried eggs would be good. Fruit salad and toast. Home fries. Keep it simple and make what you know; you'll be fine!

            1. When I lived in Seoul my Korean friends pretty much loved any kind of breakfast meat. Bacon, sausage, ham, yes-even spam. Fried eggs are always a good choice for breakfast as well (any kind of eggs really). I suspect they would really love a good quiche or frittata, just go easy on the cheese - its sort of a western pa-jun. Stay away from the sweet and sticky stuff. My friends looked at cinnamon rolls like they were something from outer space, and pancakes were ok, but no syrup please.

              Sounds like your parents pulled out all the stops when you were there. A more typical korean breakfast would be some rice (always rice, every meal), kimchee, some dried/salted fish, and some thin broth. Adding the bulgogi and kim bap was a treat for them I would imagine. Plan to have rice available for any meal you have at home. If you have a rice cooker, you can save it for at least one breakfast and lunch, or a lunch and dinner. Rice also microwaves really well.

              My friends also seemed to like my spaghetti, and oddly enough my tuna casserole, although for some reason they thought that should be breakfast food, not dinner. One of my friend's parents dropped by unexpectedly around lunchtime. Didn't have much in the house but managed to put together some tuna and some egg salad sandwiches. Those went over really well, and they went really well with the ban-chan.

              Remember that most koreans cook really well on the stovetop, but don't have an oven at home, so anything you roast is going to be a treat for them. Just make sure to have a high vegetable to meat ratio on the table.

              Hope this gives you some of what you need, most of all enjoy the visit!

              2 Replies
              1. re: KaimukiMan

                What about roasting a chicken? That should be reasonably priced, and one chicken should be enough for four.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Roast chicken would be great, I think the simply roasted mats re a very safe bet. I also agree with the suggestions of having rice and kimchi around, to allow the option of Koreanizing the meal. The key is trying yo find safe bets, as you may not know what will appeal. Experimental dishes will be more appropriate when you get to spend more time with them and see what they like.

                  Other simple bets include simply prepared stir-fries with lots of vegetables, Chinese noodle dishes, Chinese tofu dishes. Koreans appreciate a lot of Chinese cuisine as there is a lot of overlap in the cuisines. Plus these dishes go well with rice and kimchi, which are necessary and comforting for Korean eaters. My parents loved our ma po tofu, pork, tofu, black bean sauce. Now my mum has now modified out recipe, and adds a bit of kochuchang when she makes it for dad, but they both gobbled down our version too. A simple beef and broccoli stirfry will always be appreciated, and I remember my parents loving sea food chow mein and sea food shanghai noodles from some local Chinese joints. Soy sauce flavoured chicken, or fresh fish steamed with ginger, soy, garlic, green onions, these are all easy dishes to find or make, and would appeal to the Korean palate and be quite familiar, but still different enough to make it special. And if you know a good place for sweet and sour anything, Koreans are quite used to this, there is a dish called tang se yuk (sp?) that is very popular. If it is well done, it will be appreciated.

                  Finally stock up on really good quality fruit! Many Koreans enjoy finishing off a meal with fresh fruit, the bigger and more beautiful looking, the better.

                  Have a lovely visit with your family! Family is so very important in Korean culture, I am certain your biological parents feel so blessed and happy to have a chance to get to know you and your sister better!

              2. I wouldn't do a standard Asian breakfast. The last thing I want when I travel somewhere for a very short time is to have someone try to cook a poor rendition of what I'm used to at home. Once I've been there a month or two, maybe. I'd say try an omelet or something with eggs and breakfast meat, and then for dinner do something that involves an oven. Keep in mind that Korea has very westernized and even smaller towns have Domino's Pizza and other American chain restaurants. Unless your family has lived in a box, chances are they've been exposed to all sorts of western food already.

                For dinner I'd try a roast of some sort since they don't have any ovens.

                1. I agree w/ those who say not to try to make Korean food if you don't know how. I never cook chinese food for my parents or in laws. For breakfast, sometimes I do a home made bread, not crusty artisan bread but one made with milk and eggs so the texture is soft, like challah, no sweeter. Some bacon and eggs (over easy, soft) on the side but not as the main like an American breakfast. Pancakes and french toast aren't a bad idea but don't serve w/ syrup to make it sweet. My mom's favorite breakfast when she visits is toasted home made bread with butter and a very light sprinkling of sugar.

                  I think the roast chicken is a great idea. I make the Zuni chicken, and add garlic cloves the last 15 minutes of cooking. I then spoon the drippings and mashed garlic cloves into rice. Add a side of spinach in garlic and you have a good inexpensive meal.

                  You could also do a roasted boston butt, or braised short ribs. For my parents, I might use star anise, garlic, paprika, salt, white or black pepper, soy sauce, sherry.

                  I'd stay away from cheese but oddly enough, both parents and in laws love pizza. Nothing unusual, just mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. We took my mom out and had goat cheese pizza and she couldn't eat it. The other thing they like (and I don't know if this is just them) is lasagna, made with bechamel sauce, no cheese, or at most a light sprinkling of mozzarella, light on the sauce. But with those, watch out for lactose intolerance.

                  1. That's quite a story. I think you should not try to impress, because with the short time they have with you and your sister, food maybe the last thing on their minds. A lot also depends on how traditional or westernized your parents are. I'd say a simple breakfast of eggs and toast may be good. I don't know where you live but a good Chinese dinner is not lame. You may want to introduce them to some american dishes also. Yes I would stay away from cheese and large amounts of meat, esp. steak that's cooked rare.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: PeterL

                      I am an old man (70) with children and grandchildren. When we visit each other, the food is not why we are visiting. They just want to see you.
                      Don't knock yourself out.
                      Also, when you went to Korea to visit them, would you have been impressed if they had tried to make you comfortable and taken you to a McDonalds?
                      They introduced you to Korean cuisine.
                      Do the same for them.
                      Turkey with all the trimmings, Roast chicken, bacon and eggs with grits....etc.
                      I love the idea of you trying to get them to teach you how to cook a Korean dish.
                      You will both cherish that memory.
                      Just food for thought (pun intended)

                      1. re: billieboy

                        I was going to suggest the same. On my daughter-in-law's visit, she wanted to eat American. She had never eaten veal. When her brother and wife came they wanted beef and burgers.
                        Enjoy them and don't worry'
                        The Other Old One
                        When we visit, again, for a month this summer, I can't wait to hit Korean restaurants and grocery stores. Who the hell wants 'Merican?

                        1. re: billieboy

                          First post of yours I have seen Billieboy...not really old but really wise

                          1. re: capeanne

                            Agreed. Except. older Koreans really do prefer Korean food and often do not care for other types of food. I understand asiansensation007's need to impress with food, because food is one way Koreans show their love and respect.

                            The bp's aren't coming for the food, and they probably won't care much about it, but special food would make the visit oh so much more special.

                            The cooking lesson is a really great idea. And take them shopping with you to pick up the ingredients. Bonding around food is a very Korean thing. (not just Korean, I know, but I'm being case-specific)

                            Or if you do want to do American-style food, keep it simple. Like fried chicken like someone else mentioned, or a pot roast . The great thing about pot roast is that it can be prepared earlier, and most of the cooking time is spent in the oven (or if you have a crock pot, great), so you can sit around talking and catching up instead of making a labour-intensive meal. And it can be served with rice rather than bread or mashed potatoes (it's not unusual to find Asians eat potatoes with rice, so you could still put chunks of potatoes in the stew). And the meat used for a pot roast is usually relatively cheap.

                      2. Myself, I would be terribly disappointed if I were visiting a Korean family and they served me an American meal to make me feel at home. But you have to judge by your parents personalities what they would most enjoy. A Denver omelet and some fruit or English muffins would be interesting or huevos rancheros.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LRunkle

                          I absolutely agree with this. Trying well cooked American food will be much better for them than trying poorly cooked Korean food, especially since your mother is such a good cook. You could keep ingredients around though just in case your mother ends up taking over the kitchen...she might if you ask her to show you some recipes.

                          Congradulations on finding your birth mother, and you are so lucky, too that the meet-up wents so well and you guys are getting together again. Have fun with the visit and don't sweat the food too much.

                        2. wow thanks everyone for the advice! hmm i never thought about a cooking lesson. i LOVED her bulgogi...thats stuff dreams are made of. i just wonder if you can find traditional bulgogi ingredients in a regular grocery store. we wont have time to run to the city market. its definately something im gunna run by my sister!

                          otherwise i think a roasted meat is a great idea. for breakfast, i was thinking about this:

                          http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...

                          although someone help me if you think the butter/cheese is too obscene for an asian palatte. :

                          )

                          i will keep you all updated!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: asiansensation007

                            You can get most of the ingredients in regular markets
                            Whole garlic
                            sugar or brown sugar
                            ginger root
                            green onion
                            soy sauce
                            onion
                            rice vinegar or sub white vinegar
                            Asian pear or sub semi sweet apple

                            1. re: asiansensation007

                              I am sure anything you cook will be just fine and they will be thrilled. If you are worried about the amount of butter and cheese, take a look at this

                              http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1920,1...

                              If i were making it, i would probably add some crumbled breakfast sausage and probably some minced garlic (hey, I lived in Seoul for 3 years, I LOVE garlic). What I'm thinking is that it is a lot of flavors they are used to, but cooked in a very western way. Serve it with some good bisquick biscuits, butter and jam or marmelade....

                            2. I am sure everybody on this thread would be delighted if you reported how everything went.

                              1. Hi - congratulations on getting to know your biologic parents! I tutor Korean students in English and they all say that favorite American food is fried chicken> Apparently fired chicken is available and popular in Korea but it is not like american classic fired chicken. I also think that the idea of having a family cooking session sounds great but time may be a little short. In any event, they are here to see you and your sister -food will be an adjunct - not the main event!

                                1. Breakfast suggestion: rice, omelet with green onions, kim chee if you have it, fried slices of a spicy sausage like andouille or cajun. White bread toast. Fruit, like apples or pears.

                                  1. asiansensations007, I loved your story.
                                    I think its great that you can connect and especially good fortune that you were able to travel to Korea and do what you did.
                                    Like a few others, I felt that that the food would be secondary to the reunion itself, but totally understand your anxiety of wanting it to be perfect .

                                    Seems that this took place last weekend "my parents are coming to america in a few days (on Friday!) to stay for just 36 hours ( WHAT!) "
                                    Curious to know how things panned out. What did you guys eat restaurant wise and kitchen wise? Were the folks happy (I'd like to know their take on the situation as well)? Were you and your sister happy?

                                    Hope I'm not too forward in asking!

                                    1. This is too late for now, but:

                                      Prepare simple meat dishes "American" style AND always include rice as a side. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner - be prepared with good rice.

                                      1. OK, its been a couple of weeks. Are you still in recovery? Did they kidnap you and take you back to the old country? Snoopy minds want to know.

                                        1. Although it seems the visit has already occured, I would agree with those who say that you shouldn't do too much Asian. Part of visiting you and your sister is seeing how you live, just do what you normally do with a few extra special touches to make it better, i.e. cook them the most decadent breakfast you would make for yourself, it will still not amount to much $$ wise. Then take them to a Korean grocery to show you how to recreate those meals you had there, cooking together is such a great way to bond, and every time you make it you will remember where you learned the recipe :)

                                          1. Part I--Welcome to Mediocre America

                                            Sorry guys, it has been a couple of weeks and i have yet to reply. Their visit was great and yes, food played a big part of it!

                                            My adoptive parents and my birth parents (bp) all met for the first time at the airport and it was a highly emotional moment for my bp. I'm not sure if all Koreans are so emotionally open, but they couldnt stop holding everyone's hand. They brought along the oldest son who is only 10 months younger than my sister and I. Last year, when I met him, he spoke NO english at all. He has been studying for four months in Chicago and he has made amazing progress. I would say his conversation level was on par with a 5-6 year old--more than enough to communicate. And he reads quite well. A handy electronic pocket translator filled in the gaps.

                                            So we leave the airport and standing outside our car and the bp announce they brought special tea and would like to sit and talk and then go to lunch. i can tell my parents are slightly uncomfortable because they are unsure of how to handle everything but agree. We go back to my sister's apt and sit and look at babybooks and talk about my sister. (they met me last year, so there really are no questions about me...) after spending an eternity scrutinizing every photograph, and no tea, the bp annouce they want to take us all to lunch. My parents automatically volunteer Applebees. I cringe. I take my dad aside and tell him that although I know they are trying to be polite and be cost conscience (my dad has been unemployed for 4 mo now), dont worry, these people WILL buy lunch and they do like to eat good food.But as a middle child, nobody ever listens to me. I tried to comprise with Outback Steakhouse as it is across the street. But again, Middle Child Syndrome and my pleas go unheeded.

                                            We end up at applebees and my parents my sister and I all order sandwiches I order the cowboy burger "pink" (I asked for med rare but the waitress said only pink or no pink). My sister orders the quesidlla burger pink. Hers comes our pink, mine, not so much. Overall, a "C" burger.

                                            Of course my poor unsuspecting bp and their son all order steak. I cringe, again. And I pray by some miracle Applebees might cook a semi decent steak. Of course my prayers are in vain. Their steaks come out with sides of fries and veggies. They take a few bites and then proceed to eat a few fries, cutting them up with their forks. My sister educates them on the finer points of "finger food". Most of their food sits untouched. Welcome to American dining at its worst. But really, we had a great time at lunch, talking and comparing culture stories. I didnt sulk all afternoon. Obviously the company makes the meal, no matter what you're eating--case in point. The bill comes to $88 for seven people. Not bad.

                                            My parents say their goodbyes and my sister and I are left to entertain for the rest of the afternoon.

                                            There is much more to the story...from Korean cooking to my miraculously multiplying pot roast. Stay tuned.

                                            19 Replies
                                            1. re: asiansensation007

                                              Wonderful! can't wait for the next episodes.

                                              1. re: asiansensation007

                                                Thanks for reporting back. This is great.

                                                And yes, the hand holding and touching is common among Korean families after long separations.

                                                Really looking forward to more.

                                                1. re: asiansensation007

                                                  I am looking forward to your next installment. Glad everything went well.

                                                  1. re: asiansensation007

                                                    Had to laugh at Applebees, it happens to be one of my nephew's favorite restaurants at the moment, but then he is 3 years old. Whatever else you say about it, its pretty typical America (sad as that may be), and I'm sure they have been to mediocre Korean restaurants back home. Looking forward to hear about your Korean Cooking and your pot roast.

                                                    1. re: asiansensation007

                                                      I can't wait to hear how the rest goes. I am not surprised your family did not want to go to Outback since it is almost as ubiquitous in Korea as it is in the US. There are plenty of other chains all throughout Korea, but I don't think Applebees is one of them. I am sure they just wanted something different.

                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                        i think it was the US parents who wanted Applebees... the Korean parents bowed to the judgement of the elders, not the daughter who dared to disagree with her parents in front of her parents.... oh what a position to be in.

                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                          Well the disagreement was done in private and my pleas were subtle. There wasnt any loud outburst or over the top displays of emotion--although I was crying a little on the inside.

                                                          Kaimuki is right, my korean parents had no idea as to what was going on...they were simply along for the ride. I feel bad we assulted their senses so soon after their arrival. They were the consumate guests, gracious through and through. I was still very respectful to my american parents, I simply "suggested" once or twice another alternative. I see now where I get my chowsiness, as my birth parents are little chowhounds themselves. As Ive said before, my korean mother makes bulgogi I still dream about..

                                                          It was very interesting though, watching Korean family dynamics. My mother always took the backseat and when I was in Korea, the oldest son, Seung, sat in the passenger front seat and the father drove. Yet, the mother was always in control. Even though I didnt speak Korean, it was evidently clear whatever she said, goes. Seung said that she "controls the house." It didnt matter how much I protested or told her no, she always had her way!

                                                          Sidenote, second installment will be coming soon...

                                                          1. re: asiansensation007

                                                            Just to help keep up: Are your adoptive parents oif Asian origen? If not, did you grow up with any Asian influences? Was this the first time your adoptive and birth parents met? How do you feel they got along? Just trying to get a better feel for what is an important episode in your life and a fascinating one for those of us getting to share.

                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                              I've no idea of asiansensation007's family circumstances except what she's said above...but that did include, "My adoptive parents and my birth parents (bp) all met for the first time at the airport."

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                Got it now. Thank you. Still curious abouth the other stuff.

                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                  You and me both. I'm even more curious about the Korean cooking lesson and the multiplying pot roast, though!

                                                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                She seems to have touched our heart, hasn't she? Nice tho :-)

                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                  As for Asian origins, yes I am fully Korean. But I like to call myself a Twinkie--yellow on the outside but white on the inside. I have an Asian face, a German last name and a brown-haired mother. I was adopted as an infant along with my twin sister.

                                                                  I grew up on a pretty American diet of speghetti, tacos, meatloaf, and cream of mushroom chicken. I'm not going to say it was right or wrong, but I'm alive and healthy, so that's that. I really started to branch out in high school and traveled all over the world doing missions/ relief work in china, thailand, russia, brazil, etc. The food wasnt fancy and I wasnt there to explore. But I ate some amazing food every now and then, and it really opened my eyes to the amazing food possibilities out there. I loved trying everything and I developed a fierce passion for all things ethnic and authentic. I love everything from pho and samosas to a good med rare hamburger and carnitas.

                                                                  I noticed when I visited Korea last year, food was a huge part of the culture and where we spent alot of our time. I jokingly complained that we simply went from one meal to the next...we'd eat lunch for 2 hours, get up and 2 hours later sit down for another 2 hour dinner. I ate my way through Korea and along the way I fell in love. I fell in love with a family I never knew and a of which culture I had missed out.

                                                                  1. re: asiansensation007

                                                                    Kamsahamnida for this delightful thread.

                                                                    1. re: asiansensation007

                                                                      We had a grand child born in Seoul last month. We wonder how much American cultural experience he will have. Going to visit in June. Should I take him a football?

                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                        Passadumkeg, there is a big American influence in Seoul due to the number of US troops stationed there.

                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                          I was joking about the foot ball. I know about the troops. We made a trippy trip to the DMZ. Just worry I won't relate to the last of the Dumbkeg line. Is it too early to take him beer? Korean beer is, how shall I say it, not too good.

                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                            You could bring beer on your trip but I'm not sure the beer will stay good for 13 years.

                                                                  2. re: asiansensation007

                                                                    I think its obvious that I'm as interested as anyone here and look forward to the second installment (I read "Sidenote" and pronounced it in my mind as
                                                                    "See-day-no-tay", asked myself if this is another sibling or relative, but wait, that doesn't sound Korean at all......its 'sidenote', dumba$$.....).

                                                                    Let me say, however, that I don't always trust authority. I also don't know just how callous authority can be. I've seen a small response (asking an OP about a certain plant) removed because it did not relate to food.....
                                                                    With that said, maybe, just perhaps, so theres no *misunderstanding* with anyone, weave a bit of food related stuff into the post.

                                                                    Just my 2c ;-)

                                                            2. Part II

                                                              "No, the salad bar does not equal free samples"

                                                              So after damaging our culinary credibility with our welcome to America lunch at Applebees, my (American) parents said their goodbyes and said they would drop in later that night to say hello. It was now just me, my sister, and my birthparents (bp) and Seung, their oldest son (who has been studying English in Chicago for the past four months and came too He was our stand-in translator with the verbal capacity of a six or seven year old). We left Applebees and went back to my sisters apartment so I could put the little 3 lb pork roast in the oven which would be that night's dinner.

                                                              We went shopping for the rest of the afternoon, and Seung mentioned needed a pair of jeans. It was strange to help our little brother pick out clothes and my sister, the fasionista that she is, pulled and tugged and critiqued every selection. obviously we all felt very comforable very quickly. Our birthfather tried to buy us something and he took us into the coach store to pick out a purse, much to our shock and polite embarrassment. We barely got out of the store as the gawking salespeople looked on with fascination and obvious disappointment ("they could of bought any purse they wanted and they refused?!?!) I just couldnt do it when the RIBBON alone that tied around the purse handles was $38. Besides, it was just awkward.

                                                              My sister, who was on a jeans-induced mission, drug us all over the shopping plaza until the Koreans finally called it quits for the day and told us they wanted to stop by the market on the way home. I told them I had made dinner, but they indicated they wanted to go anyway. I shrugged and figured we could move onto my familiar turf (as opposed to my sisters, which is shopping)

                                                              We went to a local grocery chain, Hy-Vee, and immediately the bp made a beeline for the fruit section. I had bought fruit for their stay, but my mother had seen it at the apartment and I could tell it did not meet her approval. While the parents sifted though apples, cantaloupe and grapes, my sister and I showed Sueng all the different free samples in the store. (we were all hungry at this point) For some reason, Hy-Vee had several chips and dip platters out, along with bread and spreads, and hummas and crackers. I didnt really notice the carb theme until Sueng remarked that all we eat is chips. My sister and I turned our backs and browsed the fruit section ourselves and when we turned back around, to our horror, we saw the family had gravitated to the salad bar and was plucking things off the bar and eating them on the spot. They thought they had just discovered the motherload of free samples. We quickly explained that wasnt how it worked and we moved on with our shopping. They ended up purchasing $50 worth of steaks, sesame oil, salad dressings, fruit, little debbies and coke. I thought this was going to be a little grocery run. Boy, was I wrong. But I didnt argue as I learned along time ago that its pointless to argue with an Asian mother.

                                                              We went back to my sisters apartment and to my shock I discovered our little intimate dinner had turned into a party as my sister had invited all her friends over to partake in this blessed event. My little 3 pound roast didnt stand a chance...

                                                              To be continue tomorrow...

                                                              PS--for inquiring minds, the roast was prepared the night before. I marinated the pork in soy sauce, minced ginger, black pepper, onion, brown sugar, and garlic. I also made slit in the skin and embedded slivers of garlic into the pork itself. Thanks for the roast ideas...i dont know how I let this easy and economical choice slip my mind. I had never made this before but I was excited to give it a whirl.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: asiansensation007

                                                                I am loving this thread! I can't wait for the next installment. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story Asiansensation007!

                                                                I also consider myself yellow on the outside, white on the inside, but instead of a Twinkie, I call myself a Banana... When my parents first moved to Canada from Korea in the 1960's, they were astounded and thrilled about the cheapness and availability of bananas, which were luxury items in Korea. When my aunt and cousins arrived in Canada in the mid 70's, my parents stocked up on bananas, and I still remember the joyous look on my cousins' faces when they saw heaps and heaps of bananas. I think it helped them to adjust to the incredible change in their lives when they immigrated to Canada.

                                                                Fruit is a very important and loved food product amongst Koreans. They love giving and receiving good fruit as gifts. They also eat a large amount of fruit every day. My parents obsess about fruit, and we can't drive by a fruit stand without stopping, even when we have more fruit in the house than we can possibly imagine. Good fruit will always be appreciated.

                                                                Food in general is taken very seriously by Koreans, we are like many Asian cultures, seriously obsessed with food. I am not surprised your family wanted to stop by the grocery store. Cooking and eating is an important part of family time in Korea, and it makes sense that your family wanted to celebrate together with food. You just have to roll with it, and enjoy the ride!

                                                                Hee hee! Your day of shopping sounds so familiar! Dad tries to buy you purses, Mum buys a bunch of food to feast on! So Korean. I would say that next time they try to buy something for you, you may want to let them do it. Some polite refusal to start, then pick out something modest, and just let them buy it for you, and thank them profusely. They really want to do it, and apparently it is considered rude to refuse all the time. Now I know that I get a lot of slack with regards to the manners, as I was not brought up in Korea. But I have tried to pay for meals in restaurants in the past, and tried to refuse gifts, and some of my more Korean relatives have been kind enough to point out this was rude behavior from a junior (age is everything). Koreans are well known for bluntness. I am sure your birth parents want to buy you something! So now I just let them do it, and try to pick carefully so as to respect their budgets.

                                                                How wonderful to have 2 sets of parents! 2 sets of people who care very much about you and love you. Looking forward to the next installment!

                                                                1. re: moh

                                                                  What a funny world. I have an adopted Bolivian daughter, natural parents unknown, and a Korean/American grandson, father known too well.

                                                                2. re: asiansensation007

                                                                  Thank you for reporting back. I can't wait to read tomorrow's installment.

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                  1. re: asiansensation007

                                                                    I, too, find this thread fascinating because I'm adopted and "the file" says that I'm part Thai though I grew up in a family of non-asians and my adopted sister was not asian. I really don't know very much about the culture or the country except for what I've read and of course- meeting the biological parents is fascinating to me. thanks for sharing!

                                                                    1. re: asiansensation007

                                                                      Ahhh you can't build so much suspense with cliffhanger endings and then leave us hanging ;) Did the roast prevail.. Did total anarchy occur...

                                                                      1. re: Nanjinged

                                                                        Here here! I want to know what happened!

                                                                    2. This is wonderful, are you a writer? I'm thoroughly entertained here, please continue......how lucky that you and your sister are experiencing this.

                                                                      1. Bumping this thread in hopes of another installment.

                                                                        I'm half Korean on my dad's side and was born in Seoul, but came to the states 33 years ago when I was 5. I've had a conflicted relationship with Korean and Korean-American culture most of my life, and I love reading your take on things. Gives me a fresh perspective.

                                                                        Hope you'll write more... :)

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                          So glad you bumped this thread. I started reading it in the beginning and missed the updates so it was nice to read the new posts (and bittersweet to read Sam's posts).

                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                              I really liked this post, too. Glad but saddened to read both Sam and Moh's words here. Thanks for bumping up. I hope we get an update.