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Advanced hotel room cooking


Photo by Anna Waigand

Like many English teachers fresh off the plane, we were sequestered in a seven-day quarantine because of the scare of H1N1. Until we moved into our apartment we were put up in the Maldive Motel. Eating out in Seoul is pretty cheap, though a little daunting in our neighborhood since we don’t know Korean. Instead, we decided to stay in a couple of nights and eat in our hotel room.

For food our hotel room was equipped with a mini fridge, a bathroom sink and a water purifier that also dispensed boiling hot water. These types of water units, which also have a cold water faucet, seem to be common in Korea and are also how some restaurants serve you water.

Initially we’d been using the hot water to sample the wide range of cup ramens and instant noodle soups available at every corner store. Though ramen is pretty good even outside of a college dorm, we decided to try and mix it up with another common Korean snack: rice rolled in seasoned dried seaweed.

There is a whole seaweed section in our local Home Plus Express, but we decided on a four pack of small seaweed pieces. There is also a section of precooked rice vacuum sealed into small bowls. At 990 won for 210 grams it is pretty cheap. We could have been fine with cold rice wrapped in seaweed, a snack sold in the refrigerated 7-11 deli cases, but we decided it would be better with warm rice.

To make hot rice and seaweed in your hotel room, follow these steps.

Photo by Anna Waigand
Supplies
1 bowl of vacuum sealed precooked rice
1 empty bowl of instant noodle soup – make sure the bowl is larger than your rice bowl
1 packet of small seasoned seaweed pieces
Boiling water
Chopsticks (most stores give them to you free with ramen)
Sesame seeds (optional)
Vinegared Red Pepper Paste squeeze bottle (optional)

1. Buy one of the large bowls of instant ramen with a resealing top, not one of the ones with a tear off top. Make sure the bowl is bigger than your pre-cooked rice bowl. Make and eat the ramen, maybe as a first course in your hotel room menu.

2. Wash out the bowl and place the sealed rice bowl inside.

3. Fill the larger bowl with hot water out of your tap and let sit for 5 minutes. If you want your rice hot as opposed to warm do this step twice.

4. Drain the hot water out in your bathroom sink and open up your rice bowl. The rice should be warm to the touch. If you have sesame seeds, sprinkle a generous amount over the rice and mix them in.

5. Take a sheet of seaweed and using your chopsticks place a line of rice along the narrow part of the seaweed. If you have hot sauce, drip a line of it across the rice.

6. Roll the seaweed around the rice. You should be able to make the two sides just touch. Eat in two or three bites and then roll yourself another one.

One packet of seaweed and 210 grams of rice was enough for the two of us with the noodle bowl. For those nights when you are a little extra hungry you can add a grocery store version of one of our favorite side dishes: black beans boiled in soy sauce.

For a couple more photos check out our Flickr set Hotel Room Cooking.

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