If you read my blog posts regularly you will have most likely realised that yesterday was my first ever Christmas away from my family; I regard my boyfriend as family, so I am just referring to being away from bloodline family relatives. As much as it felt unusual to have an alternative environment and plan for the festive period, it was lovely to experience an new way of celebrating this special occassion. For an extensive amount of time we had anticipated to be able to spend events like this as one. It was relieving to not have to wait another year to be able to do such a simple thing as to spend Christmas with a loved one.
Our original suggestion for how to use this day was to unambiguously stay within the comforts of our home, watching Christmas movies over a home cooked meal made from whichever ingredients remained in our kitchen’s storage. As midday was approaching we modified our plan to taking a visit to Incheon’s Chinatown for one thing only: jajangmyeon. Jajangmyeon (짜장면) is a Korean adapted Chinese dish of noodles in a dense black bean sauce containing chopped vegetables and pork; usually topped with a fried egg, sesame seeds and dainty thin slices of cucumber. Straightforwardly honest I don’t usually like jajangmyeon. I am much more of a lover of Cantonese style black bean sauce which is relatively spicy and less sticky than that used for jajangmyeon. Nonetheless I decided to try it once more as my first unpleasant experience of unsatisfying jajangmyeon may have prematurely hindered my judgement of the dish.
Due to the popular demand of the Chinese restaurant we selected we had to take a ticket to wait for an unoccupied table. To avoid having to wait 2 hours or more in -2 degree weather, we compromised with having the share a table with strangers. It was of course slightly awkward until food provided a distraction to each of us. I ordered jajangmyeon whereas my boyfriend requested jjamppong (짬뽕) (-noddle dish with seafood submerged in a spicy broth). We also shared one of my favourite Chinese cuisines: deep fried pork in a sweet and sour sauce known as Tangsuyuk (탕수육).
If you would rather have street food which is not far from this Chinatown, Bupyeong station has an underground market which extends from outside to indoors. Indoors mainly homes cosmetics shops and clothing stores whereas the outdoor section serves more as a street food and grocery market. As we didn’t exchange gifts this year we settled for buying ourselves a few little treats including skincare products and a diary from one of my favourite stationery shops: Artbox.
Late into the night we attempted to make a dish inspired by Gordon Ramsey, more precisely slow cooked beef in coconut milk and seasonings. It turned out to resemble beef stroganoff, unfortunately without the accompanying potatoes or bread for dipping in the sauce. Dessert was much more promising as we had purchased some cakes from a bakery chain called Opts. Not only are the cakes mouthwatery, demolishing any remains of sugar cravings but the cafe is beautifully decorated resembling decades old English or French patisseries. I had a a Berry mousse cake and a slice of pineapple souffle cheesecake.
Christmas came to a close rather abruptly. Travelling between towns made the day move much quickly than I hoped for. Nevertheless I began to watch the 1993 Tim Burton animation: The Nightmare Before Christmas… I have never seen it before! I know, shame on me! Infact I have heard of the title and recognise some of the main characters yet somehow I had never seen it on television or been introduced to it by any other way until now. In all fairness I should finish attempting to celebrate Boxing Day watching famous Christmas films I have somehow been oblivious to for all these years!
To anyone who lives in a Common Wealth or post Common Wealth country celebrating Boxing Day, enjoy. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I sincerely wish you all a Happy New year.