Published at 13th of November 2020 07:35:09 AM
It wasn’t Kaya alone who admired the beautiful bridge .
Bruce, Zemma, and Grace blankly looked out the window, impressed with the outside scenes .
Kaya whispered to Min-joon, “I thought South Korea was a very rural place . ”
“I told you a lot of time, it wasn’t . Korea t’s a very developed place . ”
“I just thought you stretched the facts because it’s your country . ”
“You’ll find out there is no place as good as Korea where you can play and enjoy . ”
“What about eating?”
“Well…” He hesitated for a moment . When he was in Korea, he rarely found a restaurant that served fine food . At the same time, he didn’t even go around looking for a good restaurant because he couldn’t afford it . When he was a teacher, he found it painful to visit those restaurants that made him miss the dishes he had already given up . After he landed a job at a restaurant, he could not find time to visit other restaurants .
But he couldn’t put it off anymore because visiting Korean restaurants was his homework, his obligation, and his right . Any chef was supposed to know at least how the cuisine of his country had developed and how it was trending now .
He said firmly, “I’m going to find it out from now on . ”
But Kaya let out a sigh, watching his resolve firmly . She had traveled to Korea, his home country, so he could take a good vacation, but his eyes were burning with firm determination as if he found a new goal .
‘Well, I always liked his glaring eyes like that, but…’
In fact, there were some others who were as determined as Min-joon at the Grand Chef Competition, and they were as competent as him . So, if there was any difference between him and others at the competition, it was his secret but ambitious craving hidden in his deep eyes, which even Kaya could hardly notice at first glance .
She liked his hidden craving that nobody could notice, which made him look aristocratic and even mature . She glanced at her own face in the side mirror . She felt her eyes reflected on the dirty mirror, frowning due to the sunlight, were far from mature .
“Why do I look so ugly?”
“Oh, I’ve murmured to myself . Just forget it,” she replied tepidly .
Since the street was free from traffic congestion, the car carrying them soon arrived at Min-joon’s apartment in Bundang even before they organized their thoughts .
She looked up at the apartment building with admiration .
“It’s very high . Is this a condo, or an apartment?”
“Here in Korea, they call all these tall residential buildings just apart . ”
“Isn’t it an apartment, not apart? You can’t buy it separately, right?”
“It doesn’t matter whether you rent it or not . ”
It was natural that she misunderstood . In America, they called an apartment those multi-family housing that could be rented out, but they called tradable apartments condos . She still looked confused after he explained the difference between an apartment and a condo in Korea, but it didn’t matter now .
It didn’t take long to unpack their baggage . Since they were supposed to stay here for one week, they didn’t need many household items . His apartment was only furnished with basic furniture such as a bed and dining table, etc .
Sitting on the sofa in the living room, Kaya said in a tired voice, “I’m already tired . ”
“Take a nap then . ”
“Alright . But I don’t think I’ll fell asleep again because I slept a lot on the plane . ”
“The time difference between here and Los Angeles is 7 hours . If you feel tired, it might disrupt your daily schedule . ”
“Hey, I’ve had more overseas travels than you . So, don’t try to remind me about anything like jet lag . ”
“That makes sense,” he nodded as if he understood .
She looked around calmly . She didn’t feel the three-bedroom apartment was spacious enough, but she didn’t feel too cramped up . Compared with their house in Los Angeles, his apartment was good enough .
She asked gently, “How much is this apartment?”
“I don’t know . ”
“I think you were affluent here as you had a surplus apartment . I didn’t even have any additional room in my house . ”
“Well, it’s true I didn’t have money worries, but do you want to compare us now?”
“What should I do? I just can’t help it . It looks like you lived in a different world . ”
“You and I are now living in the same world . ”
Then he sat down next to her, speaking in a calm voice .
She muttered a little, “That makes sense . ” Then she was about to slowly lean against his chest when Bruce appeared, clearing his throat .
He said, “Do you have any plans today?”
“Min-joon has to take a break first . He’s a patient . ”
“No, I’m not a patient . ”
“Don’t overdo it anyway . I don’t want to hear that you have fallen again after I brought you here . What do you want to eat? Oh, any ingredients in the refrigerator?”
“Don’t think about making any dish . Let’s order lunch . We can have a meal with my family at dinner . ”
“Order lunch menu?” Kaya looked back at him with a surprised expression .
As far as eating was concerned, he often went to the extreme, so much so that he even went hungry if he had to eat anything he didn’t like . So, he wouldn’t even look at the delivery food, which was often heavy with seasonings, and some of which got cold by the time they got delivered .
However, there was a reason why he ordered delivery food this time .
He said in a calm voice, “In Korea, you can’t talk about food without mentioning the culture of delivery food . ”
“I heard that delivery food has quite developed here . Is that true?”
“Yeah, that’s right . They even changed the trend of food for delivery, and some of them have been delivering food for decades . Chicken may look like a simple manual job rather than cooking, but you shouldn’t ignore the know-how and experience they have gained for decades . ”
To exaggerate it, even the man who had been frying chicken for decades could be called a master chicken chef, just like a good noodle maker . Of course, not everyone could become a craftsman just because they spend lots of time in their craft, just as a student sitting before a desk for a long time was not necessarily doing better than a student sitting there for a short time .
In order to become a craftsman, one had to dig into the field to the extent that he or she might look obsessed with it . Not to mention one’s innate talent, he or she needed appropriate and good teaching . Of course, somebody could achieve the level of a craftsman without any help, but it usually took much more time to do so .
“So, what are you going to order?” Kaya asked .
“Don’t order any franchise food . In franchise food, you can’t feel anything like the owner’s cooking philosophy or attitude . It would be nice if you can order from a restaurant with a good name in this neighborhood . . ”
“I don’t speak Korean . Why don’t you search for such a restaurant?”
“I was thinking about that . ”
He picked up his smartphone . His parents’ apartment was not far from his, but he could not find any good restaurant nearby . Actually, his apartment was located in an area where there were not good eateries .
He googled them on the internet, but most of them were busy promoting their restaurants . Given that it was often hard to find a really good eatery with food delivery service even if one lived in the area for a long time, so it was almost impossible to discover a good hidden eatery by just surfing the internet .
“Let’s go out . ”
“You have to rest . ”
“You don’t want me to search one nearby, right? I’m not an old man with wobbly legs . Don’t make me sick here . Bruce, Grace, let’s go out . I’ll treat you to something delicious . ”
“Oh, no thanks . I don’t really want to eat anything right now . Zemma is sleeping at the moment . Since both of you got here in Korea, why don’t you just enjoy dating and have fun?”
“I want to eat…” Bruce, who was trying to say something, looked at Grace’s cold eyes and just remained silent with a sullen expression .
Grace said, glancing at them, “Come on . We are going to stay here . ”
“Alright . What would you like to eat? Let me bring some when I come back . ”
“Oh, Korean cakes and sweets will do . You can bring something like that . ”
“Yeah, sure . ”
Fortunately, there was one cake house that Min-joon was familiar with . Cakes were a little expensive, but he didn’t mind . Min-joon and Kaya left the apartment .
It was pretty chilly in Bundang in March . Although he put on an overcoat, he felt a bit cold .
As if she watched him shivering a bit with cold, she stuck to him, folding his arms .
She asked in a slightly anxious voice, “I hear seniors don’t like young couples walking around like this with their arms folded, right?”
“Well, they didn’t a few decades ago, but not these days . ”
“I’m a little nervous . Maybe it’s because I’m in a different country now . It looks like they start to look at me often . ”
When she said that, he slightly looked around . There were not many on the street, but some of them cast a glance at her sometimes . Both of them were wearing masks, but Kaya’s mask couldn’t hide her white American face . White Americans were commonly seen walking on the street in Korea, but at the same time, they often drew people’s interest .
“Where should we go?”
“Well, at first, I thought about a Chinese restaurant, but now that we are out here, I don’t think we need to go to a Chinese restaurant . What Korean food do you like?”
“Why should we eat Chinese food here in Korea?”
“Oh, sorry I didn’t explain it enough . It’s Korean-style Chinese cuisine . Or it’s more appropriate to say Chinese-style Korean cuisine . Well, it’s common for anybody to localize foreign cuisines in his own country, but it’s very common in Korea . Oh, you must taste Korean pizza before you leave Korea . You might be shocked to see it . ”
How would she feel if she found out that a pizza with lots of toppings in America didn’t taste better than a Korean pizza with basic toppings? Of course, in the case of a Chicago pizza, they made it very thick, but it didn’t have many ingredients . In most cases, it had so much tomato sauce, meatballs, and cheese on top, and in some places, it didn’t even have any meatballs .
“So, where are you going now? I’m hungry . ”
“Wait a minute . I think I know a famous eatery around here…”