This year we shared our table with some of our dearest friends and made a spread based on Syrian favorites. The meal included:
Syrian Dishes

None Syrian Dishes
Grilled lobster

Over the years this group has become my heart. A mixed salad of Christians, Muslims, Americans, Syrians and our South African. We have become bonded over puppies, food, family, struggles and the need to be more than just survivors. Everyone at this table has faced adversities we don't want to talk about, yet this table we are not our circumstances or our struggles. 

For this moment we are hope 
and we are faith 
and all that is Christmas.

We grew up in highly religious households where the Crockpot church potluck ruled supreme. Even now we can turn away from them. This is why we love having a great community church that always invites us to events despite the fact we don't attend the church. At first we thought they might eventually kick us out since we don't plan on ever showing up on on Sunday, but they have never said anything.  Maybe they haven't noticed yet, or are playing the long game.  Either way, we are thankful for being included since they remind us of home.

There were five chilies presented for our dining pleasure.  

I'd like to say we made a giant pot of amazing chili for this, but it didn't happen.  In the middle of all the studying and commitments, we forgot to purchase canned beans and/or soak the ones we have on hand.  Instead we brought a spiced up Filipino chicken dish and a giant pot of rice for the potluck section of the table.

We weren't the only ones who brought Filipino food!
I loved the Indian chickpea salad.
Almost like goulash 
In addition to all the delicious food we ate, we also gained a lemon tree.  The winner of the Chili Cook Off, and our friend of course, has a young son who will simply destroy his much loved plant if it's brought inside for the winter.  We have volunteered to try and keep it alive for the next 5-6 months.  We have never cared for a lemon tree before, so wish us luck!

After two weeks in a row of food gatherings, our hearts are feeling especially full. Food remains one of the most bonding and important parts of our expat lives.  It's the excuse we all need to be together.  You can catch a quick looking in the world of South Korean church potlucks in the video below.

We were incredibly pleased with the Bitch'n Food Swap's success again this year.  We had people come from far and wide to meetup in Seoul and share in the joy of home made foods.

We did change things up this year and bring in an expat who is starting her own catering business instead of doing potluck.  It was a very relaxing choice and we ate until our big bellies might burst.  It was wonderful to share in the flavors of the Philippines and even try a few new things.

Some of The Items this Season:

  • Soju Vanilla
  • Salted Sesame Chocolates
  • Ginger Molasses Cookies
  • Sriracha Salt
  • Granola 
  • Cookies
  • Sauteed Onions (for soups later, a standard favorite)

We are already looking forward to the next event, so start planning your swap items and stay tuned.
Homemade soju vanilla will be up for grabs at the 4th Bitch'n Food Swap
4th Bitch'n Food Swap

When: Saturday, October 24, 2015 from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM 
Where: Seoul! 
(We will send you the address since it's in a private residence.)

What Will Happen: Bitch'n Food Swaps are about coming together to share food, stories, friendship and community.  We gather for food and bond over adventures. 

During the event we will eat a meal with our hostess who has some pretty delicious treats lined up. After we have dined and delighted in conversation, we divide up the evenings bounty and head home to cook with all our new treats.

You don't have to arrive right at 2pm.  
Food the shared meal is always served family style so that late comers always feel welcome.

What to Bring: Anything that can be taken home.  In the past there has been bagels, head cheese, jam, taco mix, beer, cookies, tea, hummus, cheese, pizza dough, pasta, etc.   

Once you have signed up we will send you the address for the event.
The hostesses house is centrally located and easy to access from the Subway.
If you think you can make it, please sign up as soon as possible
for meal planning purposes.  

We look forward to seeing everyone and sharing another lively expat table.

A sampling of past contributions

A guest photo of pizza made with the homemade pizza dough that was taken home.


FROM: Syria
LIVING: South Korea

When blessed with a sudden vacation we were finally able to venture a few hours away to visit our dear friend from Syria who works in the countryside near Icheon.  We have known him for a number of years, but we had yet been able to steal away an entire day to eat with him in his home.   Since he loves to cook, we couldn't wait to see what was in store for us.

Our friend lives in a typical bachelor, one-room apartment similar to what many English Teachers live and although he loves to cook, he doesn't usually cook for himself so he was excited to have visitors so he could enjoy some of his favorite foods.


Various Dishes we can't name

We started with what you saw above, it is a traditional breakfast food from his region.  It is a mix of nuts and spices that is eaten with bread and olive oil.  You take the bread, dip it in olive oil, and then dip it in the mix.  It's hard to describe it - specifically because we don't eat anything like it in the states - but we would say it was nutty, easy to eat, and fragrant.  This dish was sent from his area of Syria and is not available elsewhere.

After that we moved on to what you see below, that is hard to see in the dark bowl.  This was spiced pickled mango.  This is available for reasonably cheap in international markets across Korea.  This was very strong and so good on bread.  Not for the faint of hear though.  You have to love strong spices, which we do.  We like it on bread that had been dipped with a bit of olive oil.  It was almost like eating meat; hearty and filling.

After that we moved on to this sweet treat that is also usually eaten for breakfast which had also been shipped from Syria.  This is Tahini, sugar, and marshmallow.  No not the white balls for smores, but the real flower that the original marshmallow came from.  The treat was soft, sweet, and nutty.  You couldn't eat much, but it was so smoothy and comforting you just wanted to keep nibbling away all afternoon.

After that he brought out the star of the meal: a strong, earthy, traditional goat cheese sent from Syria.  He told us beutiful stories of his father's love of the cheese and how they prepared it and kept it back home. He said that in Syria they buy the cheese once a year and keep it in a brine of salt and sesame.  It doesn't not need to be refrigerated.  You just scoop out what you need, rinse it and eat it.  

For the main course he made used rice cakes to make a fusion dish that was like a gnocchi or pasta.  We were very inspired and will try something like this at home as well. It melted in your mouth.  We listened to stories about how his mom worked all year to prepare the foods for the family, carefully preparing all of the staples through out the year.

The final course was a delicious steak rubbed in spices with onions, peppers, and garlic.  It was delicious. So very, very delicious and we ate it while he told us stories of his father's "meat charisma" and how he learned to chose the best meat for each dish.  These stories made every bite taste even more delicious than the last, and it was already as tasty as it comes.


Taean Garlic

We are ignorant.  We thought garlic was garlic.  Now we know the error of our ways and we repent.  Some garlic is sent from heaven by angels. This is that garlic.  The smell is strong but the taste is so smooth and soft.  It's not aggressive while remaining rich and full.  You don't feel bitch slapped, you feel protected.  Can't wait to roast some of this up with tahini and eat it with chicken.  

We can't vouch for the Taean garlic in the stores, but we can say the stuff sold on the side of the road is the bees knees.

 Where :: Kolkata, India

In order to make sure we knew what to try we first read 10 Epic Street Foods That Explain Why Kolkata is India's Gastronomic Capital. Then we completely ignored all of the advice to never eat Indian street foods.  We couldn't be happier with this choice.  The food was inspiring and exactly why we wanted to come to India in the first place. 

Growing a Community

With both cooks in the proverbial kitchen of learning cooking up a new language, we had not time for the actual thing.  In fact, we had not time for sanity or sleep.  Thankfully though, we did have time to help start a wonderful new online community called Expat Gardening In ROK.

This little group has grown faster than we could have imagine and it's filled with excellent advice and moral support.  It's done wonders for helping keep us honest this year.

In addition to finding out how to keep up your indoor or outdoor garden, you can also ask advice for finding your own little plot of heaven in the ROK.

Easy Tomato Soup
1 can of tomatoes
2 diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon basil
A few dashes sea salt
black pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a food processor and puree. 
Put smooth mixer in a sauces pan over medium heat,
cook until flavors have combined.  Maybe 15 minutes.

Goat Cheese Sandwich

Just do what you do, but use goat cheese and a few fresh basil leaves.


TITLE:  Pasta
TYPE: Drama

Alright, so this isn't exactly a movie, but it is something lovely to watch with dinner.  When we had first begun thinking about moving abroad, we started watching dramas from other countries as research.  This charming little number not only gave us some insight into what Korea was like, it also taught us a little bit about cooking pasta.


This is a group of loosely associated foodies working together to make life more delicious.  We love spending time in the kitchen and we want to share that joy with others who.  If you would like to be part of our little group fill out the easy little form we've provided to make it all simple for everyone:  This is the form.


We are not food service professionals.  This is a place of sharing, not selling.  Everything you swap will vary in taste, flavor, perfection.  These are homemade foods, not mass produced food stuffs.  The beauty is in the variety, the unpredictability, and the humanity of it all.  We aren't people who take ourselves to seriously and this is not a "western food only" zone.  It's open to every delicious thing you can come up with.


How will I know when the swaps are happening?
Participants are asked to contribute on a schedule that suites them.  We will use these to make an annual calendar of events starting in March.

How often will I need to swap?
You will be expected to participate in swaps at least 3 times each year.

Do I have to be present to participate?
No, you do not have to be present to swap.  However, you must provide product to be swapped.  If you bring it or someone else brings with with a list of what you want, that's just fine.  We can have your items shipped to you wherever you are in Korea.

How will we make sure the trading is equal?
We will work out a fair marketing points system for items.  When you bring your items you will be given a certain number of points that can then be used to swap for other items at the swap.  We are working on a cute and clever name for these points, but for now they are called points.


1. Don't be an ass.  
2. Give the good stuff.  
3. Respect the group.
4. Don't be high maintenance.
5. Be reliable.


Where it all begins.  An idea.


FROM: England
LIVING: South Korea

This last weekend we finally had the opportunity to visit one of Korea's most dedicated expat home brewers in his fantastic little home brewing hideaway on the outskirts of Seoul.  His small three bedroom apartment was decked out to the teeth in everything a person would need to make the beers of his dreams. 

On this particular Sunday a small group of beer making newbies and experienced brewers had gathered to make and IPA that our host, Rowan, had decided on.  It was delightful to have the opportunity to be part of a group so excited and willing to share their knowledge and passion for brewing.

Although our host, had quite the setup, most brewers in Korea make it happen in their studio apartments. So if you are interested in home brewing, don't worry about having as much space as our host.  With that said, here is how the day went:

We started the day by sampling the many grains Rowan had on hand.  We instantly found great value in this, not only as people interested in making beer, but also as beer drinkers.  Tasting the ingredients gave us a deeper insight into the flavors we have been tasting all these years.  It was like things we hadn't even known were a mystery finally made sense.

After that it was time to get started and grind up the grain for the beer.

While one group was working on grinding the grains, inside a second group was prepare the water for brewing.  Boiling, adding tablets, and filtering.  It quickly became clear that brewing is one of those magical things that is best done with a group of people who love talking, problem solving, and who aren't in a big hurry.  You know, the best kind of people.

Then there was the mixing of the grain, the water and getting it cooking.  We love stirring so we did that whenever we could.

After these basics were taken care of, it was time to break out a few of the past beers and give them a try.  They were of course, delightful.  As were the stories of how they weren't right, what could be done better, and the tales of all that had happened on that brew day.  Each bottle held a memory of community, adventures, dreams, hopes, and ideals.  It was like opening a moment in time that had been trapped in a bottle.

During each step of the process we tasted the progress.  To be honest, we would drink that as is.  The grains are just delicious.

For a long time it was mostly just sit and wait, but at a certain point, things started to go pretty quickly. 

And with the addition of a little soju and the yeast, bam, an IPA ready to ferment and eventually bottle.  That's sure a lot of beer.

On the long subway ride home we couldn't help but feel we had just witnessed the whole point of this expat life we have chosen.  It's about the stories we create with those around us and save in our memories for future lazy Sundays.  The stories that age into rich and vibrant tales of adventure and turn us all into heroes in someones mind.

To learn more about brewing your own adventures in Korea, check out these links.  There are so many stories yet to be brewed:
Seoul Brew Club: 
Seoul Home Brew:
Home Brew Korea: