nordicbreeze

밥 먹었어요? Did You Eat?

Food is an important part of Korean culture and I mean it is IMPORTANT. Eating and drinking together is a popular, much embraced activity and it is essential to eat well. Especially in the past people used to greet one another with the phrase 밥 먹었어요? (bap meogeoseoyo) - Did you eat? The phrase became common after the war when the country suffered from shortage of food. This simple question became a way of showing care for others wellbeing. 

A friend of mine also shared the story of 라면 (ramen) - the very same kind of instant noodles that are also very popular among students in Europe. Again after war there was not enough rice available to feed eveyone. According to the story, the head of the country at that time stated "No citizen shall be hungry" and introduced a more affordable meal, 라면, to Koreans. Nowadays it is a popular snack and lighter meal. 

Today there is plenty of food in Korea. If you like food, Korea is like a heaven on earth for you. Eating well is appreciated and the meals are delicious. Introducing all the typical dishes would require a book of their own but here are some of my favorites among the ones that I have had during my stay here.

비빔밥| Bibimbap

According to the meaning of the name bibimbap -  "mixed rice" - is various vegetables mixed with warm rice and often (but not always) some meat; bulgogi, tuna or pork for example. It is very typical to have an egg on top of the portion. 

University café version of bulgogi bibimbap. The rice is served separately so students can mix the dish themselves. Normally bibimbap has an egg on top but it is very tasty even without one!  

University café version of bulgogi bibimbap. The rice is served separately so students can mix the dish themselves. Normally bibimbap has an egg on top but it is very tasty even without one!  

Warm "hot pot" version of bibimbap can look like this for example. This one has even some cheese in the mix. Yam! 

Warm "hot pot" version of bibimbap can look like this for example. This one has even some cheese in the mix. Yam! 

비빔 국수 | Bibim Guksu

Like Bibimbap, Bibim Guksu is a dish with plenty of fresh veggies but instead of rice it is based on homemade cold noodles. Mix and enjoy! 

As you may notice, Korean dishes are often served with small side dishes - normally with kimchi, pickled radish and small warm soup. 

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내명 | Naengmyeon

Another popular noodle dish is naengmyeon, cold noodles. This refreshing combination tastes especially good during the hot summer weather. 

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김밥 | Gimbap

Looks a little like Japanese sushi, but tastes very different. Veggies, possibly some meat and/or cheese and naturally some rice rolled inside seaweed. Gimbap is a typical side dish but I do consider it a good lighter meal on its own. 

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치킨 | Chicken 

Chicken is a popular dish to enjoy with friends. To have "chicken and beer" is a combo that you see pretty much everywhere in Seoul. Some of the dishes are more spicy than others and there are several ways to tune your chicken. Normally the portions are big and meant to be shared. 

Chicken and beer with friends. 

Chicken and beer with friends. 

Another smaller (and spicier) but ah so delicious chicken dish! With cheese, of course. 

Another smaller (and spicier) but ah so delicious chicken dish! With cheese, of course. 

고기구이 | Korean BBQ

A friend of mine brought me to probably one of the best Korean BBQ places in the city. Not all the bbq places are as fancy as this one, but the principle is the same - you (or depending on the place the waiter) grills meat - beef or pork - that you then eat with different side dishes. Typical thing to do is to dip small pieces of meat to salt and/or to different sauces and wrap it in a piece of lettuce. So delicious! And low carb, haha. ;)

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회 | Raw Fish

This must have been one of the most random evenings for quite a while. I have never really tough that raw fish would be something to go with drinking but obviously it is considered a legit dish to enjoy with some soju or rasberry wine. Works surprisingly well! Even at 3am. 

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Other stuff

As you may notice, many of the typical Korean foods are based on or include meat. It can be pretty challenging to be a strict vegetarian or vegan in here. Anyhow, surprisingly many dishes can be found or ordered also without meat. And since Seoul is a big international city, you will find all kinds of foods and restaurants here - like this fully vegan satay noodle sallad we enjoyed in Itaewon one Sunday.  I know - it is kinda easy to get spoiled in this city. ^^

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커피 | Coffee Moments 

Good coffee is everywhere here. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Approximately every other person you see on the street carries an ice americano 아이스 아메리카노  in their hands. There are very affordable coffee shops but sometimes people pay as much (or more) for their coffee as for their lunch (4000-6000won ~ 3,5 - 5,5€). Which is kinda crazy. But as a coffee addict myself, who am I to blame. 

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Ice flakes is a popular dessert - this one was served with some mango and ice cream on top.

Ice flakes is a popular dessert - this one was served with some mango and ice cream on top.

Surprises

Then, of course, there is always the stuff that you never saw coming. Like this tiny cute dessert we received at a traditional Korean restaurant. I will just leave it here.

Like what the actual...? If anyone of you knows where these came from, let me know! 

Like what the actual...? If anyone of you knows where these came from, let me know! 

Yours,

Meri

Sea and Salt on Your skin

There are moments that make you run out of breath and out of words. There is no rational way to describe what you are feeling and what is going on. That is why we have music. The three songs on my upcoming EP have all grown from the same ground - the aim to illustrate feelings and experiences that cannot be captured in a simple explanation. Maybe somewhere there, between the lines you will find your story, your experience. That is what makes art and music so valuable and beautiful - only complete when shared. There is no right or wrong in experience and creativity. When nothing else makes sense anymore, music always does. Since as long as we have music, we have freedom to feel and freedom to be who we really are. Close our eyes and dive into the sound, live freely for at least those few minutes floating by. 

So here is my music. Three songs will be coming out one song at a time during the end of 2017. First one is Radiant, the 31st of October. Hope they will give you something. Freedom, love, wonder, confusion, joy - or something completely else. I would love hear what it is. Feel free to leave a comment.

Dear everyone, this is Sea and Salt on Your Skin. 

Love,
Meri

Team: producers Anton Nessvi & Nikolaj Engborg, mastering by Tomas Andersson, photographers Rewan Khaki & Pedro Carvalho

Photo by Viktor Jakovlev/Unsplash

Photo by Viktor Jakovlev/Unsplash

The summer ended yesterday. So did your love to me. It disappeared together with the last bit of summer breeze. Just like that, like nothing ever happened. Today was the first clear autumn day. Fresh like a blank piece of paper. And I knew it was time to turn the page. Sky was clear and I was standing on a cliff by the sea, looking at the cruise ships float by and city open up behind the rough harbor scene. I wanted to float away too. Escape everything and everyone, sail behind the horizon and fall into the unknown. There were way too many questions running through my head. Who was I? Who were you? What happened to us this summer? And, why did you go?

RADIANT | 31/10/2017

Photo by Pedro Carvalho

Photo by Pedro Carvalho

You walk in, unexpected. Your presence fills the room and from the very moment our eyes meet I can feel the extraordinary unity between us. You release something in me. Energy. Radiance. Your light spreads all over me. All the colors of the world suddenly make sense to me. All the windows open and let the sun in. You say something to me. Your words are like diamonds that I collect and keep. I am free. This is something fresh, new and unique. Structures and patterns that I used to believe in melt into each other and form something new. Surrounded by the music, you take my hand and I feel the stream of energy floating through my body. There is such a beauty in movement. Radiance.

Listen to Radiant on: 
Spotify
Youtube
Soundcloud

NOBODY | 17/11/2017

Photo by Jan Senderek / Unsplash

Photo by Jan Senderek / Unsplash

The car lights turn into flashes in the night. A drive in the middle of the night. We are invincible, capable of anything. In this moment I feel totally alone and part of the universe. Freedom. City lights shine in the night. We are driving outside the city. To adventure, to the unknown under a sky full of stars. So in love it makes me want to explode. So inspired you cannot keep all the energy inside. These moments are so small and so great at the same time. To meet someone who you can reveal yourself to. We become free together. We release each other.

Listen to Nobody on:
Spotify
Soundcloud
Youtube
 

SEA AND SALT | 12/2017

Photo by Viktor Jakovlev / Unsplash

Photo by Viktor Jakovlev / Unsplash

I lean back. The cold seawater reaches up to my neck as I fall down. I am becoming one with the ocean. Melting in. Falling with the water. Floating. No clear picture of where I'm going, no clear picture of anything. Memories. Dreams. Deep, deep feelings. The past, the current and the future blend in together. Where does dream end and reality begin? Where do I end and you begin? Was everything how I remember it or will I always be blind? Shattered thoughts in the bottom of the sea. Pieces of a shattered mind. The ocean. Like me. Clear mirror to the skies, powerful storm in the night.

Watercolors

Enjoying August sun in FECC watercolor t-shirt. Photo by Rewan Khaki.

Enjoying August sun in FECC watercolor t-shirt. Photo by Rewan Khaki.

Bring me back to the summer. The autumn has colored the streets and trees in Seoul and makes me look back to the warm soft endless daylight. The bright Nordic sun glittering on the surface of the sea. The simple happiness and lightness of living. 

Summerfun. Photo by Rewan Khaki.

Summerfun. Photo by Rewan Khaki.

On an August afternoon a couple of weeks before my departure to Seoul I took a tram to meet Essi Lohko, one of the three designers behind small design studio FECC in Finland. She opened the door in an old art noveau style house in Kallio (the very hipster part of Helsinki) and invited me to enter their "Headquarters" in her kitchen. I could sense some real startup vibe there. Their bedroom functions as a small bicycle workshop. That is Essi's boyfriend's project.

Watercolor shirts in the making. Photo by Essi 

Watercolor shirts in the making. Photo by Essi 

The three designers of FECC, Essi, Meri and Mari make everything by hand in Helsinki. They aim to combine style and comfort in their designs. Everything is made of high quality materials. The team embraces their chance to pursue their own vision of fashion together with good friends. 

One of the biggest inspirations for the FECC is to notice that people like their products. "We have also noticed that our pieces can be combined with very different styles. That might also be because we all three have different styles", Essi reflects.

Photo by Rewan Khaki.

Photo by Rewan Khaki.

I agree. Who does not love watercolors and the minimalistic playfulness they can bring to your outfit. I love wearing this shirt. It reminds me of summer. 

Love, 

Meri