Where the Sausages Live

As I sit here in the Korean Immigration office at 8:28am in the morning, staring a lengthy and immensely frustrating 72 hours of waiting in line, checking and rechecking my number, I’m listening to a Korean rendition of “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” played on what sounds like a tiny little harp inside a coke can.

Nothing about this situation is geared towards relaxing the mind. This music cannot prepare you for being told that your 96 hour wait was in vain, because you were meant to mark the gender box with an ‘X’ instead of a ‘check’ (no character map on a MacBook. You’ll just have to imagine it) and now you have to choose another number, which will presumably be in the high millions by the time you get to the front of the line to choose the number.

So I’m writing to pass the time.

On my way here I stopped at a wonderful little boutique coffee shop and bakery called “Bread & Co.”. Well, I say ‘wonderful’. What I actually meant was ‘ghastly’. But it was wonderful if you are a patron of the South Korean bakeries.

Since the moment I came to Korea, the wonderful and joyous land of Devine victory and success, I have been eating in their bakeries. Bread is considered to be a delicacy here, so you frequently find yourself being handed a floppy slice of white ‘milk’ bread, naked without even a thin coat of butter, and expected to be grateful for it. But I have a weakness for Korean bakeries. I try my hardest to limit myself to one trip per day, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. I find myself walking past the front of a “Paris Baguette”, with its egg coated hotdog weenies slathered in sugary mustard and corn, and I become like a junkie walking past his old council housing scheme. I can’t take my eyes off the forbidden prize. I want it so much. I start itching at myself, wondering if it’s acceptable to eat three sausage and egg tarts for dinner.

But the hot dog weenie is something which I feel needs explaining, since it will be a recurring theme in this ‘piece’. Most of the products for sale in these establishments contain sausage. That wouldn’t be an issue for most people if we were talking about a lovely gourmet frankfurter, or a kabanos of sorts. But, of course, we’re not. These little pink, slimy sausages look like the fingers of a would-be sex offender after he’s had scorching coffee thrown on his hands by a shrieking receptionist in an office canteen. That was a bit on wild the side, but I’ll leave it in. They seem to be made from a plethora of farm and/or urban animals and are probably made entirely from crushed up cartilage, shin, marrow and eye-lashes.

But today I just bought a coffee. I’d eaten some toast and egg for breakfast. Like methadone. No substitute, but it’s marginally better for me. So I didn’t feel particularly tempted by what I saw. But there they sat, teasing me as I bought my sugary, sausagey coffee, all in perfect little rows, with the golden Ikea light bouncing off every sugary egg-baked surface, disrobing their former goodness in front of my eyes. It was like watching a stripper who’d just had trucker triplets and a relapse. The good looks were still there, somewhere, but you’d have to hate yourself a little bit more than normal to get stuck into it.

I’m going to explain to you, with photographic evidence, the sort of bread treats you can expect to find in one of South Koreas many patisseries.

The Butter Stick

This was something I had never come across before. To my trained eye, it looked like a standard sugar stick, heavy in dough and lathered in butter. There could be a sausage hiding inside this. Sometimes you never can tell. But it looks like an anemic turd that has been squeezed out of an arse pluged with a square Playdough shape maker, and then lightly toasted at a high heat.

Chances of sausage: Moderate/High

Bookies odds: 6-2

Love and Passion for You!

Now this really is something. It is a marvellous sight to behold, looking like it was modelled on the sort of treats you would find at a banquet in Heaven, five hours deep in the bowels of an acid trip. I’m told that it’s made of yogurt and sprinkled with something. Hardened, grated sausage I would imagine.

Chances of sausage: Unlikely, but not unheard of.

Bookies Odds: 9-1

Big Cheesy Croissant Sausage Mayonaise Pat

This little gem really is as good as it possibly gets. Even I, the veteran of all things sausagy, was bowed over by its complexity of delicate flavors. It truly is the pink diamond in the crown of Korean Bakery goods. Imagine how that processed hamburger cheese would cement itself to the roof of your mouth, catching the fragments of dusty pastry, before your teeth burst through the skin of the sausage, filling your mouth with old brine. Lush.

Chances of sausage: Certainty

Bookies Odds: 1-1

A Tomato in a Cup

 

There is nothing to say.

Chances of Sausage: Unlikely.

Bookies Odds: An outsider at 15-1

 

 

 

 

Ross x

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17 thoughts on “Where the Sausages Live

  1. Jessica says:

    Ooh, this made me giggle.

  2. I’ve been trying to decide where I want to teach English after I graduate. I might have to consider South Korea now, based solely on the tomato in a cup.

    • I had enough material to write something anyway, and then I saw the tomato in the cup. At a point like that you have to decide whether you should even bother writing anything. That photograph alone tells you everything you need to know about South Korea.

  3. Tam says:

    Off topic note as well : Can you tell us your thoughts about god or religions in general, if you don’t mind of course!

    • I have basically none. I was raised in a completely secular household and my parents, having been brought up in religious households in an extremely religious country, wanted my brother and I to have nothing to do with the church.

      I believe in doing good things for people and behaving in a decent, mature way. I don’t need religion to encourage me to be like that, just good parents.

      Anyway, it all just seems like one big metaphor for the sun, in my opinion.

      • Tam says:

        Don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I like to know your opinions and thoughts about almost everything and the god issue came to my mind, no hidden agenda. I feel that I have to make that clear. As you know ‘good’ is a relative term but yeah as long as what you think is good brings happiness to you and the people around you then everything is fine, I guess.

        Thanks 🙂

      • I have no problems answering things like that at all! Religion and politics are two things that I have basically no opinons about because they don’t affect my life and they never have. Perhaps it’s a little naive of me to say that politics doesn’t, but I just keep going, doing what I’m doing and let the powers at be argue with each other and anger the people with little changes in policy that have little or no effect on my life.

        If you don’t give them anything then they can’t take anything. That’s how I feel about it. x

      • Shawn says:

        RE Politics: Ah, but Ross, it DOES affect your life, and they DO take from you. I was like you once. I get it; you don’t want to deal with it because it’s ugly and it doesn’t really affect your everyday life, but if you don’t make decisions when the time comes, they will be made for you. You know what they say: If you don’t try and make a difference, you deserve the government you get. and if it doesn’t go your way, at least you gave it the good fight. Maybe certain policies don’t affect you as much, but they affect someone, and we are all in it together.

        But politics IS a messy business, so not everyone wants to deal with it. My hubby is just a little less apathetic than you — he just doesn’t see the point — except to try to elect a president least likely to start a war. Oh, push me off of the soap box already, please. 🙂

  4. Shawn says:

    Section: “It was like watching a stripper who’d just had trucker triplets and a relapse.” Really? Hmmmm. Maybe you’re trying to be too clever.

    • You’re absolutely right. This kind of funny blogging thing doesn’t suit me at all but I’m sort of feeling like I need to be pushing ‘something’ out right now. Just don’t have the time to write what I really want.

      • Shawn says:

        The piece WAS funny, and it’s good to expand your horizons. And I appreciate the warning about surprise sausages. I wouldn’t worry too much about the pressure to throw something/anything out there. There’s only so much Ross to go around. Be true to yourself, love. (trite words for another trite, sunny, beautiful day in SoCal, which you will soon experience yourself) 🙂

  5. edda says:

    i love your writing!! I loved the japanese bakeries…i had this thing for some weird corn mayonnaise muffin thingies, i just remembered!!! And those times you expect a sweet treat on a crappy day and u end up biting into the fingers of a would-be sex offender after he’s had scorching coffee thrown on his hands by a shrieking receptionist in an office canteen (hhh)!! I’m a vegetarian so this was exactly like it felt!!! And the paris baguette!!! – it always made me feel like i had money when i took it home…

    • Hahahaha! I had no idea the ones in Japan were the same. I can imagine that they would be though. The one thing I thought when I was there was that they did Western things worse than the Koreans did! I hear that on Christmas day there are lines around the block at KFC because the people think that chickens and turkeys are the same thing!

      x

  6. Lucy says:

    Your blog is full of delicious turns of phrase, I say them aloud, roll them in my mouth like boiled sweets. I am mighty pleased to have stumbled across it. I live in Edinburgh and often come across to Glasgow; I’ll keep an eye out for if you’re ever back, at ‘Aye Write’ or something, and we could perhaps share a little smoke. 🙂
    Will Self once sent me a letter, which told me to keep on writing regardless of what happens.
    You, my dear, simply must.

  7. Mary says:

    I came across across you blog and have been completely entertained! You have voice in your writing and I like it. I teaching in Japan and I can completely relate to random sausage findings 🙂

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