“Get Out of the Chicken!”: Living in a House with a Korean

My daughter, my Korean son in law, and I all live in the same house.  It could just be him, but he causes lots of nonsense all the time because he has a great sense of humor.  This evening, we went shopping, and while we were putting the groceries away, my daughter said, “Oh no! He is eating red genseng!”  He replied, “It’s good! Try some!”  She refused saying his genseng stank, then because of the smell she said laughingly, “Get out of the kitchen!”  His reply was, “Get out of the Chicken!”  Koreans think the word kitchen is very funny, and when they don’t speak English well, they get the words kitchen and chicken mixed up, but my son in law speaks English well, and he is just being silly.

red genseng
He cut off a piece of genseng for me to try.

He starts looking at me saying, “Do you want to try my genseng?”  I said, “I’ve eaten genseng candy.”  However, he says, “This isn’t sweet. It just tastes good.”  My daughter says, “It’s red genseng, and it doesn’t taste good.”  I give in and decide to try some of his red genseng, and he cuts a piece off for me.  Yes, I remember the taste.  It is strange.  It isn’t bad, but I couldn’t eat much at once. I wasn’t sure how he was eating a whole long piece.  Finally, he says, “Yes, I know it isn’t good, but it is healthy!”  Now, he is being honest.  All Koreans will tell you the food is good, and they don’t mean tasty. They mean healthy.


Korean ramyeon


Koreans have lots of different kinds of snacks, and this is one my son in law likes. They are shrimp flavored crunchy snacks.


These are bowls of dried, packaged rice. All my son in law has to do is put them in the microwave, and then he has a bowl of rice.

He doesn’t always have to eat Korean things, but we have to keep special things around for him to eat.  There are lots of packages that have special kinds of Korean noodle soup.  the Japanese call the noodle soup ramen, but the Koreans call it ramyeon, and it is not the same as the Japanese soup. It is full of kimchee and whatever other kind of crazy thing the Koreans can think to put in it.  My son in law likes several different kinds of crazy ramyeon.  From what I understand, in most Korean homes, the people are so busy, this is what they eat on a regular basis every evening because they are easy to make and everyone is working and tired.  However, you have seen some of the things we eat at our house on my blog.  My son in law loves my cooking!


I was afraid when my daughter married a Korean that our kitchen would forever smell like kimchee because all Koreans eat kimchee, the pickled cabbage that is full of chili spice they eat at every meal.  When my daughter and I stayed in the dorm at the university for a month, the girls in the dorm had so much kimchee in the refrigerator that that was all you could smell when you even got close to the refrigerator: kimchee! I was scared our kitchen would smell like kimchee all the time when my daughter and son in law got married, but it doesn’t.

My son in law hardly eats kimchee. He isn’t really a normal Korean.  Most Koreans eat kimchee for three meals a day, but my son in law doesn’t like kimchee.  His mother made him a bunch of homemade kimchee, and it stayed in our fridge and rotted because he didn’t want it.  If you saw the blog about Kimchee bacon bocumbab, my friend Yung Hanul was trying to convince my son in law that kimchee was good. He ate the kimchee bacon bocumbab, and enjoyed it, but it didn’t change his mind about kimchee.

He is a young Korean, and many young Koreans want hamburgers, pizza, Mexican food, etc., all the things young Americans want.  He speaks English well because he studied it in school. He watches TV in English.  However, when he reads or studies, it is still in Korean. We have a whole part of the bookshelf put aside just for his Korean books that are so complicated that I will never be able to read them even if I have learned to speak Korean.


He is the one who started the clowning around with the Halloween items this evening when we went to the store.


He likes the idea of “crazy Korean guy,” and he is not the only young Korean guy who likes that phrase.  I have a good friend who was my student in American before I came to Korea, and he told me when I first came to Korea he wanted to be know and the “crazy Korean guy.”  Korean guys like to joke maybe even more than ‘American guys.  My Korean son in law used to work as a clown, and he really should have continued.  If he hears music in the hallway, he might grab my daughter and waltz her through the hall.  If there is no where to sit, my daughter needs to look out! He might be sitting in her lap!  He really doesn’t care whether or not he is good looking or not. My daughter asked him to get contacts because he looks really good without his glasses, but he refused. He likes his big crazy glasses!  All young Korean guys like the big crazy glasses.

Besides the fun and games he likes to keep going, he is an extremely hard worker!  He works overtime quite often which is a very Korean thing.  I was doing more of the housework than I do, but he wanted to do housework too, so he asked if he could do the laundry and let me worry about the kitchen. That’s fine with me.  We go shopping, and he wants to carry all the shopping bags. He doesn’t want anyone else to carry them.  Whenever there is a job to do, he is the first one there and works harder than anyone else. He is extremely easy to get along with.



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