Sunday, January 20, 2019

[Food] Ramen (라면, Korean Style Instant Ramen)


[Food] Ramen (라면, Korean Style Instant Ramen)

Maybe I have told you once before (or not :P), I love rainy days. It's always comfortable and cozy to have a hot spicy ramen and a bowl of rice for supper on such a day. Perhaps I could go out and find any fine Chinese restaurant for a bowl of Zzambbong (Spicy noodle soup that is sold in Chinese restaurants in Korea) instead of ramen, but I decided to make an instant ramen.

I slowly walked to my kitchen and looked for any ramen that might be in the cupboard. I love hot and spicy ramen soup. It fills my body with warm energy and you can feel it twice as much when eaten on a cold day...

I worked in the Korean Army for 5 years before becoming a freelancer. Well...being a soldier in Korea makes you hungry (it doesn't mean Korean soldiers are financially poor or deficient, you would understand what I mean if you joined the Korean Army). Whatever the weather (sunny, rainy, snowy, cloudy, day or night) you work in the Army - drills, training, exercise, office work, being on-guard, patrolling...I remember my colleagues and I were always tired and hungry. We understood we had to be on duty to protect and keep the peace of our country from any foreign threats. As a Korean male, we have to do it whether you like it or not, unless you are physically or mentally unhealthy. snowed 3-4 meters. I was one of the 'snow-cleaners' too. I had never seen that much snow in my life until then.

I remember the heavy snowy winter season while I was in the Army. Korea experienced its heaviest snow on record in 95 years...and I was there, near the border of South and North Korea - the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone). I was a paramedic at the headquarters of one battalion near the DMZ and got one call from a platoon base which was a bit far away from the headquarters. 

Common instant noodle supply for the Korean Army. Any Korean man in the Army loves this cup-noodle, like I do :)

Ring ring....Ring ring....

"Hello, it's medical corps."

"Sir, it's 00 base, sir. We've got an injured soldier during snow removal, sir."

"Okay, tell me what happened, soldier."

"He accidentally hacked his right shin (bone of leg) with a pickax when he was trying to break frozen snow."

"'s his condition now? any bleeding and swelling? can he stand up?"

"No blood, but his leg is swelling so fast. He can't stand up by himself sir."
-Aarrgghhhh! Careful, guys!- (I could hear that poor guy was screaming via phone)

"Okay, lay him down on any stretcher and warm him with a blanket. Tell your platoon leader that we will be there as soon as possible."

I reported the patient to my army surgeon and the battalion commander quickly and picked our medical tool box with the medics on my team. But...

"Sir, how do we get there though? All roads in the area are out of access because of the snow," one soldier asked me. 

Hm...I know that it takes like 40 minutes with the military ambulance to the post...then....

"Then we have to walk on foot. Don't we? Take the sleigh-type stretcher? large splint and...."

My boss (army surgeon) snapped. So the four of us had to walk to the post where the patient was. I remember we took off from HQ at 2 pm and it was almost 4pm when we arrived. He was lucky that it was just a simple fracture, otherwise we would have to call for a medevac. It was a long and hard 'walk' on a snowy mountain on a snowy day carrying all the gear for him - a very unique experience if I weren't in the Army (Ahaha...). Anyway, we safely sent him to a military hospital for greater medical attention and had to walk back home....all the way again :(

A ramen with sliced rice cake and dumplings

After that 'journey' rescuing a soldier who accidentally hacked his leg, we were exhausted, but luckily one friendly staff sergeant who worked in the kitchen of the mess hall, cooked hot-spicy special ramen with dumplings, rice cakes, pork and kimchi, particularly for us.

Oh, we were like 'hallelujah praise the Lord' though we didn't practice any religion at all. Even 5 years later now, I can say that was the best ramen I had ever tasted.

Countless variety of Korean-style ramen

Today, I cook the same ramen with the same recipe that the sergeant cooked for us in the mess hall on that day, but I can't make the same ramen that I tasted. It's such a shame. I'm certain that the ramen on that snowy day was as good as the hardship we endured on that day.

It is now raining heavily (fortunately it doesn't heap up like snow does), so I opened the window a little to listen to the raindrops while I enjoy my ramen :) The sound of raindrops will soothe my lonely heart for sure as I reminisce on my Army days.

I just put this image of cup-noodle because it is one of my favorite ramen. LOL.

Bon appétit!

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