So, I finally took the leap of faith and quite impulsively decided to get things cracking and make some stuff. Call me crackers……hahaha
I’ve always had grandiose ideas of one day opening my own cafe, having a range of my own nutritious, daringly different and holistic products, but I always made up some other excuse as to why I couldn’t / shouldn’t do it.
There is an abundance, a complete market saturation of ‘health food’ products in Australia. So much so, just like violence or sex in movies, (why is it though that when you’re visiting your family for Christmas and watching a movie and everything will be PG rated until your mum/dad/grandma walks by or sits down and suddenly there is a full-on porno sex scene or a colourfully explicit rant – I’m thinking Billy Bob in ‘Bad Santa’.) that we have become desensitised to all things organic, holistic, vegan, gluten-free, nutritious what have you…..
However, here in Korea, health foods are quite different. There is an obsession with well-being food, and a focus on the medicinal properties of food. I have learnt to appreciate food differently since living here and also focus on seasonal foods, a practice more strictly adhered to here (for instance, samgyetang 삼계탕 is a temperature hot chicken soup that is traditionally eaten in the hottest part of the stifling hot and humid Korean summer – fight fire with fire mentality I guess, fighting! 화이팅!) as it is brutally expensive for out of season, imported produce.
Whilst I absolutely love the high protein korean drinking snacks, dried anchovies, squid, cuttlefish 오징어, which are a welcome change from the high fat, high salt chips, cheese, cured meats and crackers Australian drinking snacks (although a double edged sword – it’s what I’m craving as well, oh Prosciutto, Parmigiano, Emmental, lavosh crackers – although my almond and black sesame crackers are a dead ringer for said crackers – how I miss thee….) I noticed a distinct lack of actual healthy/energy type bars or convenience foods.
Due to my working hours, I usually have a smoothie for breakfast around 11am and then won’t eat my next meal until I finish work at 9:30pm. I have some fruit during the day, not wanting a full-on meal like a sandwich or Korean set to fill me up and make me too tired to teach. However some days, I want something more.
Something like a muesli bar or a biscuit that won’t make me feel like shit or guilty, because even though I like to think I don’t succumb to unrealistic ideals or notions of beauty, essentially I’m a woman living in a highly developed, highly materialistic city that places an obscene focus on the superficial, equating beauty with how good/decent a person you are (an ‘ugly’ person is generally less respected/trusted than a supposed ‘beautiful’ and thin person here in K-town) Unfortunately, women, and some men, feel guilty for any food we eat thanks to the mass media and ideals of beauty so deeply ingrained into our psyches from a very young age.
I’ve tried a multitude of bars here, post to come soon. I’ve painstakingly translated every ingredient only to become horrified at the amount of sugar, corn syrups or artificial ingredients to walk away disgruntled, empty handed and hungry.
So I noticed a massive niche for the types of simple, nutritious ‘fast’ slow food that I was used to preparing/buying back home in Australia.
Artificial flavours, preservative, chemical, refined sugar free products.
Food that not only energises and nourishes you, but tastes bloody good aswell!
I’ve launched a small range of products. I must admit that these weren’t the right markets to try and sell this type of western style holistic, health food to. Disheartingly, the first thing I sold out of were the ‘locked and loaded’ cookies (a mix of almond and hazelnut flour, coconut, coconut oil, goji berries, gluten-free oats, choc chips and cacao butter) as the crowd was really just looking for traditional bakery items like cookies, cupcakes and brownies. Although, did get to chat to the mayor of Seoul and also get interviewed on KTV!
The flavours and ideas (crackers and dip is a new concept to Koreans, let alone flavours like korma hummus, cookie dough, blackbean and hazelnut and chili choc dips. Most were not wanting to dip the sample cracker, however were more than happy milling about munching on the ‘free’ samples) would be more appreciated at a food market targeted to people interested in more organic, alternative varieties of food, like the Seoul Marche festival coming up in mid-October which, if all goes well, I will be having a stall there too!
There are also some other possible collaborations with cafes around the place in the works, however until then, if you want to get your hands on anything, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be more than happy to send anything out.
Seriously considering getting an online shop up and running, but a few creases to iron out first, and still at 29, I do not own an iron. I still use my GHD to not only straighten my hair, but straighten my clothes too….sometimes whilst I’m actually wearing them…..old habits die hard yeah.
The market stall
L-R: Crackers: Almond, fig + rosemary (my favourite!), whole*istic crackers (quinoa, brown rice, polenta, mixed seeds and spices), brown rice, quinoa + olive. Other flavours were almond + black sesame seed and almond, maple + cinnamon.
a new sensation: dip and crackers
Cookie Dough dip.
Blackbean + hazelnut dip.
Almost raw (roasted almonds and hazelnuts) vegan and gluten free tangy blueberry cheesecake.
Dang it’s good!
Vegan, gluten, flour, egg, dairy free ‘locked and loaded’ cookies.
Chili Chocolate, goji and walnut cookies.
Sweet sesame bars.