I was three months old, when I was adopted by Danish parents, so I grew up in Denmark, and Danish is my mother tongue. Denmark has a long history of international adoptions, and if you see a Korean person my age in Denmark, chances are big that he or she is an adoptee like me.
I’ve never felt different, and the few times other kids in school made remarks concerning my Asian origins, my sister and I would usually join forces and beat up the bullies.
As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I moved to Dubai, that my claims of being Danish have been questioned. In this region, there’s no such thing as international adoptions. Not among the locals, and not among the majority of the nationalities working here. I can’t count the times I’ve tried explaining the whole adoption-thing to people, who would stare back at me in disbelief. And then there are all the questions. Don’t you miss Korea? Why don’t you speak Korean? Don’t your Korean parents miss you? At some point, I realized that it was easier just to say that I’m Korean. No further questions asked.
Dubai is a true melting pot, and one of the nice things about moving down here is that I’ve got the chance to meet some “real” Koreans. One of them is Shinae, and I really enjoy hanging out with her. She has taught me a lot about Korea, and I was thrilled when she suggested that we could meet and cook Korean food together.
I love tteokbokki, which is a spicy Korean rice cake dish, so that’s what we decided to make. We used Maangchi’s recipe (that site is amazing!), and I think it came out quite well. In order to get the ingredients needed, we went to a Korean store in Al Barsha called 1004. I’ve never been there before, but Shinae told me that this is where the Koreans in Dubai go grocery shopping.
It’s hands down the best Korean grocery store I’ve been to in Dubai, and they have everything you need to cook authentic Korean food. They even had fresh rice cake, so instead of making our own, we just bought some from the store.
I’ve recently started vlogging on YouTube, so of course I had to do a video documenting our cooking experience. Here it is: