Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rice Treats

I first discovered rice treats when I was backpacking across Japan. Starting to get hungry I took a gamble on the local 7-11's collection of pre-packages snacks and thankfully I struck gold. It was literary a where have you been all my life moment. Well, at least a ...all of my time in Japan moment. I didn't realize what an Asia-wide affair the whole thing was until I discovered them at during the first few minutes in Korea, during my early morning arrival in Seoul.

Sadly they are not known as rice treats but instead as 삼각김밥, literally triangle kimbap. The easiest way to describe them to North America is that say that it's what happened when kimbap and those pre-made sandwiches have a baby. And if you're going to do that then you'll also have to explain how's it's kimbap and not sushi; it's part of Korean national pride to highlight how kimbap is different from sushi:

Comparing kimbap to Japanese sushi, Ali wrote, “Kimbap is more aromatic, better textured with a good crunch and tastier.”

She also likened kimbap to Julia Roberts in the movie “America's Sweetheart.”

“In the movie Julia Roberts plays the homely sister of a Hollywood star, Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose fame relegates Robert's character to the shadows. It is obvious that she is equally stunning, but she is ignored nonetheless.”
Of course given that sushi is fusioned to death in North America the difference is impossible to notice. Here in Korea I still go for 세븐일레븐 (aka 7-11) kimbap, less for nostalgia and more for the fact that the store right by my apartment has them seemingly permanently on sale for 500₩, down from the packaged retail price of 700₩.

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