22 (Fri) October 2010
next to a cabin in the woods
-Inje, Gangwon, Korea-
with Backcountry Camping
On a last minute overnight camping trip organized by Backcountry Camping, I had no time to go grocery shopping, so I was forced to grab whatever was on hand at home, which happened to be a can of baked beans, 3 hotdogs, 3 hotdog buns, and a pack of Baro Bibimbap.
Our base camp was at Yongdae Forest Park, which has camp grounds with decks.
We spent the day trekking through the gorgeous mountains of Inje.
I know that I am getting old, because I am beginning to appreciate the autumn foliage of Korea’s mountain forests, which is the favorite thing of Korean old people.
Around lunch time, we happened across a Cabin in the Woods, with actual logs. It was so perfectly rustic that it looked fake, like it had been built for a movie. Presently, an Old Man of the Mountain appeared, with an actual white beard. No kidding. He confirmed that he had built the cabin with his own hands.
The only electricity that he needs, for the refrigerator, is generated by solar panels. All other power by firewood that he collects himself. He walks 2 hours into town every week to buy supplies, like booze.
He welcomed us to have lunch on the premises.
Baro Bibimbap is a food product from the Korean brand Chammi. An instant formulation – “baro = right away” – of the ubiquitous Korean dish bibimbap.
The package contains dehydrated rice and veggies and spices, along with chili paste and sesame oil in separate pouches for additional seasoning. Add hot water, wait, mix, eat. Also includes powder for doenjang guk. Add hot water, wait, mix, eat. Comes with a plastic spoon for the mixing and the eating. Supposedly, the technology was first developed by the Korean military for use in field rations. 3,300 won. A popular product for backpackers, second only to instant noodles (ramyeon).
The one featured here is the kimchi version. Variations are available.
It actually tastes like real bibimbap, though the texture is a bit off.
At dinner, as usual, everyone was curious about what I’d brought, expecting something unhealthy, something American (see most recently 1.284 Ssanghwa Cha). Everyone wanted a taste, but three hotdogs weren’t enough for all and not particularly amenable to sharing. So I improvised to slice the hotdogs and cook them in the baked beans, then tear the buns and serve on the side for dipping. Both hotdogs and baked beans are readily available in Korea, but everyone seemed absolutely amazed by the combination. Anyway, it worked out.