Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NEWS: Melamine Found in Korean Food Products

Korean moms are fearful of buying anything with milk powder due to the "melamine scandal" originating in China. Chinese baby powder was found to have high levels of melamine in over 20 Chinese baby powder manufacturers. Over 50,000 babies became ill due to the tainted formula and it is reported that 4 babies died as a result.

Korea Food and Drug Administration put an immediate ban on imports containing Chinese milk powder. They have found unacceptable high levels of melamine in Korean snacks made with imported Chinese milk powder. Misarang Custard distributed by Haitai and Milk Rusk biscuits imported from Hong Kong are currently being recalled due to melamine findings.

Melamine is an industrial chemical which can damage your kidneys if taken in high levels.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Korean Dol Party Favors

Can you believe these are all towels?? Towels are very popular party favors in Korea...so cute! Other popular items include cups, clocks, chopsticks, mugs, and plates.

Dol party planning is a big business in Korea. There are many stores that sell just dol products!

Thought we'd give you some ideas for your baby's dol!

*Little Seouls now offers towel cakes at our store. Click here for more info.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Korean Dol Today (Korea Version)

The first picture is a traditional table set up for a Korean baby's 1st Birthday.

A typical dol arrangement includes candy towers, rice cake (duk), display of fruits and the placement of a Korean folding screen in the back.

However, we are noticing that native Koreans are being less traditional in their dol party decor. Candy towers are no longer "a must have" on the birthday table. You will find more use of flower arrangements, balloons and stylish tableware.
Also, notice the backdrop is no longer the traditional folding screen but a modernized Happy Birthday banner.

Its interesting to me that Korean Americans tend to be more traditional in their dol decorations than Koreans in Korea.

Korean Dol Today (U.S. Version)

Dol's among our Korean-American friends are quite fancy. It's just as fancy as a wedding reception! And yes, probably spend just as much! They usually have them at restaurants, hotels, reception halls, etc. These pictures are from Cara's dol.

As you can see there lots of decorations. The balloons are quite popular at dols. In Koreatown, there are several balloon stores that do this....and it's not cheap!

Guests also get party favors. For adults, they will all get Dduk (ricecake) to take home and kids will usually get some little gift.

They will also hire some sort of entertainer for the kids like a magician, puppeteer, clown, etc.

Not everyone goes all out like this. Some keep it simple like a bar-b-q at the park or in their backyard.

Here she is in her hanbok! A little Korean Princess! By the way, those things in front of her is the dduk (ricecakes).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My son's favorite Korean food

My son's favorite food is Dduk Guk (Rice ovalette soup). He can eat this everyday. One thing you need to know about him...he's a finicky eater. Normally, I have to force him to eat 10 bites of food and it takes him forever to eat but when it's Dduk Guk, he can finish an entire adult portion in less than 15 minutes! dduk guk by suddenly.

Quick and easy recipe (for 2 kid-sized portions):

2 cups of rice ovalettes (sold in Korean grocery stores) soaking in water.
Cook a 1/4 lb. of ground beef* with 1 tsp of sesame oil with 2 tsp of minced garlic and a tablespoon of soy sauce. After a few minutes add a can of Swanson's Chicken broth and about a half cup of water (or more depending on the taste).

When the soup boils, add an egg and mix it in. (If you don't want to cook the egg inside the soup, you can always cook the egg on a separate pan and thinly slice them as a garnish). After, take the rice ovalettes out of the water and add to the soup. You will only need to cook it for about 3-5 minutes depending on how chewy you like it.

Garnish with green onions and thinly cut slices of roasted seaweed.

That's it. It usually takes me about 10-15 minutes to make this.

Dduk Guk is traditionally eaten on New Years Day.

*I use ground beef since it's easier for kids.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Korean/Chinese Restaurant?

Now going back to the Pucca post, Korean/Chinese restaurants are unique from typical Chinese restaurants in that they serve 2 noodle dishes you cannot find at regular Chinese restaurants. They are Cha Chiang Mein (pronounced Ja Jang Myun) and Cham Pong (pronounced Jahm Bbong). Cha Chiang Mein is a favorite with Korean kids. It's noodles with black bean sauce. It's quite yummy. You will have to ask your Korean friends where they serve this as it will be hard to find. I say this because on the outside, it will just look like any other Chinese restaurant. Make sure to read the menu...under Noodle section-Cha Chiang Mein, noodles with black bean sauce.

The other noodle dish Cham Pong, my personal favorite, is a spicy seafood noodle soup. It is spicy and hot.

For most Koreans, it's always a tough decision on whether to order Cha Chiang Mein or Cham Pong. Some restaurants in Koreatown are now even selling a split bowl with one side Cha Chiang Mein and the other Cham Pong! Genius!

If you are trying this for the first time, I suggest trying the Cha Chiang Mein. Our kids love it! They call it noodles with brown sauce.

Also if you watched the hugely popular Korean drama, Coffee Prince, there is a scene in the beginning where they are having a Cha Chiang Mein battle. I remember watching that and my mouth watering! Mmmm....so craving one right now!

-written by E.M.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is Pucca Korean or Chinese?

Pucca is an animation character created by Korean company, Vooz Character Systems. Pucca, a lone daughter of chinese restaurant owners, is desperately in love with a 12 year old ninja boy named Garu. She loves black noodles (Cha Chiang Mein) and seeks Garu's affection and kiss.

Like Pororo, Pucca is leading the international surge of Korean developed characters. Bu-Gyeong Kim, the creator of Pucca, finally answers the mystery question, "Is Pucca Korean or Chinese?" Kim says Pucca was never created with a nationality in mind, as he wants to leave it up to the imagination of the consumers. Hmmm....so what do you think?

If you haven't watched Pucca, it appears on Disney Jetix. Pucca merchandise is everywhere. In fact, this fall and winter, you will also be able to purchase Pucca fashion wear at Benetton stores.

I haven't personally watched an episode, but I hear its geared towards young teens and adults.

-written by S.C.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Give it to Koreans to find innovative ways to store their Kimchi!

Did you know that Kimchi was voted one of the world's five healthiest foods by the US magazine, Health? Kimchi, a fermented cabbage dish, that is eaten with every Korean meal, is packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. Due to its fermentation process, it is rich in lacto-acid bacteria. Studies have shown that Kimchi aids in digestion and may also help to prevent cancer growth.

During the months of November and December, Koreans will start making jars of Kimchi to last them during the cold winter season. In the past, they dug holes and stored kimchi in large jars to preseve its freshness during the harsh winter months. Now with technological advances, most Korean household have a Kimchi referigerator, known as "kimchi neng ja goo." These kimchi referigerators are outstanding in preserving kimchi, meats, fruits and vegetables for up to 5 times longer than a regular refrigerator. You can find them at any Korean appliance store.

Koreans have also discovered a way to store Kimchi in Space! This past April, when Korean's first astronaut, Yi So Yeon, blasted off into space, Kimchi went to space in a sealed space preserving plastic bag.

Now if they could only find a way to take the powerful odorous smell out of kimchi......

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2008 Korean Festival in Los Angeles

The 2008 Korean Festival officially begins this Thursday, September 25, 2008 through Sunday, September 28, 2008. Most people attend on Saturday for the Korean parade, which starts at 3pm. However, I would recommend all 3 days if you have the opportunity as each day is packed with various shows, like the Korean traditional dance, marriage ceremony, tea ceremony,and martial arts performance. Besides the shows, there is a Korean traditional market fair where you can buy international food and merchandise, as well as games and carnival rides.

The event will be held at Seoul International Park, 3250 San Marino Street, Los Angeles, CA 90010. Open 10am to 10pm all 3 days.

A fun cultural activity to take your kids to!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why don't we sell Korean baby formula?

When we were first bouncing ideas for the store, our first thought was baby formula. We knew this was a need, especially in the adoption community. We contacted Maeil, one of the largest baby formula makers. They told us they cannot sell to the US because they have not been FDA approved. They are currently in the review process so we will have to wait and see. After the crisis in China, I am so thankful we have the FDA.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Free ticket to Disneyland on your Birthday!

A friend of mine sent me this link to get a free tix to Disneyland in CA or FL! You have to go on your actual birthday to redeem. You can add up to 10 kids as well!

Click here.

We have a Cafe Press Store!

Before we put this link on our store, our blog readers will have the first opportunity to check out our new Cafe Press store! The store carries our new logo and characters on t-shirts, cups, ornaments, etc. You can even customize it! To get directly to cafe press please click on Check it out!

Here is a picture of my daughter, Cara,wearing our new logo shirt with the baby spats leggings. Cara was adopted from Korea last year and she was the inspiration for Little Seouls.

written by S.C.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pororo Craze

Pororo, the little curious penguin, is a Korean animation cartoon character, who loves to explore and play. It is one of Korea's first success stories into the international market of animation. Pororo is the brain child of Iconix Entertainment, a Korean Animation Company. It has become quite popular woldwide and is currently exported to over 80 countries. Pororo has won the Korean Culture and Content Agency Character Awards for 2 years in a row. Pororo products can be seen everywhere in Korea. Pororo is marketed on sippy cups, play mats, books, clothing, shoes, toys and the list is endless. You will find that at Little Seouls, we also carry several Pororo items.

If you haven't yet watched the cartoon, we would recommend it! It is quite entertaining!

written by S.C.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flat heads

I remember after my son was born, every grandmother would tell me to make sure I put him on his belly because he'll develop a flat head. With SIDS, there was no way I was going to let him sleep on his belly. Of course a couple months later, my son developed a very flat back head. I was concerned but my doctor assured me it was fine. But whenever I would see a Korean grandmother, they would all point it out! So I did everything possible to try to reverse it but it was too late. I thought about getting him one of those helmets but it was just too expensive.

A friend of mine told me she let both of her 2 kids sleep on their backs and their heads are fine. She thinks it's hereditary. My dad's head is flat as is my husband's. Is it hereditary?

If your baby suffers from flat head syndrome, try the flat head pillow at Little Seouls. I never knew they had such a thing...hmmm...since it's from Korea, is it a Korean thing??

By the way, my son is 5 now and his back head is still flat but his hair covers it so it's not too noticeable.

-written by E.M.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who's behind Little Seouls?

We're 2 Korean-American sisters. My younger sister was the one that came up with this idea after she adopted her daughter from Korea almost a year ago. She realized that there was a need in the adoption community for Korean kids products.

When she told me, I thought it was also a great idea for Korean-Americans like us. We're 2nd generation Koreans born and raised in Koreatown in Los Angeles, CA. We were fortunate to grow up with the Korean language and culture. Unfortunately, our kids are not exposed to it as much.

I've tried to look for products for my kids but all I could find were products designed to teach kids English but not Korean. I knew we weren't the only ones out there wanting to bring in the Korean culture and language to our kids. So through our research, we tried to bring all these things together. This was how Little Seouls was born.

-written by E.M.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our favorite finds

If you've been browsing our store, you probably came across the baby over spat pants. When I first saw them, I thought they were the cutest pants I ever saw. I knew I had to get them for the store. They're not really pants but more like leggings. If you bought them, please tell us what you think of them!

My other favorite find is the Chiyo Zzang backpacks and bags. I love the colors and the designs. If I had a daughter, I would definitely buy her one of these instead of the typical backpacks out there. It's so unique! We just added them to our store...better get them fast since supplies are limited!

written by E.M.

Korean Children's Skin Care - ATOPALM

We decided to carry Atopalm after hearing about it throughout Korea. We noticed most of the Korean baby stores were selling Atopalm products. Since it claimed to treat dry skin and eczema, I decided to try it on my 5 year old son, who has had eczema since he was born. As you can tell by the pictures, it has significantly improved his skin! The first picture below is after Atopalm use. We call it the miracle cream and we make sure to apply it everyday at least 2x. We also use the Atopalm wash as it is recommended to use them together for better results.

Although I cannot guarantee you will have the same results, I think its definitely worth the try especially if your child had severe eczema flareups like my son. He is no longer itching his skin! All the other brands just did not have the same effect!

By the way, this product can also be used for adults.

Written by: S.C.



Sunday, September 14, 2008

Korean Baby Carriers

With all the gazillion baby carriers out there, Korea has also made an entry into the U.S. market with 2 new brands, the iPhyeonhae Baby Carrier and iHosa Baby Carrier.

The iPhyeonhae (top picture) is the best selling one in Korea. It's cute and has some cute fabrics. The word Phyeonhae means comfort in Korean. The price is reasonable too...at just $79.99. The sizing in these in Korea says Regular and XL but Regular and XL are different in Korea vs. U.S. sizing. As you all know, Koreans are very skinny. If you're a size 6, you're considered chunky. Crazy, I know! Anyways, we decided to list them as Petite and Regular because of these reasons. If you fluctuate between a size 4-6, I suggest getting a Petite as you might find the Regular a bit big.

iHosa (bottom picture) is another brand and their prices are higher at around $99-149. They have a huge selection of fabric choices. It seems very easy to put on as does the iPhyeonhae. The good thing about iHosa is that they carry larger sizes whereas iPhyeonhae only goes up to size Regular (size 6-12).

The great thing about both of these is unlike the popular Ergo, it does not make your stomach fat lump out over the safety belts when you have the baby on your back. If you have an Ergo, you'll know what I mean. Both the Korean brands have full fabric coverage, which is nice for those that have a little fat around the belly like me!

written by E.M.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yes, we changed our blog

We were playing around with both blogs for a week now and realized that blogger was more user- friendly than typepad.

A great site to learn Korean cooking!

This lady Maanchi started posting Youtube videos of herself giving instructions on how to prepare different Korean dishes. After awhile, people started requesting more and more so she started her own site. She is awesome! You have to check it out!

written by E.M.

Our new logo

We're so excited about our new logo! We're hoping to make shirts, onesies, and other cute stuff with our logo very soon so keep a look out!
Created by Wendy Chan.

Korean Thanksgiving Holiday

Chuseok, also known as Hangawi, is one of the most celebrated holidays in Korea. It is usually celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Korean Lunar calendar. It is celebrated for a total of 3 days, the day before as well as the day after the actual holiday. This year Chuseok will be celebrated September 13 to September 15. The holiday is shared with family traditions centered around food and paying respect to ancestors. The original significance of Chuseok was to celebrate a good harvest.

written by S.C.

My secret recipe for Korean soups

I'm not much of a cook but if you have kids, you have to cook. A friend of mine once made us Mi Yuk Gook (seaweed soup) and it tasted really good so I asked her for the recipe. She surprised me by telling me that it's just Swanson's Chicken broth, water and mi yuk! That's it! Wow, the next time I cooked, I tried it and added a few things. In the beginning, I cooked 1 teaspoon of minced garlic with sesame oil and soy sauce. Then dumped the 1 can of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of water. I soaked the mi yuk in water for a few minutes then added it to the soup and that's it! You can add more or less water depending on how salty you like it. Obviously, it's not as healthy as if you make it from scratch but if you don't have much time, this is a quick and easy way! You can do this with other types of soup as well.

Mi Yuk Gook is traditionally eaten on birthdays and after giving birth. Our family eats it often since our kids love it so much. Our mom likes to make big batches for our kids and we freeze it in little containers for instant meals.

written by E.M.

Dol - First Birthday in Korea

Birthday Table
The parents prepare a special Tol table to celebrate the child's birthday. The main food includes ddeok (rice cakes) and fruits. Over 12 different kinds of ddeok are prepared, including paekseolgi (white steamed rice cakes), susu-kyongdan (rice cakes coated with rough red bean powder), chapsal-ddeok or chal-ddeok, mujigae-ddeok (rainbow colored steamed rice cake), songp'yeon (half moon shaped rice cakes), injulmi (coated glutinous rice cakes), and gyep'i-ddeok (puffed air rice cakes). Among these, paekseolgi and susu-kyongdan are always included. Fruits can vary according to the season of the birthday. Different colors of seasonal fruits can be prepared and displayed in a row. Also, a bowl of rice, sea mustard soup, and many other various foods can be displayed.

Along with food, other items are needed for holding the Toljabee event. Items such as large bundle of thread, a brush, a Korean calligraphy set, pencil, book, money (10,000 won bills), bow and arrow (needle, scissors, and ruler for girls) are arranged on the table to predict the child's future.

Table Setting
picture courtesy of ??? The birthday child will be placed at the table so that the other guests can face him or her. Parents often sit the child on the bolou (Korean traditional mattress) and several bangsuk (Korean cushions). Since the child is small, this allows for getting better pictures. For the background, a Korean traditional screen is used at the hotel or other banquet hall.

Toljabee Event
Tol table settings In this event, the birthday child goes around the table and picks up items that attract him or her. The child's future is predicted according to the what he or she grabs. After placing the child in front of the table, the child's father becomes the guide for the child to go around the table and grab whatever he or she wants. The first and second items the child grabs are considered the most important. Usually Korean parents place the items that they want the child to choose near to the edge of the table. The child's future is predicted according to the items:

-bow and arrow: the child will become a warrior
-needle and thread: the child will live long
-jujube: the child will have many descendants
-book, pencil, or related items: the child will become a successful scholar
-rice or rice cake: the child will become rich (some resources say choosing a rice cake means the child is not smart)
-ruler, needle, scissors: the child will be talented with his/her hands
-knife: the child will be a good cook

Taken from lifeinkorea.com

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's the deal with Korean Pajamas?

If you're not Korean, you're probably wondering why Little Seouls carries so many pajamas. The reason is that Korea makes really good quality pajamas at affordable prices.

Before I use to buy my kid's pjs at The Children's Place, BabyGAP, Carters, Target, Disney, etc. They're usually very thin, super tight and not very soft. I know they make it tight for fire protection but it looks so constricting. I also hate it that it wears out at the knees after a couple of months. I'm always having to replace them because of that.

Before Little Seouls, you couldn't find Korean pajamas online. The only way to get them was to ask anyone we knew going to Korea to buy us pjs for our kids. All my Korean mommy friends did the same. It's that popular! I know they're not the most stylish but the quality makes up for it. If you haven't bought one for your kids, you should! You'll probably come back for more!

The one in the picture is a lightweight cotton. We just got those from Korea! Now on sale! Aren't they cute?

written by E.M.