Ramen Machine sounds like a great name for a band that operates on a shoestring budget and uses instruments they make themselves, like beans in a cup = maracas, or slapping a sofa = bass drum. I’m taking custody of this name, dibs dibs dibs!
Anyway, at 11:00 PM, security locks the doors and we aren’t allowed to leave the dorms. Some students order food from nearby restaurants, a guy on a scooter delivers it, and hands it to them through the first floor window. I neither speak enough Korean to place a take-out order, nor know anyone with first-floor dorm room, and I only have about 1,500 won on hand. ($1.45) I still have my credit card, but when this event took place two weeks ago, student loans and grants and stuff hadn’t come in yet, so things were pretty tight moneywise.
I’ve kind of been eating crackers, tea, and peanut butter for dinner for a while, and I’m all out of bananas and apples to supplement it, and I can’t go out to eat for dinner all the time. Even though a decent restaurant is only three to five bucks, it still takes time to go there and is more expensive than something I could whip up. This time, my only choice is the Ramen Machine.
There’s no one around to explain it, so I just have to guess at how to work this. It looks like it costs 1,000 won ( 93 cents) for a bowl of noodles. I don’t have a 1,000 won bill, so I dig through my desk to scrounge up some coins. The Red-Crowned Crane is on the 500 won coin, and Yu Sun-sin, 16th Century admiral and leader of heroic victories against the Japanese navy, is on the 100 won coin. Sometimes, you have to use Wikipedia to fill in the gaps in your education that first-hand traveling experience leaves void.
These instructions appear to be directing me to open the ramen and put the bowl into aperture in the machine which dispenses hot water, but I can’t tell how to do this, so I just use the hot water in the Culligan machine that every floor has.
The machine has this sweet compartment for dispensing complementary chopsticks, but I have some nice metal chopsticks (and, subversively, a fork) stashed away in my room. I decide to put one of my two remaining cans of tuna into the ramen. I got this tuna in a multipack to save money, and I’d been putting off eating the tuna in the purple can with bunches of grapes emblazoned on the label. It was a surprise in reverse – just plain ‘ol fish.
It was filling and pretty tasty for Ramen noodles. But would you believe it? I forgot to take a picture of the finished article. Maybe I’ll have more sometime and upload a picture.
Homework: Everyone, go get some pizza and have dinner with your folks. If someone in the room is watching the Korean version of “Deal or No Deal” on their laptop, kick them out.