Image from Yelp.com
Spa World is a Korean-style bath house and sauna, with optional extras like massage services, access to fitness equipment, a Korean restaurant, and so on.
I love it there.
Relaxation is a vital part of one's health, and the spa provides some unique opportunities to relax and clear the mind. One of the most relaxing aspects of Spa World (to me) is that full nudity is required in the pool area. It might seem counterintuitive to a shy person, but among real natural bodies it's easy to let go of any negative thoughts you might have about your body. And being unencumbered by clothing means you can focus your whole attention on the calming physical sensations available to you in the pool.
On this visit, one woman broke the rule and entered the pool area in a bright yellow bikini. I couldn't stop staring at her. It was un-relaxing. First I felt bad for her, thinking it was awful that she couldn't let go of whatever reservations she was having about showing her body. Then I was mad. How dare she come into this peaceful place, and remind everyone that body issues exist? I eventually switched sides in the hot tub and faced the other direction, so I could stop thinking about it and re-quiet my mind. Let that be a lesson, though— when nudity is the norm, the best way to call attention to yourself is to cover up.
On Friday night I got into the Korean mood in advance with some sesame flavor. This recipe is similar to the eggplant dish I made last week, but with enough subtle differences to deserve its own post.
Sesame Long Beans
- 1/2 lb Chinese long beans, chopped & steamed
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup red cabbage, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp chili paste
- a handful of whole basil leaves
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tsp demerara sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- salt to taste
Steam the beans for 20-30 minutes in advance.
In a frying pan over medium heat, add 1/2 of the olive oil and toss in the chopped red cabbage. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, then add the remainder of the oil and the diced onions. Continue cooking until the onions are becoming translucent and the cabbage is slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Once that's ready, add the sauce ingredients— the water, garlic, soy sauce, chili paste, basil leaves, ginger, and sugar. Stir the sauce well, then add the long beans.
Continue cooking the beans until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beans are tender. Stir frequently to keep the beans evenly cooked. Finally, remove from heat and add the sesame oil and salt. Give it one last stir and serve with rice.