Monday, February 11, 2013

Relaxing Spa Day & Sesame Long Beans

I took a mini-break from posting (and cooking) to finish up some work, then on Saturday I went on a relaxing excursion to Spa World with a few good friends.

Image from

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.


  1. I love spa world! Do you have a favorite poultice room?
    The bade pool was an odd experience for me though. I do not think they get too many modified individuals there- so I got stared at a lot despite being nude. It would be more fun to go with a small group of girlfriends maybe.

    Never thought of pairing red cabbage and green beans, but that does look really good! Think I may just have to make this :)

    1. Hands down, the clay ball room. It's usually pretty crowded, though- I think it's a lot of peoples' favorite. ;)

      I saw a few tattoos, but I get what you mean. Anything that contrasts with skin will draw attention. I think it probably is more fun to go with a group, but I'd go either way!

    2. The clay ball room was so neat! I like to close my eyes in there, and the sounds of people shifting in the little balls of clay sounds like the ocean surf to me.
      I also really loved the amethyst room. That's the one with the beautiful mural of stones making a scene of tress and birds. :)
      The salt room was cool too.
      I really want to go back sometime soon!