“I think life is all about finding the perfect bite of food. That feeling when you bite into something and you are swept away into a moment of perfect bliss. “
This past February I ended a three-year marriage. We had joint bank accounts, phone bills, the whole 9 yards. Being the intelligent decision-maker I am, instead of taking care of all the financial issues right away, I had decided to put everything off until the summer then go live in Korea to study Korean for the next three months. While in Korea I had to find a new place (back in NYC), move all my stuff, separate banks and a whole bunch of other burdens that come when ending a long term relationship. Luckily I had a great network of friends that helped me through and in the end everything worked out. I bet you’re wondering though: what does this have to do with a food blog?
I don’t know if you have ever tried to find a place in NYC but that alone is one of the most stressful and difficult things I have had to deal with. Most places want you to have a salary that pays 50x the amount of monthly rent. Mind you rent in NYC, especially Manhattan, commonly starts at 3,000 mutha-fuckin’ USD a month. In case you don’t have a 150,000 dollar job at the age of 25 then you need a co-signer in order to land the apartment. Case #3: you don’t have a 50x job or a co-signer, then you may have to put up a 3-4x monthly rent deposit in advance.
Back in Korea, with no co-signer, I was looking at about $9,000 in deposits for my new place. Btw, my lease in NYC was going to end while I was in Korea, so I had no where to return to once I came back to New York. I was paying double in rent at my old NYC place, due to some unforeseen circumstances, while paying rent on my current place in Korea and trying to make sure I had enough money to buy into a new apartment. So this is all happening while I’m separating phone bills and bank accounts between my old relationship, studying Korean, making no money, living in a foreign country.
I love Korea. It’s easily the second greatest country in the world, (of course, the USA always #1), with great food, cheap drinks, gorgeous gals, and the people have a great work ethic. But the one thing they do not have is a goddamn decent egg-bagel sandwich. Sure they have their versions of egg sandwiches but honestly, they alllll sucked. Soggy bread, horrible sauces, and extras, like coleslaw. Why the hell would you put coleslaw on an egg sandwich?! To be fair, my first time in Korea in 2014(ish) I did have a great egg and bulgogi sandwich almost every morning, always served in between two beautifully toasted Texas style pieces of toast. But I guess that is no longer a thing because I could not find that anywhere.
So now come back with me and put yourself in my shoes. You wake up to find out you need to pay twice the rent then what you expected to pay on your apartment. You are in search of a new apartment at the same time. You’re paying rent in your current place and you’re going through all the financial separations of a divorce. What a shitty position to be in. So what do you decide to do? Maybe take a walk through the park, get a coffee. Sure. Then you’re hungry. You want something reminiscent of home, maybe eggs? Bacon? A bagel? All three? Yes! But…the country of Korea has 0 bagels. Welcome……. to H, E, double-hockey sticks. Easily the most stressful situation in my
27 21 years of existence.
Luckily a great friend of mine, who we will call Dabisu, reached down from the heavens and pulled me out, starting a chain reaction of positive events. Dabisu introduced me to another former vet who was also in search of a place and this guy fucking killed it. He found a great apartment close to our school and, because the landlord loved vets, he waived the deposit altogether. I also got back payed the extra rent from earlier. Another great friend, who we will call Yoja, went half-sies on a plane ticket during my school break in Korea so I could come back to the US to move into my new place. Not only did Yoja help me move, but they also met me at the airport with not 1 but 2 beautiful egg bagel sandwiches.
I arrived around 1:00 in the morning and the magical hands of Yoja was somehow able to keep those sandwiches warm. I think life is all about finding the perfect bite of food. That feeling when you bite into something and you are swept away into a moment of perfect bliss. This happens rarely, but–in that shitty NYC airport, exhausted from my 20-hour flight–that first bite into that bagel sandwich relinquished all current stresses going on in my life.
I cannot promise you that you will never get divorced. I can’t co-sign on your new apartment. What I can do is give you the knowledge you need to cook a perfect egg-bagel sandwich. This way, no matter what kind of morning you wake up to, you can start your day off nutritiously and sustainably… but most importantly deliciously.
- Bagel…1 cut evenly in half
- Spam…2 thinly cut pieces
- Eggs…2 large
- Cheese…none for a smaller carbon footprint!!
- Pepper…freshly cracked to taste
- Tabasco… 1 dab
- Olive oil… a little dribble
- Salt…1 pinch
- Audible… a handful of chopped cilantro (stems and leaves) and a lime wedge
- Preheat oven to broil or 375 Fahrenheit
- Get your pan hot and prepare and measure all ingredients. I find it best to use cast iron or any non-stick surface whenever cooking with eggs.
- Cook two pieces of spam until golden brown. (About 2 minutes each side.) While this is happening cut your bread in half.
*Pro Tip-Don’t Cut Yourself! Make your hand as flat as possible and place on top of the bagel. Then line up your knife in the center of the bagel and saw from one side to the other. As long as you keep your hand and bagel flat you will not be able to cut yourself.
- Dab some olive oil on the cut side of the bagel, rub evenly with your finger, and place in the oven cut side up, (or facing the broiler if using.)
- Take spam out and using the fat/grease that is still in the pan cook two eggs to preference. Usually, I like to break it up and let it go to over hard to make eating it easier but it’s up to you. While the eggs are cooking add some pepper and Tabasco for a little heat. *If you need more fat add a lil bit of oil to the pan.
- Take your bagel out once golden brown and crispy on the cut side and assemble your sandwich.
- I like to go egg first, then spam, then bagel top. Then top with the cilantro and squeeze a little lime juice all over. *Spam and eggs are pretty heavy so adding a little green and lime will livin it up!
- Feast upon your glorious creation that is the egg bagel sandwich.
*Grandma’s Tip- Wrap the bagel in some paper towel and let steam for a few minutes to get a perfectly toasty to moist ratio bagel.
Life throws you many curve balls but not having a proper egg bagel sandwich should never be one of them.
The key here is toasting the bagel properly. Do that and everything will fall into place. Its also endless what you can do with your bagel. Below are some variations I made.
How do you top your bagel? Comment below and lets start sharing some ideas!