Monday, September 20, 2010

Comparing chicken in three countries


Russia: Small, lean, whole chickens

America: Giant, fatty, hormone injected chickens

Korea: ?? I have yet to find out. So far, I have only been able to find precut, prepackaged chicken breasts or thighs.

When I got back to Idaho in June and went grocery shopping with my father, one aspect of reverse culture shock began to sink in, and it had to do with chicken. This shock is continuing in Ulsan.

In Moscow, I ate a lot of chicken. So much so, that the when I visited my parents the first summer after living in Moscow, I didn’t want anything to do with it. I didn’t want to look at it and didn’t want to taste it. After another year of living in Moscow, where I developed fond memories connected to purchasing chicken, and learned how to butcher a whole chicken, I had gotten used to the size of chickens in Moscow, the freshness, how much fat they usually had on them, and so forth.

So, at the grocery store in Blackfoot, Idaho I was surprised to find, it’s nearly impossible to find a fresh, whole chicken. In Moscow the stores seemed to get daily shipments of fresh whole chickens, weighed them, bagged them and put them on the shelf. It actually could be a bit appalling how many chickens where on the shelf early in the day. In Blackfoot, a whole chicken could be found, but it would have been prepackaged and frozen, then shipped to the store. Additionally, I was shocked, disgusted and blown away by the mere SIZE of the chicken in the United States. They are huge!! Twice the size of a Russian chicken, they made me think of a small turkey with a lot more fat.

Chicken breasts are back to a reasonable size here in Ulsan, but I have yet to find a whole chicken. When I bought chicken at the giant hypermarket, which was larger than a Super Wal*Mart, all I could find was a package of about 12 pre-cut, pre-packaged, previously frozen chicken breasts or thighs … I will keep looking, but perhaps chicken isn’t big here or people prefer not to cut their own meat.


  1. I noticed something about squirrels.


    Moscow: Thin squirrels, afraid of people.

    New York: Very fat and furry squirrels, not afraid of people at all!

    South Corea:??? Most probably no squrelly at all... (Maybe monkeys, as the closest replacement of squirrels)

    In Moscow they can take food, but only if you leave it and go away on a safe distance. In New York, an impundent squirrel will climb up your body to take something out of your mouth, and they will eat absolutelly everything. I have a strong suspicion, that people give them Big Mac's and other food like this so that they become so unbelievably FAT.

    Tell us about squirrels in Idaho and Corea ;)


  2. Hope you don't mind if I follow along again Kim. It was fun reading about your Russian adventures.

  3. Do the chickens taste different?

  4. Lisa, the squirrel idea is a good one ... though I have yet to see wildlife here. So far I've seen bugs ;)

    Chicken seems to taste the same :) And I did find that I can buy whole, fresh chickens here! YAY!!