Archive | November, 2013

Best (cheap) Wine to buy (on a budget) in South Korea

29 Nov
Picture here is the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot.  Both highly recommended, I prefer cabs, but that is my taste.

Picture here is the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot. Both highly recommended, I prefer cabs, but that is my taste.

Not going to lie: I am a few glasses in.  This is a passion post right here.

A passion for cheap delicious wine.

As I have talked about in a previous post I am moving to Chile.  I have been a fan of Chilean wines for years.  Chilean wine has been a boon for me ever since I attended a wine workshop at a waiting job I had years ago and the guy running it told me that Chile was fairly new to the wine world but had excellent wine that sold at rock bottom prices because they hadn’t grown a reputation yet.

I spent most of my adult life living in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  This is an island of the east coast of Canada.  It is difficult to travel to and from this island because of weather and geography.  Things are not cheap there.  I loved shopping for Chilean wine because a $12 bottle was like a dream.

Then I moved to Korea.  I discovered G7 wines.  rolling in at a mere 6,900 won (less than $7) it is the gear. It has been available at any Emart I have been to in Korea so far, it is my go to wine.

Now, I like to think that I have pretty good taste.  I have attended a few workshops, I have waitressed for a few years.  No, I don’t spend that much money on wine.  However, I feel like I have a fairly delicate palette (not true, G7 talking).  I know a few terms, legs, chocolaty, hints of fruit.  I have given people advice on what wine to pair with their $50 steak dinner (that is true).  I love the G7 wine.

The G7’s have yet to let me down.  They are the best bang for your buck in a bottle of wine at emart.  Emart usually hasd a pretty decent selection as well.  Before I left Canada I was favouring the Apothic Red which was coming in at about $20 a bottle, which I thought was a pretty good price.  I love Californian wine, which is what the Apothic falls under.  And it is availble at Emart as well, just a few feet away. I just can’t stray from the G7.

So, if you are in Korea and on a budget but looking for a decent wine to enjoy at the park, or in your hotel, or in your apartment, or at a potluck. I don’t know where you are drinking this wine.  For whatever reason, you are on a budget and you are looking for a nice wine that you can enjoy, find a local Emart and look out for the G7 series.

If you are in Korea and are looking for a little more expensive, bit higher class wine.  Get the G7 anyway.  Let’s be serious, you can save $30-40.  Go to Lotte World or buy a kimchi pot or something with the savings.  You and I both know after the first glass it all tastes the same.


Friday Photo: Lions on a Perfect Weather Day

28 Nov

Friday Photo: Lions on a Perfect Weather Day

It has been getting pretty cold here in Seoul. It has dropped well below the freezing point already. While I don’t mind the cold, sometimes it is nice to think of warmer weather. I took this photo at the Seoul Zoo this fall on a class trip. It was one of those, “This is my perfect temperature days!” Also, the lions are looking very regal.

Pajeon and a Travel Update (Mostly Pajeon)

27 Nov
It is so delicious.  This one, from Gwangwhamun Square was served on a hot platter.  It was crispy and so good.

It is so delicious. This one, from Gwangwhamun Square was served on a hot platter. It was crispy and so good.

Let’s take a minute to talk about pajeon here.  Pajeon is a traditional Korean cuisine.  It is best described (in my opinion) as a seafood pancake.  It is hands down one of my favourite Korean foods.  Pancakes in any form are definitely on my top food of all time so keep that in mind when I give it my five star rating.

A friend told me that pajeon is a comfort food to eat on a rainy day with Makgeolli, a Korean rice wine. Maekgeolli is alright, the price is right for sure.  I also find it fun to shake up.  It has to be shaken becuase there is white silt that settles to the bottom. IT is a little sweet and carbonated. It is like a milky white colour.  It throws me off a little bit.  Like beer and wine, maybe I just need to aquire a taste for it.

Back to pajeon: it is made like pancakes, with batter, fried with oil in a griddle.  It has seafood and green onions and it is often served with soy sauce to dip it in.  I like it because it is hot, crispy, oily and there are tentacles in it.

Tentacles are the type of food that you think you should be averse to trying, but then you eat them and they are completely unoffensive and delightful.  I have been a tentacle fan for years.

On a note about the status of the blog:  If have been on hiatus for a couple of weeks here (despite saying that it wouldn’t happen).  Things have been a little bit hectic around here with my job and trying to move on with my career.  BUT in three weeks I am on vacation and in four weeks I am off to NEW ZEALAND.  I am really excited so there will surely be lots of posts about that.

But wait, there is more.  As you all know (probably not even true) I have been trying to improve my career prospects (life skills) by learning french which I have not updated, but it was going very well for the 30 days that I committed.  I feel like I am grasping the basics now.  I can answer questions and think of how to say things in French much easier.  I also feel like I have been more productive in my evenings.  French is continuing, but slower.

I am moving to Santiago, Chile in MARCH!  So, last week I started learning Spanish.  I have never studied Spanish before.  But it is coming along I think.  So in the next four months I am going from Seoul to New Zealand to Seoul to Canada to Chile.  I am really excited to start this new chapter.  These next four months are going to be a whirlwind!

Back to pajeon: Please try this.  You are supposed to share with the people you are eating with.  THAT pajeon in the picture was actually only eaten by me.  No, I was not travelling solo.  No, everyone didn’t order their own meal to consume by themselves Western Style.  We were eating communal shared dishes mostly.  I ordered that pajeon and I ate it all.  That’s how I roll sometimes.


A Guide to Hack into Korean Nightlife

3 Nov Korean Bar
Korean Bar

The name of this bar is actually Cheong Chun ShiNae

There was this bar that my friends and I used to frequent when I lived in Mokdong.  It became legendary because every time we came there we would meet hilarious, friendly locals that we would share drinks and laughs with.

We came to this bar because we could get good, cheap food.  Lots of beer and soju and more often than not, after a few jugs of beer and two bottles of soju, someone would raise a glass to “chunbae” another table and before long our tables would merge and there would be a lot of broken English and broken Korean.

The decor and food is enough that if you go with a group of your friends and don’t meet any locals, you will have a fun time.  This bar was fun because the ceilings were covered in newspaper style, black and white comic strips.  The walls are decorated with old Korean vinyl record cases.  There were half dozen television screens perpetually playing some weird k-pop music show.  Also, they served “pop-rocks” candy with the soju.  We always assumed that this was the soju chaser.  On top of all of this, they had the best cheesy ddeok-bokki I have had in Korea.  Their pajeon is also notable.

We always called this place the “K-Bar.”  That was not the actual name of the bar, but we called it that because it was our favourite Korean Style bar.  There were a lot of Western style clubs and pubs.  There are also a lot of Chicken Hofs selling fried chicken, beer and soju.  This one was unique in that it had escaped teh Western influence but was not too foreign to us that we felt uncomfortable (In fact, we took Korean friends here and they were shocked that we enjoyed coming here).

We met some hilarious characters here, like the older man whose knowledge of English, I can only guess, encompasses only the lyrics of “We are the world” the 1985 charity song.  There were the young girls that taught me how to “one-shot” makgeolli (a Korean rice wine) and I helped them practice their English.  There was also the pineapple salesman who was selling pineapples to pay for college.

This place was a hilarious introduction to the drinking culture of Korea.  I think that there are many places around Korea that you can create your own “k-bar” in.  I have learned the secret trick to breaking the ice with strangers; it’s as easy as raising a glass and sharing a smile.

I don’t spend a lot of late nights out drinking anymore.  Late nights make wasted morning.  Every once in a while it is a fun laugh though, and Korea is a hilarious place in the wee hours of the morning.  You can get your people watching in and experience a part of Korean culture that is just non existence during the day light hours.

If you are in Mokdong and you want to go to this particular bar, go to Mokdong Station (Line 5) exit 1.  Walk straight for a few minutes and it will be on your left hand side.  Look out for the sign in this post.  When it is warm, there are tables set up outside.  

For Google Map click here

Friday Photo: Photographer on the Roof

2 Nov rooftop

I was up on a hill in an old part of Seoul and I saw all of these old rooftops. I love these rooftops, I think they are beautiful.