Tag Archives: Seoul
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Friday Photo: City Scape

6 Dec

Friday Photo: City Scape

This is the view from my window in my apartment in Seoul. I love that you can see I am surrounded by mountains.

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At the Market

1 Dec apples, oranges, grapes!
apples, oranges, grapes!

I love the abundance of fresh produce that is so affordable (when it is in season). Fruit is one of the only things that I can buy at a market fairly confidently.

There are plenty of little open air markets all of Seoul.

Earlier in the fall I got out and snapped a few pictures at Suyu Market.  This is me trying to overcome my fear of taking pictures of things in public.  I spent most of the time red-faced, quickly snapping pictures and moving on.  I think it was the guilt of taking a picture and not buying anything.  Sorry!

This man is most likely buying a delicious treat for his offspring.

This man is most likely buying a delicious treat for his offspring.

This guy was buying stuff.  Actually, I totally would have eaten street food if I wasn’t carrying my camera around.  I had no excuse here.

I love seafood.  I wish that I could buy this stuff and know what to do with it.  I realize that I have been spoiled to have always bought my seafood cut and cleaned for me.  I don't know what I would do with any of this.

I love seafood. I wish that I could buy this stuff and know what to do with it. I realize that I have been spoiled to have always bought my seafood cut and cleaned for me. I don’t know what I would do with any of this.

More fish, but this time of the dry variety. Each stand has it's only very strict theme.  I do love when the cafeteria serves the tiny dried fish with spicy powder.

More fish, but this time of the dry variety. Each stand has it’s only very strict theme. I do love when the cafeteria serves the tiny dried fish with spicy powder.

This market has a little of everything.  The stalls are organized by product and colours it seems.  If I knew what anything was, I am sure that I would be able to easily find it.

I am going to guess that these piles of spices are all very spicy hot.  I still don't know what they are.

I am going to guess that these piles of spices are all very spicy hot. I still don’t know what they are.

One of the first things I learned to say in Korean is "The apple is green." Too bad these ones are red. I can say that too, however.

One of the first things I learned to say in Korean is “The apple is green.” Too bad these ones are red. I can say that too, however.

I can always buy fruit!  Not intimidating at all.

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Everything is displayed just perfectly in every market I have visited.  Things are piled neatly.  I can't imagine even buying anything for fear of ruining all of these nice piles.  That, and I wouldn't know what to do with it when I got home.

Everything is displayed just perfectly in every market I have visited. Things are piled neatly. I can’t imagine even buying anything for fear of ruining all of these nice piles. That, and I wouldn’t know what to do with it when I got home.

And that is the mini-tour of the market.  If you get a chance to, definitely have a cruise around one of these.  They are really interesting!

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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
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.

Friday Photo: Temple on Bukhansan

18 Oct Temple
Temple

This temple is pretty high up on Mount Bukhan (Bukhansan, ‘san’ meaning ‘mountain’ in Korean). I took this last year on a hike up during one of the peak weekends to see the fall colours.

I am getting really excited for the fall.  I love South Korea in the fall.  If you ever come visit, you should do it in November so that you can see the fall colours.  The weather is also perfect, it isn’t humid or raining.  The summer heat just suddenly lifts one day and you can wear scarves and boots.  But the best thing about it is the beautiful colours of all the leaves.