Showing posts with label seoul. Show all posts

What we ate at Seoul

We had so many food options in Seoul. We didn't even got to try the street foods. Often times, we save our appetite for the main meal where we sat down and eat. We walked around so much that we want to rest our feet for a while we enjoy our food.

Below are the foods we tried. Some of them we really like too much that we ate it almost everyday.

  • Plane food
Okay, we are not in Seoul yet but en route. We took Korean Air so we can have a direct flight to Seoul and try to see their service and food options. And oh boy, they didn't disappoint.

Throughout the 13 hour flight, I had the selection of Bibimbap (seen below), congee and meat/potatoes combo.

Seen at Gyeongbokgung Palace

The Gyeongbokgung Palace was originally built in 1395, it was the royal palace and center of government during the Joseon Dynasty. It was destroyed by the Imjin War and was abandoned for two centuries. Later it was restored to its original design that incorporated the traditions of the Joseon era.

Gwanghamun gate. I have been here a couple of times but it felt like seeing this place with fresh eyes. I forgot how magnificent this place was.

Our Last Full Day in Seoul

It is our last day in Seoul, we had enough exploring and now its time for more serious stuff like shopping. Usually, I don't like to do a lot of going back and forth as I want to save my energy and focus the task at hand-- shopping for the kids.

Today we went around in the morning in Itaewon, Namdaemun in the afternoon and dinner in Noryangjin.


We stumbled upon this large store in Itaewon. It is a store full of cartoons called the Line Friends with merchandise. There were giant stuff toys. It's like a wonderland chock full of cuteness. I saw a recent billboard in Times Square, New York, I assume they would open a store here soon.

Second Day in Seoul

It is our second day in Seoul. The night before we were so tired that we did not even finished the baseball game in Jamsil Stadium. We slept early but woke up at 3 am and so hungry that we can't even go back to sleep. Instead of fighting the urge, we went outside the hotel where there was a 24 hour restaurant. It turned out that this will be our breakfast routine for the next couple of days.

This was our first breakfast in Seoul. One thing about this city that there is always a place to eat round the clock. You would never get hungry in Seoul. I am  beginning to love this city a little more.

Temple Food - Balwoo Gongyang

For our trip in Seoul, I made sure that our itinerary were more focused on new experiences. I have always admired travel shows where they show you how to prepare Buddhist temple food from scratch. They seem to be pain staking since they made it by hand and no short cuts.

All reviews for Balwoo Gongyang seem consistent. They were all good and well recommended. It is walking distance on the main Insadong area. Convenient enough that we booked lunch reservations earlier through email. They were accommodating and had us on the list on the day and time we wanted.

First day in Seoul

Our flight landed 4am early. The subway and buses doesn't start till 5am and our hotel check in is at 3pm. We were tired from the long flight but we are forced to fight jet lag -- well at least we have a bed to crash unto.

Incheon International Airport (ICN)

We have landed on Incheon International Airport in South Korea. It is 4 am and everything else is close including the subway to Seoul. The buses and subway doesn't start till 5 am so we decided to stretch our legs and walk around the airport before we drop our bags to the hotel. And as expected, we were greeted with all this cuteness.

Recap: Korea Series

The photo below was taken in Incheon airport on our way back home. We are scheduled to land in San Francisco and transfer to another flight to Newark, New Jersey. Those Sopranos sang their heart out that it hit a sore spot (for me) as they bid us goodbye. Seoul made a great impression on me. As I said before, I vow to come back for more.

Korea series: More Random Notes

Our last days before heading home had been a blur. We are now in a rush to fit in some shopping and places we want to see. Around this time, we had been often calling home. I am terribly missing hubby and my little one.

When we are in the process of booking this trip, there was a big debate as to where we would stay in Seoul. We sorted it out based on price, location and convenience. Then we chose this mid-range business hotel located on top of a mall aptly called Times Square. The area is still surrounded by a cluster of residential neighborhoods and its great to see something mundane like watching locals head over to work in the morning.

Korea series: Gyeongbok Palace

It was our first full day in Seoul. Both of us are suffering jetlag and woke up as early as 3am. It took us a while to figure out how to go the Palace. We have no idea where to get the subway from our hotel and by the time we found one, it is a totally different stress factor to figure out how to get and use the pass card. I guess this is why we love to travel, its times like this that always stands out of the greatest adventures.

Built in 1395, the Gyeongbok Palace (translated to Palace of Shining Happiness) is the iconic symbol of the Joseon Dynasty. After the 14th century Japanese invasion, it was burnt to the ground and was left in ruins for 3 centuries. It was rebuilt again in 1867. And after the assassination of Empress Myeongsong in 1895, the imperial family left the palace and never came back.

Korea series: Coffee And Tea

The first thing that I noticed once we started exploring around Seoul was the abundance of coffee shops. They seem to be everywhere. Some are chains, some are stand alone shops. Coffee in these places aren't cheap at all. But it gives you that fancy space to rest and relax that weary feet.

Korea series: Korea Food Expo 2011

Whenever you have precious finds, there should be a let down. We saw a billboard outside the Coex mall advertising the Food Expo. We had so much fun at the Kids Fair so we thought why not check it out. It turned out that it is only for trade only. Let me share some ho hum events:

Korea series: Food Trip

It felt that this particular trip had been a blur. Looking back, my sister and I had rare sit down dinners in Seoul. It is also our fault that every time we see something interesting we stop and look. Most of the time we ended up snacking. When its time for a proper meal, we are not in the mood and sit down for another bout of bottomless meal. I kid you not.

To get an idea of how a typical restaurant meal, it starts with a ban-chan. It is a small side servings, a bit more hearty than an appetizer. It really depends how generous the host gives you but it typically has a side of kimchi and other spicy and fermented greens. Often times, these sides do complement with the meal you have ordered.

Korea series: Random Notes

I had accumulated a handful of random photos that are too short for a single post. I thought to share you some random quips and photos that were taken from the trip.

Korea series: Kids Fair 2011

We were supposed to walk around the Coex mall when we stumbled an ongoing Kids Fair for educational items. The inquiry took about a half hour run around since everyone we asked kept us pointing to another person. It turned out that we had to fill up a form for our information and since we were in the children's apparel business, they eventually waived our entrance fee.

Korea Series: The Coex Mall

It was our second day in Seoul. We are still suffering jet lag and had no problem on starting our day early. Rush hour is the worst time to take the subway. People can get very aggressive in trying to catch the train. They pack it so tight that my back is actually leaning on somebody else's back. It was the most uncomfortable feeling but the other person doesn't seem to mind. Apparently, they have a different definition of personal space.

It is one of the largest underground shopping center in Seoul. The Coex mall is a one stop shop and entertainment place to go in a rainy day. You can find a lot of foreign brands here and also you maybe able to find familiar western food places such as KFC, Friday's and Bennigans. This place is so huge that it even have a movie theater, an aquarium and a small museum.

Korea series: Paris Baguette Cafe

This place is one of the countless coffee franchises in the country. It is so happened that we don't want to start our day with an expensive cup of coffee that we opted to look for a coffee shop outside the hotel. The coffee at this cafe is not cheap but reasonable enough that we start our day getting breakfast at the same shop for the next 7 days.

Korea Series: Our favorite place

Nothing beats like a family ran restaurant with such great food. Were supposed to be in the city for 10 days and we like to try and eat at a new place everyday. Given that you are in Seoul, there has to be a place to eat or a convenience store every 200 meters. But it so happens that the food we ordered at this place is so good that we decided to eat here again before we have to catch our flight back home.

Things I love about Seoul

It has been a week since my trip from South Korea. And I am still fighting off jet lag. I come to realize that I don't easily adjust to time change like I used to and that (or) I am feeling my age. One thing is for sure, no more backpacking trips for me from here on.

It was a whirlwind adventure these last few days. It was exhaustive and yet exhilarating. Everything in Seoul (or everything about Korean) seem to fascinate me. It is a totally different world out there. I often wonder what life would be if I chose to live there - temporarily.

  • Public Transportation
Getting around the city is so easy once you get the hang of using the subway system. It is cheap, reliable and clean too. Certain bus stops had a monitors that tells you how far long or where was the bus at the current time. There are no room for guessing games. How hi tech was that? Take notes New Jersey Transit.