Showing posts with label south korea. 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.

Itaewon


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.


Trip to Gyeongju


Before the Joseon dynasty, there was once an ancient kingdom referred to as Silla. It was composed of three kingdoms that unified the Korean peninsula. Gyeongju was its capital and it became one of the prosperous and wealthy city of its era. Political instability had contributed to its decline until it was succeeded by the Goryeo dynasty.


There were two options on travelling from Busan to Gyeongju, it is a choice between bus or train. You can easily catch the train from the Busan Train Station and the bus from the Bus station one subway stop from Beomeosa. If you ask me, it is better to take the bus since the bus station in Gyeongju is in the middle of town compared to the train station which is located on the outskirts. If you count local traffic, it is another 45 minutes of travel time.

After we got off the bus station, we are all hungry and would like to start our second leg of our trip with a full belly before heading back to Seoul. We chose this non-descript place that serve the usual Korean food. We ordered a simple Seafood Pancake and Tofu Stew. But while we are waiting for our main meal, here is the ban chan (side dishes) spread they provided us. This is local food at its best.


Beomeosa Temple

Beomeosa Temple means the temple of heavenly fish. It is said that a gold fish came from the sky and settled on the well on top of Mount Geumjeongsan.


The original temple was built 1,300 years ago until it was lost during the Japanese invasion in 1592. It was renovated in 1713 and became one of the most delicate architectures in the Joseon era.


Trip to Busan


Busan is South Korea's second largest city. You would have heard this name from popular movie such as Train to Busan, it was also on the list of New York Times' 52 Places to Go in 2017 (it is number 48 on the list).

While Seoul is a bustling metropolis with people in suits, in Busan it is the largest industrial area and at first glance it is mostly blue collar. It has now gone through a renaissance and it has established itself as a creative and international center for hosting sports tournaments and events like the Annual Busan Film Festival.


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.



Our DMZ Tour




The DMZ tour was something that I skipped the last time when I was in South Korea. I know it would be on my list on my next visit.

We were picked up at the hotel lobby and the car dropped us off on the meeting place where the bus (a brand new one!) was waiting for the rest of the tour group.

Once were off the road, the tour guide gave us an insight and history of Korean history and the creation of DMZ (De Militarized Zone). She had us fill out our name and information on the list to get permission to enter the zone. You also need to bring your passport.


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.


Baseball in Seoul


I didn't even know what to expect on a South Korean baseball game. It turns out that the experience isn't any different from ANY game but it is geared to entertainment and much more.


We head our way to buy tickets. It was on a Friday afternoon and an hour before the game starts. The ticket window is right in front of the subway entrance, it was hard to miss as people line up for tickets. There were a handful of vendors selling foods such as chicken, beer and snacks. Apparently, you are allowed to bring your own food inside the stadium.


K-town finds NYC

Speaking of comfort foods, nothing soothes my aches and chills than a nice steaming bowl of spicy noodles. I try to stop by for lunch at Korea town at least once a week. Food has been consistent and I always find a new place to try on next. I miss Seoul but this is close enough for me to be home away from home.


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.

Yeongdeungpo
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: Insadong

We woke up listening to a local news channel and heard that the Vietnam president is in town for a state visit. He was there for a proposed joint venture project with the South Koreans. Ho hum.

We got out of the subway in Insadong and the first thing we noticed was a motorcade with a limo in front with Vietnam and South Korean flags. Walking through the shops we saw a bunch of people staring at a small shop. We saw folks in suit with an earpiece and they look so serious. They finally started to move along and we saw a group of well dressed women shopping.It is expected that Insadong has been the first place to visit on most foreign dignitaries.

Insadong is the main art and antique district in Seoul. It used to be the a wealthy district during the Joseon era till the Japanese occupation. Wealthy residents were forced to sell their belongings and hence the district became an antiques alley.