Nuffnang Ads

Showing posts with label South Korea Trip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Korea Trip. Show all posts

Monday, September 30, 2013

SK: Dakgalbi and Korean Fried Chicken @ Myeongdong

As Spring comes back to Perth, I am filled with the good memories winter in Seoul had.  The food for sure was  a highlight with the big city so rich in culture.  No amalgamation of the Korean restaurants in any cities can replicate the quality of the food I had or even just the variety itself seems impossible.


One of the nights, we went to Yoogane for what seems to be the most popular Dakgalbi or Spicy Chicken rice in Myeongdong.  It was superb! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe chicken was a mix of spicy, salty and sweet with generous bits of kimchee and cabbage all tossed in a cheesy rice.  The outcome was a savory delight.  This is a winter fighter that is surely to make you sweat.  Little bits of rice that crisped up as you go make great bite for that last bit of enjoyment.  Definitely a winner by all accounts.  In fact, XL still craves for it every now and then but there is no real contender in Perth :(!  Funny how the chicken pieces which tended to be dryer than usual did not bother me even the slightest bit!


If the Dakgalbi is too spicy, feel free to have unlimited serves of their cabbage salad.  Super yums :)! If anything else is noteworthy, I would say that you should prepare to stink as the chicken sizzles in front of you!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



Our last night’s supper here was not one which will get a tick of approval from the Heart Foundation.  From a tick off is more likely.  But who cares?  This is TwoTwo Fried Chicken in MyeongdongOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery culture has their own fried chicken.  And so do the Koreans.  It is super crispy with all the salty-peppery seasoning to complement it.


We had two orders that night.  One was the original and the other was the garlic one.  We both preferred the original one over the garlic chicken.  It was just good old fried chicken as is.  The garlic one was way too garlicky for our liking.  A bloody fragrant bite but the raw garlic taste might be a little over the top!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome nights, I go to bed thinking about fried chicken.  When I do, I wake up happy.. and hungry.  At least after this meal, I can tick the Korean fried chicken of my bucket list!


People might ask me whether KFC is better or perhaps the good old Japanese Kaarage or even Malaysian fried chicken which has like 10000 variants.  First things first, fried chicken beats steamed chicken anytime.  But when it comes to different fried chicken, everyone will have a different say.  For me, I love my fried chicken and the one at TwoTwo was really good.  In fact, it was fantastic.  But each fried chicken has its own merits making me like most, if not all of them


Thursday, September 26, 2013

SK: Ulsan Bawi @ Seorak National Park

One of the best parts of my South Korea trip was Mount Seorak.  Just 3 hours from Seoul, the Seorak national park is just beautiful when covered in snow.  To get there, I got on a taxi from the airport to bring us to Dong Seoul Bus Station where we got on a bus to Seorak.  This was followed by a 20 minute taxi ride.  All in all, it cost around $100 for two people.  A night’s stay at the national park motel was a modest $80 and the room had a beautiful view.  The only thing was that it did not have a lift and we stayed 3 floors up.  As we had our luggage bags full from shopping in HK, it was a pain in the ass!


Anyways, our plan for the day was simple, hike Heundeul – bawi and Ulsan – bawi.  A total hike of around 6km each way.  Not much in terms of distance except its verticality. The only problem was that it was a  –27 degrees afternoon.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrossing the bridge


Still yet to reach Heundeul – bawi  but Ulsan – bawi was already in sight.  Or so we thought =.=!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter an hour of walk, we settled around 2kms to Heundeul – bawi but it was rather insignificant. Just a big rock :(! So we set forth to Ulsan – bawi!


On the way up!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of the better parts of the trail with guides to hold on to.  Little did we know that it would save our lives as we climbed up!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter another hour, we were really rushing against time. The sun was really against us and we quicken our pace.  Challenging really! It was so slippery and we had no shoes so we stopped by a small hut and bought some spikey attachments!  $5 each but really handy in providing grip ;)!


After almost 2 hours, we were at the base of the Ulsan – bawi.  Feeling rather happy, we thought that it was really near.  It was actually, just 1km more...  vertically.  And that was another 30 minutes up…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Ulsan – bawi base!


As we were ascending the steps, we almost got blown off.  So I sat down. Keep calm, take a picture.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe clearly caught up to the sun. There was heaps more sun at the top.   The view here is truly magnificent during winter. Not sure about other seasons though!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Nothing much. Just a stair.  One of the many stairs….


At the top, the view was phenomenal.  Here is a picture of me in my unsuitable clothing and Ulsan-baw in the backdrop!  Almost died there! Still managed to fake a smile hahaha.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A mad combination of howling wind and darkness forced us to descend quicker than we had wished.  Better safe than sorry we thought, only to meet wolves/wild boars hunting along the river.  Glad we were on the other side! But after a mad 5 hour hike up and down, we were so hungry we quickly ate nearby in a local café.  The town is 10 minutes by taxi but we were too tired to move.


A winter staple. Dried Pollock soup!  Really delicious in this weather :)!  The Pollock is dried by the chilling winter air and used to make soups and other food stuff.  Absolutely odorless which made me like it.  ]At best, it was slightly salty with a rough texture, and felt somewhat like bacon =.=!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


The little darling’s favourite BibimbapOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeal in a bowl!


The obligatory side dishes of kimchee.  Cabbage kimchee and radish kimchee along with seasoned cucumber, seaweed, mushrooms and more vegetables.  Damn! Koreans are really healthy!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe slept at 7pm that night.  Definitely needed a good rest as we had just flown in from Jeju to Seoul 6am that morning before taking a bus to Mount Seorak!  But still, this was a winning trip! 


We got to snoop around the area the next day before it become overly populated.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABuddha statue


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMount Seorak was really photogenic!!


After Mount Seorak it was back to Seoul for our NYE count down ;)!  More to come but I am just so lazy at the moment haha.



Monday, September 16, 2013

South Korea: Pierre Gagnaire @ Seoul

Coming back from our North Korea DMZ trip, we were weary of sad tales and war stories.  Our return point at Lotte Hotel, this means we had a chance to treat ourselves to something lovely.  Here, XL and I avoided the biting frost to enjoy some hot drinks at the Lotte Lounge.  Lucky for us who were rather broke from our Michelin experiences in Hong Kong, we still managed to get some lovely treatment from another Michelin establishment, Pierre Gagnaire Patisserie.  In fact, Pierre is the only Michelin chef restaurant in South Korea.  But we did not know he had a Patisserie too. Needless to say, the pastries here were well thought of with every bit executed to perfection. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sesame éclair for example was a fine pastry.  While I have eaten éclairs of many variations, it was hard to tell what a real one should be.  Eating the one at Pierre though, was orgasmic.  The sesame flavored ganache complemented the sweetness of the chocolate.  All on top of a lovely choux pastry.  Airy, with a slight crunchy.  Smashing.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur strawberry tart was nothing less than spectacular.  How do you beat the conventional?  Well, attention to detail helps. The strawberries were arranged beautifully, and the condiments arranged neatly.   The crust was short and the custard was silky smooth.  Michelin certified for sure. After all, a Michelin chef does not put his name on just ANY tart.


I cannot quite remember the last one but I think it was an Orange Friand.  Or at least here it looks like one!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs this was hers, I cannot even remember how it tasted.  But knowing what Friands are made of, I can quickly judge that this went well with our hot drinks.  Probably nicer with coffee though I have not drank that bitter beverage even once before!


Michelin starred experience in Seoul? Checked!



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

South Korea: (just a little..) Street Food Culture!

South Korea is definitely a place that will always be in the good part of my memories.  It could be the good planning which the we had or perhaps because of how everything felt so foreign it actually became an adventure.  Food for sure is one of the many things that highlighted our visit to South Korea.  No doubt Kimchee is a staple around town, but so are many other types of food.  Street food is especially popular and admittedly, I had a feast whenever I was on my feet.  That explains all the long walks but still, a net gain of 5kgs which I have since lost.  So what is the Seoul Street food scene like?


ManduOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEssentially Korean dumplings which can be served fried or in a soup.  Filled with rice noodles, meat and vegetables, these bite size snacks make perfect accompaniment in the sub-zero weather!


TteokbokkiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnlike the skinny ones found in Australia, the ones on the streets of Seoul were plump and with a mild chewiness.  South Korea’s signature sauce which is a little spicy and sweet was just super yums.  Recommended with the dumplings shown above!


Pork buns!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot really a common snack, but in a particular market in Seoul called Namdaemun, hungry crowds often pack these home by the dozens! Hot, and more-ish with a textural wonder thanks to the vegetables in there.  (also available with red bean)


The dragon beard candyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADespite looking so simple, these little delights are skillfully woven by an often charismatic chap.  Sticky honey with peanuts. Imagine the salty-sweet goodness these pack!  Could do with some now!  Often woven on the spot, ask for fresh ones and enjoy the show!


Assorted fried foodsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnything here can be fried.  Sausages, fish cakes and even the infamous rice called called the tteokbokki!  Grab one and be on the run ;)!


Jap JaeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust because you are in the markets does not mean you have to be on your feet. Kick back, call a Jap Jae and enjoy warm tea or if you prefer, some Korean wine; Soju.  The Jap Jae comes with a variety of ingredients.  Make your pick, be it vegetarian or meat.  If meat is preferred I would suggest the pork.  For an extra kick, ask for spicy.  Beats any ordinary pork stir fry your mom makes.


OdengOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGo up North, down South or simply into any 7 Eleven.  Odeng or fishcake is a Korea staple at home or in the stores.  Walk into any convenience store and a pot of Odeng cooked in turnip broth awaits.  If the –25 degrees weather does not kill you, the awesomeness of South Korea will.  Keep calm, have an Odeng.


Hott-teokOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn Malaysia, they serve flakey and airy Roti.  In South Korea, they called it Hott-teok.  Served piping hot with a syrupy cinnamon sugar.  Prepare for food coma.  Because it hits faster than diabetes when its that awesome. Also, if you think your fancy shirt is rare, this pan cake beats that.  Only available during winter, make sure you enjoy one if you are lucky enough. 


Meat skewersOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASticky, tasty and tender with a hint of smokiness, these skewered meat basted with a sweet soy glaze was another simple food made great.  Best eaten with one hand.


Kelam Pan - Egg in bunOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo idea what this is called but it is another food commonly found on the streets of Seoul.  A really nice cake with an egg cracked in the middle and left till cooked.  While I love the cake, the same cannot be said with the egg. 


KebabsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKebabs!  Funny to find them so far away.  But do not underestimate the Koreans.  Freshly chopped cabbage, spicy bugolgi chicken and a generous amount of mayo makes a formidable team. I was sold.  Behold the roll!


These are some of the few food which kept one hand busy which I explored South Korea.  It was an awesome place with so much to offer.  The misconception that a trip to South Korea is an all out Kimchee expedition is clearly wrong.  In fact, the pictures I have taken is probably not even half of the street food I ate.  Definitely worth re-visiting!  South Korea 2013? Nawwwww… maybe 2014!



Friday, March 15, 2013

South Korea: Jeju Island Pt. 2

Waking up early the next day, we enjoyed complementary breakfast of eggs and toasts before setting out to meet our taxi driver for the day. Our first stop was the teddy bear museum which boasts to a huge collection of bears of various Themes. The little darling decided to become a bear too!  She was beary beary happy! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWedding Bear!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANaughty  X Terracotta Bear!

Did a little traveling and we stopped by another tourist site but I was not sold by the stone formations. I preferred eating more :)! So it was fish cakes and hot radish broth along with some sweet red bean filled cakes along the way ;)! 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADelicious fishcakes in radish broth are everywhere! And that includes some or most 7elevens too!
One of the catchy tourist spot I enjoyed most was the mysterious road. An optical illusion where cars roll uphill and water flows upwards. A  bloody amazing sight. Or at least much more impressive than stones xD. Views of the terrain also caught my sight. The driver explained that the bulge were actually graves caused by the effect of the volcanic ground. Other places were flat because live stocks roam freely, applying pressure and keeping the ground flat. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe graves were unaffected due to the rock perimeter preventing livestock from entering.

Next was a UNESCO heritage site. A waterfall site which looked good but fell way short of majestic. Nevertheless, the rock sculptures formed out of volcanic rocks in the area were really eye catching yet so symbolic of knowledge and bravery!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWaterfall!  Told you it was not much… :(

We then went on to the Sunrise Peak but not before a lunch of locally caught mackerel cooked in the simplest manner on the grill.
  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile the cooking was simple, it freshness was unbeatable!  But we got ripped off! Jeezus!

It was a gloomy day and it shows from this picture! But it was a good thing.  It was not really too hot or anything :)!
Sunrise peak!

But believe it or not, the amazing part of this place was the “lady divers”.  People who carry on the tradition of catching seafood by diving despite this horrible winter chill!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATrue story!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you can see, the ladies are pretty old! Even the youngest is about 60 years old.  Thus they joked the “between us, we share more than 300 years of experience!”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMe and live octopus.  And only moments later….
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbalone and octopus sashimi.  ACHIEVMENT UNLOCKED.  Almost died there… @@!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the way down, I really enjoyed the views of this little town.  Despite this trip being more than 2 months old now, I feel a growing sense of attachment.  South Korea really is a beautiful place :)!  Oh btw, the tent was setup for the first sunrise of the year event.  An event celebrated every new year’s eve!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy last scenery shot before we headed back to the city area.   It was extremely pleasant!  Our taxi driver commented that n summer this place is full of chicks. NOTED.

And the most important part of the day, a delicious meal to end the night on a high!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother meal of fantastic barbecue.  This time, even the cabbage and bean sprout kimchi goes on!  Not the healthiest thing, but as the belly crisps, its oil cooked the kimchee even more, giving it an unforgettable aroma.  All then gets wrapped in a lettuce.  ENJOY!

When we were close to finishing, the owner came out and cooked the remaining pork belly and kimchee with rice.  Cheekily, he made a love shape out of the rice.   Hospitality in South Korea is unbelievable.  Everyone here is so helpful and caring right from the start till the end.   Even from the start, an old aunty has been keeping an eye on us making sure we were alright.  Consistently asking her helpers to bring more food to us.  What can I say?  It was lovely.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA<3! While I wish I know the name of the place in English, I do not :(! Nevertheless, the owner left us a card:
IMG_1742Took this with my iPhone ;)! Hope this helps anyone who needs a good barbecue place in Jeju Island!

After that the little darling and I walked a bit more before settling down to relax over warm drinks @ Tortini café.  Just the perfect way to end our last night in Jeju! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreen tea latte, hot chocolate and….

A delicious slice of moist baked cheese cake! :)!
  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoth the drinks and the cake were yummy. I do not drink coffee at all and luckily for me, green tea latte has no coffee.  Just really delicious matcha stirred into frothed milk! Delicious! The hot chocolate that darling had was not any lesser too.  It was creamy, rich and sweetness just at the right amount.  The biggest surprise for the night was the baked cheese cake which was so yummy.  It put most cheesecakes in Perth to shame!

Next stop?  Mount Sorak!

More soon :)


Sunday, March 10, 2013

South Korea Trip: Jeju Island Pt. 1

Late 2012 the little darling and I embarked on a journey to South Korea and Hong Kong. I have to say, the trip to South Korea despite its language barrier and differences in cultures, was every but enjoyable. Food wise, it did not disappoint either. Finishing the Hong Kong trip late at night we flew to Seoul in the wee hours of the morning. Awesome flight on the a380! The highlight was probably Korean airs very demure looking ladies which the darling agreed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst stop of our trip was Jeju Island! 6am and no place to check-in gave us the opportunity to experience Korea Jijinbang where we slept in the common hall to regain some strength. Never quite slept with that many people around me before! Maybe around 100 plus beds in that hall? Other levels had spas for men and women. But woke up to the most awkward moment with the little darling when there were no one else but us.  Must have snored too loud! *oops*!

Random bike shop


Jeju on hindsight felt like a dead town at first. But walking into their fish market famed for sashimi grade produce, it was super lively.   But we were so hungry we decided to hunt for lunch first and ended up eating the best bowl of Tteokbokki during our trip.  It was filled with delicious Mandu (dumplings) and Odeng(fishcakes). This was absolute joy for $3! Other snacks we had was the doughnuts which were pretty good. They had plain fried ones, some filled with red bean paste and savory ones with vegetables! Pretty damn nice when the weather is 0 degrees!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALater on we walked through Jeju Island’s underground shopping areas which felt more like an emergency shelter due to the size of it! Oh and facial products were everywhere! A girls heaven for sure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWalking out of the shopping place, we soon found ourselves at a little traditional government house turned tourist attraction in the city :)!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMain building grounds

A few pics of the building features :)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPretty good workmanship!


And to finish the night, the famous black pig barbecue! The highlight typically revolves around the superior quality of the pork which is identified by small little black pores on the skin but for me, it was the discovery of a new leafy vegetable that carries a beautiful fragrant and buttery taste when ate with the pork. That for me was spot on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAObligatory Korean Barbecue.  Pictures is the La Galbi of beef ribs!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADoes anyone know the name of this heavenly vege? :)! It was superb!!

Keep a look out on this space for part 2!