Culinary delights of Korea

Just some months back, we spent a really fantastic time in Korea. Ok, 6 months back. Has it been that long already? Wow.

Food. If there is one thing that we cannot miss trying – it is the cuisine of the destination we touched. You would have (hopefully) read our journalog that detailed what we saw and did in the city. But you should have noticed that we left out most of the stuff about the eating from the journalog…

Why? You ask.

For one thing, we wanted to make sure you were not distracted by all the delicious food over the exciting activities that you can experience in what we consider to be the second city of Korea. And we mean this in a good way. Mixing in the culinary aspects of our journey is more than likely to sidetrack you…

And we don’t want that!

We also know that there are many many blog posts out there that share what and where you can eat in Korea. So, our story is not just about food, the run of the mill etc. Rather, our spin of yarn will let you into some secrets. Who doesn’t like secrets? This story is about how we survived eating poisonous fish, devoured aggressive sea eels. Washed down with lots of beer, cakes and ice cream…

Let us show you the unique dining experiences (read here) we had in Busan.

The Long Journey Q1-17

Happy New Year! It’s 2017.

Dear friends, ex-colleagues,

Can you imagine that? Barely one year ago, we started this blog. And we also begun to place our quarterly newsletter here instead of sending the PDF file out to you. What was the original intent? Well to be terribly honest, it was to drive some readership traffic to this blog in its infancy. LOL.

So what’s up?

Finally did a road trip in Thailand (driving that is). Now that was a real milestone, which means…we’ll do this all over the rest of the country as well! And a new corner of Korea has been touched – Busan! We can almost compare the two cities (Seoul & Busan) to Tokyo vs Osaka. Perhaps not a fair comparison to some, but that’s our 2 cents! And rushing out this post today, we have just returned from the biting cold of Harbin 3 days ago! Fingers still twitching…

Read our latest newsletter here: The Long Journey Q1-2017.

It’s time to make some travel resolutions for 2017. What will yours be? For us, we intend to:

  • Touch Petra, Jordan
  • Walk arond Havana, Cuba
  • Do a drive around Hua Hin

Wish us luck (please?). For now this will do, as we cannot commit too much since these are already ambitious touch points. We are looking forward to a travel filled 2017! Hope you will too!

Ode to Busan, the journalog

We had been mulling long about how to present our recent journey to Busan.

myeong-dong-milkybee-ice-cream6
Delectable!

Because it included quite some time and adventure in Seoul, we have decided to separate them. This means our Seoul adventures will be shared with you in the form of a story instead of a journalog. Awe we hear you say… but it’s for your own good. The journlog for Busan itself is heavy reading!

If you noticed, we like to present our journeys all in one page, and not cut them into separate days. So this post is NOT the journalog…

Well, you would have read about how we gate-crashed a traditional Korean wedding (read here) and nearly had a free wedding lunch.

Seoul was fantastic as usual (though first rainy and later cold…). But that did not stop us from enjoying a refreshing (oooh!) flower ice cream. Eating (well biting) each “petal” while shopping in Myeong-Dong is definitely the way to go!

Busan

Oh how shall we describe you? The best analogy we can make is the comparison between Tokyo and Osaka.

dondaemun-design-plaza14
Aliens! Run for your lives!

That’s how we felt Busan differs from Seoul. While some might say that’s not quite accurate, it was our experience in both cities that led us to make this conclusion. And it’s not like either one city is better, just different. Each city and locale will have its own flavors no?

While in BusanSeoul (how did this end up here?), we were captivated (not captured) by aliens that seem to be walking back to their spaceship. We (they) come in peace, we hope! Obviously this para came to the wrong post…hehe

Most of all important news is, we had a delish meal of puffer fish when in Busan. You know the type that is poisonous if not prepared correctly? Well, we lived to write and tell you the story. Read all about it!

We need some feedback: do you think,

  • it is better for us to present the journalog in a page form here.
  • or would it be easier for you to read in its original PDF form here.

Tell us!

Special Edition: Seoul & Busan!

You know the thing about being in the right place at the right time? Our recently concluded journey to Korea began with the rain. Then as soon as it began it was over and was replaced with the cold (0-1°C) though with beautiful skies.

One of the things we wanted to check off on this occasion is to see a Hanok village in Seoul. Having read so much about it from a host of blogging and travel sites we felt we need to add a cent or two here…


So off we took the train and alighted at Chungmuro station. We were seeking for Namsangol Hanok village, a free museum of houses from the Joeseon era transplanted to this site for the enjoyment of all and as heritage reminder for the Koreans, since much of the city has been transformed beyond belief from what the forebears just 100 years ago lived in!

When we got out of the nearest exit (no. 4 we recalled), we saw the signage and proceeded to walk to where we thought it would be. There appeared a nice vintage house and many folks were there. So we thought – hey if the crowd’s there…

In we walked into the traditional Korean house (remember this name). The house was that of an old gentrified family with rock gardens etc. So we strolled around, oblivious to the other “visitors” who seemed rather well dressed in suits and tie (men) and formal dress (ladies, some in Hanbok traditional costumes). And right in the yard was seating arranged nicely. The cultural performers did their part and there were lots of applause…

Hang on a sec! This ain’t no normal cultural event! It was actually a real wedding, and we had stumbled into the Korea House, a restaurant/events venue…lol. The rest, as they say – is history and you will find out more in our journalog. Meanwhile, enjoy the Korean dance and ‘band’…


PS: no we did not stay on for lunch. Could have fooled the hosts LOL…

Train to Busan

We figured that if I used a title that is similar to that of a zombie movie, it might attract more readers. Alright for those not in the know, it is a Korean zombie flick. Look our for it on youtube!

After a hiatus of 4 years, Suan is finally making a ‘return’ journey to Korea, the land of the morning calm. Yeah right. Suan’s anything but calm…the comeback kid had been pacing the living room all evening in anticipation. You see, she has expended a lot of effort into planning and booking the trip. Think of it this way, she had put in more effort planning this trip than all the preparations for exams in school in her whole life! The fruits of this hard work is about to be realized and she is once again having butterflies in the stomach!

So, the usual call by Mel is : “Get over it, let’s go to the airport early”.

So we did, again, as usual, as always…in about 10 hours we will be in Seoul where she will be busy pounding the streets of the city procuring stuff while Mel pounds the office floor. Well from Monday anyway…for the weekend Mel will be the wondering bag holder. The rewards will be just and soon we’ll be in Busan (in a few days), placing our travel handprint on yet another corner of Korea.

Journalog will follow soon!

Forbidden Korea, the north I mean

I must say that when blogger Stana Ferrari shared a photo, it triggered this post. The feature image is lifted from her visit to the recluse of a country that is North Korea. Now this one’s not on our bucket list as we are loathe to fund Mr Kim’s missile tests.

While there has been some opening up of the country, it seems that for most folks life under the Kim regime does not get better with time. So it is a surprise to see photos of a metro station that appears modelled on what we expect to see had just seen in Moscow in 1.5 month’s time (mosaic of photos below lifted from the web). Can’t wait really! Been there! Its fabulous!

There is probably a lot more in the web about the country and recent events do not endear us to it, though it is always the common folks that suffer. I mean, Mr Kim does not look like he is starving right?

On the other hand, there has really been an increase in the number of tour packages offered to North Korea over the last 2 years. Tourism is certainly one important foreign exchange earner for the reclusive country and more than 100,000 Chinese tourists are said to make the trip each year (varies depending who you quote). And the North Koreans want to grow the tourist number to 2 million!

Well people are a curious lot. That yearning to learn the unknown is something that had driven the human race to virtually all corners of the globe. It drove the age of exploration (well partly due to economic urges too) and eventually and unfortunately colonization. But it is also driving us to try to reach out for the stars.

A small amount of research though is necessary (though we are not planning), and that has to do with the history of the Korean peninsula. Not the recent one, but one that spanned centuries in the period of 37BC till sometime in the 600s.Gorguyeo extent You should not be surprised that the Goguryeo state (a contemporary of Han China) actually had territories that extend to present day China’s north eastern provinces. Well if you are not a history buff, perhaps you might be.

That should give a clue to you on the seeming complex relationship between China and the Koreas (specifically the North). Today there are archaeological evidence of Goguryeo (considered a proto Korean state) in Jilin province. Some literature out there actually links Goguryeo to be the progenitor of the name Korea.

Anyway, as trigger from this post I picked through my Korea history books and started re-reading some parts of them again. Interesting thing is how history do not repeat but they rhyme.