Tag Archives: Korea

Seoul Revisited – Guest Blog from K on Chizza

On Jan 28, 2016, at 7:51 AM, Kristoffer Jonson (email redacted) wrote:
My 2pm KFC excursion ended up being my lunch and dinner.
Chizza brought me there but there was so much to experience.

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Apparently it was a great time to come to Seoul because they are discontinuing the Chizza.

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It was 38% off but still full of flavor.  I love the precision they used in how much it was on sale.

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Exploring Seoul! Day 7
Going home.. :/

Went back to Bonguensa to share with K! Epic photo by him here..
Went back to Bonguensa to share with K! Epic photo by him here..
Lunch in Gangnam: caught one last meal -black pork at a restaurant just around the corner from Bonguensa, across the street from Coex Mall! They gave us stone bowls with rice for an indeterminate reason, which turned out to be: pour boiling water and scrape out the rice on the bottom. I am not sure why this was standard, as I did not find it more tasty..maybe we were doing it wrong?
Lunch in Gangnam: caught one last meal -black pork at a restaurant just around the corner from Bonguensa, across the street from Coex Mall! They gave us stone bowls with rice for an indeterminate reason, which turned out to be: pour boiling water and scrape out the rice on the bottom. I am not sure why this was standard, as I did not find it more tasty..maybe we were doing it wrong?

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Exploring Seoul! Day 6
Bonguensa Temple, Coex, Dongdaemun, and New Friends!

Hotel breakfast: somehow, pasta dishes are offered??
Hotel breakfast: somehow, pasta dishes are offered as “healthy food”?? Had some darn decent congee with a smattering of proteins: bulgogi, fish, egg, bacon, egg, chased down with yogurt and lox.
Observation: bus maps can fit a whole lot more text if it's vertical. I propose we switch all English writing to vertical to accommodate more room.
Observation on the way to temple: bus maps can fit a whole lot more text if written in the squarish space of a character. I propose we switch all English writing to similar style to accommodate more room.
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@Bonguensa Temple: lots of paper lanterns.
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@Bonguensa Temple: the view toward Coex Mall.
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Various views in Bonguensa Temple. Bottom right: I thought this might be brown rice tea, but it was not. It was something…very..sweet. :/
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@Bonguensa Temple: Still hard to tell from this vantage, but this buddha statue is several many stories high.
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@Bonguensa Temple: sorry for the vain pose, but if you want more narrative on the temple, you can zoom in on this plaque.
@Coex Mall: mascots for everything!
@Coex Mall: mascots for everything! They also had a couple indoor slides at this mall, but otherwise it was just another mall, really.
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@Gangnam neighborhood: you’d think that pork katsu with an egg on it, atop soup would be kinda soggy in a non-delicious way, but this was awesomely savory in a crunch-but-not way. Mmmm.
Note to self: return to East Asia another summer for adorably arranged shave ice!
Note to self: return to East Asia another summer for adorably arranged shave ice!
@Gangnam: checked out the Samsung D'light Shop, the display and demo center for Samsung's latest products. Yes, Korea is definitely Samsung country, giant screens everywhere.
@Gangnam: checked out the Samsung D’light Shop, the display and demo center for Samsung’s latest products. Yes, Korea is definitely Samsung country, giant screens everywhere.
@Samsung d'light shop: oooh, virtual reality goggles! Note: couldn't figure out how to get it to select 'start.' Pfft.
@Samsung d’light shop: oooh, virtual reality goggles! Note: couldn’t figure out how to get it to select ‘start.’ Pfft.
@Gangnam in basement below Samsung d'light shop: apparently, they had no solutions for us. :(
@Gangnam in basement below Samsung d’light shop: apparently, they had no solutions for us. 🙁
@Dongdaemun: this used to mark the eastern perimeter of Seoul, dating back to 1398, its name means literally "Great East Gate". It was exciting for me to gradually realize the word for door/gate is the same in Chinese ('mun').
@Dongdaemun: this used to mark the eastern perimeter of Seoul, dating back to 1398, its name means literally “Great East Gate”. It was exciting for me to gradually realize the word for door/gate is the same in Chinese (‘mun’).
@Dongdaemun: this below-street pedestrian walkway called Cheonggyecheon looked really nice. Too bad we ran low on time to go see some new friends! Also nearby: high-end cutting edge fashion shops. Also ran out of time on that too (and hit the quota for shopping earlier that day).
@Dongdaemun: this below-street pedestrian walkway called Cheonggyecheon looked really nice. Too bad we ran low on time to go see some new friends! Also nearby: high-end cutting edge fashion shops. Also ran out of time on that too (and hit the quota for shopping earlier that day). Not shown here: a street vendor, who among her delicious snacks, appeared to also be selling some kind of grubs.

The highlight of the day was getting to hang out with a couple friends we met through a wedding in Vermont last May, felt so fortunate they made time for a visit on a random Monday night! Matt and Elise were gracious hosts, obtaining Korean-style fried chicken and fries delivered, and opening their home to us for a few hours of good conversation over beer. Got to hear first-hand about expat life in Seoul, the chaebol-ruled politics, other random stuff, and even got to meet sweet little Eva and her new baby sister Isa. Check out Elise’s tumblr at Elise Goes East! Can hardly wait to spot her on NPR’s East Asia beat.

After dinner we were beat, but there’s something about the heat and humidity in the day, that makes people go out late at night more here. Plus, it was our last night in town, so we ventured out for some craft beer around the corner from the hotel.

@Gangnam: descending into 7Brau for some craft beer.
@Gangnam: descending into 7Brau for some craft beer.
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@7Brau: ice beer! Yes, that foam is frozen…

Observations:

  • Just like in the States, people here have their noses buried in their smartphones all over the place too. The main difference is just more Samsung representation. Thankfully, it didn’t feel as crowded as some other Asian metropolises I’ve visited, so even though people seemed to have less spatial awareness and almost walk into you all the time, there’s more escape routes than you’d expect.
  • In terms of places to explore solo, Buddhist temples are well-suited to quiet reflection by an individual, whereas malls may prove quite depressing to go shopping in on a weekday morning without a co-conspirator.
  • Also: the common space in malls here aren’t air conditioned, so I was feeling self-conscious being “that sweaty foreigner.” Ugh.
  • Pro v. Cons: on getting out of the hotel earlier in the day: saw a tranquil temple. Con: mileage on feet ran out earlier, so I was basically exhausted and running on fumes and willpower by later afternoon. I get really loopy when that happens… blegh.
  • Apparently, two things that are hard to find around here are: ranch dressing and taco mix. Since K and I were taught never to show up as guests, empty-handed, we muled some overseas for Elise and Matt.
  • Bus etiquette: for a moment, I thought people were really rude not scooting toward the window from an aisle seat on the bus, but then new folks entering would just squeeze through to the window seat. So I guess that sort of behavior is only necessarily when there isn’t room to squeeze through.

Exploring Seoul! Day 4
High speed train, Daejeon, & Insadong

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@Tom n Tom’s coffee. They had quite a fancy setup, with a smoking room, what looked like a study room, and regular coffee shop space, rife with electrical outlet access, and of course, free wifi. This espresso macchiato was..drinkable, but very hot. This pastry was a lot to handle, I had thought I was getting only one segment based on looking at the plastic sampler, but despite the high cheese content, it was delicious, with little kernels of corn mixed in!

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Exploring Seoul! Day 3
out to the ball game

Good morning Seoul! Pretty as a picture..
Good morning Seoul! Pretty as a picture..
Wandered Garogusil, a shopping street in Gangnam. Wasn't terribly impressed, maybe I've been shopping too much..
Wandered Garogusil, a shopping street in Gangnam. Wasn’t terribly impressed, maybe I’ve been shopping too much..

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At Take Urban: apparently, if you show up just before breakfast ends you get tons of carbs with your coffee order (a.k.a. Free "smile time"). That's olive bread on the right.
At Take Urban: apparently, if you show up just before breakfast ends you get tons of carbs with your coffee order (a.k.a. Free “smile time”). That’s olive bread on the right.
2nd round: tastier.
2nd round: tastier options.
In Gangnam: a big fancy plastic surgery shop. Wow.
In Gangnam: a big fancy plastic surgery shop. Wow.
On the subway! A little excessively proud of having obtained a T-Money card (well, a competing product) to pay for the subway. If you google addresses in Google Maps, it will give you subway and bus routes (but no walking or driving), with lots of Korean..
On the subway! A little excessively proud of having obtained a T-Money card (well, a competing product) to pay for the subway.
Fun mirror art for silly tourists.
Fun mirror art for silly tourists.
At Geongbokgung Palace: these gents march around in costume in the hot, humid sun for a sense of going back in time. Kudos.
At Geongbokgung Palace: these gents march around in costume in the hot, humid sun for a sense of going back in time. Kudos.
Next to the marker for "bureaucrat #1" who would stand there to receive people if they didn't see the lower level bureaucrat numbers two through nine.
Next to the marker for “bureaucrat #1” who would stand there to receive people if they didn’t see the lower level bureaucrat numbers two through nine.
At Geongbokgung Palace: throne room ceiling.
At Geongbokgung Palace: throne room ceiling.
At Geongbokgung Palace: top left: food storage and fermenting area, right: palace grounds, bottom: entrance courtyard, middle left: royal throne!
At Geongbokgung Palace: top left: food storage and fermenting area, right: palace grounds, bottom: entrance courtyard, middle left: royal throne!
At Geongbokgung Palace: age-old man-made pond and structure.
At Geongbokgung Palace: age-old man-made pond and structure.
At Geongbokgung Palace: looks like the Koreans know a good napping bench when they see one too, just like in Seattle.
At Geongbokgung Palace: looks like the Koreans know a good napping bench when they see one too, just like in Seattle.
Outside the palace: not sure why there were tons of fresh-faced police swarming here..
Outside the palace: not sure why there were tons of fresh-faced police swarming here..

At the baseball stadium box office:
Will Call Attendant: Hmm, is your name Park?
Me: yeees…?
Will Call Attendant: When is your birth date?
Me: Well…S______ Park reserved the tickets for me.
Will Call Attendant: Do you have her phone number?
Me: (procures hotel business card with number)
Will Call Attendant: Aaaah, the hotel reserved the tickets for you?
Me: Yes!
Will Call Attendant: Oh, okay, here you go. (hands me tickets for outfield seats)
Me: 고맙습니다!
..Phew! Was looking dicey for a minute there!

Founds some KS Wyverns vs. LG Twins playing baseball! Had to stop for some fried chicken next to the squid.
Founds some KS Wyverns vs. LG Twins playing baseball! Had to stop for some fried chicken next to the squid.
So excited for the game! and the constant cheering! Too bad the LG Twins lost..
So excited for the game! and the constant cheering! Too bad the LG Twins lost..
Beer was good, spam musubi looked good, until I opened the package...some how the more normal ham color put me off.
Beer was good, spam musubi looked good, until I opened the package…some how the more normal ham color put me off.
At the LG Twins v. KS Wyverns game!
At the LG Twins v. KS Wyverns game!
Pork skewers for a late dinner, slowly rotating on the spit, nom nom nom.
Pork skewers for a late dinner, slowly rotating on the spit, nom nom nom.

Exploring Seoul! Day 1
The Bleary-Eyed Arrival

Korean Air still gives their economy class passengers “free” things! Water, slippers, and a toothbrush and paste. I guess if I were so inclined, I could’ve stolen the blanket and headphones too.. meals were standardly edible, excepting the delicious beef-filled bun I chose over a brownie. Best choice made on the plane.

Korean Air: still providing 'free' things in Economy Class!
Korean Air: still providing ‘free’ things in Economy Class!
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View from the plane into Seoul.

The descent into Seoul included scenic glimpses of islands in still-looking waters, beautiful! Here we are with the bus tickets from the airport, so relieved to have one direct shot to the hotel. I even squeezed in a nap! Continue Reading

Exploring in Seoul! Day 0..

Now for a departure from the standard format I’ve laid out: for the next weekish, this is now a travel and food blog. Don’t worry, there’ll still be lots of food, I can’t resist!

For any potential house burglars: I’ve got house guests living at my home in Seattle, and a home security system. First stop: SFO. I made a brief pit stop to visit my sibling and his family. Here’s a group selfie, it was the kids’ first day of school! Apparently, these days they let you out early on the first day, and you get to pick your own school lunch every day. What luxury.

For more food clips, take a look at the instagram feed to the right. Had a nice joint dinner endeavor with my brother. He made lasagna, I made my standard green beans, and threw in an ad hoc peaches and cream dessert. I think the lasagna won.

 

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Also, I’m skipping the rounded corners. Let me know if you miss them, but it saves on processing/turnaround time.

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