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Into The Sky – (길목에서)

Name: Into The Sky (길목에서) Location: Chungmuro Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on: 17th April, 2013 Thoughts: Into The Sky is a traditional style makgeolli gem tucked away in a [...]

It's Cherry Blossom time!

Cherry Blossoms most delicately and bewitchingly herald the onset of Spring in Korea. These gossamer flowers are at their zenith only for three days in a year. An entire road overlooking the Yeouido park, adjoining the National Assembly building of Seoul has around 1400 cherry blossom trees. The entire street is closed for vehicular traffic and is in a festive mood for the Cherry Blossom festival which runs for five days. It is tradition for the couples to walk along the flowery lane, which they feel will strengthen their love and happiness. Today was the last day of the Cherry Blossom festival in Yeouido.

Seoul Photo & Imaging Show 2013

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Being a part of a huge event where pretty much everyone around you is a photographer in one way or another is an intense time. This year I was invited to attend as a member of the “press” which basically meant that I got a free pass and… well that was about it. Not that I am complaining but it was a little unimpressed after jumping on the KTX from Ulsan at 5:22 am to hit Seoul and then an hour on the Subway to get to COEX to get a plastic badge after the emails about being a “VIP blogger”


A Seoul Spring on the Han

Something about being near water is simply relaxing. When the weather finally agrees to reward Seoul, Korea with a mild and sunny day after a brutally long winter people tend to flock to the Han River. Here are 10 ways to enjoy the river in the coming months.

1

seoultower

photo credit: my cool friend James

1) Banpo Bridge


An Origin of Korean Discontent

A thought struck me as I was taking a shower before work this morning. With the renewal of tension along the North-South Korean border it’s a sharp reminder of the results of history, and what we’re looking at here, could be considered as one of the final plays in the game of the Great Powers. It, like so many skirmishes before, is taking place in a distant field which effects the lives of people so far away they don’t even look real. Well as one of these people I can assure you that it’s quite real.

Since Korea opened up to outside influence in the late nineteenth century, much like many other small kingdoms, was turned into a pawn in the chessboard of empire building. This process set Korea up to be misused and abused by forces outside their control, and today we are experiencing the continued results of this.


“Free, for me?” Korea knows a thing or 2 or 10 about great service.

Living and teaching in Korea has allowed me to adopt a pretty decadent life-style. I’ve been pampered in traditional Korean bathhouses and spas, I’ve wined and dined most weekend evenings in Seoul, I’ve adopted a Korean sense of style and I can find an item that ‘I just have to have!’ in any store, and I’ve adventured throughout Korea and flown to Taiwan and Thailand all in the last year. My teaching salary has allowed me to try, see, taste and shop my way through Southeast Asia all while sending money home to the US each month to pay off student loans and other debt.

I will leave Korea in June, so I have decided to be a bit frugal and save more money in my last few months. It is comforting to know that while I am saving I can still enjoy myself in true Korean style. Korea is famous for exemplary ‘service’ and freebies. Money is great, but free things are even better.

free


Meeting 10 – Makgeolli Salong (막걸리 싸롱) Photo Gallery

If you’re looking for somewhere lively and relaxed in Hongdae for makgeolli, this place would fit the bill. Mamas & Papas felt particularly laid back here and we tried just [...]

Golden Buddha at the Sanbangsan Mountain

Jeju island, located in the South of South Korea itself was formed due to a volcanic activity. The Sanbangsan Mountain, located in the South West corner of the island, was formed some 800,000 years ago with the cooling down of viscous lava from the volcanic eruption. I loved the unique, almost flaky texture and interesting patterns in the mountain.

Meeting 9 – Tricycle (세발 자전거) Photo Gallery

We had a great experience at Tricycle, the highlight being the high quality food and top selection of makgeolli. The atmosphere was very stylish, but we were still able to [...]

Makgeolli Salong (막걸리 싸롱)

Name: Makgeolli Salong (막걸리 싸롱) Location: Hongdae Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on: 13th March, 2013 Thoughts: Makgeolli Salong is a loud and bustling location which becomes packed with people [...]

I’m having an excellent night in Seoul with a pretty lady. I’ll...













I’m having an excellent night in Seoul with a pretty lady. I’ll update you all soon.


April 6th Meeting – Registration OPEN!!

The weather is warming up and we are in the mood for some fresh makgeolli, old school style. Our next meeting came personally recommended to us for its Nongju and [...]

Going Gluten-Free in Korea (I’m trying.)


White Day

Following the Valentine's day in February where the girls were crooning over their special boys, March 14th is the White Day where the boys accept the girl's advances by giving them, usually, chocolates or something cute (and thoughtful :p ) of three times the value of what was given by the girl. Do you know that Koreans celebrate a "Day" in each month!

A Lesson in Perseverance

In 2008 I was on the brink of getting married, and I was busy contemplating what to do afterwards. There were plenty of options, easy and less easy, but none painted in any way a clear picture of the future.

At the time I was working in a relatively big language school on the south side of Seoul and I was nearing the end of my third year. I didn’t have any teaching qualifications, but much like today I talked a good fight and fancied my chances regardless of what happened.

Of course marriage was going to change everything. There was the obvious and easier option and then there was the riskier and more exciting option that you don’t hear of many newly-weds taking, at least not in Korea anyway.


Fashionista Contest for Korea-lovers

 


St Patrick’s Day in Seoul, 2013

If you haven’t heard already, I’m chairman of the Irish Association of Korea, and every year around this time we organise a small get together. You might have heard of it, we call it Saint Patrick’s Day.

I won’t blether on too much about it as my brain is exhausted at the simplest mention of the event, however give this link a click and you’ll find all the info you need about the event.


Our Weekend: Monster Cupcakes and Tim Burton

Train journeys are always fun when you have red wine and The Walking Dead to make it go faster. I'm a couple of episodes behind on the third season, and think that it's definitely the best season so far, what does everyone else think?

Saturday was really sunny and warm, so we strolled around Hongdae, got some lunch then headed to the Tim Burton exhibition and the Seoul Museum of Art. It was amazing. It shows pictures, videos and notes from when he was really young, up until his big blockbuster films. It was so interesting to see which ideas that he developed all those years that you can see influenced some of the characters in his movies that everybody loves now-a-days.

Essay on Korea’s National Image – “What is Modern Korea?”

In October I entered an essay competition organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Korea. The competition sought to find out what foreigners thought was Korea’s national image. I entered, you’ll be happy to hear, but not because of some overwhelming desire to share my thoughts on what made Korea Korea, more because top prize was a new computer, and I fancied my chances.

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So I dutifully brainstormed a notion and worked away on the essay, then forgot about it, then remembered about it, and of course I waited until the last minute to submit it.


Another Long Weekend-Seoul Trip

We got another long weekend on the March 1st as it was a national holiday. This holiday is known as Independence Day or the Samil Movement, it was one of the earliest public displays of Korean resistance during the occupation of the Korean Empire by Japan. Yippeeee for national holidays!

We decided to go to Seoul for two nights. David, myself, Amanda and Brandon have been on a strict healthy eating and exercise regime since the 1st January and Friday the 28th  February was officially the LAST day! So  it was inevitable that Seoul was going to be a junk food and alcohol fest!!!

For this weekend we decided to stay in a hostel in Hong-dae called Pencil Second. All four of us stayed in one room, which was an apartment style dorm. It cost 17,000 won per person per night.


Meeting 8 – Hawaiian Makgeolli (하와이언 막걸리) Photo Gallery

We were a little skeptical about Hawaiian Makgeolli with their promises of ‘pizza’, but we were very pleasantly surprised! Mamas & Papas had a fantastic time here, we ate well, tasted well, and overall it was a comfortable and relaxing night.


Tricycle (세발자전거)

Name: Tricycle (세발자정거)

Location: Hapjeong

Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on: 23rd Februrary, 2013

Thoughts:  Tricycle is a clean and stylish makgeolli house, tucked away from the busy main street of hapjeong. It boasts eco-friendly food, and a wide selection of fresh, unusual kinds of makgeolli. The wooden interior and classic style makgeolli jugs give it an upscale feel, backed up by quality ingredients.

Tricycle Table

LOCATION                                       FOOD


Shots of Hearts

Hearts :)

Lighted Heart
Lighted Heart

Spring is in the air!



Quite suddenly, things have began to change. Birds are chirping, trees are budding, temperature is rising. Days are longer, skirts are shorter and the moods are much more cheerful. Spring is in the air :)

birds on trees
Birds flocking to the trees during dusk

March 16th Meeting – Registration OPEN!!

Mamas & Papas are going young and trendy! We are set to check out ‘Makgeolli Salon’ near Hongdae University. It’s a well known spot among students and has a good selection of fresh makgeolli. It has a lively atmosphere and the menu may have a few tricks we haven’t seen before, so we are excited to try it out!

Makgelli Salon
If you want in, send us your emails at mmpkorea@gmail.com!


How to Stay Sane Until Spring (Korean Winter, we’re through.)


“Getting There”

This is a short narrative post I initially set out to write for Groove Magazine‘s “Share Story, Win Trip” writing competition. The call came out for ‘funny’ travel stories where a lesson was learned. The winning pieces would be read out loud dramatically. Frankly, there just aren’t enough of these kind of encouraging writing opportunities in Korea. I could say more but I’ll get distracted.

I started writing mine and about two paragraphs from the end I decided that it wasn’t a travel story. So I stopped writing. I came back about a week later and took another crack at it, tidied it up but left it loosely over the 500 word limit, which kind of left it for any kind of flash litt and too short to be considered anything else. Still it’s a good story. You’ll laugh. I hope. 

Getting There


Makgeolli Cocktail File – Shandy Mak

Our second installment of the Makgeolli Cocktail Files saw us playing around with some classic beer cocktail recipes. Makgeolli is arguably more closely related to beer than wine, so we decided to see how it stands up to the ‘Shandygaff’.

Makgeolli Cocktail Shandy Mak
Ingredients
1/2 Cup of Berry Makgeolli (오미자 막걸리)
1/2 Cup of Ginger Ale
A dash of Grenadine

In a chilled glass, pour in the makgeolli then the ginger ale. Using the back of a spoon, pour the grenadine gently into the glass. It will separate nicely for a visual effect, but stir it up before drinking!


Meeting 8 – Jeonju Makgeolli (전주 막걸리) Photo Gallery

If you have ever been to Jeonju, you will know that it is the Mecca for Makgeolli. The style of Jeonju makgeolli is to be presented with a vast array of side dish after side dish, and we managed to find a place in Seoul that gives a little taste of that. Jeonju Makgeolli also imports the owner’s personal favorite kind of makgeolli that he maintains will not give you a hangover. We weren’t entirely convinced ;)
Check out our review here.


Hawaiian Makgeolli (하와이언 막걸리)

Name: Hawaiian Makgeolli

Location: Hongdae

Reviewed By: Mamas & Papas on 2nd February, 2013

Thoughts: Tucked underground and away from the chaos of Hongdae, Hawaiian Makgeolli is a quaint tropical getaway that provides its customers with a chance to sample a giant array of makgeolli. All of the makgeolli is charted out with a map from where it came from, as well as a 5 category diagram which ranks each makgeolli according to body, sour taste, sweet taste, alcohol, and carbonation content, to ensure the perfect selection. The friendly and prompt service is a welcoming compliment to the unique blend of East meets West meets tropics fusion. The dim lit atmosphere accompanied by the faint sounds of ‘60s surf rock makes for a pleasurable dining and wining experience.


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