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Seorae Village – Little France in Seoul, South Korea

For our 1 year wedding anniversary, we went up to Seoul for a nice, relaxing weekend together. We decided to go to Seorae village in the Banpo neighborhood of Seoul. About 600 French expats live in this corner of the city, that is nicknamed Montmarte for its location on top of a hill. It includes a French school, some french brand name stores like L’Occitane, real bakeries, with REAL bread and REAL cheese!! By “real” I mean not Korean. There are lot of things that Korea gets right, but bread and cheese is NOT one of them!

Supermarkets -v- the People?


It has been bothering me since about the time it has been instigated. It’s a simple thing that shouldn’t really get me agitated as it has very little effect on me, and in many respects it is a good principal to take. It’s just that I think it’s the wrong step and I don’t think it really solves any problems, only encourages more populist resolutions to complicated social and economic problems.

What am talking about? Sunday closing for the so-called discount stores in Korea.

Now lets establish some terminology first.

“Discount stores” are what major supermarket chains are called in Korea. These include E-Mart (part of Shinsaegae international), Homeplus (owned by Tesco, the second largest supermarket company in the world), and Lotte Mart, which are the biggest ones.

Lunch date in Hyewa’s Philippine Market


1382452431405Last Sunday, my husband and I went to the 

My Stomach Connects Me to This Place

There once was a time in Korea when I was pretty scared to just jump into a new, small restaurant and order something. Sometimes, I still am. But, I’ve gotten better.

Korea likes its chains. Whether it’s coffee or food or clothing or something else, chances are if you see a place, it’s not the only place of that place in this place. You follow?

And those can be pretty great, too, as well as a unique flavor, whether of your neighborhood or just Korea in general. While there’s a Paris Baguette in Edison, NJ, I am pretty sure the Woncho in Jangnim, Busan, isn’t making the trip over to the U.S. any time soon.

The best way to get a taste of this place, a connection stronger than just being there, is eating there. And, that connection gets especially strong when it’s a one-of-a-kind establishment, the type the locals frequent. The type where, yes, occasionally the waygookin might get a couple of looks when he walks in.

Korean Cooking: How to make Kimchi


Kimchi is seasoned fermented cabbage dish. It's Korea's national dish and now is the season to prepare your kimchi for the next year (I think it's supposed to improve with age). So here is the recipe that we were given at the temple on Sunday incase you're not in Korea and want to try it for yourself at home, and I've tempted you with my sumptuous looking leaves...or not!

Our Weekend: Roller Derby and Kimchi Competitions

I spent over 8 hours on a train on Saturday headed up to Pyeongtek to the American Military Base there. The ROKD roller derby team had a mixed scrimmage with the OH! derby team so it was all very exciting. It's my first time to play in Korea with a full size team, it felt so good to be back on skates and playing competitively, and what was even better was that my team won! Not that it was any surprise as half of my team were Ninja Turtles. Hurray...not that I'm competitive or anything! It was really nice to see all the girls as I think that will be my last time to skate with them before I go home, only 5 weekends left! Eeeek!

Food and Dranks – The Good, The Bad, and The 무료


Yet another eventful weekend has passed, and part of me is glad that it’s getting a bit colder so that I (might) have an excuse to stay in. When you emerge from a basement karaoke and the daylight that is 7am hits your eyes, all you can do is send a squinty look to your bros and subtly nod; yeah, I think we just survived that.

Food and Dranks: The Good, The Bad, and The 무료


Yet another eventful weekend has passed, and part of me is glad that it’s getting a bit colder so that I (might) have an excuse to stay in. When you emerge from a basement karaoke and the daylight that is 7am hits your eyes, all you can do is send a squinty look to your bros and subtly nod; yeah, I think we just survived that.

The Daejeon International Wine and Food Festival

My friend Eric and I headed to Daejeon for the International Wine and Food Festival after waking up at the crack of dawn to grab a train at 7. I wasn’t exactly sure what it entailed, but wine-tasting and international … Continue reading

Yangsan Sabryang Culture Festival – 양산삽량문화축제

You never go long without going to a festival in Korea, but it seems like during the Spring and Fall there are festivals going on every single weekend! This weekend was no exception, but this time it was in our own backyard! This weekend was the Yangsan festival, and although we had not originally planned on going, I’m so glad we did!

The Best Busan Sites and Bites

I feel like my Mum didn't just get a tour of the best things to see in Busan, but she got to taste some of the best flavours that Korea has to offer. She often commented that she never felt hungry because I always had something that she NEEDED to try, but I think Korean food has so much to offer that I couldn't let her leave without trying it all!

Everything seemed to fall into place with the plans I made for her trip, and I think that it was because I tried to keep it local and eat wherever we had plans.

If you're coming to Busan, or looking for a day out, here are some ideas, followed by the restaurants I love in the area.

Deokcheon and Dwaeji Guk Bap

Subway in Yangsan, South Korea

For some reason – I’ll never be sure why – a business owner saw fit to open a Subway restaurant in our little city of Yangsan, South Korea. There are no Subway sandwich places in Busan yet. In fact, I think they were only in Seoul – until now! We are extremely excited about this! One of the things we miss most from home is a good sandwich. Having a Subway in Korea is good, in Busan would be fantastic, but having it inexplicably open up here in Yangsan? That’s amazing! Naturally, we’ve spent a large portion of our time there over the last few weeks. On nearly every visit we’ve made to the Yangsan Subway, we’ve run into another foreigner doing the same! The Yangsan Subway has become a foreigner Mecca. With that in mind, we’ve decided to post some directions.

Korean Cooking: How to make Homemade Banana Makeolli

Not actually Korean food, but goes perfect with the Korean Pancake recipe I shared a couple of weeks ago. Koreans are particularly fond of staying in on rainy days and enjoying these two dishes together. I am a massive fan of makeolli and intend to drink as much as possible before I leave Korea!
Banana Makeolli
Banana Makeolli
Serves 2-4 people, depending on how much you're willing to share.

Food and Dranks – Endless Sides


So yeah guys, it’s a Sunday mornin’, rain is fallin’, and I am in an absolute daze. The past two days have been a marathon. From 6am on Friday morning to 4am today I had three hours of sleep. Whaaaaaat. And let me tell you, it was the most absurd 48 hours of my life yet.

Let’s rewind a bit to see what went down: I got a text from one of my good friends from EPIK on an unassuming Friday night. I had finished teaching classes for the day, and she invited me to a late dinner with a Korean “Wine Club.” I looked from the text on my phone to my pajamas…looked back at the text and told myself “what the hell, let’s do the damn thing tonight.”

MMPK Makgeolli Week!!!


What is MMPK Makgeolli Week?

You’ve heard of Restaurant Week, you’ve heard of Food Week, well now Makgeolli Mamas & Papas Korea proudly presents the very first MMPK Makgeolli Week!

Chuseok Gifts in Korea – Spam, Coffee, and More!

Chuseok, Korea’s Fall Harvest holiday, is a great time to be in Korea. We have a longer holiday (3-5 days) in between summer and winter vacation, the weather is finally cooling off and the leaves are starting to change. On top of that, some of my favorite fruits come into season (asian pears) and are often eaten in the teacher’s room, and lots of gifts are given!

Hagwon teachers are usually given more gifts during any holiday than public school teachers, just because at hagwons foreigners are the only teachers! Anyways, there are some pretty unique gifts given during Chuseok, and you’ll know it when you see the huge displays of canned meat, tuna, dried vegetables, bathroom toiletries, and assorted rice cake treats in all of the big stores.

This year Evan really hit the jackpot! Check out Evan’s Chuseok haul, and behold all of the SPAM! :D

Chuseok Jeon Making Class Success!

Mamas & Papas came together to learn how to make a Chuseok staple: Jeon! We had expert instruction from the head chef at Muldwinda, who patiently coached us into making the perfect Jeon. We then successfully demolished all our jeon with plenty of delicious makgeolli. We are as ever grateful for the awesome hospitality we always receive when at Muldwinda. Keep your eyes open for more events like this in the future :)

Get Ready, Get Set…Chuseok

by Ben Haynes

What a wonderful time of year we’ve happened upon! The harvest season, celebrated in as many ways as there are people and religions on this blessed planet. Yes, it’s all about getting together and enjoying the company of family and and gorging on the fruits of a well worked field or cubicle. Maybe packing on a few kilos for the winter months for good measure.

To observe this time of bounty, Americans roast up the largest, antibiotic-filled, corn fed turkey we can find at the grocery and then stuff it with some….. stuffing.

Apples for Chuseok

Apples for Chuseok

EZ Shop Korea – Costco Delivery Haul!

We’ve mentioned EZ shop before in our “10 websites that will make life easier in Korea” post, and I’ve even made a video about it on my personal channel. But after seeing Qiranger’s Costco haul video, I decided to finally make an EZ shop haul video for our main channel! We’ve been getting Costco groceries delivered to our door for about 2 years now, and it’s such a fantastic service!

Food and Dranks – The Appetizer Round

Hey everyone, went out successfully last Friday, and effectively lost my voice! T__T Stayed in recouping from it for teaching on Monday, and I did a decent job of it by drinking honey citron tea.

Friday night was a long night, and I’m sure if you stay in Daegu you’ll develop a feel for all the hotspots. I will occasionally write about the food and dranks (alcoholic things) here, but for now let’s start with my first trip out: “the appetizers.”

Korean Cooking: How to make Korean Pancakes, Jeon 전

Haemul Pajeon
There have been lots of articles on blogs recently about one of my favourite Korean dishes, the pancake! They have a flair for pancakes here and add lots of fresh vegetables, meat and seafood to them. My favourite is the kimchijeon, which (as you can probably guess from the name) has kimchi added into the mixture. Koreans usually serve it on a big plate and share it around the table, people help themselves whenever they want, dip it in the mix of vinegar and soy and enjoy.

Bing Su! 빙수 Famous Korean Dessert!

Every season in Korea brings delicious treats specific to the weather. One of my favorite ways to cool off in the summer is to eat Bing su! Bing su is basically shaved ice with a topping, usually fruit. The “normal” bing su is Pat Bing Su, which is Red bean shaved ice! Red bean is used a lot in desserts in Korea, and I think it’s safe to say that most foreigners here are NOT the biggest fans of red bean. I can eat a little bit of it, but not usually the huge mound they pile on top of the shaved ice!

I prefer the variety of other toppings they offer, like mango, strawberry and sometimes green tea! With Koreans I’d say the most popular bing su is red bean and green tea, usually with dduk (rice cake) on top! My favorite bingsu I’ve had this summer was Cafe Pascucci’s berry banana bing su. Delicious!

Bite Me: Misozoonistic Advertising

At what point in the slaughtering process do animals go from sentient beings to cuisine? Is it when they appear in front of us on a plate? Or when the muscles, still twitching, are hacked off from the carcass? Perhaps it’s the moment when the bolt shatters through the skull and burst through the panic stricken eyes of the restrained cow? Or maybe, it’s as soon as they splash on the floor in a mess of limbs and afterbirth? It’s a philosophical conundrum I’m totally unqualified to answer.

Alcohol Alternatives. Or, the ‘ICing’ on the Fried Fish


8 p.m. Classes have been over an hour. We’re back to our normal schedules at my hagwon now that the kids are back in school. I’ve graded some papers, kibitzed with the other foreign teacher, got the approval for two days off in October from my boss that will give me a five-day chunk to visit friends in Japan and now it was time to head home.

But first, I decided to stop into the little mart (for anyone not in Korea, pretty much any place that sells any thing is called a mart here. Not supermarket, though that is used. But even a supermarket would be a mart. Just roll with it) next to my school to pick up a couple things, as at the time I thought I’d make a tuna fish sandwich for dinner (I ended up eating some fried fish, but that’s not the point).

The Sticks: Bringing Korean Food to the Country

The Sticks!
Wow! I can't believe it's been almost a year since I've posted here! Life happens fast. Ha! It's been an incredible year for many reasons, but I am just going to pick up where we left off. I had asked my family over a year ago if Ryan could come to Virginia with us, which meant MANY things. The high-level summary of that statement meant that Ryan would be meeting and spending a week with my extended family, going to Grandma's house and sharing in all my childhood memories, and leaving NYC to spend a WEEK in the country! So much can be said about the conversations that ensued and the unspoken thoughts and memories that were created, but I'm just going to share the highlights I'm still processing much of the other stuff anyway. It truly was a TON of FUN! To give a bit more context, Ryan (Mr. Urbanite in the flesh) has never spent so much vacation time in an area such as this. After what became a 10-hour drive into the night (supposed to be 8) from NYC complete with a gorgeous lightning show, we knew we had made it when Ryan slammed on the breaks to stop for the cutest FAMILY of deer (yes, mom and 2 children) taking their sweet time to cross the ridiculous, nausea-inducing, winding roads.

Very similar in taste to dwaeji gukbap (돼지국밥), pork and pig...

Very similar in taste to dwaeji gukbap (돼지국밥), pork and pig stomach soup (섞어탕반) shares the same broth but has some more chewy bits. I feel like I’m in the foreigner minority, but hot soup on a hot day is my jam.

Many people eat the Korean pork barbecue, samgyeopsal (삼겹살). The...

Many people eat the Korean pork barbecue, samgyeopsal (삼겹살). The literal meaning is “three (sam; 삼) layered (gyeop; 겹) flesh (sal; 살)”, referring to what appears to be three layers that are visible in the meat.

This night, I ate ogyeopsal (오겹살), which means it has five layers. I actually don’t think it looks too different from samgyeopsal, but yes, I think it might be more delicious. Somehow it tasted like butter, even though the meat is not seasoned.

Dear Korea #094 - How Do You Like Them Apples?


Happy Monday! I’m sure the majority of you living in Korea might be busy on vacation right now, but for those of you that aren’t, I hope you dig the new comic!

Maybe it’s because it’s hot out, but I’m learning very quickly just how quickly fruit can go bad when it’s out of the fridge. Even when I keep my produce chilled, nothing seems to last very long. Some people have told me that this is because of how organic things are around here. I guess that would make sense, seeing how most of the stuff I buy happens to be from local farmers. Still, it makes things very sad and stinky when I’m gifted with a box of apples that won’t last much longer than a couple of days.

Fukuoka, Japan Day 2

Day 2 in Fukuoka was our only full day, and we definitely made the most of it! I want to note that it was EXTREMELY hot and humid during our time there, much more so than in Korea. You hear us complaining about it a lot in the video, but we had a fantastic day. This is one of my favorite vlog/follow us around videos! These photos are just a snippet of our time there.

Check out our entire Flickr set from Japan HERE.

Started off the morning as anyone should. A brewery tour! Our hostel booked it for us and gave us great directions!

Fukuoka, Japan Day 1

This summer vacation we wanted to get out of Korea for a few days and didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I still had NEVER been to Japan, so we decided now was the time! :D We had a great 3 days in Fukuoka, and wanted to share our trip through photos and videos. We ate the famously delicious Hakata ramen, saw old castle ruins, and took the Asahi Brewery tour! We can’t wait to go back again, we were surprised at how easy it was to go to Fukuoka by boat! We will have another blog post soon about how to travel there by boat, so be on the look out for that. :)

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