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I enjoy the Korean chain restaurant, Isaac Toast, as a guilty...



I enjoy the Korean chain restaurant, Isaac Toast, as a guilty pleasure. They are relatively simple (and greasy) breakfast sandwiches, but they can really addictive as a late-night treat. The restaurant down the street from where I live is open until 10 p.m., so sometimes I’ll have one even after I’ve eaten dinner.

With the egg, it’s meant to be a breakfast sandwich, but I only like them after a few beers. It’s a unique sort of sandwich, this Korean sandwich, or “toast” as they call it. If you don’t tell the cook how to modify your sandwich, you’ll end up with egg, shredded cabbage, sliced pickles, and some sort of processed meat slapped between two garlic buttered pieces of toast.


Chica Vs. Food : Fermented Skate 홍어

 

The fish

Skates are cartilaginous fish belonging to the family Rajidae in the superorder Batoidea of rays. Stingrays and skates differ primarily in the way they reproduce. Skates are oviparous, that is they lay eggs. Their fertilized eggs are laid in a protective hard case called a mermaid’s purse.


Is It Still Shabu Shabu Without the Noodle and Rice Courses?

I’m not sure. Since it’s only the second time I’ve had Shabu Shabu, and the other time there were noodle and rice courses, my experiences have fallen 50/50 down the middle on having them and not.

Still, whether or not Maru ShabuShabu in Nampo (on the second floor of the same building as Ashley’s, or, Old Country Buffet with Unlimited Wine) is authentic or not, it’s definitely good and plentiful. Hey, if you’re in the same building as a well-recognized buffet, you’ll need to step up your game.

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Back home, I’m a domestic goddess, baking and creating in...



Back home, I’m a domestic goddess, baking and creating in the kitchen. Here, I eat cereal out of coffee cups because I’m too lazy to wash bowls.


Dinner at Lotte Hotel World’s La Seine Buffet

 

H_LotteWorld_D_04


Dear Korea #084 - Addicted to the Melty Stuff

Dear Korea #084

Ack, this comic’s a week late. How embarrassing  If it’s any consolation, I bring you this comic combined with news that Dear Korea will be going back to its old weekly schedule! Yay for regularity! Here’s hoping I don’t run out of ideas too soon.


Our Weekend

This weekend was mostly about makeolli drinking and kimchijeon devouring. Rainy day museum wandering. Brunch at 3pm. Roller derby and random British films. Has anyone seen the film Sightseers which is based in my home county, Yorkshire? Tasha recommended it. Very bizarre but made us laugh a lot.

I'm also lacking in photos this weekend as I didn't really take my camera out!
Deokcheon, Korea
Cheese Kimchijeon

A Korean Birthday Tradition: Seaweed Soup

What have we here?

What have we here?

DSCF6051

Boil, boil

Boil, boil


Why do Koreans eat Pajeon and drink Mageolli on a rainy day?

Culinary Culture and Trends
Korean Food Facts

Koreans crave Pajeon (korean pancake) and Makgeolli (milky Korean rice wine) on a rainy day. According to a Korean news article, sales of Pajeon ingredients actually increases on rainy days. They have a few theories on why this is true:

1. The sound of rain reminds people of the sound of making Pajeon.

2. When humidity increases, blood sugar level drops and people crave flour-based food that increases blood sugar level.

3. Makgeolli is usually paired with Pajeon. It's low in alcohol content (6%). It contains protein and vitamin B and has a sour kick to it. These characteristics make you feel like your thirst is quenched.

4. Both flour and Makgeolli contain lots of serotonin which elevates emotion and appetite. This may cheer people up when they feel down on rainy days.

Rainy or not, Pajeon is always a great snack!
See Hamul Pajeon recipe (Korean Seafood Pancake) here.

*content translated and summarized from: http://www.ebn.co.kr/news/n_view.html?id=386078

Hamul Pajeon, Korean Seafood Pancake
Makgeolli, Korean Rice Wine

Charlie Brown Cafe in Busan

Charlie Brown Cafe

Whilst on the never ending search for new things to do in Busan, I took a trip down memory lane last night whilst sipping on a mint hot chocolate. Amazing.

We decided to go to the Charlie Brown themed cafe in PNU, which is a cafe filled with all things Peanuts and Snoopy. I remember when I was little I used to really, really like Snoopy. I imagine that if I had visited the cafe as a child I might have died from excitement.

There was merchandise, massive Snoopys and models of Charlie Brown everywhere.

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


Top 10 Things to Do in Queer Seoul

1) Hit up Homo Hill. What better way to celebrate queerness than the biggest gay party area in Seoul? Hit up Hill staples like Soho and Queen before clubbing at Pulse until the sun rises.

DO NOT Teach English in Korea If You Are...

Teaching English in Korea (or any foreign land) is not for everybody.  I think many people believe it's for them and that it will turn into an epic experience of natives embracing them at the airport, ultra disciplined and respectful students at all times, and a year long toast at the bulgogi restaurant or bar.


Unfortunately, Korea is none of those things.  In fact, for some the reality of it shatters their expectations and they go away disappointed and disillusioned. 


“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


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.


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


Our Weekend: Pig Neck and Paddy's day

This weekend was mostly spent saying goodbye to George as she left Korea to return back to England. I finally donned my skates after a year and practiced with the ROKD giels, and we celebrated St Patrick's day by watching the rugby game.
Pig Neck BBQ
Pig Neck BBQ

Firsts Part 2: The Korean Wedding

On Sunday, I got my first taste of a big part of modern Korean culture: the Korean wedding. The experience in unequal parts left me excited, curious and, well, disappointed.

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This is not a condemnation on the institute of marriage. Besides seeing the recent dissolve of one of my best friends’ marriages, and another’s marriage has only been one of convenience for many years, the actual wedding day for me has been very special. They’re usually fun gatherings of your closest family and friends. Sometimes, they’re in churches. Sometimes, at hotels. Sometimes, at wineries, farms or other less-expected locales. In the west–specifically to me, the U.S.–they can be simple or expensive, all-day events. Some of those more expensive ones can cost as much as a downpayment on a house.


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.

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


Getting Domestic in Korea

This does not apply just to South Korea. Though, it’s damn important here. It may be a personal thing, it may be universal.

If you have just arrived here, you’re starry-eyed and excited and everything is just so. Damn. New. You’re taking it all in. It’s, in a word, whacked. You’re partying. You’re socializing, or at least trying to. It’s a hell of a first few days, especially if you’re young, energetic and seeing something like Korea–something so damn FOREIGN–for the first time.


DGFEZ – Road Trip Through Gyeongbuk

 


Weekend: Food and Family

Well I'm sat keeping an eye on the bits I've been trying to sell on ebay as my last weekend in the UK draws to an end. I don't feel ready to go back to Busan yet, there's so much left to do and still so many people that I haven't had the chance to catch up with. But, it was a busy one, starting with some dentist work on Friday morning, not fun, especially when your dentist has bad breath.

Later on Friday I went into Sheffield to meet some of my friends I used to work with at the job before I left for Korea. It was so nice to see them again but it felt like I'd hardly been away. Every pay day Friday we used to get our gladrags on and go out.
Lou and I

Dwenjang Jjigae -Soy Bean Paste Stew, 된장찌개

This is one of the most loved stews along Koreans with Kimchi stew. It goes well with dishes like Galbi and Bulgogi. A combination of seafoods, vegetables, tofu and soybean paste makes it a very nutritious dish.


Click here for the recipe.


The White Rabbit and Cocoa Wonderland

On Wednesday I got in the car and drove down to Nottingham to meet up with my friend Hannah. Hannah and I went to Nottingham Trent University together from 2005-2008 (it makes me feel so old when I say that). 
Nottingham Market Square

Jimjilbanging: It’s kind of like eating kimchi, but you’ve got to get naked.

 

ktfac
photo credit

Korea is lovingly known as The Land of Kimchi, but I argue the slogan could lose kimchi and replace it with jimjilbang and no one would throw a fit. Kimchi and jimjilbangs are both well-known elements of Korean culture. Jimjilbangs are large public bath houses (mostly gender-segregated) and can be found on almost every street in Korea. Some are more fancy than others, but most have a handful of hot baths, showers, saunas, massage tables, lockers, sleeping areas and social meeting spaces. Jimjilbangs are usually open 24 hours a day and many people visit them to bathe, relax and sleep. Most rooms, including the saunas, have special minerals, woods and stones to create a soothing sanctuary and provide elements of traditional Korean medicine. The Korean jimjilbang is a familiar and calming oasis for all Koreans. Each is a mini spa that caters to your every need. They are more prevalent than Starbucks shops and you can spend a day in one for the cost of a latte and a snack. They sound perfect, right?


Our Weekend: Food Diary

All I seem to have done since I've been in England is eat, eat, eat. I swear that I haven't heard my stomach rumble since the plane touched ground. This weekend has been a particularly food packed one.

On Thursday, after I had my hair cut, we went to St Paul's hotel and had one of their amazing cream teas. This comes with cucumber, salmon and cream cheese and ham and tomato sandwiches, scones with fresh cream and a small mix of cakes. Delicious.

On Friday morning, feeling the effects of all the food, we decided to go for a walk around Clumber Park's lake. It's about a three mile walk and took just over an hour, but on the way home, to reward ourselves, we called in at the Old School Tea Rooms and I had a ploughman's lunch.

Just say “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” to escape the Korean winter.

As I’ve said before, I’m not crazy about the cold. Yes, I’m from New England, but no, I don’t really ski, so winter for me is about the first magical snow (just one please, that’s enough) and then of course the oh so mature Christmas countdown. Sometimes January and February can leave me in a kind of funk. But this really hasn’t been the case in Korea.

drinks in korea


Reunited and it Feels so Familiar

When I left South Korea three years ago, I barely had time to establish any sort of lasting friendships. Luckily, there were a few, made mostly during the EPIK orientation in Jeonju.

Some of those friendships have faded, and some of those that have and have not have moved on to other parts of the world. Some have left Korea only to return. And, some of those will leave again soon. It’s the painful truth of the expat lifestyle.

I got to see three of those friendships reborn Saturday night, when I met up with Sam, Jenna and Tony for dinner and drinks in Seomyeon. Sam and Jenna came with me on the orientation. Now, they are veterans of Busan. For me, it’s like the clock stopped in April 2010, only to kick back on a few days ago. Like suspended animation.


Home Sweet Home

Snow
Pheasant in the snow
Snow! I forgot that snow actually settled sometimes, but it seems like England has decided to remind me of that fact ever since the day we landed. At least it means I get to wear my Hunter Wellies.

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