Do you remember that one scene in Oldboy? The scene which, after you watched it, you never forgot and needed therapy to recover from? You know, that scene, the one where Oh Dae-Su eats a living octopus? Well, our recent lunch at the Millak Raw Fish Market brought me as close to the experience of being Oldboy as I ever need to get.
On entering the world’s largest sashimi hall, I was strangely giddy, but also dreadfully nervous. Jürgen and I have eaten sushi, but never full plates of sashimi, which is just sliced-up raw fish. But we had a trump card up our sleeves: a booster shot of bravery. Our friend Young-mi was visiting from Germany. It was something I’d carefully orchestrated. Young-mi runs Kimchi Princess, the most popular Korean restaurant in Berlin, and with her at our side, we could eat anything! (Not only would she reassure us with her knowledge, but shame us with her mockery. Like all good friends, Young-mi has no problem letting us know when we’re being pussies).
Dumplings, soju, grilled ribs, stews, chicken and lots of kimchi were on the table this week. We’re starting to get the hang of Korean food, and discovering what we love, and some things we don’t. Last week, we concentrated on restaurants around our neighborhood, Suyeong and Gwangalli Beach, but these dishes can be found on just about every corner of Busan.
Western chains that have been planted and even grown roots in Korea have the power to take you home for half a minute, or they can leave you feeling like you're in some sort of weird Korea/Western mind-warp where nothing quite fits. They're like if you put on someone else's shoes, even if they look just like your pair they're worn in different places and feel a bit different.
In honor of the wonderfully weird, and the strange familiarity I'm going to do a series of posts about chains from home who, like me, have found a weird home in Korea.
As you might have gathered by now I spent a good amount of time in Hongdae recently, and instead of posting everything in one shot I'm breaking things up. In this post, I'm going to take you to one of my favorite lunch spots, Jenny's Bread. I have been to this place several times, and you can catch a 2010 post here and a 2011 post here.
I LOVE Korean street food, and I especially love Hoedeok. I mean honestly, what's not to love about fried dough filled with seeds and nuts and sugar and spices that get all melty and gooey? With so much potential deliciousness on the line, it's of the utmost importance that you find a good Hoedeok place.
Back in my home country I can easily go to the store and get a rice mix to take home. You know one of those "Spanish" or "Mexican" ready-made rice mixes that you just throw in a pot with some water, and you're done. Not really the case in Korea, where rice mixes tend to lean more towards a Korean flavor. In this case, I realized that I should just try to make the same thing but from scratch.
It was time, I finally felt like I needed to get out of Seoul. After looking around the Korea.net site for a fun place to visit I decided upon the Yeoju Ceramic Festival. A place of historic value and one that honors its tradition, and meant to "promote the excellence"of Korea's craft in ceramics, I assumed it would be a fun festival. You'll see that I wasn't proven wrong.
Up here on the twentieth floor, myself and Herself are quite fond of the daily dose of sunlight we are lucky enough to be provided with, not to mention the all too frequent magnificent sunsets, a few of I’ve catalogued for your viewing pleasure:
I love mail! Postcards, letters, ransom notes, and the ever magical care package- anything sent to me from another country, or even my own, is awesome. Any non-bill to show up at my door is cherished, (my apartment door covered with delivery magnets can attest to that fact) but for me in Korea, mail in any form is down right magical!