Recent Blog Posts
Hello everyone! Recently I have been getting a lot of mails about what happened and if I decided to stop blogging about Korea since I am currently in LA while Nara works at Disney on “Big Hero 6″ (go see it soon!!) Last year they hired him to animate on the project so we packed up everything and came back to the states! I just wanted to say that I am STILL going to blog and I still have a huge amount of backlog posts that I am always talking about, plus on a normal year we do visit at least once for a month so I am bath and forth to Korea even though we changed locations! This Oct 25th Nara and I are finally getting married in LA, followed by a Korean wedding in Seoul on Nov 15th. Nara has been super busy with work, so I have been doing the wedding things on my own so it is sucking up a HUGE amount of my time ~_~ I am sorry! I have also started my home business back up selling art as Miss Kika (www.misskika.com) and have had an exciting year selling paintings and making shirts and stuff. The wedding eats all my free time that should be blog time, so I just wanted to let readers know that I will be back to work on this page for sure after November once my time opens up again since each post is really time consuming for me <3 I miss blogging so much though!
In the meantime, some locations I have featured have since closed or things have changed. If you learn something please do let me know and I will adjust the blog info to avoid confusion! Since I am not in Seoul and have been so busy this year I have not had time to keep some things up to date which is super needed in Korea since things open and close really frequently D:
Anyway, I hope everyone is having a lovely summer and if you see Nara and I around Seoul this November please do come up and say hi! I hope after my wedding I can write some helpful wedding posts or at least I will have photos to share haha!
Korea is a land of unique culinary…ideas.
If you’re reading this from back home, you probably think of Korean food as being the K-Barbecue joint in town, or kimchi, rice, and soju.
IN Korea there’s a whole lot “broader” spectrum of choices. I’ll say that. Having grown up eating Korean food, I am familiar with the food even if I don’t know the names. Even if I haven’t tried all the Korean foods out there, I’m very familiar with the smells and textures.
There are literally endless lists of food choices uniquely Korean that we’ve all probably never heard of. One big area is the whole raw seafood menu.
Very akin to Japan, if it lives in the ocean Koreans will eat it. And they prefer to eat it RAW!
I could probably do an entire YouTube channel traveling around Korea eating all the different foods they have to offer and still not cover it all. I do plan on covering a bunch before I leave though.
I decided to give the live octopus experience a shot. In Korea it’s called sannakji (산낙지).
I went to Jagalchi Fish Market where there is an entire building devoted to eating raw sea-life. You walk into the ground floor to choose your animal and then bring it to the restaurant upstairs where it is prepared.
Sannakji is basically dismembered and served on a plate with scallions and sesame oil on top of it. There is also a side of sesame oil to dip it in.
One of the main reasons Koreans enjoy eating their food raw is so they can really get a taste and sense of the “freshness” of the food.
Take a moment to imagine what it could possibly be like to chew on many pieces of slimy, bite-sized squirming chunks of rubber that are trying to stick to the insides of your mouth.
Got the image? Yeah, that’s what it was like.
ESL, Travel, and Judo!
Thank you all for participating. We had a good response and everyone seemed to have their heart poured out in their participation to the contest. All of them participated very well. And it was a very difficult task to select the winners so we ended up randomly selecting three names…
- Mary Hellen
- Susanna Pillay
- Yee Teong Ch’ng
Congratulations to the winners above. Tuttle Publishing will be getting in touch with you soon on the email id provided by you.
For those of you who were not able to win this time. Do not fret. We have another contest coming up soon where we will be giving out 3 copies of KPOP Now. So all you KPOP fans keep watching out for our upcoming contest.
As time went on and I grew accustomed to my new city, the neighborhoods lost a bit of their magic and I became slightly jaded. Over the past few weeks, however, I began to miss those afternoons spent in solitude and discovery and decided to get back to exploring the streets of the city. The historic district of Seochon-dong was first on my list. I had no expectations, which is probably why I was so delighted to have stumbled upon Dae-oh Book Store 33 Cafe.
Although Dae-oh is certainly no secret, it's obscure location keeps it off the radar of tourists and residents alike. Opened in 1951, it is the oldest second hand bookstore in the entire city and its worn signboard and rickety yet charming facade validate this fact. After the owner passed away, his wife, Kwon Oh-nam, decided to keep the bookstore open for business against the wishes of her family, as it was all she had left of her dear husband.
The years passed and as customers began shopping at larger book franchises and on the internet, the business suffered financially. There were times when Mrs. Kwon could only make a few sales a month. Still, dedicated to her husband and intent on maintaining Dae-oh Book Store for the sake of history and culture, she was able to keep it running. About a year ago, she and her family decided to transform the store into a cafe. One member of her family that has been particularly active in keeping the business' legacy alive is Jang Jai-hun, her twenty-year-old grandson.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jai-hun on my visit to the shop and he was eager to tell me more about the bookstore, the cafe and the hundred-year-old hanok (traditional Korean house) in which the two are housed. Jai-hun told me that at times, there were up to 9 family members residing in the small home. Despite the years that have passed, the house has remained relatively the same, and the furniture, decor and knick-knacks used in the cafe are the family's actual belongings.
I ordered a watermelon juice- the cafe's signature beverage- and it was served on a wooden tray with a map and the story of the home, and a dalgona lollipop, old-fashioned Korean candy made from burned sugar. I took a seat at a small desk overlooking the home's courtyard. Looking around, I felt like I had traveled back in time to the years of the Korean War. Hanji (Korean paper) dolls, an antique wardrobe, wooden sticks once used for ironing and black and white photos all contributed to the homey and nostalgic atmosphere.
The courtyard was just as quaint, with its old water pump, kimchi pots and chili pepper plants. Visitors can also peek into the kitchen and spot old appliances and vintage records. Attached to the courtyard is the remains of the bookstore, a small room which contains hundreds of fading comic books, text books, story books and magazines.
I noticed that there were a number of posters hung throughout the hanok indicating that Dae-oh Bookstore was a filming location for the Korean drama Shark as well as the backdrop for fashion shoots featuring modern hanbok (traditional dress). The photographs are a testament to Dae-oh's importance to the community, even today, as a landmark of the historic Seochon Village.
Jai-hun also told me that he hopes Dae-oh Book Store 33 Cafe can be a space where culture and art thrive, like many of the galleries that surround it. From time to time, there are concerts held in the courtyard and photographs and paintings by local artists hung on the walls.
Whatever the future of Dae-oh Book Store 33 Cafe may be, one thing is for certain: it will always be cherished as a landmark of history, tradition and family.
Address: 33 Nuha-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Hours of Operation: Tues.- Sun. 11am-10pm
Website: Click here to visit the cafe's Facebook page.
To Get There: From Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway, Line 3, Exit 2), walk straight for about 400 meters. Turn left onto Jahamun-ro 9-gil after reaching Broccoli Accessory. (If you reach Tongin Market, you've gone too far.) Walk 100 meters and take the second right onto Jahamun-ro 7-gil. Dae-oh will be on your left. For a map, click here.
Words and photos by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching. Content may not be reproduced unless authorized.
Spring just transforms the city and people alike.With the heavy coats off, the sun beginning to caress the skin with warmth, and the stark, bare trees beginning to sprout their little green shoots again, there is then the fragrance of enthusiasm and vigor in the city. Cherry blossoms, azaleas and forsythias emanate sweetness in scents and people come from far and near to rejoice in the longer, warmer days.
Cheery cherry blossoms bloom only for a week in spring
|Binggsu- Beans on shaved ice with marshmallows and fruits. Unique combination to cool it off in Korea.|
|Summer time fun at Banpo park|
|Long summer evenings|
Cold, dull winter adds yet another dimension to Seoul, transforming it into a white, icy wonderland. It is easy during this time to succumb into the toasty smell of chestnuts baked on beds of coal or the roasted sweet potato in makeshift stalls that seem to appear in every street corner. But the most satisfying smell comes from ice fishing in Seoul and immediately getting your catch on your plate, roasted, grilled or baked in spices in any of the restaurants nearby.
|Doenjang is made from fermenting soy bean in huge pots and has a bad smell|
Dried Fish: Fish smell funny cooked or uncooked. But dried fish which is used as both toppings and side dish and of course, as the main course of a meal, smells really bad.
|Kim is the green, papery seaweed, used here for making kimbap.|
Although the films are not necessarily gay-related, my friend's film (titled Sinchon) does have a gay theme. As it is this Thursday and I have my final test on Friday I won't be able to attend, but I encourage my readers to go.
The screenings will be at 7:30 on Thursday, August 7th at the Circle Foundation. I will be interviewing my friend about the short film later, and hopefully be able to provide a clip...
To get to Circle Foundation, take line 2 to Yeoksam station and go out exit 1. The foundation is on the third floor of the Narae Building.