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Ddeokbokki (떡볶이) – Korean Spicy Rice Cake

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“Ddeokbokki” (떡볶이) – Korean Spicy Rice Cake

 

Ddeokbokki is a spicy and sweet dish made from rice cake. The rice cake makes the sauce thick, giving it a nice texture. This recipe is very easy to make. Perfect snack or party food.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon 고추장 or Korean hot pepper paste
  • ½ tablespoon 고추가루 or Korean hot pepper powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups 떡 or rice cake strips
  • 1 cup 오뎅 or fish cake sheets, cut into small squares or strips
  • Chopped green onions
  • Chopped onion and/or cabbage
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Directions

In a cooking pot, combine the water, soy sauce, hot pepper paste and sugar.

Turn up the heat to medium and stir.

Stir in the rice cake. Once the sauce starts to simmer, lower the heat and continue to stir.

Stir in the fish cake.

Heat for about ten minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Mix in the hot pepper powder.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the chopped green onions and cook for one more minute.

Turn off the heat and serve. Add sesame seeds for garnish.


Manseongam Hermitage – 만성암 (Beomeosa, Busan)

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Podae-hwasang at the entry of Manseongam Hermitage near Beomeosa Temple in Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Mansenogam Hermitage is located south of Beomeosa Temple in Busan, and it’s directly associated with the famed temple. Manseongam Hermitage means “Great Teacher Hermitage,” in English.

As you first approach the hermitage down a long gravel road, you’ll first be greeted by a large-sized Podae-hwasang statue. The Podae-hwasang statue is one of the nicer statues of him that I’ve seen in Korea. Crawling all over Podae-hwasang are six little baby devotees that are all beautifully sculpted.

As you enter the hermitage grounds, you’ll pass through an iron entrance gate. A little further along, and you’ll arrive in the hermitage courtyard. Here, you’ll see the well-attended visitors’ centre, kitchen, and monks’ dorms. To the left of the monks’ dorms, and under the main hall, is a beautiful enclave with numerous stone statues as well as a serene Koi pond. Surrounding the serene Koi pond are numerous monk statues. To the left of this pond is a little cave watering hole. Surrounding this watering hole, up on the cliffs, are various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Donald Duck (yes, you heard me right, Donald Duck). To the far right is a stately rendering of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), and to his left is a statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). Under the trees, and to the left, are two more statues: one of a seated Podae-hwasang and another of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). To the right and left of the main entrance to the cave watering hole is an elephant and Donald Duck (perhaps Donald Duck-bosal?!).

As you make your way towards the main hall, you’ll pass by some beautiful baby blue hydrangeas. Up the hill, you’ll see the modern looking two storied main hall. On the lower level is some non-descript altar pieces. However, on the second floor is a majestic multi-armed and eyed Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) as the central altar piece. On the far left wall is a beautiful guardian painting with a regal looking Dongjin-bosal (The Protector of the Buddha’s Teachings) at its centre.

HOW TO GET THERE: You can get to Manseongam Hermitage in one of two ways. In both scenarios you first have to take the Busan subway, line one, to Beomeosa station and take exit #1. Here, you can either walk up the thirty minute hike to  Beomeosa  Temple, or you can walk a block uphill to the bus stop where you can take bus #90 to the nearby entrance of  Beomeosa  Temple. Instead of walking towards Beomeosa Temple, continue to walk left down the paved hill. You’ll see a big sign to the right that highlights the three hermitages to the far left of Beomeosa Temple. For Manseongam Hermitage, look for the sign that reads 만성암.The hermitage is 500 metres ahead down twisting and disorienting side roads and past Sajaam Hermitage. Just follow the road that never comes to a dead-end, and continue to head left down the side streets. There will be a sign reading 만성암 to say that you’ve arrived at the right hermitage entrance.

OVERALL RATING: 3.5/10. The main highlight of this temple is the beautiful enclave of statues of various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, monks, and Donald Duck. This serene enclave has a beautiful Koi pond with a waterwheel, as well as a nice little cave watering hole if you’re thirsty. The other highlights to this hermitage are the baby blue hydrangea flowers and the majestically rendered statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) that sits as the centre piece on the second floor of the main hall.

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Podae-hwasang at the entry to Manseongam Hermitage.

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One of the six children crawling all over the jovial statue of Podae-hwasang.

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The view as you first enter the temple parking lot.

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And the view as you first enter the hermitage’s courtyard.

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The Koi pond and statue enclave at the hermitage.

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A look up at the stately Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).

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Statues of Podae-hwasang and Sanshin together

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An unfinished statue of Gwanseeum-bosal with a dongja assistant to her side.

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One more enclave at the hermitage before heading up to the modern main hall.

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An up close of one of the beautiful blue hydrangea flowers.

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The two story main hall.

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A look out towards the hermitage grounds.

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The main altar statue of Gwanseeum-bosal at Manseongam Hermitage.

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And the intricate guardian mural to the left.


Ten years ago, Neihu’s Miramar Shopping Complex boasted...

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Ten years ago, Neihu’s Miramar Shopping Complex boasted the world’s second largest Ferris wheel. I’m not sure of its size now, but it’s definitely part of one of Taipei’s largest shopping malls. 

My mom and I spent a few hours shopping at Miramar Entertainment Park and then riding the ferris wheel. Time well spent in Taipei.


About 

Hi, I'm Stacy. I'm from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living in Busan, South Korea. Check me out on: Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Lastfm, and Flickr.

 


Ten years ago, Neihu’s Miramar Shopping Complex boasted...

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Ten years ago, Neihu’s Miramar Shopping Complex boasted the world’s second largest Ferris wheel. I’m not sure of its size now, but it’s definitely part of one of Taipei’s largest shopping malls. 

My mom and I spent a few hours shopping at Miramar Entertainment Park and then riding the ferris wheel. Time well spent in Taipei.


“The Curious Love-Hate Relationship between China and North Korea”

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The following is a re-up of my monthly post for the Lowy Interpreter for June. The original is here.

The fissure between North Korea and China is widely noted, and Kim Jong Il supposedly told Madeleine Albright when she visited Pyongyang in 2000 that he’d rather have a deal with the US than with China.

That’s somewhat understandable actually. The US is too far away, both geographically and culturally to really dominate North Korea if the two managed to strike a deal. But dealing with China – right next door, bullying, opportunistic – must be tough. There’s nothing Beijing would like more than for North Korea to be like East Germany: a completely dependent, completely controlled satellite. So the North Korean nuclear program is a great idea: even as North Korea becomes an economic semi-colony of China, the nukes can prevent the loss of political sovereignty.

The full essay follows the jump.

 

 

During the much-anticipated 7th North Korean Workers’ Party Congress last month, the first such gathering in thirty-six years, over one hundred foreign journalists were invited to Pyongyang to cover the event. Not surprisingly, they were treated with contempt: relentless surveillance, absolute restrictions on movement, and tightly-controlled access to the North Korean people themselves. Some insight did permeate through, however, namely dissatisfaction with China. That North Koreans were allowed to share their animosity towards Beijing suggests official approval of such feelings.

Though counterintuitive, experts have for some time been aware of the toxic relationship between the two countries, particularly in the years since Kim Jong Un assumed power in 2011. The very real understanding that the North would be crippled without Chinese political and economic maneuvering has grown increasingly troublesome for Pyongyang elites. The late Kim Jong Il himself supposedly divulged such reservations to former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during her visit to Pyongyang in 1999.

Not as Close as ‘Lips and Teeth’ Anymore

Cynically marketed by both as a blood alliance between two communist states, Chinese assistance to North Korea is instead almost entirely geopolitical in design and objective. Aid is funneled into sectors where China’s own needs lie: resource extraction and infrastructure development. The bilateral relationship, described by Mao Zedong himself to be as close as “lips and teeth,” is now dominated by the North’s heavy reliance on China. A Chinese aid cut-off would threaten internal Northern stability and severe its primary pipeline to the global economy. This leverage has grown as North Korea has fallen under ever-greater sanction.

Ensuring the continuation of the status quo on the Korean Peninsula ‘buffers’ China against South Korea and Japan, and their American ally. This is widely known. But there is a less often discussed an economic benefit too – Beijing’s creeping economic colonization of the North. There is virtually no competition for the Chinese, as multilateral sanctions have placed the cost of doing business with the Kim regime out of reach for most. And the bigger the benefit to China, the more likely Beijing will support development. Three high-speed railroads are under construction which would link northeast China to North Korean cities, providing valuable trade and economic avenues for an area that has lagged behind the rest of China (the border city of Dandong processes 80% of trade between the two countries and would be hub for the new rail lines). In order to pay for this, North Korea allegedly offered China exclusive development rights to seven major mines (Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un’s uncle and leading diplomat to Beijing, was supposedly executed in 2013 for these kinds of one-sided deals). Special economic zones (SEZ) and deep-water ports are no exception: they are built by the Chinese for the Chinese.

To be sure, China’s conduct with the North does not deviate far from its modus operandi in other developing countries. Whereas the Soviet Union leveraged its military to bring vassal states in line, China uses its massive economy to influence decision makers from Pyongyang to Phnom Penh. Nearly 80% of all firms in China are state-owned enterprises, and the banking sector is dominated by Beijing bureaucrats. This gives the state remarkable control in funneling money to states which support its geopolitical goals, or punish states which do not.

Pyongyang decision makers are well aware of this dynamic, a key reason why they have not (and will not) abandon their nuclear weapons. The bomb protects the regime’s political sovereignty, even as economic control is slowly lost to asymmetric economic dependence on China. Indeed, the recently-announced Five Year Plan, the first in decades, may indicate that Pyongyang wants to lighten that dependence by finally igniting some domestic GDP growth. And there have been rumors for years that North Korea seeks an accommodation with America in order to check the erosion of its sovereignty to China.

A North Korean Accommodation with the United States?? Desirable, but Unlikely

During the Cold War, North Korea guarded its sovereignty despite weakness by pendeling back and forth between China and the USSR. The USSR’s collapse left it with China alone as a patron, which obviously dramatically improved Chinese leverage. Conversely, the late 1990s famine showed what happens when North Korea lacks a sponsor and goes it alone. Better than choosing between China and famine would be a return to the good old days of two, competing patrons. And, curiously enough, the US is not a bad choice for Pyongyang:

First, North Korea is far less likely to be dominated economically by the US than China. The US does not have the leverage over North Korean enterprises the Chinese do. The Obama Administration cannot guarantee Amtrak railroads in the North, nor can it claim ownership over mines and ports. Assistance to the North would likely come in the form of cash or raw materials, allowing Pyongyang decision makers to apply it as they see fit. Any kind of entrepreneurial incursions into the country would be initiated by non-state actors, affording Pyongyang a level of control it no longer has with Chinese investors.

Secondly, political domination is also less likely, as the US and North Korea do not have the same historical and cultural legacy which China and Korea share. America is both geographically and culturally far removed from East Asia, and so far less likely to dominate it or bully Pyongyang, which behavior would also its domestic liberal ideology of self-determination. A North Korea no longer threatening the US would cease to interest policy-makers or the public much. Post-accommodation, most Americans just would not care enough about Korea to meddle as China does now. China is the opposite. It has a long history of intervention in Korea; it is right next door, creating obvious interests in how North Korea is governed; and its cynical, bullying domestic government style is apparent in its foreign policy. Its inclination is treat North Korea as a satellite.

Nevertheless, this is unlikely. US-North Korean relations are unlikely to improve so long as North Korea retains nuclear weapons. But that puts Pyongyang in a catch-22: keep the weapons and be stuck with creeping Chinese economic domination, or surrender them and hope for a US deal. Both are unpalatably risky, which I believe is the reason for the new Five Year Plan announced at last month’s Workers’ Party Congress. If North Korea can actually function economically on its own, then its need for China, or a US deal, would recede.


Filed under: Alliances, China, Hegemony, Korea (North)


Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

 


Wedding Prep

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I have passed the frustrated + emotional stage now!! 

Learning to take things as it comes. 

Here's what I received from the US that made me happy: bridesmaids + maid of honor gifts for the girls!!! It's a customizable soap and lip balm gift set. You get to choose the flavor/scent you want for the soap and lip balm, name labels and wordings, wrapping paper and bag stamp design!!! I chose lavender rosemary for the soap scent and vanilla for the lip balm. Ordered this from etsy.com.. A little pricey for the size (smaller than the size of my balm) but they're gorgeous :)



Yes, I like novelty restaurants. I’ve been to a handful of...

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Yes, I like novelty restaurants. I’ve been to a handful of animal cafes and traveled 5+ hours by train, subway, and taxi to hang out in a giant camera coffee shop. So, probably no surprise that I wanted to visit Modern Toilet, a toilet-themed restaurant. 

Food and drinks are served in toilets, you sit on toilets… Desserts look like what belong in toilets. I went and I dined. 

I give it a big thumbs-down. 

It wasn’t cheap. It wasn’t delicious. And, I should have thought about this more before I went, but… it’s gross. 


Yes, I like novelty restaurants. I’ve been to a handful of...

Printer-friendly version












Yes, I like novelty restaurants. I’ve been to a handful of animal cafes and traveled 5+ hours by train, subway, and taxi to hang out in a giant camera coffee shop. So, probably no surprise that I wanted to visit Modern Toilet, a toilet-themed restaurant. 

Food and drinks are served in toilets, you sit on toilets… Desserts look like what belong in toilets. I went and I dined. 

I give it a big thumbs-down. 

It wasn’t cheap. It wasn’t delicious. And, I should have thought about this more before I went, but… it’s gross. 


Top 3 Must-Have Korean Beauty Products For Your Summer Adventures

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Those of you who want to hit the waves in Busan or go kayaking on the waters of Jeju Island this summer can put away your concerns about keeping your looks clean and cool.

Here we bring you 3 hot Korean beauty products that will protect your skin and keep it radiant this summer.

1. Forencos ‘7 Days Mask’

Forecos 7days mask (1) Forecos 7days mask (2) Forecos 7days mask (3)

7 Days Mask‘, or referred to as ‘Song Joong-ki 7 Days Mask’, is the latest beauty product released by Forencos, a relatively little-known Korean beauty brand that rose as one of the dominant players in the cosmetics sector after releasing this package of special mask sheets.

Currently, Song Joong-ki, the lead actor from the popular Korean drama called “Descendants of the Sun” whose fan base is enormous is modeling for ‘7 Days Mask’. Just because its model is the famous and popular celeb doesn’t mean the product is not effective.

As you have noticed from the name, ‘7 Days Mask’ consists of 7 sheet masks, each featuring 7 types of natural ingredients on each mask. With three more added, the package comes with 10 sheet masks and costs 30,000 KRW.

2. Gram ‘Double Chemi BanBan Pack’

Gram Banban Pack (2) Gram Banban Pack (2) Gram Banban Pack (1) Gram Banban Pack (1)

This ‘BanBan Double Chemi Pack will save your face from getting oily this summer. It is a face pack with two different features: T-zone Pore Pack and U-zone Moisturizing Pack.

The green-colored pack is the T-zone Pore Pack and it includes volcanic ash clay, green tea extract, lemon balm and applemint extract that control sebum on the T-zone area, preventing excessive oil on your face.

The U-zone Moisturizing Pack, which is in orange, contains premium pumpkin extract and sweet almond oil. This pack is rich in nutrients and moisture and it is effective in tightening pores.

3. O Hui ‘Perfect Sun Water Span’

790581270O Hui’s ‘Perfect Sun Water Span‘ is a new type of UV protective compact foundation that comes in a new container made of spandex, which keeps the foundation moist all the time.

The foundation itself is made from a lily extract which makes your skin glow and supple. Since it’s sweat-proof, it is the perfect foundation you must buy for your summer.

The ‘Perfect Sun Water Span’ costs 40,000 KRW.

If you want to find out more about Korean beauty products, read our 101 Guide to 11 Must Have Korean Cosmetics or 7 Mid-Range Korean Beauty Brands You Should Know About – Best Sellers & New Arrivals.

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a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 


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