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One thing you must have heard of Seoul by now is that it’s a city that operates around the clock, even if it’s public transportation doesn’t. Many people take this chance to stay out all night enjoying the various clubbing and drinking opportunities, but every once in awhile, it is also fun to check out a night market in Seoul.
Have you yet visited a Seoul night market? If not, here are a few night markets in Seoul highly recommended by us for you to check out!
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#1 DONGDAEMUN NIGHT MARKET
If your shopping buds are still tickling by the time the clock hits 10p.m, head on over to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, which boasts several tall buildings all there to serve your shopping needs. Floor after floor after floor you’ll find women’s clothes, men’s clothes, shoes, bags, other kinds of accessories, and even food. Be sure to brush up on asking “how much” in Korean. Then load up your wallet with cash and be prepared to haggle your way to cheaper prices! And that’s not even where it ends!
Outside, by Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station’s exit 4 and under the bright yellow tents, you can find different kinds of items ranging from clothes to leathery goods to accessories to satisfy your shopping itch. There are also wholesale options by exit 2 of Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station. Be sure to also take a break between your shopping expeditions to indulge in the tasty food options available!
Tucked away inside the area is also a theme park ride called Disco Pang-Pang, which we bet you’ll love too. Just be sure not to eat right before you ride!
#2 NAMDAEMUN NIGHT MARKET
This market is located conveniently in the middle of the city, open both day and night. From 10pm until 5am the next morning, you can browse around its night market, which is one of the most famous ones in Seoul. You can find just about anything your heart desires at this market, including amazing food to wash down with some drinks.
However, take into account that some vendors might operate on their own schedule, instead of the regular 10pm to 5am, and that a lot of shops close on Sundays. Also take into account that not all the shopping opportunities are located outdoors – there are also shopping centers such as the Sungyemun Imported Goods Shopping Centre from where you can find more goods to shop for.
#3 GWANGJANG MARKET
Having been established in 1905, Gwangjang Market is Seoul’s oldest market. As it is located close by to Dongdaemun, you may even check out both of them in the same night!
This market is known for selling hanbok, the traditional Korean clothing, but its best part is perhaps the street level. Here, fabric shops and food stalls come together to offer you the best of both worlds in one fell swoop. If there’s one place where you’ll definitely want to explore all the Korean street food available, it’s right here! The best part is, it’s open all night!
#4 BAMDOKKAEBI NIGHT MARKET (밤도깨비 야시장, bamdokkaebi yasijang)
Although this night market was originally opened in just one location in Yeouido, it has since expanded to four locations around the city. On some Fridays and Saturdays, between March and October, you can find this market at one of its different locations: Yeouido, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Mokdong Stadium and Cheonggye Plaza. And with a different location comes a different atmosphere and experience for the night market.
At Yeouido, you can find a traditional and cultural experience, with not only lots of food on offer, but traditional performances from different corners of the world to be enjoyed as well. You can also find Korean handicrafts for purchase.
In contrast, Dongdaemun Design Plaza’s night market is more modernly vibrant. You’ll find a great mix of food, handmade items, and even fashion and dance shows. The younger crowd especially loves visiting this night market.
If you visit the one at Mokdong Stadium, you’ll find a very sports themed night market. Here locals can buy and sell different kinds of sports equipment, and even get their broken sports items repaired. In addition, you can view showings of extreme sports, all the while munching on healthy and tasty food.
Lastly, Cheonggye Plaza’s market is offered in May, July and September, all of which offer a different season of foods, handicrafts, and performances. It is especially great if you’re going with your family.
#5 MYEONGDONG NIGHT MARKET
While not a traditional night market, as in it is open in the evening rather than at night, checking out Myeongdong is definitely worth the trip. Not only are the two biggest department stores – Lotte and Shinsegae – located right by the area, the streets are filled with clothing stores, ranging from small Korean shops to big international brands such as H&M and Forever21.
And what if you get hungry? No problem! There are several food stalls spread across the streets of Myeongdong to get your tummy full of yummy. In addition to the food vendors, there are also tons of restaurants in the area to soothe your dining needs, even after the shops have already closed for the night.
Next time you’re planning a night out, you just might want to add a night market in Seoul to your plan as well. If you are feeling inspired by all this talk of Korea to test your Korean language skills, you can try our 90 Minute Korean Alphabet Challenge!
What’s your favorite night market in Seoul? Any great food stall or souvenir recommendations? Please share with us in the comments below!
Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto
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As most of you know, I like to simplify my routines whenever possible. As far as beauty goes, I take care of my own blonde, I leave the K-Beauty treatments to the professionals, and my nightly skin care routine has to be easy and effective. I’m over the novelty of buying a gazillion skin care and beauty products in an attempt to find the next best thing in Korea. Now, if I find a product I love, I’ll invest in the set in the hopes that I can save time and money. When I went to Ruby Plastic Surgery for the Eunogo influencer open house, I was gifted a product which had immediate hydrating results on my dry, often sensitive skin. G2Cell’s Intensive Hydrating Capsule Cream was my gateway drug into the entire line. I think the 12-step Korean skincare regimen is kind of absurd, but these 7-steps have made all the difference. I’m high as a kite (on compliments, of course) and my skin has never felt better!
The price per item might shock you, but consider how long each product lasts. When I was buying my masks, moisturizers, ampoules, and essences at places like Olive Young or Etude House (I know, I know), I’d be lucky if they lasted longer than a month. I’ve been using G2Cell products daily since the beginning of October, and the bottles are still about 3/4 full. Investing in products like G2Cell’s means that you won’t be forking over more each month or having to go out of your way to replenish frequently. The ultimate revival line is designed to simulate the effects of botox (cha-ching) by using technology designed for a lifting effect. G2Cell is designed for low-irritation and high-function using ingredients like:
- Biometric Water: This water is designed to activate tired cells. It uses natural ingredients with minerals, phospholipids, amino acids, proteins, and peptide solutions.
- SYN-COLL: This ingredient generates collagen in the skin. It’s designed for skin regeneration.
- Plant-Cell Extracts: Lotus flower callus culture extract rounds out the anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
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G2Cell: DTC Examination
These skincare products have been created with research based on genetics. The idea is that your clinic can test your skin and recommend the ideal line for your skin type. I can’t speak to that as I haven’t done the test, but going into the fall/ winter months the Intensive Hydrating line seems to be the best bet. For more information on the examination, contact C&D Blue Company (email@example.com or visit their website here).
G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Cleansing Gel
This is the first product I use after removing my make-up. It helps to remove any residue from cosmetics or remover, especially around the eyes. Just a bit of the silky cleansing gel goes a long way. It lathers well and leaves my skin feeling clean without the dry or tight feeling of other cleansers. I keep this bottle right on my sink and use it before bed no matter what!
G2Cell Ultimate Revival First Essence
The G2Cell Ultimate Revival First Essence reminds me a lot of the clarifying lotion (toner) from Clinique. After cleansing, I’ll pop this on a cotton pad and gently wipe in a natural direction (remember to avoid the eye area). It’s amazing just how much dirt, grime, and gunk remains even after double cleansing. The first essence is what prepares your skin to absorb other hydrating products, so it’s a pretty important step!
G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Ampoule Essence
Once I’ve finished with the first essence, I move onto the G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Ampoule Essence. A couple of pumps are all you really need to get your entire face and neck. This is a very quick drying formula to prepare your skin for further moisturizing.
- INOSITOL: Excellent hydrating ingredient
- NATURAL PROTECTOR: Quickly calming irritated skin with 7 natural mixed substances
- DEXTRAN: Supplying moisture to skin
“This ampoule provides long-lasting hydration and absorbs into the skin quickly. It will also helps the balance of the skin tone, giving the skin a more healthier look. This ampoule retains the moisture balance of the skin and creates a non-sticky moisture barrier which is very smooth. Because of the enhancing skin barrier, it helps provide nutrition and increase the skin’s elasticity. “
G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Emulsion
I have a couple of gripes about the packaging of this line. I find that the tough plastic makes the G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Emulsion difficult to get out of the bottle. You really do have to hit it to your hand almost like ketchup. This step involves a light cream which absorbs quickly.
G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Capsule Cream
G2Cell’s Intensive Hydrating Capsule Cream has got to be my favourite part of the entire line. This is the first product I tried and is what made me fall in love. The week I started using the capsule cream I starting getting compliments on my fresh, glowy, soft skin. The design is to retain “an optimal moisture balance to treat rough and dry skin”. This is a thick moisturizer which signals the finale of your evening skincare routine.
- INOSITOL: Excellent hydrating ingredient
- AGAVE TEQUILANA LEAF EXTRACT: Outstanding moisturizing and abundant nutrition
- FUCUS VESICULOSUS EXTRACT: Supplying moisture to skin and helping moisture barrier creation
“This blending hydrating cream provides moisture and essential nutrients to the skin. The skin absorbs the cream quickly to prolong the moisture and helps in activating the moisture circulation.”
G2Cell Ultimate Revival Eye Cream
I’m a kindergarten teacher, so by the end of the day my eyes are pretty puffy from staring at a screen, drawing on a boards, and chasing around my rugrats. I’ve used an eye cream since I turned 20 and find I prefer a less viscous formula like the G2Cell Ultimate Revival Eye Cream. Again, the packaging is a bit of a miss as it keeps falling down from its shelf in my medicine cabinet. I also can’t tell how much or how little I’ve used, so I probably won’t know when you re-order until it’s a bit too late. Regardless, I love the fact that it has a pump as well and I only need a pump or two to completely cover the Balenciagas below my lids.
- ARGIRELINE (ACETYL HEXAPEPTIDE-8): Reducing the appearance of wrinkles and preventing skin aging
- OLANUM LYC OPERSICUM (TOMATO) FRUIT EXTRACT: Helping to maintain skin firmness by antioxidant
- GLUTATHIONE: Maximizing Whitening Effect (Cartier note: whitening = brightening – not bleach!)
“Improving skin texture to leave it soft and smooth with a healthy glow, especially eye contour area. Restoring cream which highly concentrates on wrinkle improvement. Additional lifting effects will improve the wrinkle and tighten up the muscles from beneath. It also prevents skin tissue damaging with antioxidant ingredients within the product.”
G2Cell Ultimate Revival Draw Mist
Is the Ultimate Revival Draw Mist absolutely essential to my nightly routine? Probably not. I finish up with the final step of spraying the mist in a circular motion. The directions say I can use this before or after applying my make-up. It didn’t really make much of a difference for me as a setting spray, but I haven’t had much luck with those either. If you’re on a budget, I’d probably skip out on the mist. If you’re looking to dramatic change the overall look and feel of your skin, I’d invest in the entire line. I have always had rough patches (even in the humid summer months!), but this year has made all the difference. We’re into the frigid cold of November and I don’t have a dry patch in sight!
G2Cell Skin Care products are available at several cosmetic & plastic surgery clinics throughout Seoul, the official G2CELL site, the GENOHEAL website, or the Entas Duty Free Shop. For special discounts, follow @ThatGirlCartier on instagram and send me a direct message!
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What are the requirements to teach English in Korea? I spent 3.5 years of my time in Asia teaching in Korea. I can tell you for starters that Korea is a bit more intensive when it comes to getting started than other countries. There is a lot of paperwork you have to do. Getting all of your documents ready can easily take 2 months or more.
For starters you need:
- A 4 year degree (in anything) or a 2 year degree for the TALK program
- To be a native English speaker from: USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.
You need those qualifications to get an E-2 visa to legally teach in Korea.
1. You usually need a 4 year degree
That degree needs to be from a native English speaking country too. It needs to be a 4 year bachelor's degree. The TALK program will accept teachers with an associates or 2 years completed. Other than that you need a bachelor's degree to legally teach English in Korea.
If you don't have a 4 year degree you can read more about teaching without a degree.
2. Native English speaker
You have to be a native speaker. Citizens from India or Jamaica don't count. You need to have a passport from one of the above mentioned countries.
Before you apply...
You need to have completed your degree and all of the documents below. If you send an incomplete application to a recruiter or a school they will ignore it.
Related degrees, TEFL certification, etc.
Most schools will prefer teachers with experience and/or additional qualifications. TEFL certification is often preferred at least for EPIK (a public school program). Hagwons (private schools) may prefer it, yet it's not required. As mentioned your bachelor's degree can be in anything, but the more related it is the better.
TEFL certification, related degrees, teaching licenses and experience can also raise your pay in the EPIK program. Hagwons are individual businesses. You can judge them case by case.
Individual schools can have their own preferences or requirements.
Do you need TEFL certification?
As mentioned you don't necessarily, but it's going to depend on the school. For EPIK you would probably want it especially if you don't have a related degree, teaching license or experience. In Busan you would probably want an in-class course, but in Seoul, Daegu, Gwangju and other locations in Korea many do fine with an online TEFL for Korea.
Reasons to take a TEFL/TESOL course
- For the job (to improve your resume)
- To learn
Here is an online course that specializes in teaching in Korea. It uses a lot of practical how-to videos that were filmed in classrooms (public schools and hagwons) IN KOREA. Many courses do not include practical videos like these. Some of the cheaper courses are just text based and according to some studies people only read 20% of the text on a page.
That is boring and you won't remember much from it.
Other than that you need to do some PAPERWORK
- A FBI issued criminal background check (CBC)
- Apostilled diploma
You need to do a criminal background check
This takes time. There are full instructions on how to get your criminal background check done for teaching in Korea here.
Apostille your diploma
This also takes time. There are full instructions on how to apostille your diploma to teach in Korea here.
Transcripts were formerly required for all schools in Korea. Now they are just required for EPIK. You'll need to contact your universities registrar and order 2 sets.
You need to be able to pass a health check. It includes drugs and other infectious diseases.
You'll need reference letters for EPIK and for elsewhere in Korea you'll need to polish your resume.
You'll need a passport with one year on it - at least.
I would get 10 passport sized photos. This will be plenty for your visa and other paperwork.
10 things you need to teach in Korea
- English speaker
- apostilled diploma
- transcripts (public school)
- passport photos
- passport with at least 1 year left on it
- TEFL certification (depending on the school)
- Reference letters (EPIK and it doesn't hurt at other schools)
Here is a course that specializes in online training to teach in Korea.
I don’t honestly know what’s wrong with me today. I know that it’s some wicked brew created by Trump’s visit to the peninsula this week, this year on the whole, and waking up this morning to find out that 26 people had been murdered at their morning service in their small-town church yesterday. I read it just as I was about to head out the door, because that’s part of my job now — to read the news just as I’m about to walk out the door, and on the train on the way to the studio, and on the bus on the way home, and before I go to bed at night.
I’ve been working at the radio show for three months, and how many times have I had to scramble to add condolences for some tragedy in the middle of a broadcast? I’ve lost count. Because they keep rolling in. And there’s nothing special about this one from yesterday, and I think that’s why I can’t seem to get it together today. Because I realized that there’s nothing special about this one, and that there’s nothing special about any of it anymore. Just another wave that washes over me, and for a moment, I lose my breath. And the wave rolls out. But I know another one is already on its way. And you can never remember a specific wave, because it’s the waves — their collectiveness, their unceasing movement toward you — that makes them what they are.
It’s not a good year for part of your job to be checking the news.
There’s something underneath it all that I can’t quite get to the bottom of, but I can feel myself getting closer. Something about how most of us are doing the best we can with what we have, but “the best we can” doesn’t mean the same thing to all of us. And I’m tired of lone wolf arguments, not because they’re not valid, but because they are unequally applied. And I’m tired of some bodies mattering more than others. I’m tired of immigration being a liability we have to immediately address, but guns being nothing but a tool that can be used for both good and evil. And I’m tired of thoughts and prayers, not only because they don’t accomplish anything, but also because they’re all I feel like I have in most cases.
Thoughts and prayers, and screaming into the void, which is mostly what blogging is.
So, to badly hatchet and paste together, I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I assume you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable. I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses.
Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.
Gordon Ramsay Shills for Cass
In a new commercial for Cass beer, pitchman and respected chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay takes a large swallow of beer, grimaces in ostensible pleasure, and proclaims it to be “bloody fresh!” The commercial is hoped to raise the international profile of Cass beer, though, as it enlists a chef renowned for his attention to quality to shill for the Korean equivalent of Budweiser, the ad has also noticeably lowered the foreign beer-drinking public’s estimation of Ramsay’s ability to credibly rate beer.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that local beer enthusiasts found Ramsay’s praise hard to swallow, as many local critics’ one-word reviews of Cass, Hite, and other mass-market Korean brews tend to rhyme with the name of the beer. For the record, I don’t think an ice-cold Cass is terrible; but I do think that in the year 2017 one could easily pluck a better beer from any convenience store cooler, blindfolded, 19 times out of twenty (the one miss being a Cass).
That Ramsay made this commercial during a time when the Korean craft beer scene is exploding makes it more remarkable. Before good craft beers became widely available, going to a high-end meat joint in Korea inevitably meant pairing your Hanwoo or pork belly with a sub-par beer, a sad but unavoidable fact that is somewhat analogous to going to a New York steakhouse and pairing a filet mignon with a Miller High Life. With the appearance of many excellent craft brews in Korea in the past decade or so, limiting the menu to one or two mass-produced lagers has become much harder to justify.
To be fair to Mr. Ramsay, “bloody fresh” actually says very little about the beer itself. All beer is fresh at some point, and this quality in itself doesn’t distinguish it from literally any other beer in the world that was also recently brewed. Perhaps this semantic loophole (along with flipping great wads of cash) was how his conscience allowed him to do this? In addition to being “bloody fresh”, the primary virtue of Cass according to Ramsay is that is rinses the oil from your mouth, which, as die-hard Gordon Ramsay fans will happily note, is not a quality unique to Cass either – the same effect could just as easily be accomplished with water, mouthwash, or paint thinner.
Is that a “well played” for Mr. Ramsay, or has the shark been jumped? You decide.
China-Korea Relations to Thaw?
There was a bit of good news this week on the diplomatic front, as Chinese and South Korean relations show signs of thawing after a year-long chill.
On Tuesday, the foreign ministries of China and South Korea released statements noting the importance of the bilateral relationship, and resolving to “expeditiously bring exchange and cooperation in all areas back on a normal development track” (from the South Korean Foreign Ministry statement).
The frosty relations between Seoul and Beijing were brought about by Chinese opposition to South Korea’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which South Korea deemed important in defending against North Korean attack, but which China viewed as giving the US early warning advantages and the ability to peer into Chinese airspace. The row resulted in a series of unofficial sanctions from Beijing that had severe effects on several Korean industries, from cosmetics and fashion to tourism to pop culture.
The “Korea Bubble” in Japan
I recently came across this excellent short documentary on the challenges and controversy surrounding the Chongryon (aka “Chosen Soren” in Japanese) – the association of 3rd and 4th-generation Koreans living in Japan who maintain links with and allegiance to North Korea.
The mini-doc discusses the historical background and context of the 150,000-strong group of Zainichi Koreans, and explains how they ended up in Japan, why so many identify with a country they were not born in and, in many cases, have never been to (ie. North Korea), and the problems they face today in light of current tensions between Japan and North Korea.
The video is part of the Vox Borders series, which “investigates the human stories behind the lines on a map”, and is a much better use of thirteen minutes than, say, drinking a Cass Fresh.
And how was your week?
John Bocskay is the author of Culture Shock! Korea: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (2017, Marshall Cavendish), available at Amazon.uk, The Book Depository, What the Book, and anywhere fine books are sold.
Keykat ran off to Korea somewhere, and it's all my fault. I have to find her! But where could she be?
In this episode we'll learn about a hugely important topic - passive. In order to understand passive verbs, we'll need to learn about passive voice, and a few other concepts first.
Remember that there are free extended PDFs available for every "Learn Korean" episode (at the bottom of this post), and each contains additional information or examples not covered in the video.
Check out the episode here!
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This is a local re-post of something I wrote a few weeks ago for The National Interest. It pivots off of the argument I made last month as well, that this is the weirdest North Korean crisis ever. Not necessarily the most dangerous – the ax-murder incident might still be at the top – but rather the strangest. And you thought Dennis Rodman was the weirdest low the North Korean debate could hit. How wrong you were.
The reason of course is Trump’s mad ad-libbing over these last months, and his downright bizarre commentary in general about east Asia. It’s worth remembering that his frightening comments like ‘fire and fury’ and ‘totally destroy’ were just thrown out off the cuff with no vetting by Trumps’ natsec team. So we’re backing into a war because Trump does not how to take direction from experts. John Kelly tried to ground him and Trump, like some petulant teenager, won’t have it – purposefully ignores his staff recommendations just to spite them. Surreal…
The full essay follows the jump.
This arguably the strangest North Korea crisis ever. The conventional wisdom is that it is the most dangerous yet. But the risks of military action are well-known and enormous, so kinetic options are still rather unlikely. Instead, what strikes me the most about this time around is the interventions of the American president. Not only have President Trump’s comments worsened tension rather than soothed it, they are often made in an off-the-cuff, gleefully belligerent manner. This combination creates the bizarre outcome of a US president mixing the frightening (threats of nuclear war) with the comedic (it is all just Trump being Trump, the boyish bomb-thrower). This peculiar disjuncture of the ultra-serious and the childish is so unnerving and weird that it is firing much of the social media debate about this particular crisis. Once again, as so often with Trump, the whole thing is becoming about him rather than events themselves.
It is genuinely hard to know what to make of this, of just how close we are to serious conflict. Usually the American president plays a calming role regarding North Korea, because it is an extremely dangerous state with a long history of provocation and gangsterism. President Bill Clinton tried to normalize it and pull it into the post-Cold War world (however haltingly) through the Agreed Framework and a visit by the US Secretary of State at the time (Madeline Albright). Barack Obama was famously cool, letting even North Korea’s racism bounce off. (The North Korean Central News Agency [KCNA] referred to him as a monkey.) Even George W. Bush who provocatively placed North Korea on the ‘Axis of Evil’ in 2002 eventually came around to dealing with Pyongyang in the Six Party Talks in his second term. At no point did Trump’s three predecessors speak as explosively as Trump is doing. Indeed, it seems like Trump is talking as KCNA does. Trash talk for trash talk. This has been Secretary of State Tillerson’s defense of the president’s language.
As I have suggested elsewhere, there seem to be five possible explanations for Trump’s unique rhetoric. How this crisis unfolds in the next six months – it seems primed to roll on for awhile yet – will depend on why exactly Trump is talking about North Korea in a way no US president ever has before:
1. Trump Means It, but as a Wheeler-and-Dealer He Really Wants a Deal
This is what the Trump administration would have us believe: All the psychological explanations are wrong. The president simply means what he says. Trump is at the end of his rope. Previous presidents have buck-passed this issue until it landed on his desk, and now he must take action. If this is true, Trump is almost certainly bluffing in search of a deal and hoping his bluff will not be called. If he is actually rational in talking this way, i.e., if he genuinely means it, then he is also rational enough to understand just how great the risk of war is and does not want one. This is Trump as he likes to present himself – the tough negotiator willing to go to the brink to get a good deal.
2. Trump is Baiting the North into a Casus Belli Provocation
This is the most frightening possibility. Here the reason for Trump’s outlandish threats is to bait North Korean leader Kim Jong Un into some kind of extreme provocation which could serve as justification for US military action. If so, then Trump has already decided that conflict is either inevitable or that it is preferable to a worsening future. There is a logic here: North Korea is a dangerous nuclear weapons state today which will be an even more dangerous nuclear weapons state tomorrow, so it is better to fight today than tomorrow. A similar logic is sometimes used to explain Germany’s decision to fight in 1914, for example. Time was on the side of the Russians, and it was better to fight them sooner than later.
3. Trump is Pushing Back on His Own Staff
This is a domestic politics interpretation, popular on cable news with its intense interest in the staffing ups-and-downs of the administration. Trump is simply acting out. He clearly dislikes being told what to do by his staff, especially Chief of Staff John Kelly. He instinctively resents any outside direction and enjoys being a bomb-thrower. This explains why he keeps ad-libbing explosive, unnecessary commentary like ‘fire and fury’ or ‘totally destroy’ North Korea. He is pushing back against Kelly and his own staff who have warned not to speak this way.
4. Trump is Diverting Attention from His Mounting Scandals
This is another cable news-domestic politics explanation, especially popular on the political left. Trump is flirting with a diversionary war. Particularly Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s Russia links is accelerating, with the looming indictment of Paul Manafort. This seems like the most cynical of all hypotheses, but it also has the promise of easy change. If Trump is as innocent as he say he is, there is no need to change the subject to North Korea.
5. Trump is Simply Overwhelmed by the Office and Says Whatever Comes to Mind.
One might call this the Daniel Drezner theory of Trump’s behavior. Drezner, a political scientist who writes at The Washington Post, has repeatedly argued that Trump’s administration is characterized by an amateurishness that cripples it widely. In my experience in Korea, this argument is locally persuasive. Many of my acquaintances here worry that Trump is simply mentally unhinged.
The most alarming of these is #2, that Trump actually believes a war is more or less inevitable. The others suggest that much of the crisis is artificial, ginned up by Trump’s own language for other reasons. The worry is that the more Trump talks, the more he is talking himself, and Kim Jong Un, into a corner, where they feel must act. Even if he is not baiting Kim Jong Un – and it becomes harder and harder to avoid that conclusion with every new tweet – it may happen anyway. We are sliding toward a self-fulfilling prophecy.
New York Pizza in Gangnam?
Café Kudeta (카페쿠데타) in Apgujeong Rodeo area closed recently, much to my friends’ chagrin. I work between the Apgujeong and Rodeo subway stations. Even though we have an hour for lunch, it’s not always enough time to have a Korean meal. We have grown tired of many of the Western-style restaurants, so imagine our surprise when Itaewon favourite Gino’s Pizza arrived around the corner from school!
Gino’s Pizza – First Impressions
The first thing that struck me about Gino’s Pizza in Gangnam is that when we walked in all the staff were super laid back and addressed us in English. Not only were we spoken to in English, any of the timid (sometimes rude) traits of Apgujeong Rodeo service staff were gone. While all the staff were friendly, everyone working at Gino’s Pizza seemed busy, on a mission… straight outta Brooklyn vibes.
In Crust We Trust
Their Itaewon (Noksapyeong) location boasts imported “high quality unbleached flour and California plum tomatoes. [Their] NY style dough is made from scratch, aged in-house, hand-tossed, and topped with [their] hand-crushed plum tomato sauce and house-shredded mozzarella. [They] bake each pizza to order in a brick deck to get that perfect thin crust.” I’ve had their pizza before (taken out fresh and through delivery via Shuttle Delivery), but I didn’t think it was anything incredibly special. Next time we head out in Apgujeong we’ll call ahead so we can try one of their pies.
The Vibe @ Gino’s Pizza
The vibe of Gino’s Pizza in Apgujeong is definitely more Gangnam Style than Itaewon chill. Various craft beers are advertised as well as Jarritos’ soda and its accompanying swag. While the Itaewon location is reminiscent of Little Italy, Gino’s Pizza south of the Han almost has surf vibes. It fits in well with its neighbours. The service at Gino’s is great, but you’d never know it unless you worked in hospitality. I personally love silent check-ins. Each member of staff made sure to eye us from afar. They manicured the table impeccably without interrupting our conversation.
Date Night in Seoul
This spot would be great for group dinners as it has a large table in the back. Banquettes make it easy to shift around tables for groups large and small, and the space by the window is perfect for date night and people-watching. I always find it romantic to be near orchids…and crushed red-pepper flakes.
Gino’s Pizza – Caesar Salad (KRW 8,000)
My lunch date and I were in the mood to be very unfriendly with our diets. We ordered a few starters and an entree for lunch. The Caesar Salad (crispy romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, Parmesan cheese, Croutons & 2 Breadsticks) came out first. I always seem to take decent salad dressing for granted (although I always cringe when I get some horrid yuja-mayonnaise concoction). This salad was exactly what I’d expect from a hole-in-the-wall mom and pop joint back home. The breadsticks erred on the fancy side (hello garlic, my old friend…), but the rest was classic summer camp Caesar. Not elevated, but it hit the spot.
Gino’s Famous (Lemon Pepper) Wings (KRW 10,000)
I’d definitely come back to Gino’s Pizza just for the wings. The Lemon Pepper wings (Lemon citrus and a punch of Black Pepper dry rub seasoning) came out right after the salad. We were both impressed by the wealth of meat on the wings and drumettes. The skin was quite thin, very crispy, and there wasn’t much gristle at all. I find wings in Korea to be either bare or fatty/ soggy. These wings were bomb. They weren’t kidding about the punch of black pepper and lemon citrus. I’ll be back to try their Hot Buffalo, Honey Sriracha, Creamy Parmesan Garlic, Honey BBQ, and Blazin Asian wings . Anyone down for a wing buffet soon?
Animal-Style, er – Gino’s Sloppy Fries (KRW 8,000)
A far cry from the cheap and cheerful price at Cry Cheeseburger, Gino’s Pizza has jumped on board Seoul’s latest foodie trend: Animal-Style Fries. A close dupe to In-N-Out, these crispy fries are loaded with American cheese, grilled onions, and Thousand Island sauce. The dressing always reminds me of home (I went to University near the archipelago of the same name), and I feel absolutely filthy dunking fries into this medley.
Gino’s Pizza Homestyle Italian Lasagna (1/2 Size KRW 9,000)
At lunchtime only, you can save yourself some calories and order a half size of the ooey-gooey lasagna. Gino’s version includes Lasagna noodles, House-made pasta sauce, ground beef, ricotta cheese, and “Mozza cheese baked to Perfection and served with 2 bread sticks”. I think I’ve been ruined by Brera‘s Béchamel dreams lasagne. The lasagna dish didn’t do much for me, but my dining companion liked it just fine. I could see it tasting great reheated as a hangover cure.
The Menu @ Gino’s Pizza
Click any of the above images for a look at the menu at Gino’s Pizza in Apgujeong!
Think Twice for a Slice – Wouldn’t it be nice?
Gino’s Pizza is a happy addition to the Apgujeong Rodeo/ Dosan Park/ Gangnam area. It’s nice to have quick and easy options nearby for lunch or after work socials. My only request is that they consider selling slices. Monster Pizza is always packed. It sells slices. With Monkey Beach just down the way, I think these guys would make a killing with the office lunch crowd, the expat teachers guild, and the drunky monkeys on Friday and Saturday nights.
Contact Gino’s Pizza
- Phone: 02-3444-2234 (Take-out/ Delivery)
- Address: 655-3, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
- Open: Hours 11:30AM – 3:00PM, 5:00PM – 10:00PM
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Gino’s Apgujeong
- Instagram ID: @ginospizza
With hotspots like Gino’s Pizza and Caravan Seoul popping up in Apgujeong Rodeo, the area might just be returning to its pre-Garosugil glory!
What’s your favourite restaurant in the area? In Gangnam? Let us know in the comments!
I am not an expert on Thai cuisine, but “Thai” and “corn” don’t seem to fit.
But, they do! Somehow. Pretty much anything can be paired with anything and be called “fusion” these days, but Tuesday night’s dinner actually gives credence to the idea of merging culinary concepts and coming out with something new and enjoyable.
From the original recipe on The Kitchn: “This late-summer soup has all the components of your usual corn chowder, but adds a tantalizing twist with some of my favorite Thai flavors, like lemongrass, chili peppers, and coconut milk. While it keeps the comfort food nature of the original, the extra additions keep things interesting.”
It’s interesting that I was about four spoonfuls in until I truly embraced this soup.
I am not sure what it was that had me hesitating at first. The broth seemed a bit too watery for my tastes when I added the coconut milk. I expected it to be of a milkier consistency. The recipe calls for four cups of broth. We started with a splash (as also was in the recipe), which had all the bouillon we had left in the pantry, and then later I added the remaining three cups, which was just water. That could have contributed.
When I first tried it, I thought it was fine. That wateriness was getting in the way in my head. But, like Korean pizza vs. other pizzas I prefer, when I stopped comparing this dish to others that utilize coconut milk (namely, our awesome Red Lentil Coconut Curry, which we make almost weekly), and I let the soup and the lime juice after serving coat the inside of my mouth, this chowder seemed to really open up. Somehow, what started as an “ehh” experience became a two-bowl experience, which goes back to the need for patience in everything in our lives, including in the kitchen. Or, in this case, “Kitchn”? Pardon my pun.
So, yeah, definitely try this one out. Almost all the ingredients are relatively easy to find in Korea. Coconut milk has become available in pretty much every major supermarket chain. Potatoes and corn are ubiquitous. Cilantro can be hit and miss but we’ve had general success at E-Mart and Kim’s Club (located in the NC department stores).
Lemongrass is a bit trickier. I have never seen fresh lemongrass (which the recipe calls for). We have a bag of dried lemongrass purchased in the Sasang section of Busan (home to several “Asia Mart” grocery stores, offering a variety of items from other parts of this part of the world). I soaked it overnight, Jen smashed some and threw it into the soup and we also added some of the “broth” that resulted from the overnight soaking. This could have made a big difference in the flavor of ours vs. the original. If you ever see fresh lemongrass in Korea, be sure to let us know where in the comments!
JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.