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Registration for September 27th Meeting Open!

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Wow how time flies!!  Another meeting just around the corner, and this time we are heading to a place that has just about every makgeolli under the sun!  The location […]

Makgeolli Mamas & Papas

Hanging Out in Hyehwa

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Once the center of Seoul's art and music scene, Hyehwa is a neighborhood bursting with creativity and youthful energy. The area is situated in the northeastern part of the capital and is also known as Daehangno, a nickname derived from dehag, or "university," because of its close proximity to a number of learning institutes.

Over the past decade, Hongdae has garnered the reputation of being Seoul's SoHo, lessening Hyehwa to a mere a notch in the history of the city's culture boom. Today, it remains off the radar to most tourists and is even overlooked by locals. Nevertheless, it remains to thrive as Seoul's theater district- with over 80 independent theaters showing performances on a daily basis- and is brimming with diverse, inexpensive eateries, eye-catching cafes and greenspaces to boot. The neighborhood, while seemingly typical on the surface, is one of surprises. It just takes a bit of digging to discover them.

Caffeine is an essential component to the start of any day and the best place to get it in Hyehwa is b2project. Part cafe, part gallery, this cozy space is a haven for both coffee lovers and design aficionados. Enter the first floor, place your beverage order and take in the cafe's tasteful decor. Colorful paintings adorn the walls and quirky lighting fixtures hang from above, while miss-matched chairs and tables create a comfortable environment for studying or reading a book. Before you go, take a look at the gallery downstairs, which features an array of modern Scandinavian furniture. If you've got money to burn, you can purchase the wares on display, which start at a whopping one million won ($1,000USD).

Now that you're properly energized, follow the signs up the hills to Naksan Park, one of my favorite places to get a bit of fresh air in the city. The park itself offers some incredible views of downtown Seoul from the city's fortress wall, but the real highlight is the collection of sculptures and murals that decorate its paths that wind into the low-income residential area of Ihwa-dong.

The urban art, a beautification initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is unique in that rather than being a contrast to the dilapidated buildings that line the streets, it blends so that it appears as if the installations and paintings are at one with the spots they occupy. In my opinion, the decrepit characteristics combined with the personalized art make this part of the area far more charming than the affluent but sterile neighborhoods south of the river.

Wind your way back down to Hyehwa Station for lunch. Hidden on a side street in a renovated hanok is Zzimmani. This quaint yet modern restaurant serves up tasty Korean fare and offers some fantastic lunch specials. Everything on the menu is good but the moksal barbecue deopab (BBQ rice bowl), a mound of steamed rice covered in juicy, charcoaly meat and greens, keeps me going back on every visit to the area. The entrees are served with loads of fresh unlimited banchan (side dishes), which include a chicken salad, atypical of a Korean spread. An added bonus is the ridiculously cheap price: each set costs about 7,000 won ($7USD)!

Zzimmani's duenjang jiggae (bean paste soup) with fresh and healthy sides.

No trip to Hyehwa would be complete without shopping. The neighborhood is cluttered with cheap clothing shops, most of which carry the same trends sold in Dongdaemun, but are far more organized. The downfall is that many vendors won't allow you to try on their wares before you buy them, but it's worth asking, anyway. Whenever I visit Hyehwa, I make a trip to 10x10, a multi-store that sells just about everything. The focus of the shop is on design and many of the lifestyle products for sale, which include clothes, bags, jewelry, candles, kitchenware and stationary, are designed by Korean artists. There's even a florist and gift-wrapping center in case you're shopping for someone other than yourself. But where's the fun in that, right?

My favorite 10x10 products have to be the travel goodies... everything you could possibly need for your next trip is here!

If you happen to visit Hyehwa on a Sunday, make your way toward Hyehwa Rotary for a taste of the Philippines. Many Filipino expats gather here, usually after mass at Hyehwa Catholic Church, to congregate, pick up hard-to-find snacks from the motherland and gorge on specialties such as pork adobo, lumpia (egg rolls) and pancit (Filipino noodles). The Filipino Market is small and the seating for the food stalls is limited but I've always been one to love sharing a table with strangers and this market is no exception. I also had one of the vendors hand-feed me one of her famous empanadas on a previous visit, a testament to the warmth and hospitality Filipinos are known for.

As the sun begins to set, street performers abound and one of the best places to see them in action is outside Hyehwa Station, Exit 2, or Marronnier Park. Recently renovated, the park is a nice open space that often hosts free performances and concerts. Weeknights are a bit calmer and the location is a peaceful place to relax after a long day of wandering.

There's no shortage of nightlife venues in Hyehwa and my all-time favorite hangout is Jazz Story, an obscure music bar. Shrouded in metal work, it seems as if a very talented and creative blacksmith had a heyday with the interior of the palce. Yet, for as industrial as the metal intends the bar to be, velvet-covered chairs, shelves of vinyl records, and clusters of candles create a cozy, romantic atmosphere. Drinks aren't anything to write home about, and there's a 5,000 won ($5USD) cover, but the live music performed by Jazz Story's house band every night of the week beginning at 8:30 (or 8 on Sundays) is more than worth it.

A newer favorite is Mix & Malt.  Opened only a few months, this homey bar uses fresh ingredients- many of which come straight from their garden- to concoct some of the best cocktails in the city. In addition to the classics, Mix & Malt also has some signature and seasonal specialties on the menu, like the Elderflower Mojito (11,000 won, $11USD). Presentation is also superb. Because so much effort is put into each drink, they take a bit longer than usual to make it to your table, so be prepared to wait. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself, from board games to a shuffleboard table. On the second floor, there is a fireplace... a feature I will definitely be returning for in the fall.

Mix & Malt's Elderflower Mojito and Hibiscus Mojito... perfect flavors for the summer. (Photo: Mix & Malt)

After a few rounds at Mix & Malt, you can easily catch the last train at nearby Hyehwa Station, or hail a taxi, as there's always one passing by. Either way, it's certain that you won't be gone for long. Hyehwa has that effect, and with the increasing trendiness of areas like Hongdae and Itaewon (and as such, increasing crowds), Hyehwa is convenient, enjoyable and comfortable alternative hang-out.

More Information (See Map Below)

b2project Address: Seoul Jongno-gu, Dongsoong-dong, Dongsung3-gil 6-6 (서울시 종로구 동숭동 동숭3길 6-6) Telephone: 02-6369-2900

Naksan Park Address: Seoul Jongno-gu, Dongsung-dong, San2-10

Zzimmani Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Myeongnyun 4(sa)ga, 117 Telephone: 02-744-6262

10x10 (텐바이텐) Address: Seoul Jongno-gu, Dongsoong-dong 1-7 (서울특별시 종로구 동숭동 1-7) Telephone: 1644-6030

Hyehwa Filipino Market Address: Seoul Jongno-gu Hyehwa-dong 58-2 (종로구 혜화동 58-2) Hours: Sun 9am-5pm Payment: Cash only

Marronnier Park Address: Seoul Jongno-gu Dongsung-dong, 1-124

Jazz Story Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, DongSoong-dong 1-138 Telephone: 02-725-6537 Hours: Daily, 5pm-late

Mix & Malt Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Changgyeonggung-ro 29-gil, 3 (종로구 창경궁로 29길 3) Telephone: 02-765-5945 Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30am-2am; Fri-Sat 7:30pm-3am; Sun 7:30am-2am

Disclaimer: The above information is accurate and correct as of September 17, 2014.

Words and photos by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching, unless otherwise noted. Content may not be reproduced without authorization.

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Hongdae Free market: Unterwegs zwischen Künstlern und Coffeeshops

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Wem Gangnam zu teuer, oder das Shoppingviertel von Myeongdong zu krass übertrieben ist, für den haben wir hier das Richtige. Eröffnet während der Fussball-WM in 2002 hat sich der Free market von Hongdae mittlerweile dauerhaft in den Veranstaltungskalender eingetragen. Der Hongdae Free market Auf dem Markt verkaufen Künstler – und alle die es werden wollen –

Der Beitrag Hongdae Free market: Unterwegs zwischen Künstlern und Coffeeshops erschien zuerst auf MAYERKIM. - Dein deutscher Blog über Korea & Seoul. Alles, was du garantiert (nicht) über Seoul, koreanische Kultur und Reisen nach Korea wissen musst. Inkl. Sightseeing und Nightlife!

Say it like a Korean! How to describe taste in Korean.

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Korean Language

Describe Taste in Korean - Part 1

1. Jjah-da. 짜다. or Jjah-yo. 짜요. | It’s salty.
2. Shing-geop-da. 싱겁다. or Shing-geo-wah-yo. 싱거워요. | It’s bland (needs more salt).
3. Dal-da. 달다. or Dal-ah-yo. 달아요. | It’s sweet.
4. Shi-da. 시다. or Shi-uh-yo. 시어요. | It’s sour.
5. Maep-da. 맵다. or Mae-wah-yo. 매워요. | It’s spicy.
6. SSu-da. 쓰다. or Sseo-yo. 써요. | It’s bitter.

Describe taste in Korean - Part 1

Describe Taste in Korean - Part 2

1. Shi-won-ha-da. 시원하다. or Shi-won-hae-yo. 시원해요.
When used in the context of dining, it can mean a few different things:
• It’s cool (temperature wise). This is the literal meaning.
• It’s refreshing.
• It’s soothing to the stomach or it’s removing the greasy feeling in the stomach. This can be
applied to even hot (temperature wise) or spicy soups.

2. Go-so-ha-da. 고소하다. or Go-so-hae-yo. 고소해요.
There is no exact equivalent meaning in English. Koreans use the phrase to describe the taste of sesame
oil, sesame seeds, nuts or soy milk. The closest expression in English would be “nutty.”

3. Goo-soo-ha-da. 구수하다. or Goo-soo-hae-yo. 구수해요.
This phrase describes the savory taste that come from doenjang (fermented soybean paste).

4. Neu-ki-ha-da. 느끼하다. or Neu-ki-hae-yo. 느끼해요.
This phrase describes the uncomfortable feeling in the stomach when you eat greasy or very creamy

5. Ddurb-da. 떫다. or Ddur-beo-yo. 떫어요.
Similar to an astringent taste, Koreans use this to describe the taste of an unripe persimmon. It’s more
of a puckering sensation in the mouth, like when you eat cranberries.

The phrases that end with “yo” are used toward an older person or a stranger to be polite without being too formal.

You can use the phrases that end with “yo” as questions by raising the intonation at the end. For example, “Go-so-hae-yo?” can be used to ask, “Is it nutty?”

Describe taste in Korean - Part 2

Follow Crazy Korean Cooking


We've reached 100 videos! Here are some outtakes.

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It's been a great year and a half (almost two years actually) since I started the YouTube channel and began teaching Korean through videos. So many of you have been supportive of me since the very beginning, and many others found my channel more recently and have been just as helpful. Thanks to your support, we've reached 100 videos on the channel. To commemorate this, I've put together a quick reel of outtakes from filming.

Thank you all again, and enjoy :-)


 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





Spaghetti Alphabet?

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I recently realized that I am a complete hypocrite. Well, in all honesty I've known this for a while, especially when it comes to giving advice, but I had the fact practically thrown in my face the other night. As a teacher of a foreign language, I'm constantly trying to stress communication over perfection. By which I mean, it is more important that you can talk to someone, get your point across, even if your grammar is barely grammar and you're speaking mainly in nouns and hand gestures. Were you able to buy the coffee you wanted? Did they answer your question? Laugh at your joke? A+

My students, and I think most language students, struggle with the desire to be perfect. Often, when I ask my older students a simple question that I know they understand, I'm still met with...silence. Averted eyes. Maybe if we don't move she can't see us.

While of course I would love to only get answers like "My favorite food is pizza" or "I saw you at the store yesterday. You were wearing red pants", I'm entirely satisfied with "Pizza very very like" and "Teacher! At the store...I saw you! Red pants!" because hey, at least we're communicating. Depending on what we're studying, I'll either correct them or let it slide. Some of the mistakes are even a bit wonderful. "Teacher! Spaghetti...uh...alphabet?" I allow myself to imagine an alphabet of spaghetti before realizing that all they need is some help spelling the word.

Technically not spaghetti.

When school lets out, the teacher becomes the student. I may spend  8 or 9 hours a day trying to shove some English into their poor brains, but once I go out into the world. I'm the one trying to shove Korean into my own brain, with varying degrees of success.

The first few months of studying were fantastic. When you're starting from the bare minimum, if you put in a little effort, it's easy to progress pretty quickly. At least, that's what happened to me. Studying was exciting, because every new grammar point opened up whole worlds of communication previously closed to me, the uninitiated. I'd gleefully get into conversations with anyone who put up with me, not unlike a toddler who will talk to anyone about horses or ice cream or whatever they're super into at the time. I didn't know enough to know if I was making mistakes. I was Eve before the apple. It was glorious.

But, like shows directed by Joss Whedon, the easy part of language learning was doomed to end before it even had a chance. Like some kind of language junkie, it took me more and more studying to get my fix, and I was afraid to use my newly learned conjugations for fear of making a dumb mistake. When faced with a question I knew I could answer, I would freeze, avoiding eye contact, hoping that if I didn't move, the questioner wouldn't see me. Because I knew that I was capable of saying something correctly, I was no longer comfortable spouting out my usual combination of mangled sentences and charades. At the time I was totally unaware of the irony of that attitude. Or if I was, I avoided thinking about it too much.

All this leads me to last Thursday. I'm preparing for a violin/saxophone duet in an upcoming festival (that's a whole other story I'll have to narrate here), so I met...let's call him Music Teacher after school to work on our song. He barely speaks any English, though he can understand a bit, so any time we spend together is a big challenge for me. Also, he mumbles, which is an absolute nightmare for my comprehension. Fortunately he's also entirely willing to repeat stuff in different ways until I figure it out or we have to go to the dictionary.

Anyways, after practice he took me out for dinner and we talked for the better part of an hour, about music and teaching and things we've been up to. More than once my Korean completely fell apart, but since A) I didn't really have a choice and B) I managed to get my point across when I needed to, I didn't let my mistakes get to me.

On the way home, somehow our conversation turned to how much my Korean had improved since the last time he saw me. I responded with my usual "No, I'm not very good..." (of course imagine all this is in Korean), but he continued to try and convince me.

"I'm okay but...I want to be better. I want to be able to speak well now. I don't have any patience."

"But we're communicating already! So it's okay." 

That was the moment when I realized how much of a hypocrite I'd become. Here I was discouraging my students from beating themselves up over mistakes, encouraging them to do their best even if it wasn't perfect, while at the same time beating myself up over mistakes and not daring to try if I didn't know the best way to say something. I guess the whole point of writing this is to be a reminder to myself, and to anyone learning a language, to anyone learning, well anything; don't be afraid to make mistakes. Keep your spaghetti alphabet at hand, and you're sure to find success.

As my dance instructor Ling Hui used to say, "Try as you could."

Teacher Pretty
Middle school ESL teacher, lover of pink, eater of kimchi, addicted to Etude House, expert procrastinator, meeter of 2-dimensionial popstars: Ana. That's me.

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Win Copies of K-POP Now by Tuttle Publishing

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Based on the awesome response of our previous giveaway contest we are encouraged to come up with a new giveaway contest for the book K-POP Now by Mark James Russell. This book is published by Tuttle Publishing and this time they will be giving away not 3, but 5 copies of K-POP Now to anyone who will answer 3 simple questions about K-POP.

Tell us in the comment section below your answer for the following 3 questions.

  1. How and when did you start liking or following K-POP?
  2. How would you introduce K-POP to someone new?
  3. Who are your favourite KPOP icons?

Just answer these 3 simple questions above in the comment section below along with your contact info – your name, valid email id, age and country. The top 3 winners will be selected randomly and the one who answers creatively has a higher chance of winning. Winners will be notified via email by Tuttle Publishing in the first week of October.

The contest closes on 30 September 2014. So answer soon.

More about this book:

K-Pop Now! features one hundred and twenty-eight glossy pages of Korean pop eye-candy. K-Pop Now! takes a fun look at Korea’s high-energy pop music, and is written for its growing legions of fans. It features all the famous groups and singers, and takes an insider’s look at how they have made it to the top.

In 2012, Psy’s song and music video “Gangnam Style” suddenly took the world by storm. But K-Pop, the music of Psy’s homeland of Korea has been winning fans for years with its infectious melodies and high-energy fun. Featuring incredibly attractive and talented singers and eye-popping visuals, K-Pop is the music of now.

Though K-Pop is a relatively young phenomenon in the West, it is rapidly gaining traction and reaching much larger audiences—thanks in large part to social media like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Top K-Pop acts get ten million to thirty million hits for their videos—the Girls Generation single “Gee” has over a hundred million views!

In K-Pop Now! you’ll find:

  • Profiles of all the current K-Pop artists and their hits
  • A look at Seoul’s hippest hot spots and hangouts
  • Interviews with top artists like Kevin from Ze:A and Brian Joo
  • A look at the K-Pop idols of tomorrow

You’ll meet the biggest record producers, the hosts of the insanely popular “Eat Your Kimchi” website, and K-Pop groups like Big Bang, TVXQ, 2NE1, Girls Generation, HOT, SES, FinKL Busker Busker and The Koxx. The book also includes a guide for fans who plan to visit Seoul to explore K-Pop up close and personal.

Mid Autumn Festival

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Mid Autumn Fest is celebrated differently in Korea and Singapore/Taiwan. If I ever move to Korea the only thing I might miss (during mid autumn) are the moon cakes!

Baked moon cakes from Goodwood Park. (I like the snow-skin kind better)

A Korean thanksgiving meal - at Kimchi boy's house. The whole family would gather early in the morning and after some morning rituals(?), they will all have breakfast together. 

It is so funny how I always dread korean food when I was in Korea. Now that I am back in Singapore, I occasionally crave for korean food. Most convenient & cheapest way is to get it at Utown, NUS. Decent but not authentic.

Hong Seok-cheon's 두근두근 레스토랑 Smartphone Game

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It is testament to Hong Seok-cheon's increasing popularity that Kakao has released a new game featuring the TV personality / restauranteur. When playing "Heart Throb Restaurant" (kind of...), keep in mind that Hong Seok-cheon ended up opening restaurants in Itaewon to survive a period of time when Korea had completely turned its back on him due to his decision to come out.

The video of him making emoticons for the game is pretty adorable.

However, the game doesn't look like anything special. I might try it out for HSC solidarity and Korean language practice though...

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