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I must admit, I do love spending the day with all the pretty little horses! This weekend (Sunday Fun-day September 11th, 2016) Let’s Run Seoul and the Korean Racing Authority present the Korea Cup 2016. This event invitation, extended exclusively to foreigners in Korea (Waygooks, rejoice!), means free entry into this international event! Jockeys from around the world will compete for ultimate glory (and cash, of course), and global food services will set up offering nibbles from around the world at low prices. If you find me, I’ll get you a beer!
You may remember a few months ago when I spent the weekend at the Sheraton Walkerhill Hotel for the KRA’s new Off-track Betting Lounge opening. The KRA graciously invited the crew of Bloggers and Travel/ Lifestyle Writers back, but this time to the actual racetrack in advance of next weekend’s event!
When we arrived at Seoul Racecourse Park station we took exit 2 and turned left. Once we got to the gold statue, we were greeted for a tour of the facilities. When you arrive at the gold statue make sure to take a left to get into the racetrack viewing, betting, and eating areas!
We had a pretty special time hanging out with the horses (and the aggressive ponies – they’re biters!). I reminisced with K about riding horses back in the day, and made some new equine friends!
We totally got the VIP experience as guests of the KRA Let’sRun Park Seoul. We were treated to a delicious bulgogi dinner, and got to watch the races from a fancy box which made me feel like I was in a combination of Vegas and Sarasota. The girls got to gabbing and betting, and some of us actually won, too! Refer back to my OTB post for my “Horse Betting for Dummies” clues.
After betting on a few races up in the VIP box, we ventured down to the 3rd floor where we were able to have some beers and chill out in the Party Area. This zone conveniently located beside the track had LED furniture, a DJ, and an MC organizing events. There was a beer-drinking competition, a dance competition, and a hacky-sac contest, too. We had a blast being the silly waygookin table, although I didn’t love that he assumed none of us spoke Korean (and poked fun at us constantly). This weekend make sure to join us at the Seoul Racetrack in Gwacheon for the Korea Cup 2016. I’ll be there directly after the Girl Gone International – Seoul Brunch at Guilty Pleasure in Itaewon!
Bit late on this one, but that’s okay, because Korea’s American BBQ Week 2016 actually spans two weeks, which means there’s still some time left.
Until September 11, 15 American-style barbecue restaurants in Korea (that’s right — it’s not just Seoul this time, although barely) will be offering a special American barbecue plate. The offer comes with a discount on the house brew and a mousepad featuring a drawing by webtoon artists Jo Gyeong-gyu, who specializes in food drawings.
Participating restaurants include:
- Linus Barbecue, in Itaewon
- Rusty’s Smokehouse, in Itaewon
- Rusty’s Rib House, in Hapjeong
- Locos BBQ, in Itaewon, Busan Centum City and Pangyo
- Manimal Smokehouse, in Itaewon (I’m not sure if the Power Plant location is participating or not)
- BBQooks, in Gangnam
- Burger B, in Hongdae, Myeongdong, Time Square, Coex, Gwanghwamun and Seosomun
- Sweet Oak, in Wonju
- Stereo Kitchen, in Seongnam
- Aboutjins, in Gwanghwamun
- Austin, in Hongdae and Gangnam
- All That Meat, in Gangnam
- Kinders, in Itaewon
There are a couple of other places listed (Smokehouse and Picnic, in case you’re curious), but I cannot find a single thing about them, including location, in either English or Korean (possibly because of the very generic names), so we’ll leave it at this for now.
I actually didn’t realize there were so many American barbecue places in Seoul, so maybe this week would be a good time to try out a new one. I know we all love our Linus and Manimal, and American barbecue is a particularly territorial art (I’m from Texas — I know), but you never know. Maybe one of the lesser known places on this list could hit that smoky, meaty craving right in the nose without an hour-long wait at the door.
As per usual, this restaurant week promotion is poorly advertised and lacking in any official detailed information, so I can’t tell you what the American barbecue plate is or how much it costs.
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.
The 8th century Amita-bul rock statue at Seongjuam Hermitage in northern Gyeongju.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Seongjuam Hermitage is located in northern Gyeongju near the Yuldong train station. More specifically, the small hermitage is situated on the eastern slopes of Mt. Byeokdosan (437m).
You first approach the hermitage up some very rural roads in northern Gyeongju and eventually up a mountainside road. Standing in the remote hermitage parking lot, which has the feel that no one’s parked there for decades, you’ll find the head of the trail that leads up to the hermitage to the right of the parking lot retaining wall. Through a bend in the trail to the left and then to the right, you’ll see a sign that is the surest indication that Seongjuam Hermitage is up ahead. The sign describes the history behind what the hermitage is most famous for: the Rock-carved Standing Buddha Triad.
Up the mountain trail for one hundred metres, you’ll finally come to the outskirts of the hermitage. Uniquely, the first thing to greet you to the right is the hermitage’s Sanshin-gak. The diminutive shrine hall has a beautiful signboard that denotes the name of the hall above the entry. Stepping inside the Sanshin-gak, you’ll see that Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) is making a mudra with his left hand, while the psychedelic eyes of his tiger companion stare out at you.
To the left of the Sanshin-gak, and up a set of uneven stone stairs, is the hermitage’s main hall. Both the main hall and the monks’ dorms are one. The L-shaped building houses the monks’ dorms to the far left, while the main hall is to the right. Inside this extremely small main hall are a set of red paintings that illustrate the guardian mural as well as the Sermon on Vulture Peak.
But it’s to the right rear of this L-shaped building that you come across what the hermitage is most famous for: the Rock-carved Standing Buddha Triad. This triad, which also acts as Korea’s Treasure #122, was first created in the 8th century during the Unified Silla Dynasty. The triad looks out towards the west and has a slightly smiling Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) in the centre. This image is flanked on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power and Wisdom for Amita-bul) to the left. The triad is reminiscent of the images found at Gulbulsa-ji Temple Site in central Gyeongju.
HOW TO GET THERE: From the Yuldong Train Station in northern Gyeongju, you need to exit the train station to the south. Along the way, follow the signs that read “경주두대리마애석불입상.” These signs are leading you towards the famed Rock-carved Standing Buddha Triad at Seongjuam Hermitage. The trek is about one kilometre long.
OVERALL RATING: 4/10. While the temple buildings at Seongjuam Hermitage are largely disappointing outside of the beautiful painting housed inside the Sanshin-gak, a bit of the luster that is lost from them is regained by standing in front of the amazing 8th century Rock-carved Standing Buddha Triad.
The head of the trail that leads up to Seongjuam Hermitage.
The actual trail that leads towards the hermitage grounds.
The Sanshin-gak at Seongjuam Hermitage.
The unique signboard that is placed above the entry of the Sanshin-gak.
The amazing Sanshin mural housed inside the shaman shrine hall.
A look towards the monks’ dorms and the main hall at the hermitage.
A closer look at the L-shaped building.
The plateau where the 8th century triad is located.
A look at the amazing triad!
A closer look at Amita-bul.
The view from the stone platform out towards the Sanshin-gak.
As well as some of the beautiful flowers that line that side of the hermitage trail.
Is someone asking you for a favor or thanking you for your help, but you don’t know quite how to respond to them? Now is the perfect opportunity for you to learn the correct way to reply, by being taught how to say ‘no problem’ in Korean!
*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!
‘No Problem’ in Korean
The most common way to say ‘no problem’ in Korean is by saying 괜찮아요 (gwaenchanayo), which you might already be aware is also the most common way to express the phrase ‘it’s okay’ in Korean. Sometimes you’ll also hear 천만에요 (cheonmaneyo) being used to express ‘no problem’; however, this is usually solely reserved for situations requiring the response of ‘you’re welcome’. A lot of Koreans also consider this phrase to be outdated and silly to use.
Formal ‘No Problem’ in Korean
1. 괜찮습니다 (gwaenchanseumnida)
You’ll most often use this version of ‘no problem’ with elders, those with higher status than you, or people you don’t know well.
Standard ‘No Problem’ in Korean
1. 괜찮아요 (gwaenchanhayo)
This version of the phrase can be used in most situations. It’s often used with people who you don’t know well yet, or those older than you.
Informal ‘No Problem’ in Korean
1. 괜찮아 (gwaenchanha)
If you’re speaking with people younger to you or who you have a close personal relationship with you, then you can use this version.
When to Use ‘No Problem’ in Korean
You can use this whenever someone asks you for a favor or is thanking you for your help. In addition, you can use this if someone accidentally bumps into you.
Other Related Vocabulary
Here are a few more ways to for how to say ‘no problem’ in Korean. Note that although they are useful, they are not as popular to use for this particular meaning.
문제가 안됩니다(munjega andwaemnida)
It won’t be a problem
문제 없어요 (munje eobseoyo)
There is no problem
A Word of Caution About Romanization
The use of romanization helps when you are first learning to read Korean. However, if you don’t learn to read Hangul, this dependency can slow down your abilities to learn Korean.
Not only that, but it also can make Korean seem frustrating since romanized pronunciation can be quite confusing. We recommend learning the Korean alphabet as quickly as possible. You can download a free guide here and be reading Korean words in about 1 hour.
For those of you who might have been worried that the phrase ‘no problem’ is somehow complex to use in Korean, fear no more! As you can see, it’s quite simple. And the best way for you to ensure that you’ll remember it in all the right situations in the future is simply by starting to use it right now!
Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series: http://www.90DayKorean.com/learn
Korea is a fast paced, fun city with lots of places to visit and things to experience. It’s also got a unique culture, customs, and ideologies that are the norm to us who’ve lived here for years, but not to those visiting. Here is a list of things that foreign tourists find to be fascinating, unusual and maybe even shocking in Korea. Let us know if there are any you agree with!
1. Lightning Speed Wifi
Unless you’re stranded at the top of a mountain with literally nothing and no one around you, chances are that you’ll probably be able to access wifi almost anywhere here. Not too surprising as we’re the proud owners of the world’s fastest average internet connection speed. 55% of you love how fast the wifi is and find it handy when looking up information about a tourist spot. Also, if you have absolutely no sense of direction at all, then you’ll be in good hands as you can look up where your destination is anytime.
Though wifi is almost everywhere, some places like subways require you to pay to access it, so if you want to be able to have it wherever you go, a portable wifi device aka a wifi egg is your best bet. With this bad boy, you can travel all over Korea and use the internet whenever and wherever you want!
2. The Cutting Edge Subway System
The subway system in Korea is an absolute gem as it’s reasonably priced, quick and efficient. Exploring the city will be a piece of cake! You seriously won’t be needing a car here.
The subway fare is very inexpensive and transfers are also super convenient, with signs in English all over the station that make navigating a breeze. Oh, and there’s an app with a map of the subway system, complete with timetables showing times for the first and last train – all in English. How awesome is that?
3. Cutting Food Not With Knives, But Scissors?
Many of you apparently don’t use scissors to cut your food back home. But it’s a heck of a lot easier than using a knife, that’s for sure. The convenience and time effectiveness of cutting food with scissors, especially with thick and coarse meat or kimchi is incomparable to using a knife. And who wants to be waiting around for a thick piece of meat to be cut into pieces with a knife, especially when they’re starving! It’s just so much more efficient. Speaking of meat, check out all these delicious places to satisfy your taste buds. And be sure to cut them with scissors!
4. A Foot Mask? Snail Cream? Yes, They Do Exist
Korea’s the mecca of skincare and beauty- there’s no denying that. There are tourists in Myeongdong dragging heavy suitcases that they fill with skincare and makeup products on the daily. And who could blame them? They’re inexpensive and though some of them look and sound ridiculous, Korea’s definitely ahead of the curve and thrives in the creative department when it comes to coming out with new products that have endless claims promising to make us look gorgeous. And you know what? A lot of them actually do work- just look at all the people on the streets who have gorgeous, translucent skin!
The shelves are lined with cute hand lotions shaped like apples and chocolates, eyebrow stains that stay on all week, creams with snail slime that claim to make you look 10 years younger, masks not only for your face but also your lips… the list is endless. It’s quirky and gimmicky, and it sells. Check out our ultimate guide to Korean cosmetics here.
5. The World’s Most Dangerous Border. Dun dun dun…..
Sounds terrifying, right? It’s actually not that bad at all, as long as you follow the (very strict) instructions from your guides. A lot of you love the DMZ Tour and are fascinated by it since it gives you a glimpse of our (not so) friendly neighbor, North Korea. Prepare to be fascinated as you take a tour of this area barricaded with barbed wire fences and guard posts.
If you want the closest view possible of the North, the exclusive JSA tour is your best bet, since you can witness North and Korean forces standing face to face, experiencing the full-fledged tension between the two firsthand.
Your head could be on the chopping block and you could be whisked off to a prison camp in a heartbeat, so make sure you abide by the dress code, photography restrictions and behavioral rules. For example, you can’t wear rip jeans because apparently, the North Koreans used it as a form of propaganda to show that Westerners can’t afford new jeans!
For more fun and informative posts like this one, be sure to check out Trazy.com!
I don’t like making pastry. Well, I didn’t like making pastry. Now, I feel mostly neutral about it. That’s because I’ve made a concerted effort over the past few months to overcome a lifelong aversion to it via self-inflicted exposure therapy. There have been a lot of things that have helped me get to a place of casual coexistence with the finicky dough (not least of which being a flurry of consolatory messages sent back and forth across the ocean with my comrade in arms in the battle of flakiness, Stepho Snacks), but that’s for another post.
The point is, I put myself on a cake ban until I got the business down.
But last week I was not feeling so hot — something somewhere in between the blues and the angry reds, I guess. This summer’s eternal heatwave had yet to break, and it felt like that was it — we all just lived in a cloud of humidity located two miles from the surface of the sun forever.
I went to the flower market in the morning, daring the heat to get the better of me. When I got home, I just wanted to bake. Not hard bake, not the kind of baking where you concentrate and learn, but the kind that you’ve done so many times that it’s become a routine, a way to let your hands take over while your mind wanders.
I rifled through the cabinets and came out holding a can of coconut milk. My grams used to make a beautiful coconut cake every easter and sometimes even for her own birthday. It’s not the kind of cake I crave very often, but 35 degrees and climbing is not exactly the time or the place for double Dutch cocoa. I may be stuck in the sweltering city, but concrete dwellers have just as much a right to coconut and rum as any tawny beach bum.
For the base, I modified a recipe from The Violet Bakery Cookbook, a heavenly chiffon sponge that would soak up the coconut milk and rum and still remain light and airy. There was something a bit tres leches about the result. I used white rum, as its what I had on hand, but I think dark rum would be even better.
The soak is also behind the mini-cake form — you can’t soak cupcakes like you can a sheet cake. As has already been well documented on this blog, I am partial to less sweet desserts, which means I have a slight aversion to frosting. B gobbled up the mini cakes, while I mostly stuck to the unfrosted scraps, which were, in my opinion, perfect, if less visually attractive.
Now we’re having a bit of a summer revival after a treacherous respite, but the worst of it is over. My favorite baking season is approaching, but it’s not too late for a little summery cake. Gather ye coconuts while ye may, kids.
(As a sidenote, I hope the site redesign isn’t causing too much trouble. It’s going to make it vastly easier for me to organize the site, and I hope it will also make it easier for you to navigate in the long run. I also need to embed a bit of code here for Bloglovin, which will tell you to follow me on Bloglovin — you don’t really have to follow me on Bloglovin. It’s just what the code says. Of course, you can if you want to!)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 c white sugar, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 5 egg whites
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup white or dark rum
- 3 tablespoons dark or muscovado sugar
- 4 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk, chilled
- 1 teaspoon white rum
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- coconut shavings for topping
- Grease a 9"x13" cake pan and preheat the oven to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F).
- Sift together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix half of the sugar, the salt, the vegetable oil, the egg yolks, the water, the vanilla and the nutmeg until creamy and light in color. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined.
- In another large bowl, mix the egg whites and the sugar until stiff peaks form. Stir about a third of the egg whites into the cake batter and then fold in the rest, careful not to over-stir as it will deflate the whites and cause the cake to fall.
- Pour the mixture into the cake pan and smooth over with a spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown and bounces back when pressed with the finger.
- For the soak, heat the coconut milk and sugar over medium heat in a sauce pan until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the rum and set aside to cool slightly. When both the soak and the cake have cooled to just warm to the touch, pierce the cake all over with a skewer or toothpick. Drizzle the soak over the top and leave on the counter to soak.
- To make the frosting, stir together the coconut milk, rum and vanilla. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to soften the butter. Slowly add the chilled coconut milk to the butter while mixing on high. When the mixture comes together, sprinkle in the salt and begin adding the powdered sugar a cup at a time until the frosting is the consistency and sweetness you prefer.
- Use a round cookie cutter or mold to cut circles out of the sheet cake. Layer the cake circles together with the frosting, frost the tops and sprinkle with the shredded coconut. These cakes are best eaten right away but can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
Anyone who's studied a little bit of Korean and a little bit of Japanese might tell you, "Korean and Japanese seem so similar!"
After all, many of the words can sound similar to each other. For example, the Korean word for "promise" is 약속 ("yak-sok") and the Japanese word is 約束 ("yaku-soku"). And there are thousands of more words that sound similar between the two languages.
In addition, lots of the grammar seems similar (such as particles). For example, the Korean particle 에 ("e") can mean "to" a location, and the Japanese particle へ ("e") can also mean "to" a location.
There seems to be so many similarities, but are the languages truly related? Find out in this week's new special episode right here!
Feel free to send in your own questions and they might be featured in an upcoming video.
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Well, I've been there and back again as Tolkien would put it, and with the customary chests of gold to prove it, so long as chests can be suitcases and gold can consist of quinoa, clothing, candles, and many other things that don't start with /k/, if you can believe it. Allow me my alliteration, alright?
Anyway (sorry, sorry, I promise I'll stop), I've been back from vacation for about three weeks, which means I finally have the energy and presence of mind to write about, well, anything. Jetlag is rough, kids. Add that to the horrendously hot weather, and my sleep has been, in a word, crappy.
Each trip home has been weird in a different way. The first year it was mostly exciting and a bit surreal. My life in Korea started to feel like a dream, and I was surprised upon coming back to find everything exactly where I'd left it. My second visit was just odd and stressful and unsettled- I feel like I never really got my balance. And this year?
This year was the first time I felt any strong desire to move back home. I met my friends, and saw the lives they were living, and for a moment I thought...this could be me. Do I want this to be me?
I'm lucky to have the job that I have, to be able to support myself at 26, debt-free, with the ability to travel on my own dime, and not have to stress about the bill at a fancy restaurant most of the time. Any time I start to complain, I try to remind myself of that. Not in a "there are STARVING CHILDREN in [insert stereotypical poor country] so EAT your green beans for crissakes" but in a more...count your blessings sort of way. Visiting home every summer is a great way to remind me of that.
Despite an ongoing fight from tobacco companies, the South Korean government says starting in December, health-warning text & images must be included on the upper part of all cigarette packaging for sale in the ROK. Canada was the first country to make the change about 15 years ago, & Korea FM host Chance Dorland recently spoke about that first of its kind transition with Canadian Cancer Society Senior Policy Analyst Rob Cunningham & Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada Executive Director Cynthia Callard to discuss how the new rules went into effect, the opposition they faced from tobacco companies, & how similar regulations could work here in South Korea.
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