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Dongmyeong Bulwon – 동명불원 (Nam-gu, Busan)

The Cheonwangmun Gate at Dongmyeong Bulwon in Nam-gu, Busan.

Temple History

Dongmyeong Bulwon is located in the southern part of Busan in Nam-gu. In fact, it’s situated just south of the U.N. Cemetery in Busan and just north of Mt. Bongorisan (173.3 m). The name of the temple might sound a bit strange because it doesn’t end with the common “sa” suffix. Instead, the temple is considered a “Bulwon” which means “The Buddha’s Oath” in English. What this specifically means is a reference to the Buddha making an oath to save all sentient beings.

Dongmyeong Bulwon is a modern temple. It was first opened on May 22nd, 1977. In total, the Dongmyeong Bulwon grounds measure 2,700 pyeong, or 9,000 square metres in size. Dongmyeong Bulwon was built by the late Chairman of Dongmyeong Wood, Kang Seok-jin. It was built for the good luck of the ten thousand families of the workers that worked at the Dongmyeong Wood factory. It was also built for Kang’s deceased parents and the prosperity of Korea.

One of the temple’s key features is the massive Brahma Bell that’s the largest of its kind in Korea. It weighs an impressive twenty-seven tons, which is six tons more than the famed Emile Bell in Gyeongju. As for its design, it has Bicheon (Flying Heavenly Deities) adorning it, and it’s impressive in both size and beauty.

Temple Layout

When you first arrive at the temple, and turn left off of the busy Busan street, you’ll be greeted by one of the more impressive Cheonwangmun Gates in all of Korea. Sitting inside of this gate are four towering, and menacing, statues of the Four Heavenly Kings. They are dressed regally; and yet, they are quite intimidating. They are trampling underfoot some of the more diabolical demons that you’ll find inside a Cheonwangmun Gate. This gate is adorned with a large lion-headed door knocker, as well as a metal manja (swastika). It also has two anime-like paintings of Miljeok Geumgang and Narayeon Geumgang on the temple courtyard side of the Cheonwangmun Gate, as well.

As you first enter the temple courtyard, you’ll notice the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) to your left. This is the structure that houses the amazing twenty-seven ton Brahma Bell. To your right, on the other hand, is the Gwaneum-jeon Hall. Housed inside this temple shrine hall, you’ll find a tranquil statue dedicated Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) seated in the centre of the main altar. In Gwanseeum-bosal’s right hand, you’ll find that she’s holding a medicinal bottle of ambrosia. Joining this seated statue of Gwanseeum-bosal on the main altar is a dongja (attendant) to the right and a fierce image of Yongwang (The Dragon King) to the left.

All the structures and statues at Dongmyeong Bulwon are quite large, but it’s the mammoth two-story Daeung-jeon Hall that’s the largest. In fact, it’s one of the largest main halls that you’ll find at a Korean Buddhist temple. Unfortunately because it’s made from concrete, some of the Daeung-jeon Hall’s exterior paintings are already fading. As a result, the exterior isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing to the eye. However, with all that being said, the cavernous interior of the Daeung-jeon Hall is beautiful. Sitting on the main altar are three large statues. Sitting in the centre of this triad is Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This image is joined on either side by Yeondeung-bul (The Past Buddha) and Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). Looking up at the ceiling of the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll notice an impressive dragon mural. To the right of the main altar is a painting and statue dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And to the left is a rather plain Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural).

Out in front of the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find two highly original pagodas. The pagoda to the left is Deokmang-tap, while the pagoda to the right is named Budeok-tap. Both pagodas are nearly identical in appearance. These pagodas are five stories high; and rather interestingly, between the fourth and fifth story, you’ll find four smaller sized pagodas. They almost look like a rook in chess.

To the left of these pagodas and the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find two additional temple shrine halls. The first is the Nahan-jeon Hall which houses sixteen beautifully crafted images of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). These statues then surround a large golden statue of Seokgamoni-bul that sits in the centre of the main altar. And to the right of the Nahan-jeon Hall is the Geukrak-jeon Hall. This temple shrine hall is a little hidden behind shrubbery that grows extensively throughout the entire temple grounds. Sitting on the main altar of the Geukrak-jeon Hall is a statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). This statue is flanked on the main altar by Gwanseeum-bosal and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul).

Almost hidden away, and up a set of stairs to the left of the Daeung-jeon Hall, is an upper courtyard that houses three shaman shrine halls. The first of these three is the Dokseong-gak Hall. The large statue of Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) that sits inside this shaman shrine hall wears long, regal clothes. The next shaman shrine hall is the Chilseong-gak Hall. Housed inside this temple shrine hall is a beautiful statue and painting dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). And the final shaman shrine hall at Dongmyeong Bulwon is the Sanshin-gak Hall. Housed inside this hall is another large sized statue; this time, dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Sanshin is joined by an even larger statue of his accompanying tiger.

How To Get There

To get to Dongmyeong Bulwon, you’ll first need to take the Busan subway until you get to Daeyeon Station, which is stop #213. From there, go out exit #10 and walk towards the U.N. cemetery, which will take about fifteen minutes. From the U.N. cemetery, you’ll need to walk an additional fifteen minutes towards the mountains. The signs along the way should help guide you towards the Dongmyeong Bulwon temple grounds.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Everything at Dongmyeong Bulwon seems to be large in size. With its massive statues inside each of the temple shrine halls. Additionally, have a look at the impressive Cheonwangmun Gate (both inside and out), the statue of Yongwang inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall, and the pair of uniquely designed stone pagodas out in front of the Daeung-jeon Hall. The temple grounds are a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The only drawback is that most of the temple structures appear to be made of concrete.

Damun Cheonwang who is one of the Four Heavenly Kings inside the Cheonwangmun Gate.
The anime-like Narayeon Geumgang on the courtyard side of the Cheonwangmun Gate.
The Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) at Dongmyeong Bulwon.
A look inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall: Yongwang (left), Gwanseeum-bosal (centre), dongja (right).
A look up at the two-story Daeung-jeon Hall with the unique five story pagoda out in front of it.
A closer look at the uniquely designed five-story stone pagoda at Dongmyeong Bulwon.
A look inside the massive Daeung-jeon Hall.
The main altar inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall.
A look up at the Lonely Saint inside the Dokseong-gak Hall.
Next to the Dokseong-gak Hall is the Chilseong-gak Hall.
And the final shaman shrine hall at Dongmyeong Bulwon is the Sanshin-gak Hall.

Native Korean teacher versus non-native Korean teacher | A Glass with Billy

Which is better, a native or non-native Korean teacher?

Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but exactly what are those? Is there a reason someone should not choose a native teacher, or should not choose a non-native teacher (such as myself)?

I met up with "Korean Jream" and we shared which one you should choose, and why.

The post Native Korean teacher versus non-native Korean teacher | A Glass with Billy appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





Common Words Koreans Often Misuse | Korean FAQ

Native Korean speakers can make mistakes too (of course), but some of them are so prolific that they're good to be aware of even as a learner.

While there are many common spelling mistakes you might see, I wanted to focus more on mistakes related to usage, grammar, and verbs.

This video is about common mistakes that native Korean speakers make related to things such as using verbs or grammar, and not spelling mistakes.

The post Common Words Koreans Often Misuse | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Hobbies in Korean – Vocabulary for your favorite activities

Talking about things that you like to do can be fun. This makes learning about hobbies in Korean helpful when talking to a new Korean friend. Hobbies can be one big topic to cover, so you won’t run out of things to talk about!

If you’re new to learning the Korean language, start by covering the Korean alphabet. That way, learning hobbies in Korean will be far easier!

Hobbies in Korean

Hobbies in Korean

The word hobby is translated as 취미 (chwimi) in Korean. This is the first word you need to know before we dive into learning words for specific hobbies.

In this lesson, you will be learning the most common hobbies in Korean. In addition, we’ll teach you some simple Korean phrases too.

What are Korean hobbies?

Koreans are fond of doing different things as a hobby. They enjoy outdoor activities like playing sports, hanging out at coffee shops, or shopping. However, indoor activities like watching Korean dramas or movies, texting their friends, and eating good food are highly enjoyed by many too! These interests are just a few, and there are plenty more things that are fun to do for Koreans, and we’ve enumerated them below.

List of hobbies in Korean

People may have different interests and things they find enjoyable. This way, it’s also fun to meet new friends we share similar hobbies with. Check out the words below and see if one or some of these are hobbies. Now, let’s get to learning!

Kids hobbies. Young athletes, musicians and artists, teenagers hold different objects, children activities and interests. Sports, drawing and leisure time. Vector cartoon flat isolated set

Common words on hobbies

Here is some common vocabulary on typical Korean hobbies. These hobbies are usually part of one’s routine and are usually a means of relaxation for some. Language learning like what you’re doing now falls under this category too!

hobby취미 (chwimi)
reading독서 (dokseo)
cooking요리 (yori)
watching movies영화보기 (yeonghwabogi)
watching TV티비보기 (tibibogi)
watching dramas드라마보기 (deuramabogi)
surfing Internet인터넷하기 (inteonethagi)
learning배우기 (baeugi)
language learning언어 베우기 (eoneo beugi)
blogging블로깅 (beulloging)
spending time with friends친구하고 시간을 보내기 (chinguhago siganeul bonaegi)

Hobbies related to music

You might be part of a band, playing one or more instruments, or you just love music. If so, you might find your hobby below. These hobbies often involve the use of a musical instrument or simply your voice.

listening to music음악듣기 (eumakdeutgi)
singing노래하기 (noraehagi)
piano피아노 (piano)
guitar기타 (gita)
drums드럼 (deureom)
violin바이올린 (baiollin)
trumpet트럼펫 (teureompet)
saxophone색소폰 (saeksopon)

Hobbies related to art

Art covers different kinds of hobbies, from photography to pottery. Hobbies related to arts are often an expression of one’s emotions and talents too. Apart from the process, one of the best things about these hobbies is the handiwork that you get to use or keep!

drawing, painting그림 (geurim)
pottery도예 (doye)
calligraphy서예 (seoye)
papercrafts지공예 (jigongye)
embroidery자수 (jasu)
woodwork목공 (mokgong)
sewing바느질 (baneujil)
knitting, crochet뜨개질 (tteugaejil)
photography사진 찍기 (sajin jjikgi)
model building모형 만들기 (mohyeong mandeulgi)
jewelry making귀금석 제조 (gwigeumseok jejo)
collecting stamps우표 수집 (upyo sujip)

Child cartoon character painting on canvas, flat vector illustration isolated.

Hobbies related to sports and activities

Sports and other activities are usual hobbies that people enjoy. These can either be done outdoors or indoors.

chess체스 (cheseu)
games게임 (geim)
video games비디오게임 (bidiogeim)
board games보드게임 (bodeugeim)
walking산책 (sanchaek)
jogging조깅 (joging)
running달리기 (dalligi)
cycling자전거타기 (jajeongeotagi)
fishing낚시 (naksi)
hiking등산 (deungsan)
camping캠핑 (kaemping)
traveling여행 (yeohaeng)
birding조류 관찰 (joryu gwanchal)
volunteering자원봉사 (jawonbongsa)
swimming수영 (suyeong)
dancing춤 (chum)
taekwondo태권도 (taegwondo)
soccer, football축구 (chukgu)
basketball농구 (nonggu)
volleyball배구 (baegu)
baseball야구 (yagu)
table tennis탁구 (takgu)
golf골프 (golpeu)
tennis테니스 (teniseu)
badminton배드민턴 (baedeuminteon)
exercising운동하기 (undonghagi)
watching sports스포츠보기 (seupocheubogi)
archery양궁 (yanggung)
billiard당구 (danggu)
horseback riding승마 (seungma)
ice skating스케이트 (seukeiteu)
skiing스키 (seuki)
snowboarding스노보드 타기 (seunobodeu tagi)
surfing서핑 (seoping)
scuba diving스쿠버 다이빙 (seukubeo daibing)
skateboarding스케이트보드 타기 (seukeiteubodeu tagi)
yoga요가 (yoga)
pilates필라테즈 (pillatejeu)

Verbs to use when talking about hobbies in Korean

Hobbies are associated with actions, whether they are passive or active. Below, we have also listed some common action words often used when talking about a hobby.

to draw, to paint그리다 (geurida)
to listen듣다 (deutda)
to watch보다 (boda)
to like좋아하다 (joahada)
to dislike싫어하다 (sileohada)
to do하다 (hada)
to make만들다 (mandeulda)
to read읽다 (ilda)
to play; to hit, to strike치다 (chida)
to ride, to take, to get on타다 (tada)
to play an instrument악기를 연주하다 (akgireul yeonjuhada)

Happy Father And Son Play In Video Game

Useful phrases about hobbies in Korean

Hobbies are a common conversation topic when meeting someone for the first time or getting to know someone. If you’re planning to meet Korean friends soon, it’s useful to have questions and phrases about hobbies in Korean on hand.

Here are some questions and phrases in Korean that you can use during a conversation you’ll have about your hobby.

How to ask about hobbies in Korean?

Here are some questions about hobbies that you might encounter or you can ask your Korean friend:

What is your hobby? / What are your hobbies?취미가 뭐예요?
(chwimiga mwoyeyo?)
What do you like to do?뭘 하는 걸 좋아해요?
(mwol haneun geol joahaeyo?)
Do you like cooking?요리하는 걸 좋아해요?
(yorihaneun geol joahaeyo?)
What do you like to do for fun?재미로 뭘 하는 걸 좋아해요?
(jaemiro mwol haneun geol joahaeyo?)
What do you do in your free time?시간 남을 때 뭐해요?
(sigan nameul ttae mwohaeyo?)
What do you like to do in your free time?자유시간 있을 때 뭐하는 걸 좋아해요?
(jayusigan isseul ttae mwohaneun geol joahaeyo?)
Can you play any musical instrument?악기를 연주할 수 있어요?
(akgireul yeonjuhal su isseoyo?)
Can you do any sports?스포츠를 할 수 있어요?
(seupocheureul hal su isseoyo?)

How to talk about hobbies in Korean?

To answer the questions above, you can practice on these phrases:

My hobbies are...제 취미는 X예요/이에요.
(je chwimineun Xyeyo/ieyo.)
My hobby is traveling.제 취미는 예행이에요.
(je chwimineun yehaengieyo.)
I like...X 좋아해요.
(X joahaeyo.)
I like watching movies.영화보기 좋아해요.
(yeonghwabogi joahaeyo.)
I like to sing.저는 노래하는 걸 좋아해요.
(jeoneun noraehaneun geol joahaeyo.)
I like to do X for fun.재미로 X하는 걸 좋아해요.
(jaemiro Xhaneun geol joahaeyo.)
I like taking photos for fun.재미로 사진 찍는 걸 좋아해요.
(jaemiro sajin jjingneun geol joahaeyo.)
I like to read books in my free time.자유시간 있을 때 책을 읽는 걸 좋아해요.
(jayusigan isseul ttae chaegeul ingneun geol joahaeyo.)
I play the piano every day.저는 매일 피아노를 쳐요.
(jeoneun maeil pianoreul chyeoyo.)
I cannot do X well.저는 X를 잘 못해요.
(jeoneun Xreul jal mothaeyo.)
I can't play football well.저는 축구치기를 잘 못해요.
(jeoneun chukguchigireul jal mothaeyo.)
I don't like swimming.저는 수영하기를 싫어해요.
(jeoneun suyeonghagireul sileohaeyo.)

Wow! There are so many things you might love doing and many different but simple ways to describe them. Now that you know how to talk about your hobby in Korean, you have yet another topic you can talk with your Korean friends about. And why not practice already below in the comment section by telling us about your favorite hobby? Don’t forget to check our blog for more fun topics in learning Korean!

The post Hobbies in Korean – Vocabulary for your favorite activities appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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20 Traditional Korean Dishes You Won’t Want To Miss

Do you know what the tastiest traditional Korean dishes are? You might think of Korean BBQ, or maybe kimchi and ramyeon. These are just the tip of a culinary iceberg that covers a wide range of dining options for all travellers.

You can plumb the depths of an ocean of exquisite tastes, incredible eating experiences, and a variety of flavours, textures, smells, and sights while partaking in Korea’s finest traditional fare.

Meet the 20 most mouth-watering traditional Korean dishes that you will be craving now and long after you return from your trip to Korea. There’s something for everyone in this list, whether you’re a meat-lover, vegetarian, vegan, spice-lover, or seafood-addict.

The hardest part of visiting Korea is having to choose which ones to eat and when! There often isn’t enough time to try them all, so take a look at the list below and see which ones you shouldn’t miss.

Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links and I may earn commission for purchases made after clicking one of these links. Affiliate Disclaimer

Traditional Korean dishes with soju

The Top 20 Traditional Korean Dishes

A meal in Korea is like a window into the local culture, where sharing food is core to a harmonious society, and meals are designed to be enjoyed by many people. This makes eating out a stomach-pleasing experience and soul-warming event that can be lots of fun and lead to some amazing nights out.

Because eating a traditional Korean meal can sometimes be a spectacle, it’s best shared with friends or family. Meals can come with an array of small dishes to sample, a large pot of something yummy boiling or frying away in the centre of the table, and food lovingly prepared by chefs who specialise in this one dish.

Eager to know more about Korean dining culture and want to know about what to do and how to behave? There are some Korean dining tips after these 20 traditional Korean dishes, so make sure to keep on reading.

And if you’re still hungry after all that, be sure to check out these other articles all about yummy Korean foods.

Delicious Korean Winter Foods
Strange Korean Dishes

Note about prices (2021): food prices have been rising sharply over the last few years and this has led to a rise in the cost of eating out. If you visited Korea in the past, don’t be surprised to see costs have risen 10% or more. Prices quoted are averages and don’t include extras such as drinks.

Now let’s begin this culinary journey. Make sure you’ve got something to nibble as you read, as you’re going to feel hungry by the end of this!

Eating Korean BBQ, a traditional Korean dish

1: Samgyeopsal 삼겹살 (Korean BBQ)

There are numerous options for BBQ in Korea, with different cuts of meat, but the definitive experience comes from eating samgyeopsal (literally – three layered pork). It’s thick, juicy, cheap, and you can find it everywhere.

I have to admit, this is my favourite traditional Korean food. It’s different from a British or American BBQ, but certainly gives you the same fix and will leave you feeling stuffed.

Wrap it in a lettuce leaf with kimchi, garlic, and whatever else you want, then pop it in your mouth. You will be provided a wide range of side dishes with this meal. You can even order all-you-can-eat options in some places.

Cost: 10-20,000 KRW per person. Typically served for 2+ people.

Why you should try it: The iconic Korean meal that is more of a social event than a simple meal. Eat, drink, laugh, and end up in a meat coma with a smile on your face.

Gimbap rolls in a market in Seoul

2: Gimbap 김밥 (Seaweed Wrapped Rolls)

Gimbap (also spelt kimbap) is extremely versatile and can be bought as a snack from a convenience store, or the main part of a meal in a traditional Korean restaurant.

This simple dish is actually one of the most popular traditional Korean dishes. I personally love gimbap as it is light, healthy, and comes in a range of mouth-watering fillings, such as cream cheese, bulgogi (fried beef), lobster, and lots more.

This is a great meal option for those who want to cut their costs while travelling to Korea. It’s also great when you want to go hiking and need to pack a filling snack for the journey.

Cost: 1,500 KRW (convenience store) to 5,000 KRW (restaurant) per large roll.

Why you should try it: A lot healthier than Korean street food, lots of great fillings, and it’s so cheap and convenient.

Kimchi jjigae, a traditional Korean dish

3: Kimchi Jjigae 김치 찌개 (Kimchi Stew)

Kimchi jjigae is a delightful mix of cabbage kimchi, tofu, cellophane noodles, pork or tuna, and vegetables, served with a portion of rice.

If you’re visiting Korea during the winter time, then any jjigae (stew) is the perfect way to recover from the cold, harsh winter weather.

When the kimchi is sauteed, it becomes softer and releases all its flavour into the stew, creating a hearty broth. You can even add more kimchi as it comes as a side dish, too.

The best way to eat it is to put a bit of rice on your spoon, dip it in the broth, then top it with the other ingredients.

Cost: 8-10,000 KRW per person.

Why you should try it: The perfect Korean winter food. Heart-warming and filling on a cold winter’s day. Cheap and delicious and found in many places.

Bowl of chuncheon dalkgalbi at Nami Island, Korea

4: Chuncheon Dakgalbi 춘천 닭갈비 (Spicy Stir Fried Chicken)

Chuncheon dakgalbi is another of those traditional Korean dishes for those people who love fried meat. This dish combines marinated chicken with vegetables, rice cake (tteok 떡 ), chilli paste sauce, and other spices. You can also add noodles and cheese.

These ingredients are chucked in a large pan and stir fried at your table. A waiter will come every few minutes and mix it all up for you. This makes it a great food to experience, not just eat.

Although dakgalbi has spread throughout Korea, it first started in Chuncheon and this is the best place to try it. Visit Chuncheon Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street for the finest examples of one of Korea’s best traditional Korean dishes.

Cost: 10-15,000 KRW per person. Typically served for 2+ people.

Why you should try it: A quintessentially Korean dish that mixes meat, vegetables, and spices together and fries them in a big metal pan. Add cheese for a greedy, satisfying meal.

Chopsticks holding a piece of tteokbokki

5: Tteokbokki 떡볶이 (Spicy Stir Fried Rice Cakes)

Tteokbokki is a blend of steamed and sliced rice cakes (tteok 떡), fish cakes (odeng 오뎅), and scallions in a sweet and spicy sauce with plenty of chilli paste. If you’re eating in a restaurant, then add in some cheese and noodles for a filling meal.

This is one of the traditional Korean dishes that you shouldn’t pass up if you’re exploring traditional markets in Korea. Best eaten fresh from the market vendors, this spicy, salty mishmash of classic Korean ingredients is perfect as a snack or meal.

As you can tell from the red colour, it’s going to be spicy! Spiciness and the ingredients in the sauce can vary between vendors – everyone has their own secret recipe. Try it more than once and see which is the best.

Cost: 3-4,000 KRW (street food) or 5-10,000 (restaurant).

Why you should try it: Don’t miss it when you visit a traditional market. A popular snack for tourists and locals alike, it’s a must-have on your South Korean bucket list.

South Korean Bucket List
A bowl of bibimbap

6: Bibimbap 비빔밥 (Mixed Rice With Vegetables)

Literally meaning ‘mixed rice’, bibimbap is a fun, healthy jumble of vegetables, rice, chilli paste, and is topped off with a fried egg. Take all the ingredients and mash it together yourself. Add as much gochujang 고추장 (chilli paste) as you can handle.

Bibimbap is served either cold, in a metal bowl, or heated in a hot stone bowl (dolsot bibimbap 돌솥비빔밥). The hot version is the best version in my opinion as the egg and rice stick together and cook on the hot stone.

If you’re visiting Jeonju, then make sure you try bibimbap there as they have their own version called Jeonju-bibimbap and it’s arguably one of the best.

Cost: 8-12,000 KRW. The hot bibimbap can be more expensive.

Why you should try it: Another one of Korea’s national dishes. Popular in Korea and overseas. It’s a healthy mix of vegetables and spices that is perfect in winter or summer.

Samgyetang is one of the traditional Korean dishes eaten in summer

7: Samgyetang 삼계탕 (Ginseng Chicken Soup)

Samgyetang, a meal in a bowl, contains a whole small chicken packed with rice, garlic, jujube, and ginseng. The thick soup absorbs all of this whilst cooking, leaving a soft, tender chicken and an aromatic, hearty broth. Perfect!

Ironically, this hot, healthy, and delicious ginseng chicken soup is most popular during summer. Koreans have a saying that you should fight heat with heat, meaning that you should eat hot food when it’s hot outside. As strange as it sounds, it actually works.

As with most traditional Korean dishes, you’ll find the best samgyetang in a traditional Korean restaurant. You can sit on the floor at a long table and indulge in the soup with a wide range of side dishes.

Cost: 10-15,000 KRW.

Why you should try it: This is a filling meal that is worth the cost. Perfect during winter, and (if you believe the stories) great in the heat of summer. Healthy and full of ingredients you might not find in your own country.

Korean Summer Guide
Pajeon Korean pancake with soy sauce

8: Pajeon 파전 (Korean Pancake)

Pajeon (Korean savoury pancakes) come with a variety of fillings, including kimchi, potato, beef, pork, and shellfish. The most popular of these is haemul pajeon 해물 파전 (seafood with spring onions) and is a great treat when you’re tired and hungry.

If you’re hiking in Korea, you’ll find a lot of restaurants selling pajeon. You’ll know them by the chefs frying them on a hot plate outside the restaurant. They’re served fresh to hungry hikers who are craving something filling after a long trek.

Dip the pajeon in spicy soy sauce and wash it down with another mountain-based speciality – makgeolli 막걸리. Makgeolli is a creamy rice wine that comes in some interesting flavours, such as chestnut, corn, and even banana.

Cost: 10-12,000 (small) or 15-20,000 KRW (large)

Why you should try it: Embrace Korean culture when you’re out hiking in a national park by ordering a pajeon and makgeolli. Perfect after a long day of hiking or sightseeing.

Hiking In Korea Tips
A bowl of Korean naengmyeon

9: Naengmyeon 냉면 (Cold Noodles)

Naengmyeon is simple dish of cold buckwheat noodles. There are two main varieties – mul naengmyeon 물냉면 (ice-water cold noodles) and bibim naengmyeon 비빔냉면 (spicy cold noodles), both of which are perfect for summer.

I prefer the mul naengmyeon (pictured above) as the noodles are drowned in icy-cold water and become so refreshing. It’s topped with thin pieces of radish, cucumbers, and a boiled egg and seasoned with vinegar and mustard.

Bibim naengymeon is mostly the same but instead of icy-cold water, the noodles are splashed with spicy chilli paste and form an often deadly bowl of spicy noodles. This dish can be deceptively spicy, so be careful.

Cost: 7-10,000 KRW.

Why you should try it: It might not look like much, but it is as refreshing as an ice cream on a hot summer’s day. The cold noodles give you back lost energy during the heat.

Budae Jjigae Army Stew

10: Budae Jjigae 부대찌개 (Army Stew)

Budae jjigae was created by adding various items from American army bases into a regular jjigae (stew). This included Spam, sausages, baked beans, American cheese, as well as some local items, such as instant noodles and tteok (rice cakes).

If you’re wondering how such an obviously foreign food item made it into a traditional Korean dish, the answer goes back to the Korean War. Meat was hard to come by then and the American soldiers provided the locals with food aid.

This unique fusion of American and Korean foods created one of the best dishes in Korea to eat on a cold day. The bright red stew is packed full of rather unhealthy foods, which makes it taste great and gives you lots of energy!

Cost: 10-15,000 KRW per person. Typically served for 2+ people.

Why you should try it: Great in cold weather and a guilty treat that’s not just for soldiers. A delicious mix of East and West.

People learning to cook traditional Korean dishes in Seoul

Try Making Some Traditional Korean Dishes

Want To Try Making Your Own Traditional Korean Dishes?

There are loads of great opportunities to experience cooking traditional Korean food in Seoul. Why not try your hand at making some of these delicious traditional Korean dishes and create some fun memories on your travels?

Cooking Class In Seoul
Maeuntang Spicy Korean Stew

11: Maeuntang 매운탕 (Spicy Fish Stew)

Maeuntang is a hot, spicy fish stew made with a range of different fresh fish. How do you know that the fish are fresh? You can usually choose the fish you want to eat from an aquarium outside the restaurant.

The fresh fish are cut up and boiled with an assortment of vegetables and a bit of ground beef. To give this dish its signature spiciness, generous helpings of red chilli paste (gochujang 고추장) and red chilli flakes (gochugaru 고추가루) are added.

You can find lots of extras in a bowl of maeuntang, such as shellfish, garlic, and more. They give it an unforgettable taste and help make this one of Korea’s most beloved seafood dishes. A traditional Korean dish for those who love their food with a kick.

Cost: 10,000 KRW per person.

Why you should try it: Spice-lovers who want a dish without meat will be pleased with this. Full of fresh ingredients, tastes, and pretty healthy, too. A great combination

A plate of traditional Korean sundae dish

12: Sundae 순대 (Blood Sausage)

One of the oldest traditional dishes in Korea, sundae might make people squeamish at first but it shouldn’t be missed. Sundae is kind of a cross between haggis and black pudding. It is also really delicious and a wonderful, cheap snack.

Sundae traditionally contains pig or cow’s intestines mixed in with rice and vegetables and has long been a regular family meal in Korea. After the Korean War, cellophane noodles were added inside to bulk it out, and it became a cheap street food, too.

Eat sundae by dipping it into a bowl of salt or other seasoning. It goes well with a cold beer on a warm evening. There’s also a soup version with slices of sundae, green veg, and rice in a hearty broth.

Cost: 3,000 KRW (street food) to 7-10,000 KRW (restaurant).

Why you should try it: Because it’s unique and cheap. One for people who want to indulge in Korean dishes. Live like a student and have a lively meal with sundae and beer.

Strange Korean Dishes
A bowl of kalguksu hand cut noodles in Korea

13: Kalguksu 칼국수 (Noodle Soup)

Literally meaning knife-cut noodles, kalguksu has chunky noodles because they are cut by hand and not spun, giving the noodles a rich taste. Extra ingredients can include shellfish, ground beef, chicken, some vegetables, or cilantro.

There are many kinds of noodle soups in Korea, but kalguksu is definitely one of the best. Perfect during winter, this hot, steaming broth is simple but can refresh any weary traveller. It is also deceptively filling and hard to finish.

You can find freshly cut noodles in traditional markets in Korea. Watching the chefs hack up the noodles in front of you, throw them violently into the broth, and serve them directly to you, fresh and spongy, is a culinary experience in itself.

Not only are the noodles some of the best you’ll find, but the broth in some kalguksu restaurants is perfected after decades of experimentation, where they only serve this one dish and have mastered it and made it as good as any meal can be.

Cost: 5-8,000 KRW per person.

Why you should try it: Very filling. The broth is thick and the noodles are thicker. If you find a kalguksu place with a lot of people in it, don’t miss the chance to try it.

A bowl of manduguk dumpling stew

14: Manduguk 만두국 (Dumpling Soup)

Korean dumplings (mandu 만두) are best when they’re in their own soup – manduguk. Manduguk comes in a small or large bowl full of various mandu and squeezed in with tteok 떡 (rice cakes), sliced vegetables, ground meat, or egg.

The mandu come with a variety of different fillings, including kimchi, meat, shrimp, and vegetables. You usually get kimchi or meat dumplings in a manduguk, but good restaurants will have a range of options.

As with some other traditional Korean dishes, there is a special day that people eat manduguk, and that is New Year’s Day. Start the New Year with a bowl of manduguk if you’re in South Korea. Families work together to make the dumplings by hand.

Cost: 8-12,000 KRW per person.

Why you should try it: Chew and munch on this hot dish during winter, trying each of the different types of mandu to find your favourite.

Hoe, a Korean traditional dish of raw fish

15: Hoe 회 (Raw fish)

Hoe is one of the best traditional Korean dishes to eat if you’re visiting Busan or any other seaside town or city. This is more than what you’d expect from Japanese sashimi, hoe has other options beyond the normal thin slices of fresh fish.

You’ll also find a medley of colourful, and sometimes more alive than expected, types of seafood and shellfish. Additional side dishes could include more seafood, kimchi, garlic, soup, soft crabs, fried fish, and more.

Dip the gentle slices in soy sauce and wasabi and indulge as is, or grab some lettuce or cabbage to wrap the raw fish in. Take a lettuce leaf and place the fish inside, along with some garlic and whatever else you like. Like a Korean BBQ but with seafood.

If you’re feeling really brave (and it’s on the menu), why not try some hongeo-hoe – raw fermented skate. Not for the faint hearted, that’s for sure!

Cost: 15-30,000 KRW per person. Costs can vary a lot. Typically served for 2+ people.

Why you should try it: You’ll find lots of essential nutrients in this juicy traditional Korean dish. If you’re by the coast, then you shouldn’t miss out on some of the seafood caught fresh from the seas surrounding Korea.

Korean fried chicken with Korean flag

16: Yangnyeom Tongdak 양념 통닭 (Sticky Fried Chicken)

Yangnyeom tongdak might not seem like the most authentic of all traditional Korean dishes, but its popularity means that it deserves a place on this list. With more than 20,000 fried chicken restaurants in Korea, this is definitely one of the national dishes.

Yangnyeom tongdak stands out above other flavours and types of chicken due to its finger licking qualities. This bold mix of sweet, sour, and spicy sauce lavishly spread over regular fried chicken just works. Topped off with crushed nuts, it’s irresistible.

You can find this as a snack at a Korean baseball game, as a meal on its own, or anywhere selling Korean street food. Grab a cup of it and dip your fingers in if you don’t mind getting messy, or use some chopsticks if you do.

Cost: 3-5,000 KRW (street food) or 10-15,000 (restaurant).

Why you should try it: The combo and chicken and beer is one enjoyed around the world, but few countries do it as well (and as reasonably priced) as Korea.

Spicy stir fried squid

17: Ojingeo Bokkeum 오징어볶음 (Spicy Stir Fried Squid)

I didn’t expect to like ojingeo bokkeum when I first tried it as I’m not a massive fan of squid. However, the soft, tender texture of the squid in this meal makes it surprisingly delectable. You should definitely add it to your list whether you like squid or not.

The sweet, spicy sauce adds a lot to the taste of squid and goes well with the vegetables, too. Stir frying the lot together leaves a fresh, crisp, sweet, spicy, and not too fishy dish that you’ll want more and more of.

Cost: 8-10,000 KRW per person.

Why you should try it: This is one of the most popular traditional Korean dishes and Koreans eat this at home or out. Easy to make, served quick and fresh.

Plate of bossam pork slices

18: Bossam 보쌈 (Wrapped Boiled Pork)

A typical bossam meal comes with a big plate of sliced boiled pork, at least 3 types of kimchi, raw garlic, dipping sauces, and several different things to wrap all of that in.

Koreans love to wrap their food in lettuce and cabbage and bossam takes this to another level. This is a meal all about dipping and wrapping slices of boiled pork – which is more appetising than it sounds. It’s also healthier than fried alternatives.

Choose your favourite ingredients, select one of the dipping sauces or salt, wrap them all up in a lettuce, cabbage, or sesame (perilla) leaf, and then eat in one go. The best part of this meal is experimenting with combinations of all of these separate options.

Cost: 10-15,000 KRW per person. Typically served for 2+ people.

Why you should try it: As much fun as eating samgyeopsal, but less smoky and probably a bit healthier. This is also a great dish to enjoy whatever the weather.

Plate of Korean bulgogi

19: Bulgogi 불고기 (Korean Grilled Beef)

Bulgogi is one of the oldest traditional Korean dishes you can find. Literally translated as fire (bul 불) meat (gogi 고기), this dish is very adaptable and bulgogi can be found in many different meals. You will usually find it barbecued though.

Bulgogi usually comes with sliced beef, which is marinated and then grilled to give it a wonderful smoky, rich meaty taste. It can be other types of meat, too, including pork.

Wrap the freshly cooked meat in a lettuce leaf (like samgyeopsal), add extras, and then shove it into your mouth in one go. This style of eating might seem strange to foreigners, but is completely normal to Koreans.

Cost: 10-15,000 KRW per person. Typically served for 2+ people.

Why you should try it: A nice alternative to samgyeopsal, especially if you can’t eat pork. You’ll get all the same side dishes and have fun wrapping up the meat, but this time it’s thin slices of beef.

Bowl of Korean traditional hangover soup

20: Byeo Haejangguk 뼈 해장국 (Bone Hangover Soup)

There are many types of haejangguk (hangover soup) in Korea that are eaten late at night or in the early morning to cure headaches, but the best of them is byeo haejangguk. This version comes with meat-clad bones, a thick broth, and lots of seasoning.

The meat falls off the bone easily as you mix together meat, soup, rice, and side dish and send it down to your awaiting insides, ready to be embraced and to start repairing your body after a night of drinking.

Of course, you don’t have to eat this only when you have a hangover. It’s great any time, especially in winter. A hot bowl of this with a cool beer, and lots of side dishes is the perfect way to get through a cold January night.

Cost: 8-10,000 KRW per person.

Why you should try it: This dish is perfect on a cold day and will revive and restore you when you’re not feeling well. Fills your belly and your soul.

Korean traditional kimchi

Bonus: Kimchi 김치 (Fermented Vegetables)

Of course, no list of traditional Korean dishes would be complete without mentioning kimchi. Although this isn’t a dish in itself, you probably won’t eat any of these dishes without it.

There is nothing as ubiquitous as kimchi in Korean cuisine. It is served with every meal of the day (yes, even breakfast!), and every type of meal.

It makes a great side dish to snack on, goes great in a stew, fits nicely in a wrap with BBQ or boiled meat, and even belongs in a taco.

Koreans also believe that it has miraculous health benefits, including reducing cholesterol and stopping stomach cancer. It can even keep you young! Whether or not these all work, you certainly can’t travel to Korea without trying kimchi.

Cost: Usually free with any Korean meal.

Why you should try it: It’s healthy, so Korean, and goes well with a whole load of dishes.

Korean people sharing a meal

Tips For Enjoying Traditional Korean Dishes

I’ve eaten out in Korea way too much. It’s hard not too for many reasons. The food is cheap, delicious, and there is so much variety, a lot more than people realise before visiting Korea.

I’ve put together a few tips to help you get even more out of your trip and the delicious Korean meals you’re going to enjoy.

1: Korean Food Is Cheap

Don’t be surprised by how much you get. However, food can get expensive, especially if you want to eat foreign foods. You’re in Korea and so I’d really recommend trying the local foods before looking for something more familiar.

2: Meals For Two

Some meals will be for two or more people and will be indicated on the menu with – 2인 (2 people in Korean). If you see this, then the price is for the whole meal, not per person. This is a big sharing meal and are often much better than individual meals – check them out!

3: Understanding Chinese Characters

Sharing meals (like those found in tip 2) usually come in 3 different sizes, which are represented by traditional Chinese characters. These are as follows:

  • 小 – small portion
  • 中 – medium portion
  • 大 – large portion

A small portion is enough for 2-3 people. Remember, the meal will usually come with side dishes, too.

4: Eat At The Markets

Korea’s traditional markets and street food stalls offer some of the most amazing traditional food and are often cheaper and fresher than in a restaurant. Be sure not to miss them when you visit Seoul and other cities.

5: Indulge In Side Dishes

Traditional Korean meals typically come with side dishes, called banchan (반찬). These are included with the meal and if you ask for more, you can often get free refills. Don’t be surprised if you order a simple meal and end up with 10 or even 20 side dishes!

6: Wrap It Up

If your meal comes with a bowl of lettuce leaves (or cabbage), you’re probably meant to use it to wrap the other parts of the meal. Eating a Korean BBQ is a really fun experience and one of the times it’s ok to get your fingers dirty. Pick up some meat, garlic, kimchi, and whatever else you fancy, and wrap it inside the lettuce leaf and pop it into your mouth.

7: Stay Hydrated

Restaurants in Korea always give you free water (sometimes iced tea). This is a great way to get free liquids during the day. Make the most of it as Korea can be hot, especially in summertime. Also, Korean dishes tend to be quite salty, so staying hydrated is important.

As with many cultures, Korean meals often come with their own set of rules that you probably won’t be aware of before visiting in Korea.

If you want to learn more about these, and avoid embarrassing yourself in front of the locals, then check out my fun and useful guides below:

Korean Etiquette Tips
Pre-Travel Tips For Korea

And if you’re wondering how healthy Korean food is:

Is Korean Food Low Calorie?
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Share Your Thoughts

If you enjoyed reading this article, or if you have any thoughts about it that you want to share, please feel free to leave a message in the comments below. I’d love to hear your feedback about this article and the subject.

If you want some recommendations about where to get some delicious traditional Korean dishes, then you can also ask in the Korea Travel Advice group on Facebook.

Korea Travel Advice Group

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The GuruShots Exhibition in Seoul

It has been a long time since I have been to a gallery and especially one that was showing one of my images. However, this past weekend, the Art Delight Gallery in Itaewon, Seoul was showing the winning images from two GuruShots challenges.

Gurushots showcased the amazing images from the ‘Portrait Photographer of the Year’ & ‘My Ultimate Exhibition Shot’ challenges in a double edition exhibition held at Art Delight Gallery in Seoul. While the COVID restrictions were a bit of an obstacle, I hope that people were able to check out the amazing images in the gallery. All of the photos were simply amazing!

If you are not familiar with GuruShots, they are a digital platform that allows photographers from around the world to submit their work for a variety of thematic photo challenges that open every day. Winning pieces are selected to be shown in GuruShots Exhibitions which are held in major cities across the globe each and every weekend, from New York, London and Stockholm, to Johannesburg, Hanoi, Melbourne, and now Seoul.

This exhibition in Seoul featured the winning photos selected as part of two recent exhibition challenges. Visitors were able to view this remarkable collection of 80 unique printed works submitted by photographers spanning over 30 different countries, and a stunning collection of digital photos.

GuruShots’ mission is not only to help their best photographers expand their careers and gain exposure to larger audiences, but also to motivate, challenge, and inspire aspiring and beginner photographers. GuruShots is an innovative platform that is bringing the world’s art and technology spheres together in a truly unique way. I wrote about them in a blog post a little while ago. I find platforms like this, a great way to boost creativity and participate with photographers from all over the world.

The exhibition ran from 13th to 15th August, including the live facebook stream that I did on the opening night. Dylan Goldby was there to document whole whole event and there was even a photographer creating a 3D interactive Matterport site for the event.

All in all, the photos looked amazing and I was happy to see mine printed and hanging on the walls as well. It was also great to meet up with Dylan as I had not seen him for a long time and had just interviewed him the day before for the Sajin Photography podcast.

The bottomline here is that this event was reminiscent of a pre-covid time where photographers would gather and talk about the amazing photos on the walls and to touch base about the projects that they are working on. It was a little different live streaming the event and being pretty much alone in the gallery, but it was still a memorable night.

The post The GuruShots Exhibition in Seoul appeared first on The Sajin.

Should you avoid the TOPIK test? (feat. Forrest)

The Test of Proficiency in Korean (known as TOPIK) is the most popular test for the Korean language. It's used as a certificate to prove that someone knows Korean, and can be useful on a resume, or just to show other people what you can accomplish.

But while the TOPIK can definitely be useful to students of Korean, then why didn't I take it before?

So I sat down with Forrest (a fellow online Korean teacher) and we discussed why someone might not want to take the TOPIK, as well as why someone would want to. We discussed in-depth some of the pros and cons of the TOPIK.

The post Should you avoid the TOPIK test? (feat. Forrest) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

COVID-19 Vaccination Certification Information



Those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can request their vaccination certificate online and offline. Paper vaccination certificates are available online at or (Korean). Also, certificates can be issued at vaccination centers, co-signed medical institutions and community health centers where a person received a COVID-19 vaccination as well as community service centers.

The certificate includes the personal information of the vaccinated person (your name and date of birth), how many COVID-19 vaccine doses you received, the date(s) you received the dose(s), and where you received it.


The government has launched a blockchain-based electronic COVID-19 vaccination certification service. The vaccination certification service, named COOV (Corona Overcome), is available as a smartphone application. People can download the application through Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store by searching for "전자 예방접종증명서" or "질병관리청 COOV."


For more detailed information about the electronic COVID-19 vaccination certification service see (Korean)


코로나19 예방접종증명서 
접종차수 1차접종
백신제조사 아스트라제네카
접종일자 2021.03.28
나의 인증서
상대방 인증하기 

How to make a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Online




COVID-19 vaccination appointments can be made online through the COVID-19 vaccination reservation system website (, accessible on PC and mobile devices. There are two steps to the process.

How to Make COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Online

  • 1. Verify identity : Mobile phone or joint certificate (공동인증서)
  • 2. Enter personal information : Select date and time and hospital/clinic
  • 3. Confirm appointment : Confirm appointment detail
  • 4. Send the appointment information : You can check appointment detail or cancel your appointment online.
Step 1 (Enter appointment information )

① Verify your identity

- Select one of the five ways to verify your identity.

- ① Naver certificate, ② Kakao certificate, ③ PASS, ④ Joint Certificate, ⑤ Mobile phone verification.


② Enter personal information

- After verifying your identity, enter your name, resident registration (foreigner registration) number, and mobile phone number and click the ‘Check Eligibility’ button.

- After checking eligibility, select the medical institution and appointment date and time, and click the “Reserve (or Make Appointment)“ button.

Step 2 (Notice of completed appointment)

① Appointment notification screen

- In Step 2, you can check the your appointment details that you entered in step 1.

② Send appointment information to mobile phone

- AYou can send your appointment details to your mobile phone. You can check orcancel the appointment by verifying your identity with name, resident registration number/alien registration number, or appointment number in the ‘Appointment Inquiry/Cancellation’ menu on the website.

※ You can log onto the appointment system on the date that corresponds to the last digit of your date of birth according to your resident registration number or alien registration number.

※ If you are not registered with the National Health Insurance, you will need to choose a nearby Vaccination Center for your appointment.

※ Please arrive on time for your vaccine appointment.

※ If you have any questions about COVID-19 vaccination, please contact Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) at ☎1339 or each local government’s COVID-19 vaccination call center*

* To check the phone number of your local government’s COVID-19 vaccination call center, visit NIP website -> Click ’Make a vaccine appointment (사전예약 바로가기)’ -> Click ’Notice (알림마당)’ -> ‘Call center information (콜센터 안내)' 【Korean only】


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