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Busan...Update...Korean Hypocrisy!...

Busan, 3/6/09.My my my, how time passes............It's almost two months since I wrote my last blog, and a hell of a lot has happened over here in Korea. What's that, I hear you ask?Well, presonally, I've lost nearly 10kg (That's a stone and a half to you, Nain), due to a strict fitness regime and a very good diet. I've been waking up in the mornings energised, not losing breath and huffing and p...

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

Boseong, Yulpo Beach - Yulpo Haesu Nokcha Tang

This one is a little secret on the coast just south of Boseong. If you want to see some green in Korea, you must visit the green tea fields (녹차밭) near Boseong. Then you can take the same city bus farther south to Yulpo beach. The beach was on the small side, a bit grey and full of shells. Maybe not so good for swimming, but then again, I was there last weekend - before bikini season had begun.

Anyway, on to the sauna. Just a sauna, you and your opposite-sexed traveling companions will need to spend a bit of time apart to enjoy this place. It's reasonably priced and incredibly well located. As you enter, you can choose your own locker (some are worn) then head into the baths. Shower off all the sand and sweat, then hop in.

There's a nice, bathwater temp saltwater tub just beyond the ice tub, also saltwater. (You'll likely think it's too cold, but after spending as much time as you can stand steeping in the green tea bath, it will feel great!) The tea was around 41*C when I was there. But I enjoyed going back and forth between green tea and ice water, and I also used a towel soaked in cold water to chill my face.

I saw many women rubbing the green tea foam on their face, so I suppose it's good for your skin. The green tea and warm tubs are next to the warm tub, on the ocean-side of the building. The walls are tub-to-ceiling glass so you can steam away while staring out at the receding tide. Sooooo relaxing!

Enjoy the pretty tea fields and various green tea products, and cap it off with a soak, my kittens!

전라남도 보성군 회천면 동율리 678 (율포해수욕장)
Jeollanam Do, Boseong Gu, Hoecheon Myeon, Dong Yulri #678 (Yulpo Beach Area)
Open 6:00 - 20:00 Daily

Rates: 5,000 won - Basically
3,000 won - Kids (7 and under)
3,500 won - Seniors (over 65)

Wikimap of Yulpo Green Tea Spa

Tweets for 2009-06-02

Reading: Is China Pulling Strings in North Korea? ( ) # Props to "Washington Times - EXCLUSIVE: N. Korea general tied to forged $100 bills" ( ) # Looking at: "North Korea to ‘Imperialist Aggressor Forces’: Stop Snooping! | Danger Room |" ( ) # Furious about "China blocks Twitter service ahead of anniversary [...]

The More We Know about DPRK....

...the less we really will want to deal directly with Pyongyang. I really wish would recruit some Asia specialists - and, it's not as if I've not tried to tell the dullards who populate its technical staff! - because no matter how wonky Jacqueline Shire and Jeffrey Lewis try to handle nukes like [...]

Back to The Philippines

An under-reported aspect of Defense Secretary Robert Gates Pacific junket is this nugget that U.S.-Philippines partnership may be model for fighting terrorism elsewhere. In another report, "Gates and Teodoro talked about how to move forward to build capacity of the Philippine armed forces, which Gates said is a fundamental tenet of American foreign policy in [...]

Iran Leads the Way

Graham Allison offers a serious test for the non-proliferation regime to handle. I doubt it's possible to get UNSC rivals to agree on much.The best hope for defining a meaningful red line is to enshrine the Iranian supreme leader's affirmations that Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons in a solemn international agreement that commits Russia [...]

My Hoe: Raw fish at Jagalchi Fish Market.

I realize that this post kind of stretches the parameters of what might be considered street food, but in my defence when I started this thing I always thought I’d include markets and hawker centres in my range. Also, after eating the stuff I just couldn’t help myself!

Jagalchi Fish Market is probably my favourite place in Busan. The place is literally teeming with every kind of sea creature you can imagine, and a fair amount you can’t. How most of it manages to end up on someone’s plate is beyond me, as its variety is matched by the sheer abundance of the stuff.

The raw fish operation at Jagalchi largely centres around one of the older market buildings just off the right of the outdoor section. It consists of a vast warehouse of sorts containing dozens of small traders and their catch, all packed in tight so that produce, prep area and eating counters all seem to spill onto and over each other. The floor is constantly awash with water and the low hung lights and lack of windows make you feel like it could be anytime of the day or night. On Saturday I decided to take a trip down there with my friend Roy for some hoe (pronounced whay, get the crap pun now?)

We quickly decided on a snapper for 30,000 won and before it could contemplate its fate it was quickly stunned and eviscerated, then carried off for further prep. While we waited, the vendor brought us a few bits and pieces to chew over.

I’d never tried gaebul before and considering this is known to Koreans as “dog’s penis” I wasn’t really that bothered. Lucky for me however what was on the plate had been sliced up into a more appetizing shape and I quickly got stuck in. To improve the texture of you are supposed to lift it off the plate with your chopsticks and then fling it down again several times. This causes it to curl up a little (I’m getting used to my food trying to get away from me) making a little more al dente. Anyway, when I finally ate it I found it to be pleasingly chewy and, as with a lot of this sort of thing, tasting more of the dipping sauce than anything else. This, along with some salty, fresh tasting mongae (sea squirt) served as a great appetizer before the main event.

Spectacular. As per photo the snapper had been gutted, de-scaled and sliced up into half inch thick slices scored at regular intervals around their outer edge and arranged to resemble a large scallop shell. Later inquiry also told us the fish had been ever so slightly cooked at its outer edge to firm it up a little (cooking method unknown but possibly some sort of blow torch) before giving way to the translucent flesh.

And what flesh! If silk was remotely ingestible it would probably still fall short of this. Again, not so much taste as feeling; alternate passes at a spicy vinegary dip called chojang and a bowl of the ubiquitous soy sauce and wasabi tooled up for the flavour but the real money maker was the way the hoe glided around my mouth and down my throat like a piece of Teflon. At the same time it was literally bellowing FRESH at me, and not even the cuttlefish eying be reproachfully from a nearby bucket could infringe on my wellbeing at that moment.

About three quarters of the way into the plate, our server brought us what remained of our fish bobbing around in a broth with dropwort stalks, red chili and green onions. The heat had been kind to the fish, it now taking on a flaky fleshy quality in a broth so deep I might as well have been at the bottom of the sea.

Good times.


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