It has been a week since my last post and I know that it’s time for the next one. Well, to be honest I’m little disappointed with the interview this morning when people asked me all the same old same old questions that might actually be not so old them coz they just asked me those 2 days ago. C’mon people be creative! Here I am, a lil sad and bored and need someone to talk to and my little particular someone is just accidentally NOT ONLINE. Nice.
And of course I’m not here to tell you about a TED talk in Korea. I’m saying TALK-EAT-DRINK!
In Korea we talked, we listened to people talking, we sang, we had quite a few drinks and well we ate. There’re just way too many things that you can do with your mouth!!!!!!
Firstly, if you want to visit Korea, do it right away. The reason is the Koreans who can speak English, they do it fantastically and yay, there are not so many of them. So here’s the scene- You walk down to the busy street in a lazy afternoon. You stop. You look around. Nothing familiar. Nothing even close to what you are looking for. Gotcha! “hello, can you please show me the way to blah blah blah?” – “난 그게 뭔지 모르겠어요. 저는 Google 번역에서 찾았다!”. Then you point at your map and show the person the place you want to get to. And right away, you are hand in hand with a Korean stranger who is literally taking you to wherever you want to go. Or if he’s in a hurry, he will speak some cute Korean and get someone who can speak English to help you. How nice! In our first night in Korea, we were struggling following the direction to our hostel while some people just stopped by and helped us without us asking them. All the trying-to-figure-it-out and phone calls they made for us were just like the very first sips of love for the country.
We were such an attraction. Everyone looked at us. Everyone took photos with us. Everyone talked to us, even the guy from Jeju-do we met for about 10 minutes on the metro in Busan, not the mention the whole group of students who just bought us so many soju in Daejeon. That’s crazy.
And Korean talks well when they are drunk. We kept talking on and on about the lady at the hostel office. In the frustration of finding the hostel, we made it to the office, which was the whole world from the hostel to get a map to get there. Greeting us was a small lady in a black long-sleeve shirt, just short enough for me to notify her black rocky lace skirt. Watch out people, 40 –something lady, with the ignition of some soju *we found out a moment later when we got in*, can definitely turn into a chic. I love her fashion. It’s so WILD! And she not only gave us a map but also a whole story of any single corner that appeared in that map. And Ollie got his first hug in Korea oh so adorable you were Pfleger 😀
It may be a tradition to drink every meal in Korea. Anytime will do. And the guys were just in love. That’s such a relief after the alcohol diet in Singapore. After all the drinks you will be very very exhausted and you just moan the whole way “C’mon soju and beer go so well together. And it’s tender. Then what is this headache?????”. That’s my line!
Noraebang is another job for your mouth. It’s nothing new but karaoke. Yet you got free ice-cream and that’s how I love Korea. It’s cold and it’s sweet. Coldstones and baskin Robins rock!
The thing with Korean cuisine is that if you don’t know it, you’re tricked at the first time because before you even order anything, there have already a lot of something in front of you. Kimchi. More kimchi. And more kimchi. Insects. Sweet potatoes. Peas. Some thin fish cakes. Even pancake. Calm down and wait for the main dish! In my last note I did mention my favourite snack with its lux version in Busan and its amazing seafood bbq, so skip it, I’ll tell you more about my other favourite and some Vietnamese-like food.
There are so many Korean BBQ restaurants now in Hanoi and really now I know why people still feel so hot with the fever from the kimchi land. It’s just so good! We got BBQ with lean pork and beef, simple and fulfilled. Grill your meat and some mushroom, place them in a fresh lectuce, add some shredded carrot, some pickle or just kimchi, roll it up, dip in in and go your way. It goes more than just a dish. And when you’re tired with meat, bean sprout or kimchi jigae is served, maybe some rice to balance. All will be well digested with one or two beer and soju.
Toppoki. How many of you know it? I know it. I have an obsession with that reddish spicy mysterious street food every now and then I see a group of high school girls screaming after their classes when they see the magic stall. My first and my best toppoki was by Sam last semester. My second and my third toppoki came only 30 minutes away from each other, right the first meal in Seoul. It is, basically and wholefully, rice cake cooked in chilli sauce. Serious! What the fuss about it! Yeah it’s chewy and it’s kinda hot but something is just wrong with toppoki love. So I chose not to, even with the cheesy toppoki pizza we had in Daejeon. So chic!
Korean people keep a very nice habit of cooking rice. They add in a lot of little nuts inside and cook together. It’s so tasty and exciting to eat rice because at some point you “wow, they put it in here”.
My all time favourite are bibimbap and kimchi jigae, the latter I will make it together with haemul pajeon and kimchijeon real soon. Bibimbap is mixed rice with vegetable, meat, sesame oil and chilli sauce. We did bibimbap on hot stone in quite a nice restaurant near Gwangnammun station. It was raining and it’s freezingly cold. We was shivering and wet. The bibimbap appeared at the table sounding the most joyful as rice was getting fried in a lil oil and sauce on the hot stone. Next to that was a bowl of smoky bean sprout soup. Imagine how pleased we were in that place. I didn’t need anything else.
Korean eats dog meat. Korean eats insect (the one in the life cycle of a butterfly). Korea eats sundae (Pig intestines stuffed with noodles, livers, lungs, …). Korea drinks soju. Korean drinks maekgolli (the extract liquid from brewed rice which is 80% similar to “ruou nep” of Vietnam). HOW VIETNAMESE KOREANS ARE!
Bottom line for you hungry traveller: Gwang Jang market for Seoul delights!