Sunday, 26 August 2012

Jihye's new shop in Daegu ^^

Jihye opened her shop, Jaws Tteobokki 죠스 떡볶이 in Daegu on 24 July 2012!  축하합니다!!  Jaws Tteobokki is one of the popular Tteobokki outlets in Korea and Jihye managed to get a franchise of it. There are many Jaws Tteobokki outlets in Korea but I have yet to visit anyone of them!  Ermmm.....main reason is I don't really like Tteobokki.  Well, they don't sell only Tteobokki. There are also other traditional Korean food such as odeng, fried food etc.  Most important of all, I want to see Jihye again ^^
I was racking my brains how to get to her shop as a surprise visit without being too obvious in asking for the shop address.  Luck is on my side when she uploaded her blog Jihye's shop - Jaws Tteobokki  on FB last night!  I think the nearest subway station is Seongseo Industrial Complex station. Can't wait to visit her in Daegu! But it will only be a day trip cos I am a greedy girl!  I wanna see more of Korea....wish I could stay in Korea for good....argghhhhh!!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What I learnt from my Spring trip 2012

I learnt and gained a lot in this trip.  How can I ever repay the kindness from people whom I never knew.  I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I wish them well in their lives.  One very important lesson that I learnt in this trip. Never ever assume the people beside you do not understand what you said. 
I was on a very jam-packed subway.  Two young Korean girls were standing beside me.  At a certain station, a group of young foreigners entered the train. This group of young foreigners consisted of 5 guys and 2 girls.  Suddenly, one of the guy said to his friend,"Wooo...I could feel her butt rubbing against mine." His friend laughed at his remarks and both of them continued with their obscene conversation about the girl's butt.  They spoke English especially the chap who initiated the conversation spoke loud and clear in the train.  Apparently, the Korean girl did not understand what they said because she was still happily chatting with her friend.  I stared hard at the young chaps but they thought I did not hear or understand them since I had my earpiece in my ears.  I felt the urge to tell the Korean girl but how should I tell her?  There wasn't much space for her to shift her position.  If she has understood what he said, she would have reacted.  I really felt like telling off the chap but would he hit me?  They have 5 guys. I felt extremely pissed off and lousy for not doing anything. 
The group of young foreigners got off after two stations. Till now, I still regret not doing anything for the girl.  If I were to encounter such incident again(I hope not), I hope I can deal with it tactfully. This incident is not to penalise any nationality but don't you think such behaviour brings shame to themselves and the country they came from?  When we are overseas, what we do reflects not only on ourselves but also our own country. 

Finally, I completed my posts for Spring trip 2012. I can now devote my time and concentrate on my planning for the upcoming trip ^^  Its 53 days to my next trip but I haven't start my research!!  *sweat  

Monday, 13 August 2012

19 April 2012 - Last few hours in Seoul

I didn't really take a good look at the central post office in Myeongdong when I went to post my parcels.  Thus, I made a trip to the post office again before I went back to my hotel room.  I realised I took a longer route to the post office that day. Actually, the post office is about 7 mins walk from Metro Hotel.  Simply walk straight all the way.  

If you are coming from the Hoehyeon Underground Shopping Center, exit 1 & 2 would be the nearest exit to the post office.

The building is so big.

A mini supermarket nearby the post office.  I did my last minute shopping here. 

I can't recall how many bottles I drank during this trip.  I like them warm ^^

I went to my favourite shop at Euljiro 1(il)-ga station to bid goodbye to the lady boss. I have been patronising her shop since my last Autumn trip. The lady boss is a very hardworking and cheerful lady. She will always say hi to me whenever I passed by her shop, which was located at exit 5 next to the stairway. Her shop sells mainly stockings, leggings and some other small items. For the past few mornings, I saw her selling 김밥 Kimbap as well. I told her that I would be flying back to Singapore this afternoon. Guess what?  She took out a roll of Kimbap and insisted that I take it!  Oh gosh..suddenly, I felt my eyes wet. I was lost for words becos I never expect such kindness from people whom I hardly know. The lady boss and I could hardly communicate and it was always the "Chicken and Duck situation" for us. However, she is always so warm hearted and that really makes me feel at home.  Yes, I will visit her again on my next trip and I'm gonna get her something from sunny island, Singapore on my next trip.
A thought arised.  How am I going to finish the Kimbap???  I didn't want to waste it but I was too full to eat anything!!  The Kimbap may not taste as good by the time I reach Singapore. I went back to my hotel room and made myself a cup of hot green tea.  Yup, I ate it.  The Kimbap was so delicious and it still feels warm!  This was the most yummy Kimbap that I ever ate.  Every bite reminds me of the lady boss's kindness and effort to make this Kimbap.

I took my time to finish it, enjoying every bite that I took. I finished the entire roll of Kimbap.  Can you recall how much food I ate for the past three hours?  Yes, no more food for me for the rest of the day. *Burp
*Picture captured by my iphone using Instagram

Any idea what is this??  Does it looks like a frozen chicken to you?  Well, it was actually the garlic which I bought from Namdaemun Market.  Very well wrapped, isn't it?  It costs only KRW5000 for this amount of 250g. Cheap!

Sob sob...its time to take the limousine bus to Incheon Airport.
Boarded the limousine bus at 12.10pm.
I like Metro Hotel for its proximity to subway station and Myeongdong.
Staff were very friendly and helpful.
However, I find that housekeeping at Elysee Hotel(Busan) was better than Metro Hotel.

Passed by Yeouido and National Assembly.  It was at this very moment that I realised I have not seen the beautiful Cherry Blossom behind National Assembly.  I thought I went but I didn't. Any regrets?  Well, I wouldn't use the word "regret" but rather blessed and contented.  I have been very lucky that my eyes recovered in time to see so many beautiful things in Korea.  

OZ 751....sigh...I think I prefer OZ 752 and OZ 753.

I think this is very good practice.
Security checks for Asiana Air seemed to be stricter but I like.  

Sunday, 12 August 2012

19 April 2012 - Touring around Namdaemun

After a heavy and satisfying breakfast, I decided to walk around Namdaemun.  

Actually, I noticed this shop selling 왕만두 Wang Mandu before I went for my breakfast. The shop hasn't opened but there was already a queue. This shop is on the same row as the entrance of Namdaemun Kalguksu Alley. Walk past the Kalguksu Alley, walk straight for a minute and you will see the shop.

I didn't tour around the entire Namdaemun but randomly walked to any section that was near exit 5.  

Ahh!!  Gochutgaru 고춧가루!  I was contemplating whether to buy a not and eventually I did not.  It should be cheap to buy from here.  Hmm...They came in different tones of red.  Was that an indication of their level of spiciness?    

Looks like what we commonly known as 杂货店. many banchan! I bought garlic cos mum loves it but she said the ones I bought from Lotte Department Store tasted better than the ones I bought from here.

The fact that they used plastic film to cover the food was a plus point for me ^^  

Was that 간장게장 Ganjang Gejang?? 

Saw another shop selling 왕만두 Wang Mandu.

So big!!

I passed by the first shop selling 만두 Wang Mandu.  
Hehehee...I was tempted to buy a 만두.
 Can my stomach accomodate one more mandu??

I asked this lady whether I can buy only one mandu. She was a Chinese and that made conversation so much easier!  I asked her if there's red bean mandu.  She replied there wasn't. what is 찐빵 jin bang??  I thought I saw that on their sign board. Anyway, she told me they have mandu in two different savoury flavours.  Yup, no beef. One type was non spicy and the other type was spicy.  I chose the spicy mandu and had to wait for about 6 mins.  I still have some time so I can wait. 

These mandu looked ready for consumption.  Although I was not sure why I still have to wait, but I waited. 

These should be the non spicy mandu.

And these should be the spicy mandu.

I spent my 6 mins observing how they worked.  Every staff had their own role to play but they helped each other and worked as a team.  I also notice this money box, which was placed on the table top visible and reachable to anyone who passed by. I saw some customers putting their payment into this box when the staff gets too busy, while a few customers will get their own change from this box if change is required. I remembered seeing such money box at one of the shop in Herb Island.  Remember I bought the candies from a shop at herb island?  An elderly lady was tending the shop.  My candies cost KRW200 and she told me to put my payment into her money box.  She didn't even check whether I put the correct amount.  This is what I called trust and integrity.  

Woooo...Was that my mandu ^^ 

Wowww!!  Fresh from the oven ^^
Most of the customers bought their mandu in boxes but I bought only one mandu !!  Hahahaa
Well, I certainly wish I can buy these back to Singapore!!

I tried a mandu in my last trip. This was my second time to eat Korean mandu.  
Looks like 包 but it taste very different.  One piece of mandu cost KRW600.  


Came across this in the subway station.  I wonder will foreigners from countries where recycling is not widely practised, know what goes into the recycling bin, and what goes into the waste bin. Well, its time for me to make my way back to the hotel but I have a place in mind to go before that.  

19 April 2012 - Breakfast at Namdaemun Kalguksu Alley

Woke up early this morning with a heavy heart.  It was my last day or rather my last 9 hours in Korea.  My flight will depart at 4pm, so I decided to make good use of my time by going to Namdaemun Kalguksu Alley for breakfast. It was a place where I wanted to visit in my last trip but I didn't managed to. 
I passed by this advertisement almost every day and night but didn't have a chance to take a picture of it for Kim Kim. At last, I managed to snap a picture on my last day. It was taken at Euljiro 1(il)-ga station. 

LED screens were used in the subway cabins to display the current and next station, as well as which side to exit. However during this trip, I encountered blank screens very often. Its not any big issue for me but as a foreigner, I will be more sensitive to it since I tend to rely on it more than the locals.  

I took the subway to Hoehyeon Station, exit 5. Ya..I took the stairs cos I was starting to miss Korea a lot.

I reached Namdaemun at 7.45am. There wasn't any 포장마차 Pojangmacha yet unlike the previous trip, where I reached here almost noon and all the tents had been set up ready for business. From exit 5, turn to your 2 0'clock direction and you will see a plastic see through sheet which acts as the entrance of the Kalguksu Alley.

I walked in.

Wow..there were so many stalls. I didn't check out the individual stalls becos the minute I stepped in, I was stopped by the 아줌마 ajumma at the first and second stall. I settled on the first stall because their calling was louder. They should be selling the same thing. Afterall, this is a Kalguksu Alley. flow of banchan?  

I ordered 보리밥 Boribap(Barley Rice). The 아줌마 smiled and replied," 비빔밥 Bibimbap". I repeated,"보리밥 Boribap" according to the menu. Again, she repeated "비빔밥 Bibimbap". This went on for three times. Hmm...I was puzzled. I didn't want bibimbap. There are 6 dishes on this menu. Dish no.3 is 수제비 Sujebi, which is something like our Ban Mian 板麵/面粉粿 aka Mee Hoon Kueh in Hokkien. I don't like Ban Mian becos I don't like big pieces of noodles. I haven't try Sujebi but I will try Sujebi one day.

I don't know what type of Kalguksu is dish no. 2 and 4. I looked up the internet and realised that dish no.4 - 잔치국수 Janchi Guksu is a warm dish cooked with noodles using either beef or anchovy as the soup base. I couldn't find the answer for dish no.2 though. I am also curious what is dish no.6 ie 찰밥 chalbap. I think chalbap is glutinous rice but I don't think they served glutinous rice with nothing else. With banchan perhaps??

The lady seated beside me is a foreigner.  I think she must be shocked with my appetite..

This was the 아줌마 who replied me, " 비빔밥 Bibimbap".  She was a very nice lady ^^ Perhaps I should call her 이모 which sounds better. In this trip, I heard youngsters addressing the older ladies as 이모 rather than 아줌마. 

Tadaa! Yes. This is my boribap cums bibimbap!  All veggies and it tasted really good!  I love it!  Hahaha. I knew I ordered the right dish becos it looked like the one that I saw online. No wonder 이모 kept on saying bibimbap cos I have to mix everything in the bowl. I think Jae told me it should be 보리 비빔밥 Bori Bibimbap ^^  


The boribap came with a small bowl of kalguksu but I do not know what kalguksu was this! Hahahaa..The whole set cost only KRW5000!!  So cheap! 

Before I could finish my bori bibimbap and kalguksu, 이모 passed me a bigger bowl of KALGUKSU!!! OMG! That's so nice of her. I thought the small bowl of kalguksu was already a bonus from her. I didn't expect to have another bowl with a bigger serving! Was it becos I looked hunger????  Nahhhh...!!
Yes, I finished everything becos I am used to heavy breakfast every morning even in Singapore. Remember the lady beside me? She was staring hard at my food. Probably she was shocked by my hugh appetite!  Hahahaaa..

I asked 이모 if I could take pictures of them. She smiled and nodded her head. Her partner posed for me, gave me a big smile and said "KIMCHI".  Well, I can see that the other 이모 wasn't keen to take pictures. Hence, I quickly snapped a few pictures, thanked them and moved on to walk around Namdaemun.