In the evening, we went to the Hanjik
University area in search of dinner. On the subway, we met a drunk guy who was going to visit his sister
in Germany. He sat down next to us, asked where we were from and gave each of us a gift—a cell phone charm. The Koreans are so friendly.
Hanjik was hopping.
There were street musicians and tons of college students.
We grabbed Dakkochi, skewers of grilled chicken for W2000.
We walked around trying to find a place to eat. There was limited English so it was intimidating. We finally chose a restaurant that was full of people. Turns out they had only 1 main item on the menu--chicken feet for W15,000. The dish was cooked in front of us. As the dish heated, it got spicier and spicier. By the end of the evening, we were dying from the heat.
We also ordered a rice and seaweed dish for W2000. This was delicious. Put the glove on and mix the seaweed with the rice. This was the perfect accompaniment to the spicy chicken feet.
Cheonggyecheon is a stream that flows for 5.8 km through the heart of Seoul. The stream was covered up with concrete over a 20 year period starting in 1958. The raised highway was torn down and the stream
was revealed in 2003. Now, it's a public recreation area that attracts herons and other water fowls.
Spring Sculpture at the end of the stream near Gwanghwamun Square.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Din Tai Fung in Seoul. This is my favorite dumpling place. I drive 6 hours to go to Arcadia just to eat at Din Tai Fung and here I was in a city with 5 locations and even one out at the airport.
The menu is different that that in
Arcadia. A basket of 10 xiao long baos was W9800 and the dumplings are smaller but just as delicious. The dumplings are so juicy and the skin is thin.
We rented bikes in Yeouido Park--W7000 for 3 hours. We followed the Han River, first along the north bank up to World Cup Stadium then along the south bank. There are bike paths on
both sides of the Han River and the ride is easy until the steep climb at the end to the
World Cup Stadium. As we finished our ride, we noticed a bike rental place along the bank of the river, near Yeouido Park. We didn't need to spend 1/2 an hour searching for the bike rental place after all.
Halfway through the ride, we stopped at a 7-11 to get drinks
and a triangular sushi. My husband had Pokari Sweat for W1100 and I had a sparkling apple drink for W1000. I love the sparkling apple drinks in Asia--nice and tangy, more of a green apple taste. We also had the triangular sushi for W800.
Destination--World Cup Stadium. It was built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
After breakfast, we took
the subway to Yeouido Park to rent bicycles. We walked all over the park to find the one rental location that was still open. The park was beautiful with walking and biking paths, as well as ponds and pavilions. It was such a nice respite from the bustle of the city.
We went back to Myeong-Dong in search of Migabon. This was the porridge place that ranked highly on TripAdvisor. I read the reviews online and figured out the restaurant was across the street from Citibank.
Migabon, located at 2-23, Myeong-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu. Find the Citibank then look across the street. The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor. There is no English signage.
Oyster & mushroom
porridge for W7000. Very tasty and nice banchans. It was a small portion and I was still hungry after eating it.
Abalone porridge for W10,000. I thought the abalone porridge yesterday had more intense flavor. This one tasted like porridge with abalone added to it rather than cooked with the abalone.
Kwangjiang market is an indoor market. The
first portion is clothes and then further along are the food stalls. I was
afraid to try most of the food because they had been previously prepared and were sitting out without refrigeration.
We came upon the mung bean pancake (bindaetteok) area and saw a huge line so we got in line too. This was delicious—the mung bean had been ground smooth and it was mixed with bean sprouts and some green onions (which were more like spring onions).
Dipped in the soy/vinegar sauce which included mild onions, it was delicious. Cost was W4000. We didn’t want to wait in line to get a table, so we took it to go. We took it outside the market, found some steps to sit on and ate our delicious treat! I guess the Koreans don't eat on the street because you wouldn't believe the number of people who stared at us.
On our last day, we went back to the stall at 10 am and noticed a new item. These were filled with pork and were even better than the plain mung bean one. Apparently, they sell out of the pork ones and that was why there were none available when we went for dinner before.
Front of the restaurant, near stall #38. It's worth trying to find it but you really can't miss it--just look for the long line.
Our hotel was just a block away from Insadong Street--a pedestrian zone. This is an adorable area teeming with shops, teahouses and restaurants. There are alleys leading from the main street with more shops to explore. The street begins at Anguk in the north and ends at Tapgol Park in the south.
One of the alleys leading away from the main street.
One of the best things about the street is the street food. This is a deep fried hotteok for W1000. It was filled with seseame seed paste and was absolutely delicious. We came here daily to get our deep fried fix.
This is a corn cone, which was filled with ice cream--another very popular item, with kids & adults alike.
Bukchon was just a 10-minute walk away from our hotel. It's situated between Gyeongbokgung & Changdeokgung. The village is composed of twisting alleys and over 900 hanoks--traditional Korean houses, some dating over 600 years old. Most of the hanoks are still private residences but some have been converted into homestays and some into teahouses and shops. We took the tour in Lonely Planet—the map was skewed and the directions were not good. We were disappointed with the Lonely Planet Korea. It wasn't as thorough as other Lonely Planet books.
Typical alley--barely wide enough to fit a car. Notice modern Seoul in the background.
We spent 2 hours just wandering around the village--it's plenty of time.
After our lunch at the fish market, we found a stand selling lemonade for W2500. The juice from one lemon is squeezed into a cup. Something that looked like simple syrup is added,
then 7-up followed by blue dye. Not sure why the Koreans think
lemonade is blue. We saw many stands add the blue dye. The drink was too sweet and there wasn’t much lemon flavor.
Noryangjin Fish Market is a huge indoor fish market.
Vendors sell all kinds of seafood from all over the world.
We purchased 4 live fish for W10,000. Not even sure what kind of fish these were.
They were filleted for sashimi. Can't say these were my favorites. The skin had tiny barbs and the fish were not optimal for eating raw. Don't get these for sashimi.
Live baby octopus--we purchased 4 for W10,000.
We took all the seafood we purchased upstairs to restaurant row. We chose the Japanese Restaurant because they didn't have an annoying tout outside the restaurant.
The octopus were chopped and brought to the table with the tentacles still squirming. It’s quite an experience to dip them into sesame seed oil and salt and put them in your mouth with them still squirming—the suction cups stick to your mouth unless you chew fast.
We had also purchased 2 blue crab for W6000 and had the restaurant make soup with them. This was delicious, just slightly spicy and with a nice fragrant vegetable called tong hu--edible chrysanthemum. It was large enough to feed 6. We ended up dumping the fish into the soup. The fish were soft and delicious cooked but I still had to get rid of the skin. Lunch was W3000 set up fee per person plus W15,000 to make the soup.