One Month in Korea - Part 8

This was probably our most Seoul-tastic day (except for the Chinese hotpot dinner at the end)
the airbnb in Itaewon, we were on the first floor

don't remember seeing all of these drag racing car exhaust pipes coming out of all the houses

hand pulled jajang myeon 

went to insadong

getting their fortune told.  It's a big thing here and you see tents, and stalls everywhere.
think your cutsie couple friends are annoying?  How about going beyond couples outfits to even buying the same winter coats?  Seen everywhere in Korea
got my mom this fermented and aged Jeju tea at Osulloc.

the head ribbon twirly guy

jap jae hodduk!  these fried dough filled with glass noodle jap jae.  It was awesome

cheonggyecheon stream, Jen's first time.

on the way to gwangjang shijang there's a lighting district.

I'll take the middle please

maybe it was a sunday or something but the clothing part of the gwangjang shijang was closed

beondegi, silk worm pupae that are stewed and eaten on the street.  It smells horrible and it doesn't help that to this western raised boy it looks disgusting.

this big bindaedduk stall where magic happens.  It's mungbeans ground up with vegetables and other stuff and fried into deliciousness
3 stages of mungbeans

If there was one place I recommend in Seoul if you had 1 hour it would be gwangjang market.  Sure its not modern k-pop future tech flashy Seoul but its the old school, grimy, boisterous experience that I like.

Jen was saying there are so many places in Korea that look like movie sets.

We met my friend Nana (my old roommate from Beijing that married a Korean guy) and her husband for Chinese hotpot in Hongdae.  We had eaten Korean food for 2 weeks 3 meals a day so it was ok to eat hotpot.  

with each passing year, Saturday nights must get tougher for a dried squid vendor in the student district of Hongdae what with western food influence and the inevitable loss of traditional culture.  Curse you craft beer and fries.

One Month in Korea - Part 7

This is the airbnb we stayed in for 10 days in Itaewon.  A small studio for $50 a night.  Not really nice but it did the job, heated floors in Korea are awesome.  We usually worked until lunchtime and then went out to explore.  For coffee we had to make instant coffee at home because Korean cafes don't open til 11am or after.  10:30 is the earliest i've seen.  They stay open super late and you see people drinking coffee at like 11pm at night.  I'm gonna guess they are a big date spot also.  Also you can't get breakfast anywhere, even McDonalds, there is no breakfast in Korea at McDonalds.  There aren't breakfast foods in the Korean food canon even, so there is nowhere open to eat until 11am at least.  So we always had egg, toast, cheese, and SPAM at home.  I was saying these mornings where we're working side by side in this warm small studio in the alleyways of Itaewon will be ones we will remember.  That one winter in Seoul.

boribap soojaebi a few minutes up the hill opens at 11am I think so we ran up there one day cuz I love soojaebi (hand ripped noodles).

less than $6 for soojaebi soup and less than $7 for the bori bap barley rice bowl thing.  This place is decent and fine as a neighborhood spot. 

one Korean style i'm down with that I saw a lot from more fashion forward girls.  I like the silhouette this makes.

We met Hyun Jeoung, who interned for Yoon when he worked in Seoul and then she was going to school in Paris when I was there also.  Now she's working for a hip hop music label.  We went to a ddukbbokgi place that does serve alcohol.
Chi Chi in Hongdae, an izakaya.  Izakaya is a Japanese word and there are Japanese style izakayas but they also kind of use the word to mean drinking place that might not be completely filled with Japanese food or Japanese themed.

so much escalator and stair action in Seoul life.

Itaewon back alleys

we popped in somewhere, had to order food of course.  I took a photo of this stylish guy when he left.

some meal we ate one night.

more commercially available craft beer bought at a CU2 convenience store.

One Month in Korea - Part 6

The Yoo fam all went to the airport and Jen's parents dropped us off in Itaewon at our Airbnb.  We now had 3 weeks to live the Seoul life.
some hill down into the Haebangchon neighborhood

at The Booth Brewing pub.  Expensive!(but good).  After that we went to nearby Magpie Brewery and it was the cheapest craft beer we had in Korea.  I guess they are the first craft brewery in Korea so they've been at it the longest.

walked from Itaewon over to the Hannamdong neighborhood.

the much instagrammed cafe, On Ne Sait Jamais.  Having your friend take photos of you looking cute and having a great time in cafes and instagramming it looks like its a hobby here.  There will be pairs of girls spending literally 20 minutes doing this

Itaewon has been the foreigners neighborhood because its so close to the base, and with that comes other non Korean things like multiple transgender bars.

went exploring Itaewon out of the main area, got lost, its was great.

If you kept going up the hill there was a mosque at the top.  This was a grimy part of town and super hilly which to me is the coolest looking part of Seoul.  When you drive over that bridge and see the hill looking like a Rio favela you just want to jump out and start exploring.

We met Korean illustrator Jungyeon Roh and went to Seon In Jae

oyster rice
At the MMCA (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art)

dystopian music, and then every so often the guns hooked up to motors would whip around a random number of times scaring everyone.  You'd see and hear this happening to someone else before you got there and then would be sweating anticipating when it would happen to you.  The feeling of living in a police state never knowing when you're gonna get it?

This is at the leeum museum samsung collection, artist: olafur eliasson
   I think this was supposed to be the solar system.  The hoops are all half hoops reflected in mirrors to make circles.

Alchemy, artwork of Choi Jeong-Hwa

We went to the nearby famous mirror cafe where there were girls doing the 20 min long instagram sesh's.  then we went to the Kiwa taproom, another craft beer bar which was cool looking but we were feeling lame about it.  We were trying to avoid drinking craft beer in korea even though we love it because it's so expensive and we should be doing more "Korean stuff".  But what are you to do when in Korea you always have to buy food with your drink.  There is no popping into some place for 1 pre dinner drink or one post dinner drink.  You're full of food from dinner (cuz the portions are big in Korea) and its only 8pm and you want to go for another drink but don't want to have to order food, what do you do?  This is where the growing number of craft beer bars came in for us.  Also this ddukbokkgi place near Kiwa taproom did not serve alcohol.  We couldn't believe it, we at ddukbokkgi without beer or soju which seemed just wrong.