Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun market is the largest market in Seoul, so of course I had to check it out!

There were all sorts of things to buy from clothes to cosmetics to souvenirs. Also, there were plenty of food stalls and restaurants. For lunch, I was happy to find a shop that sold japchae (glass noodles with vegetables). It is one of my favorite Korean dishes.

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I also got to try some red bean filled buns which were very delicious! Korean markets are an incredible place to go if you are looking for cheap yet filling foods.

Another exciting food-related spot was stall selling dragon’s beard candy, as it is a traditional Asian candy that I have never actually tried before. It is spun sugar, somewhat like cotton candy, but with a different sort of consistency. Also the inside is typically filled with either powdered fruit or nuts. We got peanut flavored candy and it was quite good, although I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so chewy.

Compared to Gwangjang market, Namdaemun is incredibly large. I personally prefer Gwangjang because it was a bit easier to navigate. It is easy to get lost in Namdaemun with all the twisting paths and streets of the market. Although this means that you will be able to find nearly anything in Namdaemun for a pretty decent price! It is definitely worth checking out many types of markets in Seoul to see what you like πŸ™‚

Himiso Restaurant

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Just a few minutes from my apartment is a vegan burger restaurant called Himiso ν•˜μ΄λ―Έμ†Œ. It caught my eye when I saw the vegan sign hanging from the doorway. They sell a variety of veggie burgers, soft drinks, chips, and even churros for dessert.

I got the sweet potato burger set. It comes with a soda and fries (although they were closer to potato chips/slices). It was only about 5 or 6 thousand won total which was a great price. I definitely want to go back, especially to try the other things on the menu, like their most popular brown rice burger or their fruit smoothies.

Also, the service was excellent. The owner was very friendly and able to assist in Korean or English.

Location:

Eunpyeong-gu, Eunpyeong-ro 55, Seoul, South Korea

Near Eungam station exit 2.

Cafes and Study Time

Seoul is filled to the brim with cafes. It seems anywhere you go there are cafes, and not just any cafes either, but cafes with extensive menus, beautiful interior decorating, and sometimes even themes (like a sheep cafe or a flower cafe).

I love visiting cafes to study and relax. Recently I visited Cafe Sketchbook, which has a very artistic atmosphere. There were paintings all on the walls and advertisements for upcoming art exhibits.

At this cafe I got tomato juice and my friend got a strawberry smoothie.

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There was even balcony seating, although it was a bit too hot and humid to stay outside for long.

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Another cafe I visited is Table A cat cafe. I went many times last year as well and I was excited to go back this year again. image

The cats here are very friendly and cute! When trying to study they can sometimes be distracting, especially when they lay down on your homework.

I definitely look forward to visiting these cafes again and finding new cafes as well! image

Visiting Gwangjang Market

This past week I was able to visit Gwangjang Market in Seoul. They sell all sorts of things such as souvenirs, food, fabric, and household goods. It’s a huge indoor market and even on a weekday it was very crowded.

I was excited to try the street food they sell. I tried the mayak-kimbap (drug kimbap) which are named that because they are so addictive. The kimbap is rice with carrots and pickled radish rolled in seaweed. It is served with a side of mustard dipping sauce.

We also got spicy rice cakes which were delicious! Everything was well priced and easy to find. There were so many other foods I wanted to try but I was so full. I will definitely go back sometime.

If you are looking for a souvenir or some delicious food, definitely visit this market!

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Lots and lots of food

While living in my apartment I do quite a bit of cooking, but because eating out is so cheap and convenient in Seoul, I go out a lot, too! One of the first restaurants I went to was a local noodle place, and now I am a regular there. The woman who works there recognizes me and my roommates, and we always chat when we go there.

The other day I ordered kongooksu, which is noodles and veggies in a cold soy milk broth. It’s one of my favorite dishes! And the owner gives us extra large portions and sometimes some free food items, like dumplings

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Another of my favorite places to eat is at Korean BBQ restaurants. It seems strange, considering I don’t eat meat, but they often have meat-free dishes that I can eat along with tons of vegetable side dishes. At one restaurant, they gave me special kimchi soup without meat.

Another dish I like is bibimgooksu, which is noodles mixed with veggies and hot pepper sauce. Delicious!

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Also, here are some pictures of the snacks I’ve tried in Seoul. I usually get them at a local convenience or grocery store.

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The honey mustard pretzels are addictive and a great snack for me to bring to class.

IMG_6672I got this sweet popcorn to eat while watching movies and it’s quite good! image

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Tiramisu oreos are incredible. My favorite oreo flavor is still golden birthday cake, but these ones are nothing to scoff at.

Another perfect summer snack are popsicles! The first pic is of a watermelon popsicle, and the last two are of the Asian pear flavored slushee-type dessert. Both were very enjoyable.

This by no means is an all-encompassing list of the snacking I’ve done, but it’s some of the highlights. Hope you enjoyed this post!

Bakeries and cafes

Because my school is in Hongdae, I am in the area quite a bit. Hongdae has all sorts of cafes, bakeries, and quirky shops. Just the other day I went to a bakery called Bread and Co. with friends

I got a strawberry juice which was delicious!

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The cafe also had a tree inside. People wrote notes on napkins and slips of paper to attach to the branches. I included a photo of a note I found particularly funny.

Today I visited a cat cafe called Table A in Hongdae, too. I met up with some classmates to study and enjoy some time with cats. I got the Kiwi Ade drink, which was fizzy like soda pop image

The cats were all super cute! image The cats let you pet them and mostly took naps on nearby tables. The white cat with a red collar had one blue eye and one yellow eye, which was very cool.

I love the cafes in Hongdae and I can’t wait to check more of them out image

Shopping, food, and hiking

Yesterday I went to Sinchon with my roommates. We also stopped by Ewha which is close by. It was kind of strange to be back in the same location that I lived in last year. Overall it was much the same, although some of the shops were new. In Seoul it is very common for shops to close and new shops to take their place.

I purchased some cute socks for 1,000 won each (less than a dollar a pair). I also got toner from Etude House with some lotion samples image Can’t wait to use these!

We also hung out in Gongcha, a popular cafe chain. I got an apple green tea drink and my roommates got bubble tea. We had the whole cafe to ourselves which was really nice. And out of the window we saw a statue of the blues brothers. Not quite sure what they were doing there, but I thought it was entertaining nonetheless.

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For lunch we ate at a delicious small restaurant. I had noodles with rice cake which was only 3,500 won! The side dishes were bean sprouts, tofu, and pasta salad (which I don’t typically see as a side dish in Korean restaurants).

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In the evening, my roommates and I went to our landlord’s house for dinner. The whole family was extremely kind and gracious, not to mention the food was delicious! A big thank you to Mr. Kim and his family for their generosity image

This morning as well we went hiking with Mr. Kim and his wife. It was actually quite a workout, but the view at the top was incredible. It was also a beautiful day weather-wise.

I am always impressed with the beauty of Korea!

Back in Seoul!

It’s been a while since I have updated this blog, but now that I am back in Korea I will update more frequently. Two days ago I arrived in Seoul. This summer I am going to be studying Korean at a hagwon (private academy) and sightseeing around the city. I am so excited to be back and can’t wait to have many more fun adventures image

My apartment is in Eunpyeon gu, a district within Seoul.

So far I am really enjoying it here. The apartment is clean and has lots of amenities, like towels, soap, tissues, etc. so that is super convenient. The apartment is also in a great location. It’s close to the subway station and right next to a small river, perfect for walks. Below is a picture of the river and a street near my apartment.

I am also excited about the kitchen. I enjoy cooking so I imagine I will be using it a lot. Below is a picture of today’s lunch: potato pancakes, cherry tomatoes, sauteed bean sprouts, and some mango juice.

IMG_6589The apartment is also near lots of markets and grocery stores that I can walk to for fresh produce and food. IMG_6548

Along with the markets is a giant 8-story emart. It’s one of the biggest grocery stores I’ve been to, although I’ve heard there are even bigger ones here in Seoul (which is incredible).

IMG_6585So far I am enjoying life here in Seoul (despite the jet lag). I will update soon when I have more photos to post! Thanks for reading image

7 things I love about Korea

There are many things I love about Korea, but here are a few things (in no particular order) that I have really appreciated about Korea while living here the past few months.

1) Public Transportation

I believe Seoul has the best public transportation in the world! And it’s no exaggeration. You can use a re-loadable money card (called a T-money card) to access taxis, subways, and buses easily. The buses and subway is particularly amazing because it’s so cheap, only about a dollar to go 10km. I typically take the subway if I need to go anywhere, because it’s very fast and typically you don’t need to wait more than a few minutes to catch the next subway. Also, the subway is kept very clean and has excellent air-conditioning (particularly line 2 has great air-conditioning). With public transportation, you can easily get anywhere in Seoul!

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