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Yangdong Folk Village

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Occupying a gorgeous swath of forested hill country about eight kilometers outside Gyeongju, the Yangdong Folk Village preserves the buildings and customs of Korean life during the Joseon Dynasty. In 2010, this historic village was named a UNESCO world heritage site.

Yangdong-Korea

Yangdong was founded at the beginning of the 15th century by a member of the Joseon nobility, who selected the site based on the Korean practice of pungsu — a superstitious reading of the earth which identifies geologically significant areas: those featuring patterns in natural formations such as hill shapes or river paths. The modern day village, with around 150 tiled- and thatched-roofed houses, still looks almost exactly as it did centuries ago.

Our visit began at Yangdong’s only restaurant, where we enjoyed a bowl of Kongguksu (wheat noodles in a cool soy milk broth) and had the chance to shake hands with the village chief. The other guests, who generously shared their rice wine with us, were listening attentively to the chief’s stories and there seemed to be an unspoken expectation that we do the same. Of course, we didn’t understand a word but stayed respectfully quiet and followed the group’s lead with an occasional chuckle or “ahhhh”.

Yangdong is surprisingly large and feels more alive, less like a museum, than I figured it would. Reconstruction and preservation efforts were underway all over, and we took a random, looping path through the hills. The Joseon Dynasty practiced Confucianism, which placed a strong emphasis on class distinction, and Yangdong’s layout reflects this; the aristocrats lived in the larger houses with tiled roofs, set on top of the hills. Commoners had houses with thatched roofs, found lower down.

With its rural forest setting, the nearby river and roads which follow the natural slopes of the hills, Yangdong Village is unquestionably beautiful. Our visit here was one the highlights of our trip to Gyeongju.

Location of Yangdong Folk Village on our Map
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Amazing-Korea
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Yangdong-Restaurant
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Kongguksu
Kimchi Pots
Traditional-Korean-Objects
Yangdong-Carpet
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/Yangdong-Dog
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July 11, 2012 at 9:59 am Comments (3)

The Streets of Daeyeon-Dong

Cheap Hostels in Busan

A narrow section of streets in the central neighborhood of Daeyeon separates Kyungsung University from Pukyong University. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that this neighborhood, packed full of students and the establishments which cater to them, is among the most exciting in the city.

Pukyong-Universities

Cool restaurants and vintage clothing shops compete with bars, soju halls and a never-ending selection of cafes for the attentions of the students who live and study here. This area is one we keep returning to whenever we’re searching for a good, cheap lunch, or a fun night out. And we always discover something new, whether it’s the hard-to-find “Culture Alley” — with its galleries, modern sculptures, restaurant and theater — or a fun new place to eat. Last time, I went up three floors to what I thought was an anime store, only to discover an awesome Japanese Bento restaurant, instead.

Pukyong is the larger of the two universities, with about 26,000 students and a focus on marine sciences and ocean engineering. Kyungsung, to the north, was established in 1955 as a Christian Teachers School, and matured to a general university in the 80s. We’ve only seen the campus of Pukyong so far; decently secluded and peaceful for a city college.

With the well-documented pressures of the South Korean education system, it’s nice that the students of these two universities have a fun neighborhood to hang out in. And it’s nice for us, too!

Location of the Culture Alley on our Map
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Lost University
Korean Students
Pukyong-Universities-Sports
Ufo Korea
Flower Wall
Bush Tunnel
Art Alley Busan
Biking Busan
I love Korea
Korea Blog
Korean Pretty Fish
Korean Flowers
Little Chair
Stone Graden Busan
Stone Cat
Cat Restaurant
Cat in The Box
Sexy in Korea
Mechanical-birds
Graffiti Busan
KO Punch
Hungry For Kimchi
Honda Moped Korea
Korea High Tech
Korea-Campus-University-Busan
Korean Prison
Old Signs Korea
Nail box
Modern Architecture
Pink House Busan
Prada Cafe
Rice Wine Korea
Bond Shop
Blue Monkey Busan
Cafes Busan
Container City Korea
Gab Number Busan
Golden Trash
Extreme Korea
Shoe Shopping Busan
Korean 2012
Smooth Move
Busan Students
Boston Korea
Ghetto Lounge
Busan Fire
Anime Art
Always Connected
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June 15, 2012 at 8:28 am Comments (2)

Busan Food Journal, Part Four

Great Korean Cookbooks

Perhaps it’s not surprising that we’ve had our most adventurous Korean meals when accompanied by Koreans. I think that locals enjoy pushing our boundaries — whether it’s to introduce us to new foods, or just because they like watching us squirm. So far, we’ve only said “no” once — and that was when an overly enthusiastic Korean invited us to a restaurant serving dog. Silk worm larvae or twitching octopus? Fine. But dog meat is a step too far!

Food Journal: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Five | Part Six

Bibimbap in Buk-su
Fish-Egg-Bibimbap

After a full day walking around the northern neighborhood of Buk-Gu, we were famished and in the mood for something simple and filling. And, lo, did Woojung’s Bibimbap (우정) appear before our eager eyes. This restaurant near the Deokcheon train station (location) serves great, no-nonsense bibimbap, and seems to be especially popular with students. [More Pics]

Yeongyang Dolsotbap (영양돌솥밥)
Yeongyang-Dolsotbap

We grabbed one of the last tables in a large restaurant near the Haedong Yonggungsa temple (location), and allowed the waiter to suggest our meal. It’s not like we could translate anything on the menu, anyway. Within minutes, our table was covered with bowls; as you can see, above, it was a ridiculous amount of food. And that was even before our main course was served: hot stone bowls of rice, mixed with black beans, ginseng and dried jujubes. After we had eaten most of the rice, the waiter added hot water to our bowls, making a rather bland-tasting rice soup. But after the crazy combination of twenty-four side dishes, a neutral flavor was exactly what we wanted.

Silk Worm Larvae
Silk-Worm-Larvae-Korea

Mmmm, silk worm larvae have always been among my favorite snacks! Because I am a large, hairy spider, and after an exhausting day of weaving my web, nothing sounds better than kicking back and munching down the larvae of a silk worm. Wait a second… I’m not a spider at all, but a human being! So what the hell am I doing eating SILK WORM LARVAE?!

Pork BBQ at Don Pig
Pig on Fire

While we were wandering around Haeundae Beach looking for a place for dinner, we saw Don Pig and knew that our search was over. “Don Pig” is the best possible name for a restaurant and deserved our patronage for that reason alone. For a grill joint, the interior was squeaky clean… mainly because it had just recently opened. We got two fat cuts of pork and a ton of bacon, making for an absolutely delicious, and not entirely healthy, meal. Don Pig, ¡me someto a usted! [More Pics]

Lotteria Bulgogi Burger
Lotteria-Bulgogi-Burger

One of the most popular fast food joints in Busan is Lotteria, which is part of the ubiquitous Lotte corporation. One day, we stopped at the local branch for a quick lunch. (Give me a break, we had just eaten silk worm larvae, I think we can afford ourselves a little fast-food now and again). I ordered the bulgogi burger — basically a whopper with the meat slathered in delicious Bulgogi BBQ sauce. Not bad. And I noticed something odd: we live in Spain, and Lotteria means “lottery” in Spanish. Spain’s most famous lottery is called El Gordo, which translates to “the fat one”. And here I was, slobbering the juice of a Lotteria burger down my fat chin. I may never win El Gordo in the Spanish lottería, but I can become El Gordo in the Korean Lottería! [Another Pic]

Eel Grill
Korean-Eel-BBQ

One of the coolest meals we’ve had in Busan was at a makeshift tent set up in a parking lot in Millak-dong, at the northeastern end of Gwangalli Beach (location). This is a place for locals, and we’d never have thought about sitting down if we hadn’t been brought here by our friend. Seong-yeop took care of the ordering, and we were presented with a strainer full of fresh eel, which we grilled at our table. I’ve never had eel before and was shocked (not electrically) to find that it’s delicious, especially after marinated in the spicy sauce that was served alongside it. [More Pics]

Duck Bulgogi
Duck-Bulgogi-Sanseong-Village

We showed up in Sanseong Village after about eight hours of hiking the Geumjeongsan Mountain, shivering with hunger. I had read that grilled duck was the specialty here. And since Mommy taught me to always be prepared, I had memorized the Korean word for duck: “pihada”. The waitress came to take our order, and I confidently said “pihada”, but she didn’t understand. Eight hours of hiking! I was starving, exhausted, and quickly frustrated. Don’t want to deal with STUPID LANGUAGE PROBLEMS. So, I tried saying “pihada” more angrily. She still didn’t get it. So I yelled “quack-quack!”

“Ahh…” she said, her face flushing with sudden comprehension. “Duck!” In perfect English.

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More Pics from Woojung’s Bibimbap
Bibimbap-Busan
Cooking-Bibimbap
Dolsot Bibimbap
More Pics from Don Pig
Eating in Korea
Don-Pig-Busan
Bacon BBQ Busan
Also at Lotteria – Rice Bulgogi Burger
Bulgogi-Rice-Burger
More Pictures from the Eel BBQ
Seafood-BBQ-Busan-Tents
Korean Eel

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June 7, 2012 at 5:23 am Comments (6)

Busan Food Journal, Part One

Korean Cookbooks

We ate a lot of interesting new foods during our time in Busan. The city’s supermarkets are rather expensive, and eating out was almost as cheap as cooking at home, particularly when you stick to the kinds of local joints which we prefer. This is the first of our recaps on what we ate, and what it’s called

Most of Busan’s restaurants don’t have menus with pictures or English descriptions, so a lot of our meal choices will be the result of a random guess-and-point, until we learn the basics. To help ourselves, and other newbies to the food culture of Korea, we’ve decided to keep a little journal of the things we’ve consumed. Bon appetit!

Food Journal: Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six

Mulmil-myeon (물밀면)
Mul-mil-myeon

Not sure if I’m transliterating that correctly, but mulmil-myeon is cold noodle soup. Thick noodles served in spicy cold broth, and perfect for a hot summer day… except, we had it on an unseasonably cool spring day. Brrrr. Juergen got the dry mixed noodles (비빔면), which were also cold, and we split dumplings. It was all good; the restaurant was called Bonga Milmyeon in the Suyeong District(location). [More Pics]

Dongnae Pajeon (파전)
Dongnae-Pajeon

“Jeon” means something like “pancake”, and this popular Korean dish can be made with a variety of main ingredients. When made with green onions, the name of the dish becomes “pa”-jeon. Pajeon is a specialty of Dongnae, the neighborhood we were in after having hiked around the Geumjeongsanseong Fortress, and we ordered some at a street vendor (approx. location). Our pancakes made with eggs, flour, chunks of pork and bunch of green onions. Yum (I’ve been practicing, and can now write “yum” in Korean: 염) [More Pics]

Pho Bo (쇠고기 깔국수)
Pho Bo

We tried this Vietnamese dish at a cute restaurant called Saigon, near our home at the Gwangalli Beach (location). I’m not sure what makes this a Vietnamese dish… maybe the type of noodles? But it was good. We also had spring rolls here. [More Pics]

Dolsot Bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥)
Dolsot-Bibimbap

Bibimbap is both the cutest word you’re going to see today, and a delicious meal which literally means “mixed rice”. It’s one of Korea’s signature dishes, and can be served up in an infinite number of variations. At the rather pricey Well-Being Rice Cafe in Seumyong (location), I ordered Spicy Octopus Dolsot Bibimbap, while Jürgen went for Mushroom & Bulgogi. Dolsot bibimbaps are served in a piping hot stone bowl coated with oil. Once served, you have to immediately stir the rice around, so that it doesn’t burn to the bowl. [More Pics]

Kalguksu (칼국수)
Kalguksu

We had this soup full of thick, wheat noodles at a small restaurant in Dongnae (approx. location). The name Kalguksu literally translates to “knife noodles”, referring to the fact that the noodles are hand-cut into shape. This hot and filling soup is, strangely, a summer dish in Korea. The waitress also gave us black bean noodles for free (“service”, as they say here). We weren’t about to protest! [More Pics]

Tonkatsu (돈까스)
Deep-Fried-Pork-Cutlet

On the 9th floor of Shinsegae Centum City (location), there are a number of restaurants which look uniformly excellent. Before watching The Avengers in the world’s biggest 4D screen, we got dinner at Mita’s Kitchen. These delicious pork cutlets were soaked in sweet and sour sauce, and served with the usual line-up of delicious side items. [More Pics]

More Pics from Bonga Milmyeon
Korean-Noodles-Gwangalli-Beach
Busy Noodle Place
/Scissor-Noodles
Mixed Noodles
Noodle Menue
More Pics of Pajeon
Pancakes-Busan
Bacon Pancakes
More Pics from Saigon
Gwangalli-Saigon
Saigon Menu
Saigon Rolls
Another Pic from Well-Being Rice Cafe
Mushroom-Bibimbap
More Pics of Kalguksu
Kalgugksu-Korea
Noodles-in-Black-Bean
We also ate Jajangmyeon, a black-bean noodle dish
Another Pic from Mita’s Cafe
Pork Korea

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May 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm Comments (9)