December 19, 2012
For 91 Days we lived in Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea. This sprawling, exhilarating metropolis of 2,000,000 people has somehow managed to remain relatively unknown, despite having so many things to see and do. We had a wonderful time discovering Busan’s cuisine, culture, history and beaches. Start reading at the beginning of our adventures, visit our comprehensive index to find something specific, or read one of the articles selected at random, below:
Our 91 days in Busan flew by, but we managed to see almost everything this incredible city has to offer — the museums, the people, cafés, hiking, beaches, and of course the food! All of our experiences and observations are now collected in a portable e-book, perfect for Kindle, Nook or any other eReader. The book contains over 200 full-color images and nearly 100 articles about South Korea’s second city, along with a useful index organized by both date and category. For just $7.99, this makes a great companion for your trip to Busan, whether you’re a teacher or a tourist.
Armed with a map of Busan’s best walks, a bottle of water and bellies full of doughnut-power, we set off on a long hike through the peninsular neighborhood of Amnan-Dong, southwest of Nampo. The seven-kilometer route would bring us over the Namhang Bridge to Songdo Beach, and down the coast to Amnan Park.
Throw a pile of shaved ice on top of milk, cover it in red beans, and sprinkle a bit of green tea powder on the top. Doesn’t that sound like a delicious treat? No?! Well, somehow… it is. Patbingsu (팥빙수) is one of South Korea’s favorite desserts, and way more delectable than it sounds.
For our second Korean jimjilbang experience, we decided to go big. The Heomsimcheong Spa in the neighborhood of Oncheon claims to be the largest spa fed by a natural hot spring in Asia. The popular complex, which also bills itself the Grand Hot Spring, includes a full hotel, an excellent brewery on the bottom floor and of course, a full array of baths and saunas.
Do you remember that one scene in Oldboy? The scene which, after you watched it, you never forgot and needed therapy to recover from? You know, that scene, the one where Oh Dae-Su eats a living octopus? Well, our lunch at the Millak Raw Fish Market brought me as close to the experience of being Oldboy as I ever need to get.
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!
Early on, we started to learn how to pick out some of the Korean words for foods we especially liked. Bibimbap is easy, mostly a lot of “b”s strung together (비빔밥). And we could quickly identify both bulgogi and kalguksu. But we weren’t out of the woods yet! On one Saturday night, we sat down a popular place in Seuyoung and only realized at the last minute that they serve strictly intestines. Props to the English-speaking kid at the neighboring table for warning us!