Korea was beautiful, delicious, and educational!
We had a connecting flight from SF and right after we landed at Incheon, we hopped right back onto another plane to Jeju Island. Jeju is beautiful! It’s common to hire a taxi for a few days. They’re basically your chauffeur and will take you where ever you want from 9am to 6pm. They have connections with restaurants and attractions and can get you discounted rates. I think the best part about it was that he showed us a lot of things we wouldn’t have even known about! Another plus is that you have your own personal photographer! Two things you have to eat are: Kalchi jorim and Black pork. One thing you have to do is go see the Haenyeo ladies, they are female divers that don’t use any scuba gear to catch octopus, abalone, etc. They can hold their breath for up to 3 minutes and most of them are over 70 years old! It’s pretty amazing to see! Lastly, you have to eat tangerines. and drink tangerine juice. Tangerines are everywhere there!
After two days in Jeju we hopped on another plane to Busan for the day. We got to Busan Station, dropped our bags off in a locker and explored the markets! We saw two large open markets! The first one was Jagalchi Market, it’s the largest seafood market in Korea! Rows and rows of things I had never seen before! And then we went to Haeundae Market which had a good mix of food, clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. It was streets and streets of vendors and I finally got to eat tteokbokki on the streets! You walk up, tell them how many servings you want and then eat it right there! To end our day in Busan we hit up a Chinese restaurant and got Jajjangmyun and this toasted rice soup! So good!
Then we went to Daegu! My father grew up in Chilgok and so we met a friend of his that still lives there! Might I remind you, my father left Korea to come to the states when he was 13. It was fun seeing him with his childhood friend! His country accent came out right away! It was great watching my parents explore the city. They kept telling us about how things used to be and their looks of awe and disbelief on how much had changed over the years was pretty funny. We explored the little town in the morning and stopped by their market and got freshly made rice cakes.. seriously.. the best I’ve ever had. Nothing beats freshly made rice cakes.. nothing His friend was so generous and took us out to Daegu to ride a tram up to the top of a mountain! We had a quick snack of tofu kimchi and acorn jelly salad!!
Then we were off to Seoul! I was pumped!
Seoul was full of markets, touristy sights, folk villages, and palaces. I was pretty palace’d out at the end of our trip. But glad my mom dragged us to all of them, it was fun to learn the history and old ways of doing things! We went to Dongdaemun Market to get some hanboks made (it only took them three days to make 4 of them!). Namdaemun had lots of wholesale items, tons of jewelry, fabric, plates, etc. My parents got glasses made in 30 minutes! My favorite market ended up being Gwangjang Market. The food isles were so amazing! There were ladies chopping up fresh noodles, bibimbap stations, red bean porridge, this bean and pork pancake, lots of blood sausage (I’m not a fan) and other weird animal parts. Haha Hongdae was also fun to see, it’s got the night life and fun and interesting plays on food! We didn’t spend a lot of time there but we did get to try tteokbokki with cheese and beef! It was less saucy than traditional tteokbokki but the rice cakes were nicely seared and the cheese was sooo melty and delicious! And I have to say, Korean super markets are legit. So many banchans and all so good! The best part? They sample everything. Dozens of samples just waiting for you to try, it’s like Costco samples on crack.
I think going to Korea has made me even more obsessed with korean food. Haha, we headed straight to a favorite korean restaurant in Federal Way after I landed!
I was sad definitely sad to leave, I felt like I was just starting to get used to the city and I had only scratched the surface when it came to eating. I’m already itching to go back! Now that I have all the touristy stuff out of the way, I can focus on eating the entire time