So today we received an email from Andrew Dunkle a Senior Editor with GO! Overseas informing us that Backpackbees blog will be included in GO! Overseas top blogs for South Korea! Thanks to all of our followers, friends and GO! Overseas for this recognition. We hope that you continue to enjoy our travels.
Monthly Archives: March 2011
We Ate What??
Tonight we had the pleasure of accompanying another great set of friends at a local spicy octopus restaurant called Kim Myongja Seafood. Yes, (Dad) you heard that right… we ate octopus and we really enjoyed it! I really enjoy spicy foods and this newly found love has been added to the list!
The dish we ate tonight is called nak ji bok gum. Nak ji bok gum is an octopus stir-fried with vegetables and noodles in a moderately fiery sauce. Bok-gum dishes are typically stir-fried or sautéed, and served in heaping platters to be eaten with rice. The portion was large, large enough that we ended up taking some home. The fiery spice really starts to build so traditionally the Koreans serve spicy dishes with some sort of water kimchi or a plum juice called Eun Jin. At this restaurant we were served water kimchi, rice, and a boiled scrambled egg. Feel free to check out the pictures of the whole experience!
After dinner we took a stroll across the street to a local fresh market where we picked up Korean strawberries and a small Eun Jin to show you what it looks like.
Last night we walked about 4 or 5 miles around New City exploring. We went into a few stores and shops checking out everything they had to offer. We included a picture of my ice-cream treat too. The outside is a waffle much like an american ice-cream treat. The inside however has strawberry, red bean paste and wrapped in green tea.
Our Korean Front Door
We have been answering many questions from friends, family, and my one best friends grade school class. One thing that continues to come up is the interest in our apartment. People are very intrigued to know what the place looks like and what unique features the apartment has in comparison to those located in the states.
We decided to showcase our front door. I know what you are thinking “WOW” a door! Well, we were pretty impressed with the technology behind these doors! One, no more having to carry around a million and one keys, you can carry a simple lightweight key fob. Two, if you completely forget your key fob inside and the door shuts behind you… no need to fret… you simply enter in your personal code to get back in!
At the end of the short clip you see that we show the little camera that is off to the right hand side of the door. This camera is used for if you have a visitor or take out delivery person “ring your doorbell”. They press the button the camera comes on and we can view from inside the apartment who it is before even going to the door. If we know who it is and we just want to let them right in we also have the option of just pressing a button and it unlocks the door without making you have to go over to the door and open it for them.
Again, what a NEAT concept!
Fun In Itaewon!
Today we Bee’s buzzed by the Soyosan Mountain located on the outskirts of Dongducheon City. The term Soyosan means, “walking” and walking is what we did! This mountain is relatively small standing 587m tall but boast lush forest, hiking paths, stone bridges, Korean style restaurants/ Inn’s, waterfalls, Caves, and Jajaeam (small Buddhist temple). Don’t let the size statement fool you because this mountain can be steep and narrow at times on the way up. We started to refer to the Korean hikers as billy goats because no matter what the age they just keep passing you effortlessly.
Non- Dongducheon visitors must pay an admission fee of 1,000 won. This fee helps to preserve and maintain Soyosans upkeep. Unlike the states we quickly took notice that there is no litter on the ground, no graffiti to be found anywhere, all of the flower beds and paths are weeded nicely, restrooms are kept up with, and they provide high pressure air machines to blow the dirt off the bottom of your hiking boots or shoes.
On the mountain we meet a little Korean boy hiking with his family who was very very eager to tell us An-nyung-ha-se-yo, a formal hello in Korean, that he kept saying it repeatedly awaiting for our responses. We also had the chance to meet two great new American friends that are teaching English in the area at one of the International public schools. We wanted to say thank you again for taking our picture for our blog! We look forward to bumping into them again too!
Larry bought me a wooden prayer bead bracelet at a vendor near the buddhist temple to remember our trip. The vendor stand had prayer candles for purchase, various wooden prayer bead bracelets, necklaces, and cast iron stones to write prayers on.
Stay tuned for more pictures, as we are planning another trip back to Soyosan with friends to picnic, check out the spring leaves and flowers, and finish hiking our way to the top.
Dino Meat Grill House
We went to a fun Korean BBQ restaurant tonight called Dino Meat Grill House in “New City” Dongducheon. Honestly, It really should be called Dino-mite meats because it’s absolutely fantastic! We Bee’s give this place two thumbs up! We enjoyed our meal with our two good travel buddies Hector and Doris.
We made sure to snap some pictures for our fellow blog followers so that they could partake in the experience as well.
Before entering the restaurant you remove your shoes and place them in or around the shoe slots. We were immediately greeted and seated by the host. The seating is quaint and bit different as you sit on a small flat pillow on the floor.
Next the server will bring you an array of sides that consist of salads, various sauces, whole garlic cloves, and of course kimchi. Foreigners prep yourself utensils only consist of metal chopsticks and a long handled soupspoon.
Next you take your silver tray and head up to the meat buffet. At the meat buffet you are hand selecting your own meats with metal tongs. The meat options consisted of beef ribs, pork galbi, samgyeopsal, sausages, thinly sliced marinated beef (reminding us of chopped cheese steak meat), and meat patties. We have to note again that the meat is seasoned and flavored FANTASTICLLY! Oh and that you can select as much or as little of the meats you want. However we also must inform you that you will be charged if you take meat that you do not eat. This cuts down on people acting solely on eyes and not stomachs.
Now it’s time to start up your tables grill. The grill takes about 5 – 10 minutes to get warmed up. This is where we thought it reminded us of the Melting Pot or a Brazilian steakhouse in the states. Each table comes equipped with its own grill. We were able to gather some quick tips from the teens that were grilling and chilling to the left of us. Don’t worry if you get stuck or need some sides replenished, you simply press the “call button” that is located on your table for the wait staff.
Thirsty? Glad you mentioned it! At Dino meats you can opt for various Korean beverages both alcoholic and non
So how much cabbage is this place going to set you back? Get ready for this…. 14,000 won per person! What a steal for all the meat you can eat! Remember, no tipping, the price you see is the price you pay, end of story.
Mindalay Restaurant in Yangju, Bibimbap
So tonight we went to Mindalay Restaurant in Yangju with some friends. The restaurant is located just off of highway 3 in Yangju. Walking up to the restaurant it looks like a small cottage, more like something you would find in Germany. Inside there are large wooden tables (any restaurant that has tables is a huge plus) and dark wooden floors, really giving you the quaint tavern feel. They specialize in Bibimbap which translated means “mixed meal”. Basically you take all these side dishes that come out and mix them in your bowl of rice; then add Gojujang (red pepper paste) and sesame seed oil to taste. Mix it all up and eat it.
The meal started out with a glass of Red Lambrusco wine and some pre-meal side dishes; mushrooms soaked in soy sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds, candied figs (which were EXCELLENT) sweet and sour pork with onions peppers and carrots, grilled beef with onions, carrots and green peppers, a leafy vegetable that was coated with Gojujang and soy sauce, and pumpkin soup. Once we were done with the pre-meal sides the main side dishes and spicy bean soup were brought out. While we were finishing the Bibimbap they brought us out the cooked rice water which was boiled water that was added to the rice cooker to loosen the remaining rice; this is a Korean tradition that is not used much in homes due to teflon coated rice cookers. At the end of the meal we were brought out a “refreshing” drink (plum drink) that was supposed to sooth the mouth from the strong food tastes and pepper paste. It tasted like a cool tea that was very light and had the color of a green tea. We were also served Korean style coffee (instant cappuccino with hot water added).
All in all this is one of our favorite bibimbap restaurants; it is slightly expensive for the amount of sides and portions that you get but we give it two thumbs up for sure. Mainly due to the fact that we liked ALL of the side dishes and items. Total cost 54,000 Korean WON KRW (for 4 people) about $12.00 per person, and this is the TOTAL price since you don’t leave a tip in Korea. We will absolutely be returning here especially if we are showing new people to the area.
The Korean Washer/Dryer Combo!
I was able to Skype with my mom this morning! She like others have been asking and are curious to know about the Korean appliances. I decided I would specifically blog about our washer/ dryer combo. . . (I KNOW HOW EXCITING!)
We have a washer/ dryer combo, it’s a little machine that does both all in one. How fantastic, right?! Yeahhhh… that’s exactly what I thought too. I think the concept is a great one but overall it doesn’t quite work out the way we would like it to. Typically for our household of two we in the states we would do maybe two or three loads of laundry a week. Plus I am sort of impatient and would shove a ton into the washer and dyer hoping and thinking it would help speed up my laundry chore.
Typically Korean’s do not have dryers at all. I am told this is due to the high electricity cost to run it. We are lucky that the place we have came furnished with one! The machine is smaller in size so than what we owned in the states. Obviously, we cannot cram what we might have into a load back in the states too. If you do decide to cram in a bunch of stuff it doesn’t get washed properly and to dry everything takes even longer only adding to the three hour process it already has! Also, the lint… that is another issue in itself! The lint ends up on most of your dark clothing creating more work in the end as well.
So how do the Koreans dry clothing? I have included some pictures below that you can check out. Clothing is hung to dry. Alot of apartments feature an enclosed balcony, or what Koreans call a veranda (pronounced “beh-lan-da”). This is and area where they hang clothing, gain extra storage, or where people do miscellaneous chores.
This is what the enclosed balconies look like from the outside. You can see there are clothing hanging to dry (Shown below).
Our veranda can be accessed through a sliding glass door acting as a window/ wall in a bedroom ( Shown below).
This is what our veranda looks like once you open the two glass doors. Right now we are using it as storage for some of our larger items (Shown below).
Thanks for baring with us as we take you buzz you through the excitement of the Korean washer/ dryer combo!
Open Air Market in Dongducheon
Tonight we decided to take a trip to the Open Air Market located in Dongducheon. It was a really unique experience! The feeling of the Open Air Market was almost like going to the flea-market with my Grandparents only everything here was obviously written in Korean. In the states markets are where you purchase local fruits, vegetables, baked goods, clothing, sometimes even meat. This market was actually very similar to that experience except for in the states you don’t typically get to see and purchase live eel, fried squid, different variations of Kimchi, rice, seaweed, and mandu (Korean dumplings). Hope you enjoy the pictures!
Dad- Please note the picture of me getting ready to try my fried squid! I said to Larry that you would be dry heaving the whole time walking through the marketplace. : )
Korean Elevator Moving Trucks….They Really Do Exist!
Today at lunch I could hear some commotion outside so of course I had to see what was going on. I was SUPER excited when I finally got to see the Korean elevator moving truck moving the neighbors stuff out of their place. Larry had told me about these and I thought it was some sort of joke not really believing him….(Sorry Lar!). Much to my surprise these trucks really do exist and really do elevate your items into your place instead of having to climb endless stairs or cram into the elevator.
Sorry the video quality isn’t the best. I just quickly grabbed my iphone to shoot some footage. We will definitely post what it’s like when we obtain our shipment in a few months so stay tuned.
On a side note: Family & Friends who have helped us move in the past… where the heck were these in the states when we needed one?!