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Enjoying the sunshine, loving the green -

loving the pregnancy. :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer food (2) - Cold noodle

Cold noodle is a very special summer food in Korea that you must also try when you visit Korea in summer. It is served coldly with ice, cucumber and egg. It is either in the type of water or mix with chili sauce. It is recommended to try the water one because it is not as spicy as the other one.
My friend and I visited this restuarant - YookSsam Naengmyeon at Chon Ho branch 육쌈냉면 - 천호점. We didn't know about this shop at first but when we went in, we found a lot of customers. Some of them even needed to wait for the seats since they were all occupied. This was a good sign - delicious that it attracts a lot of people.

What are the attractions?
- cold noodle in hot summer!
- cheap price - 4,500 won for one bowl of noodle and meat! 냉면+고기!
- delicious and cheap at this area - Department stores and E-mart around!

Let you see the photos:

When you enter the shop, you can see this really "hot" and "hard" working guy is bbq-ing the meat!
Order the food -
(1) water type - mul-naengmyeon 물냉면
(2) bibim naengmyeon
they serve this pot of cold soup with the bibim naengmyeon too.
Don't forget the meat!
How to eat cold noodle?
- add the vinegar and ginger sauce as the photo below (according to your taste)
- mix the noodle thoroughly
- cut the noodle with the scissors provide
- drink the soup by holding the whole bowl up :)

Different restaurants serve different types of cold noodles. Some even add in kiwi.

Do not forget to drink the hot soup 육수 served just next to the counter. Water is self service.

Also, the chopsticks are put in the drawer of the side of the table! Amazing idea - save table space to put the utensils. I like their serving idea.

This restaurant is just at the junction next to E-mart of CheonHo branch, Lote Ogori 로데오거리. Walk from Emart and at the first junction, with shop at the corner, turn right and you will see the restaurant.

Tel: 02-570-6395.

Enjoy it!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

VIPS family restaurant

Last Wednesday my hubby and I visited the VIPS family restaurant because we had the discount coupons. Later this Tuesday we visited again with 2 of our friends also because of the coupons which cost us only about 11,000 won per person, which originally cost us 17,900 won per person.

We had a great meal - as we like to eat salmon, my hubby likes to eat olive, and I like to eat prawns. Also, there are a lot of fresh salad, pizza and others.

Salad bar is their basic meal - buffet style.
They also serve other set meal with steak, pork ribs and spagetti. (Lunch and dinner are in different prices)

We went to Guri branch for the first visit and Konkuk University branch for the second visit. There are little difference, like they serve the oyster (Guri with tomato sauce and KonkuK with steam), KonKuk serves carrot cake.

My first plate (above) and hubby's first (below)

Must try their salmon and prawns!
Do not eat too much rice, but try the rice noodle.

Their deserts are very nice too!

The things you should pay attention to:

the way to make bibimbap and rice noodle - they only write in Korean. Bibimbap is easy to prepare - put the various choices of vegetables on the bar and put the sauce - and then return to your seat and start to mix it - that's easy!
For rice noodle - the same process but just first prepare the noodle - pick one noodle served there (Round shape) and then put in the water 1 time, rinse it and then put in your bowl. Later, put the vegetables in the bowl and then last, put 1-2 spoons of the soup. Don't forget to take yourself a pair of chopsticks.

What I surprised is that they serve the rice: Nasi Goreng - fried rice of Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

I also did not miss the mangoes! Yummy!


Normally I didn't take the bibimbap but this time I wanted to try their taste, and I like it very much. Last time they serve cookie instead of mini bread.

Anyway, their service is very good - 5 stars! They keep taking away the empty / finished plate for you. They also serve water tissue - get it and wash your hands if you eat the prawns!

They keep improving their menus and I think it is very good!

Hope you also can try this family restaurant one day - with coupon! :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer ABC

My model... :)
Korea also has its own cold ice drink - we called it ABC in Malaysia - 팥빙수 (Pat-bing-su). Normally it is sold at bakery like 파리바게뜨 and 쭈레쥬르. Price range is from 3,500 won to 7,500 won or higher.

It is ice actually, after blended. It is normally mixed with fruits and ice-cream, inside with Ddok (mini rice cakes) or jelly and red bean. Or only Red beans with jellies.
It is the fastest to get cool in the hot afternoon.

This one (above) we had at a bakery named Aroo Bakery. This ABC is very delicious but quite expensive - 7,500 won. It is quite a big size compared to other shops. Yet the taste is bravo!!! 5 stars!

This one (above) is from LotteRia at Jamsil. It doesn't look good in apple! It is not fresh apples and strawberries too! It doesn't taste good of their ice too! It cost us 4,500 won for the fruit ABC. I would say it only worth 1 star.

The taste of ABC in Malaysia and Korea are different. We have cendol and coconut juice in Malaysia that makes it smells even better. Anyway, you must try this summer patbingsu at Korea.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Friendly Koreans

I love how they treat the needy persons:

- Elevators for handicapped person on subway - either at staircases (moving plate) or lifts (though sometimes it is far away).

- sound system for the blind at predestrian crossing.

- public toilet has a room especially for old and handicapped people, and a room for mum and sometimes room only for kids.

- Both subway and buses provide seats for old and handicapped people too, also applicable to pregnant women. (Yellow seats in bus)

- holders with code for the blind

Map also designed for the blind. (Normally in lifts only)

Books for the blind too.

- Road especially design for wheelchair movement, for needy persons like baby carriage/buggy, old people and handicapped people too.

It is hard to find in two-third world countries. I think it is a good practise we should follow.

Wabu library

Koreans like to read books!
They translate most of the books of the world - either sell it or put it in their library. They have a good environment to produce good readers!
It is easy to find a nearby library and become a member of the library. We like to read books and we always find out where the library located wherever we live. We had been moving 3 times and we are the members of 3 libraries (2 are inactive).
Even non-Koreans like me can apply to become a member, as long as you hold a Alien registration card, with F2 at least.

Namyangju city area does not have a lot of library as it is not as developed as Seoul. Yet they are kind enough to develop new facilities for the residents - in a fast pace! They just announced their plan in the early of this year and we can use the library since last week! Efficiency is always the good attitude of Koreans!
This is the brand new Wabu library - 와부도서관.
Location: 남양주시 와부읍 덕소리 117-1
Area: 4,010 meter square.
  • direct bus: 1670, 112-3 (get down at Sinhan apartment and walk about 10 min)
  • bus: 112-1, 166, 168, 34, 2000-1, 2000-2, 8 (get down at Sinhan apartment and walk about 10 min) 166-1 (get down at Wabu elementary school and walk about 2 min)
  • subway: Doekso station and walk about 15 min

It is just opposite to GS mart, near to the fire station. A new building which is quite easy to recognize.

In the main entrance they display some photos of the new library. Also there is a automatic book returning machine just at the entrance.

Information counter has an attractive design that everybody likes to come over there. The service is very good too.

B1 floor: rooms, Book cafe, shop, resting rooms
1st floor: Special information room, lobby, office, Book arrangment room
2nd floor: Children's section, family reading room, Culture room
3rd floor: Student reading room, Adult reading room, meeting room, reading counsel room
4th floor: Literature section, culture room
5th floor: Digital section, Seminar rooms, culture room
This library has 49,163 books (I believe it will be more... because when we were there last week, there are still a lot of spaces).
Opening hour:
Adult reading room: 8am - 10pm
Others: 9am - 6pm
Off days:
3rd and 4th Monday of every month
Phone no.: 590)8920-8921
Actually it had a lot of activities on the first day opening of the library, 14th July 2009. It's a waste we didn't attend it. We went there on the second day but it had already been so many people applying for membership.
  • Namyangju city residents
  • Bring your ID, 1 photo, fill up the application form
  • Personal member: 3 books for 15 days
  • Family member: 9 books for 15 days
There is a special painting exhibition at the lobby these days. They're painted by handicapped persons who draw with mouth and foot. They're amazing people!

Since it is still a new place, it is clean and tidy. Shop and book cafe are not opened yet at B1 floor.

I found this special book - for the blind - in the lobby! Such a nice facility for the handicapped people. I really salute to their caring and kindness.

We visited the whole building. We also borrowed books from the library. Water are supplied in every floor. Clean toilets too. The books really make my summer vacation become more meaningful!

I hope you also can find the nearest library to visit it and you may find the books you want to read.

For your information, English books are not many but they still have some. At least there is a English magazine: Newsweek. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Raining spell in summer 장마

Not only Korea is having a raining season, but also other countries like England and Malaysia, etc. I like rain but I don't like flood.

What do you see in raining season?

Morning 6am - full of clouds

Afternoon - Han river is all yellowish and the water level is very high. Normally Han river park has been flooded if the rain continues to rain for 1 whole week.

Another spot you can view is the dam. We went to 팔당댐 Paldang dam, a place before Yangsu-ri on the way to Yangpyeong from Seoul. It is a famous spot to view the water. I used my handphone to take the photos so it can't be zoomed close enough to see the strength of the water.

This year rain does not come steadily as last few years, but it came in such a big amount in a few days, that the newspaper reported that this year has as high as 120mm water level. Forecast always says rain will come on the next day, but it does not come on the right time. Seems like the weather is really hard to be expected now. Anyway, bring umbrella with you all the time.

Rain makes all river become yellowish, but it brings water to the streams which hardly have water since winter.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tour Guide

My friends always ask me that whenever they come to Korea, what are the places that I will bring them to? Or what are the places that should be in their travel list? What are my suggestion of visiting Korea?

I have been staying here for 4 years, but still a lot of places I have not been visiting too. I will recommend some famous places and more familiar to me. There are some guide I will give though:
  • Which season do you like? If you like winter, come in late December - Feb, then you can see the snow and also ski. If you want like autumn, come in October and November. I don't like summer here but the air ticket is cheap in summer. Come in early Apr for the cherry flower / sakura!
  • What is your main purpose to visit Korea? Shopping - then set the places like MyeongDong, Dongdaemun and Namdaemun markets, and etc. If you want to shop for resell, go to Namdaemun. Explore Korea - go to the palace, Insa-dong, traditional house, folk museum and etc. To see North Korea - DMZ! ... Theme parks - Everland if you have time, Lotte World is nearer in town area.
  • What do you want to eat? Korean food is mostly hot and spicy! Most of my friends tried the spicy food but sometimes it made them to visit the toilet. Prepare some pills to make your stomach feel better. In my must eat list: bulgogi, samgyepsal (bbq pork), ginseng chicken, bibimbap, kimchi stew and soybean paste stew. Most of the time if you come in tour package, you sure will try all these. Thus, I challenge you to try raw octopus 낙지, if you dare. 한정식 Korean food in one whole table - also a must eat but only if you are affordable to order one - price is counted per head.
  • How about street food? Most of them are safe to eat and must try! 떡볶기 Ddokbokgi or spicy fried rice cake is spicy yet if you dare to eat, try it. They are served with fried dumpling/ yam/ vegetable/ cuttlefish/ prawns etc. Also you can find 순데 sun-dae - sausage made of bean curd and green-bean sprouts stuffed in pig intestine. I will blog it in another post for the detailed and with photos. I like rice cake a lot.
  • What to buy for souvenirs? Think of whom are you going to give to? What they like to eat? Normally we buy kim or seaweed, we Malaysians and my Hong Kong friends like them so much. You can get it cheap in big mart. The snacks here are also can be a gift to the children. Most of my friends buy Korean cosmetics too. The last but not the least, kim chi! I believe kim chi is a good souvenir as you can buy in package form (for small amount), and even you want to buy more, buy the fresh made one and the mart will do the packaging for you to put in your luggage.
  • Place to stay - hotels here are expensive. Because of my house is small, my friends mostly stay in hotels. They found the quite good hotels in a good price. I believe it is not a difficult matter but as I say, you must know your purpose of visiting Korea, then find the nearest hotel that is convenient to you.
  • Shopping tips - learn basic Korean and other than mart, you can negotiate the prices. If you have local friends, ask them to shop with you, they know where to get the cheap and good things.

Hope it can help you to make a happy travel through this simple tips.

Way to congratulate 축결혼

Do you see this before in the weddings of Korea?
This is one way of Koreans to congratulate the newly wed couple - by sending the flowers.
Flowers are colorful, display is high in setting, and it really gives the impression of "big" gift to the couple and family.

It is a surprise for me because it appears only with chrysamthemum flowers (the same seting) in funeral, Koreans too.

Anyway, it is not a cheap gift. From what I searched online, it costs more than 100,000won. Thus, they are mostly are from company or family.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer - house care

There are some tips I learnt from the past 4 summers I have been in Korea:
  • Food rubbish - Korea has the rubbish system to separate the food, normal and recycle rubbish. The most headache thing in summer is the rubbish settlement, because of the strong smell from the rubbish. Thus, we cannot keep too long for the rubbish, especially the food rubbish. Keep it dry as much as possible so that it will not attract the flies. Tie it properly. If not, the worms will attack the rubbish!
  • Do not throw any food rubbish into the normal rubbish bin because the worms will attack there too!
  • Finish the food (especially pan chan) in the refrigerator asap because it gets rotten very fast.
  • Keep the food and ingredients like sesame seeds, chili powder and etc into the refrigerator because the worms will attack them too.
  • Wet because of high humidity. The wall which turns black is the symptom of your house is humid. Thus, keep the dehumidifier in the wardrobe because the clothes also are affected directly.
  • Ice-cream is sold at 50% at most mart and shops. Thus, take the most opportunity to buy the cheapest ice-cream if you like it. The big marts do not sell cheap but only discount of 20-30%.
  • Clothes washing - try to do it more often because mold (fungi) will be produced. Yet the problem is the clothes are not easy to be dried up. Try to dry it with air-con or under the sun.
  • School holiday! Summer holiday this year will start next week until August. It means that every Korean will try to go out of their house - either inside or outside of Korea - and every tourist places will be crowded, especially the highway. Try to avoid traveling in this period of time, especially to theme park like Everland, Lotte World and etc, because you will only be stuck in the traffic jam and queue.
  • Raining season in July - bring umbrellas. Extremely hot in August - sunblock must.
  • Beach - full of people for sure! Try to visit one in the summer then you can experience the craziness of Koreans in the water.
  • Eat summer fruits like peach and watermelon. They're cheap.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Malaysian food at Sinsaegae

When I went to Namdaemun one day, I found out that there is a India stall sells Malaysian food, not many but at least nasi goreng and mee goreng.
The department stores here always have the international food stalls that you can taste various types of food, like Japanese food, Chinese food, Mexican, American and Vietnamese food. Malaysian/Thai/Indonesian food can be found too.

Thus, I decided to try nasi goreng (fried rice) and mee goreng (fried mee) at this Sinsaegae near to Namdaemun market.

The price range is from 6,000 won to 8,000 won. The portion is normal size as shown below.
Order process:
1) provide the name of the food to the counter
2) order it with quantity
3) pay it before eating
4) find a seat
5) water is self service
6) they will call you / serve it to you when it is ready
7) ask for the chili (cili padi)
8) kim chi is served too
9) after finish the meal, take back to the counter to make sure the next customer have a seat

Nasi Goreng 나시 고랭

Mee goreng 미 고랭
This stall serves 4 stars Malaysian food. Not too salty and not too spicy. May be next time should try the Indian roti. :)
Oh... there is another department store, Lotte Department Store at Jamsil, which serves mee goreng too. Not as delicious as this Sinsaegae one.

Travel in Geoje Island - Oedo-Botania

Since we had some time before return back to Seoul, we went to a tour at Geoje Island, by 유람선 excursion ship to Oedo-Botania 외도.

We saw the brochure in the homestay house and it had discount coupon. Thus, from the pricelist you see in the picture below, it costs actually 8,000 won for the Oedo Botania entrance fee only. But you have to take the boat - thus it costs 6,000 won more, but course 2 which includes tour around the 해금강 Haegemgang (cultural assets).

Since it only costs 2,000 won more, I suggest go for the course 2, with another 30 minutes more.

We also met 2 foreigners who travelled from Busan to Geoje Island.

About the transportation from either Seoul or Busan, please refer to this site: Geoje City.
Geoje Island is the second largest island in Korea. On the east, it is 9km from Gadeokdo (island) ini Busan and on the west, Geoje Grand Bridge connects it with Tongyeong.
Haegeumgang consists of 2 islands belonged to Hallyeo National Marine park. It is called Galdo because its shape resembles arrowroots. It is 116km high above sea level and about 0.1 km square wide.

The best scenic beauties include Sipjadonggul (cross shaped cave), which reveals itself during the low tide, Sajabawi (lion shaped rock), and Ilwonbong for its fantastic sceneries of sunrise and moonrise.

Anyway, after taking all the photos, I still do not know how to recognize which cave is which cave, they're all amazing!

This is the boat we took to go to Oedo. There were crowded with people, even we had to queue up to enter the boat.
The boat has 2 levels, lower and upper. The windows must be closed as the water will flow in when traveling. We don't like the boat when it travels - TV was on with loud Korean dancing music!!! We already felt dizzy with sea sick (slightly) and with the disturbing music, I'm almost died. The only choice was to hidd in the middle block.

When we traveled to Oedo, the scenery was nice because the boat slowly sailed to show us the caves of Haegeumgang. But the trip return back to Geoje Island, it was terrible. We went out the dock for a while but the wind was too strong and we had to get in the boat for the last 10-15 minutes.

Don't forget to take a photo with you when it sails away from Haegeumgang. I forgot to take one for myself but only took for my friend one! :(
Disturbing ajussi who was drunk almost made trouble in the boat too.

When you arrive the island, remember to listen to their announcement and remember which boat you took. You have to take the same boat back to Geoje Island. It is exactly 2 hour 30 minutes later you have to get abroad again.
Located at San 109 Wahyeon-ri, Ilun-myeon, Geoje, this island is covered by a camellia forest with the area of 12,000m2. The island is home to more than 3,000 plant species including many subtropical plants, such as cactus, palm tree, gazania, sunshine, eucalyptus, bottlebrush bush, New Zealand flax, and agave. It is so beautiful that it is called a paradise in Korea. The coastline is 2.3km. The island has an observation deck, a sculpture park, an outdoor stage, and other facilities for relaxation. The dinosaur cave, dinosaur rock, and dinosaur footprints in the island are designated as cultural assets by Gyeongsangnam-do.

The main view of Oedo-Botania:

If there are too many people taking photos, just go up and you can catch from another viewpoint like below:

When I arrived the island, I was quite dizzy thus I didn't take any photos about the entrance. Just show your ticket at the entrance and you can enter.
After that, you will first see this unique trees (just like you're entering a fantasy world) and don't forget to take photos here!
Toilet is just around too, better to visit it before walking around the botanical garden which it will take 50 minutes at least.
The Panaroma Place:
Fountain of farewell:
Must take photos here: flower garden!
I like all these amazing greenish and unique-shaped trees.

Don't forget to snap photos at the Venus Garden.
Don't forget to look around, especially the sea view is extraordinary wonderful!
The history of this island - get to know this guy, Mr Lee. He was the one who started this garden and later reformed to become a visitor place.

Dreaming Heights - a church is here too.
The last part of the route - a Greece style staircase. Don't forget to take this photo although you may be exhausted after walking for 2 hours more! Save the camera battery for this shot too! I almost ran out of battery when I reached here, luckily still managed to take the most satisfied shot!

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