Monday, May 18, 2015

Korea Day 3: Gwangjang Market + Namsan Tower + MyeongDong!

Seoul day 3! I was finally going to meet my friend, Dae Bong, whom I've met in SKKU 3 years ago. We were group mates in one of the modules that I took, and he is the only one whom I'm in contact with now.

I love their subway stations so much! Hahaha. The screen shows you where the train is at, and the train will slowly move to the next stop. Pretty cute. My favourite part is when the train is approaching and music will be played.

Gwangjang Market (광장시장) is located near Euljiro 4-ga station (Line #2 & #5), Exit 4. Just walk all the straight when you get out of the subway station and you'll hit Gwangjang Market.

Gwangjang Market is the first market in Korea and until today, it is a very popular market among locals and tourists.
We reached at 10am and not all shops were opened yet.
These are cakes for wedding. Something like those 喜饼 that we give out before a customary Chinese wedding.
Different kinds of kimchi!
Bindaettok, 빈대떡 or mung bean pancake. There's many stalls selling a lot of similar items so take your pick!
Daebong oppa!
We had some mayak kimbap, 마약김밥, which is basically mini kimbaps with ingredients such as pickles, rice, seaweed and carrot.
A was craving for red bean and we thought this was red bean soup, but it turned out to be congee instead. It tasted weird, so we didn't finish it. Besides, there were too many delicious food all around!
We walked to Dongdaemun via the Cheonggyecheon stream which was really lovely in spring.
The shopping malls, Doota, aPm, and Miglorie. Shopping wasn't my priority so I didn't shop at DDM. Besides, I could get the same items at other areas at a cheaper price.

Daebong oppa brought us to Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
They had a flea market for local designers. Something like our Public Garden.
There were also exhibits indoors which showcased Korea's products back in the olden days. Something like our #iremembersg.
Next, we went to Sul Bing for dessert! :D
Injeolmi, soft rice cake coated with sweet bean powder.
Bingsoo with sweet bean powder. Apparently, it's Daebong oppa's favourite. However, too much of the powder can get overwhelming.

We bade goodbye to Daebong oppa as he had to go home early to prepare for his train ride. He lives in Seoul but he works in Daegu which is a 3 hours away from Seoul. He only comes back during the weekends so with a small country, we're pretty lucky we don't have to wait till the weekend to see our parents.

It was pretty much an eat-all-we-can day. A wasn't full so.. street food!
Took a stroll along the stream (again) since it was such a nice day.
It was 29 March, and flowers were starting to bloom.
Took at least 10 shots before we got one without photobombers!
Lots of fish swimming against the tide in the clear stream.

We went back to Gwangjang market because we wanted more food and it was too short a visit earlier!
Apart from food, Gwangjang market offers a variety of products such as shoes, hanbok, vintage clothes, bags etc.
In episode 186 of Running Man, the cast went to Gwangjang market for filming and had a few missions. They stopped by this store for some kimbap. Being a kimbap and a RM lover, I had to get some too, even though mayak kimbap is the same everywhere else.

Most of the stores were selling the same items so we just randomly stopped at one.
We were rather surprised to find that even though these stalls were tiny, and it was basically just an eat-and-go stall, their benches were heated.
Kimbap, tteokpoki and odeng!

Here's ahjumma slicing some soondae (blood sausage).
Knowing that we were tourists, she treated us to some soondae. We had soondae back in Jeju in 2012 but I had a really bad experience so I was quite apprehensive. The ahjumma was so kind, we couldn't really reject her, could we? Surprisingly, it had the texture of a pomelo, and there wasn't any much taste to it. It was just.. chewy.

Apart from that, she fed us and another local couple with more (free) kimbap and tteokppoki, as well.

She asked us where we were from and after hearing that we were from Singapore, the first thing she said was "Lee Kuan Yew". It was LKY's state funeral that day too so it was heartwarming knowing that he was well-received everywhere.
We move on to our next food item.. Seriously, when you're there, just eat only.
Came across this bibimbap store and I had a strong feeling this was the one Running Man went to as well.
This cost us 5,000won, but it was well spent! It's just plain vege; there's no meat at all. However, the carbs was made up of rice AND barley. It was an interesting combination and we loved it!

We left Gwangjang market for N Seoul Tower! A has not been up there before. We took a bus at Myeong Dong Subway station (line 4) exit 3. Walk straight after exit 3 and take bus #5 from the bus stop right in front. The bus comes every 15 minutes, and it takes about 30 minutes to get to the top because of the huge loop. The bus ride cost 950won (if you pay in cash), or 850won by t-money.
Knowing that we would be visiting the love locks, I brought one over from Singapore. $2 from Daiso, cheap cheap!
Went back to Hyehwa to collect A's specs!
And back to Sinchon for dinner :D
Back in 2012, A introduced me to this place and gave me directions via WhatsApp. It wasn't easy since we did not know the road name and he gave vague directions like "turn right after the church", "I think it's next to Watsons".

Our favourite was the rice. The rice soaked up the essence of the shabu shabu and it was very flavourful. However, we felt that the staff left too much soup inside. The rice was too wet :( 

Dessert was at my favourite pat bing soo place, Homilbat! This is a must-go when it comes to bing soo. It is so popular that even the locals queue for it, and has been nominated as the top 5 places to go to for pat bing soo.
It was a very chilly night when we went, so there were hardly anyone around.
It's red bean with rice jelly, and shaved ice with a layer of milk. It's that simple, but I swear it's one of the best pat bing soo around. The shaved ice is very very fine, and so far, there wasn't any bing soo we tried which as ice as fine as Homilbat's. There are other flavours such as green tea, watermelon and strawberry (seasonal fruit), but the original is still the best IMO. It was 5,500won well spent :)

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