Return to Korea

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,808
126
Wife and I recently spent several weeks in Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island, South Korea. We last visited South Korea back in November 2019, right before covid changed the world. International travel sucks now because of all the covid restrictions, but I’m grateful we even had the opportunity to visit again. You see and learn a lot from traveling and this trip was no different. I ate lot of great foods and experienced some new things. And that’s my goal of any trip. One thing I really enjoy now is not having to worry about time or money while traveling. It’s such liberating feeling and gives me extreme happiness knowing there’s no work I have to return to when I get back home or worrying about money or the cost of anything. If something appeals to me, money is no longer a barrier. That’s a wonderful feeling and something I’m still trying to get used to. I remember reading Steve Jobs biography about the feeling of joy he felt every time he walked into his favorite bicycle shop because he could afford any bike in the store and he could buy all the bikes if he wanted to. He said that feeling always made him happy even if he didn’t buy anything.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the trip. Mostly of food because that’s what I enjoy. First is my favorite meal on this trip. On Jeju Island, I drove to small dumpling restaurant by the ocean where they served this amazing seafood dumpling stew. It was fantastic and made my trip to Korea worth it just to be able to experience such wonderful tasting food. The seafood stew was cooked at the table using the beef bone broth that’s cooked for 24 hours on giant iron cauldrons outside with wooden fire. They give you pitcher of this rich filtered beef bone broth to pour into your seafood pot to cook with along with red pepper paste in case you like your stew spicy. There are all kinds of seafood in the pot like octopus, scallops, clams, mussels, abalone, shrimp, crabs, etc, along with beef short ribs and various veggies. As the stew cooks, you eat the assorted seafood to create room to add plate of dumplings to the stew. They give you variety of dumplings like beef and pork, kimchi, shrimp, octopus, and abalone dumplings to add to the stew. As the dumplings cook in the stew, it soaks up the rich spicy beef broth and all the seafood flavor, It’s amazing. And towards the end, you add plate of knife cut fresh flour noodles to soak up the remaining beef and seafood broth to finish off your meal. It’s killer and one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. I don’t need fancy overrated and overpriced Michelin star restaurant food to fulfill and make me happy. I just need good food made with labor of love. And that’s becoming increasing hard to find these days anywhere.

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ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,808
126
I also revisited and ate at two of the same restaurants I ate on my last trip in 2019. But abalone and the Jeju belt fish restaurants weren't good as I remembered. Both were kind of disappointing actually. I guess time to move on.

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WARNING.
***Do not click below if you're PETA or have weak stomach***. You've been warned.
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ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,808
126
One of my favorite meal on Jeju Island was also the cheapest. Wife found excellent Jeju black pig noodle restaurant near the hotel we were staying at so we walked and ate breakfast there. Place was packed and we had to wait around 30 minutes to eat which is highly unusual if you know anything about how fast Koreans eat especially when it comes to food like noodles. But the wait was more than worth it.

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I chose the noodles in warm Jeju Black Pig pork broth with slices of cooked pork belly. I also chose to add extra noodles for 1,000 extra Won or like $0.85 extra. They give you some extra noodles for free after you finish your initial noodles if you ask but I like to have the extra noodles from the start as to not interrupt my natural eating flow. That to me is worth paying the extra $0.85 or so to not have to ask and pause my eating. The noodles were nice and chewy and Black Pig pork belly was melt in your mouth tender. Jeju Island Black Pig is famous in Korea for its great taste. I guess it's something similar to Berkshire pig but even more coveted. I'm a huge fan of pork meat in Korea, especially Jeju Black Pig.

Wife had the spicy noodles with pork which was ok but nothing special. My noodles were definitely leagues better. Each bowl of noodles were only 8,000 Won or $6.75 with taxes and tip included since you don't pay tip in Korea. South Korea is no longer cheap and quite expensive when it comes to many things but you can still find good cheap noodles. And that's a good thing.
 

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,808
126
We did some sightseeing on Jeju Island like going inside lava tube cave and visiting various beaches. We visited a night market to sample some street food and finished off the Jeju trip by eating Jeju Black Pork BBQ. I ate like 8-10 servings of pork belly, pork neck, and marinated pork ribs by myself in one sitting. I think our waitress thought I was crazy. But I didn't care. Jeju Island is the only place I can eat this particular pork BBQ so I wanted leave with no regrets.

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ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,808
126
We flew back to Seoul to take yet another PCR covid test because it had been a week since we entered Korea. We had to take initial PCR covid test to fly into Korea, another PCR test within 24 hours after we landed, another PCR covid test the week after, and another covid test to fly back to the US. Total of 4 different covid test. Such a hassle! And while waiting for the results, we had to self quarantine and check in with the phone mobile app which tracked our every movement. Each PCR covid test took about 24 hours to get the results so we lost like 2 1/2 vacation days to the tests. We just slept and ordered food delivery during the testing days.

We ordered awesome Korean fried chicken and Jokbal (soy and spice braised pig trotters) for delivery. You can also get things like frozen desserts like milk shaved ice. They deliver pretty much any food you want on motorbikes.

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Next up: Train to Busan.
 

Tormac

Senior member
Feb 3, 2011
249
45
91
Mmmmmm, Korean bbq is the bomb.

It sounds like the covid restrictions are not too intrusive in Korea. That looked like a great trip.
 
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Micrornd

Golden Member
Mar 2, 2013
1,265
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What is the reason behind the wood rails in the stone pillars in the photo below ??

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nakedfrog

No Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
57,390
11,246
126
Now that fried chicken, that looks tasty. I'm sure there's a place around here that does it, I'll have to look.
Lava tubes look neat too.
Welcome back!
 
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Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
29,987
10,496
136
Sorry, I'm not that familiar with Star Trek.


Point being Klingon's are rather partial to tentacle-bearing/waving food! ;)

For MY part btw most of that looks delicious!

I'm intrigued by the dish that looks like mango & cubes of creamy stuff... what exactly is that?

:D
 
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BudAshes

Lifer
Jul 20, 2003
13,900
3,157
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Point being Klingon's are rather partial to tentacle-bearing/waving food! ;)

For MY part btw most of that looks delicious!

I'm intrigued by the dish that looks like mango & cubes of creamy stuff... what exactly is that?

:D
Yeah I quoted the wrong picture, it was meant to be the one with the moving tentacles.
*Edit: Now fixed.
 
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ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,808
126
Mmmmmm, Korean bbq is the bomb.

It sounds like the covid restrictions are not too intrusive in Korea. That looked like a great trip.
Yes, I ate some terrific Korean BBQ while I was there. I especially love Hanwoo beef.

Covid restrictions were pretty strict. Country was on level 4 alert which is the highest restriction. Masks were mandatory at all times in public, outdoors or indoors. Only exemption was when actively eating or drinking. No eating while riding public transit.

What is the reason behind the wood rails in the stone pillars in the photo below ??

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Not sure. I didn't see any fence barrier connected to it. The big volcanic rock below is called Yongduam Rock. It's shape of a dragon's head.

omg amazing, thanks for sharing
glad you liked it. We had wonderful time even with all the strict covid restrictions. But I saw lot of businesses that suffered and closed due to covid. Like the rest of the world, it seems inequality increased because of covid. Small businesses suffered while big businesses thrived.

Now that fried chicken, that looks tasty. I'm sure there's a place around here that does it, I'll have to look.
Lava tubes look neat too.
Welcome back!
Thanks! My sleep schedule is all messed up now, and I've been struggling to readjust to US Eastern timezone. But it's good to be back in the USA.

Korean fried chicken is awesome. You should try it if you never had it. It's deep fried twice and sauced so it's addictive like chicken wings. In Korea, fried chicken and beer are eaten together so often they even have special word for it: Chimaek

Point being Klingon's are rather partial to tentacle-bearing/waving food! ;)

For MY part btw most of that looks delicious!

I'm intrigued by the dish that looks like mango & cubes of creamy stuff... what exactly is that?

:D
Mango & cubes stuff is shaved ice dessert. It's called Bingsu. It's super popular dessert in Korea and can be found everywhere. My wife and my daughter both love it so we go and eat it couple times a month in Atlanta, usually after eating Korean BBQ.
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
93,663
14,282
126
Yes, I ate some terrific Korean BBQ while I was there. I especially love Hanwoo beef.

Covid restrictions were pretty strict. Country was on level 4 alert which is the highest restriction. Masks were mandatory at all times in public, outdoors or indoors. Only exemption was when actively eating or drinking. No eating while riding public transit.


Not sure. I didn't see any fence barrier connected to it. The big volcanic rock below is called Yongduam Rock. It's shape of a dragon's head.


glad you liked it. We had wonderful time even with all the strict covid restrictions. But I saw lot of businesses that suffered and closed due to covid. Like the rest of the world, it seems inequality increased because of covid. Small businesses suffered while big businesses thrived.


Thanks! My sleep schedule is all messed up now, and I've been struggling to readjust to US Eastern timezone. But it's good to be back in the USA.

Korean fried chicken is awesome. You should try it if you never had it. It's deep fried twice and sauced so it's addictive like chicken wings. In Korea, fried chicken and beer are eaten together so often they even have special word for it: Chimaek


Mango & cubes stuff is shaved ice dessert. It's called Bingsu. It's super popular dessert in Korea and can be found everywhere. My wife and my daughter both love it so we go and eat it couple times a month in Atlanta, usually after eating Korean BBQ.

What's the white cubes? I guess bingsu is the same thing as this?

 

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,808
126
Train to Busan.

We eagerly waited for the result of our second covid PCR test we took in Seoul. The results came back negative so we exited our 24 hour quarantine and headed straight to the Seoul main KTX train station to catch a train to Busan. The metro train ride to Seoul station was jammed packed with morning work commuters. Bodies were constantly pressed against me. I can see the potential for sexual harassment and people feeling up butts and breasts of females passengers because there's nowhere to move and everyone is packed so tightly together.

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We arrived at the Seoul station and quickly purchased two First Class KTX train tickets to Busan.

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Each one way ticket was 83,700 Won or about $71. It's about 2 hours 30 minutes from Seoul to Busan on the bullet train vs about 5 hours on an intercity train. It would've been cheaper and faster to fly to Busan but I wanted to experience the bullet train in Korea and see some of the countryside via train. Because of level 4 covid restrictions, we couldn't eat any food on the train which is the best part of train travel. So that sucked.

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We arrived at Busan main central station and took transfer metro train to Haeundae Beach. We exited and walked in search for place to eat lunch.

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Wife searched on her phone and found a highly rated Japanese restaurant nearby so we walked there to eat. It was a great choice.

I had the sashimi. It was amazing.

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Wife had the grilled eel. That was great as well.

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We shared sweet tofu pudding dessert. The sweet and salty soy sauce with the cream cheese like taste of the tofu was wonderful and one of the most memorable desserts I've had.

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Having satisfied the hunger, we checked into our hotel.

View of Haeundae Beach from our hotel room window.

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On the beach

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Night view from our room
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Wife found popular Tempura restaurant near the hotel so we walked there for dinner. For the price, it was great. But I thought our tempura was slightly undercooked and could've been fried longer. But minor complaint as it was still better than any tempura I've had in the States. Overall, it was very good, and I broke my no alcohol rule and drank a beer with the meal. It was the only alcohol I had the entire trip.

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ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,808
126
One thing I like about hotels in Korea is that most have bidet. The toilet seat preheats and is all nice and toasty when you sit down. But do not ever press the enema button unless you enjoy the pain of having a new butthole ripped into you. Just a friendly warning. Made that mistake once. Never again.

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Geekbabe

Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Oct 16, 1999
32,130
2,317
126
www.theshoppinqueen.com
Wife and I recently spent several weeks in Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island, South Korea. We last visited South Korea back in November 2019, right before covid changed the world. International travel sucks now because of all the covid restrictions, but I’m grateful we even had the opportunity to visit again. You see and learn a lot from traveling and this trip was no different. I ate lot of great foods and experienced some new things. And that’s my goal of any trip. One thing I really enjoy now is not having to worry about time or money while traveling. It’s such liberating feeling and gives me extreme happiness knowing there’s no work I have to return to when I get back home or worrying about money or the cost of anything. If something appeals to me, money is no longer a barrier. That’s a wonderful feeling and something I’m still trying to get used to. I remember reading Steve Jobs biography about the feeling of joy he felt every time he walked into his favorite bicycle shop because he could afford any bike in the store and he could buy all the bikes if he wanted to. He said that feeling always made him happy even if he didn’t buy anything.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the trip. Mostly of food because that’s what I enjoy. First is my favorite meal on this trip. On Jeju Island, I drove to small dumpling restaurant by the ocean where they served this amazing seafood dumpling stew. It was fantastic and made my trip to Korea worth it just to be able to experience such wonderful tasting food. The seafood stew was cooked at the table using the beef bone broth that’s cooked for 24 hours on giant iron cauldrons outside with wooden fire. They give you pitcher of this rich filtered beef bone broth to pour into your seafood pot to cook with along with red pepper paste in case you like your stew spicy. There are all kinds of seafood in the pot like octopus, scallops, clams, mussels, abalone, shrimp, crabs, etc, along with beef short ribs and various veggies. As the stew cooks, you eat the assorted seafood to create room to add plate of dumplings to the stew. They give you variety of dumplings like beef and pork, kimchi, shrimp, octopus, and abalone dumplings to add to the stew. As the dumplings cook in the stew, it soaks up the rich spicy beef broth and all the seafood flavor, It’s amazing. And towards the end, you add plate of knife cut fresh flour noodles to soak up the remaining beef and seafood broth to finish off your meal. It’s killer and one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. I don’t need fancy overrated and overpriced Michelin star restaurant food to fulfill and make me happy. I just need good food made with labor of love. And that’s becoming increasing hard to find these days anywhere.

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Sitting here drooling ♥️