Tuesday, March 27

Korea (2)

Finally. But I’ll just mention some of the places we’ve visited in Korea. It's boring anyway. I mean this post. Not the trip. Trip was fantastic :)

Korean War Memorial. Korean history mainly revolves around the Cold War, which resulted in the senseless loss of lives and the separation of Korea into 2 entities - North and South. This outdoor exhibition center mainly displays numerous tanks and field artillery used during the war. It was quite an insightful visit (well, actually no), except for that I’m not a huge fan of war or war relics for that matter.

The statue of brothers. Seen Taegukgi? It’s a good movie. The story depicts two brothers separated during the war and later met each other by chance on the battlefield while fighting for opposite sides.

Vivaldi Park. We went skiing in the afternoon and stayed in the ski resort for that night itself. Personally, I think this was the highlight of the whole trip. Skiing AND Nanta, both of which I totally enjoyed. Trying to get the hang of skiing wasn’t actually as hard as learning how to skate on ice. Although trudging up the hill was hell as all the bulky skiing equipment has to be shouldered up as well, schussing downhill was so much fun. This park has several slopes with various steepness that will satisfy the needs of novice to expert skiers, but we only managed to ski on the beginner's slope, of course.

NANTA! - literally meaning random drum-beats, was the most entertaining live play / performance I had ever seen. Was practically laughing all the way. This a non-verbal percussion performance tells of three crazy chefs and a mischievous assistant who were assigned to prepare a major wedding banquet within a strict time limit. And these performers create thunderous beats with all kinds of cooking utensils including pans, knives, spoons, garbage cans and anything you can possibly find in the kitchen. I think they've also performed in Genting once.

Daepohang Fish Market. We were told that the place has over 100 species of fresh seafood, all live! Honestly, I don't think there were over 100, 50 seems more plausible but over 100 shapes and sizes, of course. And all of them are meant to be eaten raw. It was pretty apparent that none of us had the guts to try them but our tour guide insisted on getting a packet of squid sashimi just to let us try. And surprisingly, it tasted good. Raw sotong.

Eating live octopus is a delicacy in Korea and it is something that I would probably want to try someday.

This video shows how tricky it can be to take in one of those… WATCH IT! So geli!

It's all wiggly... and jiggly...

Kimchi Factory. We were first briefed on how kimchi is made and had the opportunity to experience making it ourselves. After of which we were given the chance to clown around in the traditional costumes.

Mount Seoraksan's National Park. This visit was nothing like the Taman Negara trip. Haha. The national park is located on Mount Seoraksan which was a 3-hour scenic bus ride from Seoul. Apart from looking at sceneries and monuments there was nothing much to shout about. There's also another attraction at the back of its hillside - the Shinhungsa Temple.

As for the accomodation:

We spent 2 nights in 2 different resorts, both of the same concept - the ondol suite, which has the Korean style bedroom. It was a pretty interesting experience. The bedrooms have traditional underfloor heating system called the ondol, where we spread out thin mattresses at night.

And the cuisine:

Some of the meals we had were full-course meals eaten on the floor as per culinary tradition in Korea. Traditional Korean meals are notable for the number of side dishes (banchan) that accompany the ubiquitous steam-cooked short-grain rice and soup. The most common banchan served would be Kimchi. A Korean meal is never complete without Kimchi, a mixture of various pickled vegetables. And as Koreans are proud to brag, it is claimed to be one of the healthiest foods in the world.

There were also restaurants where thin slices of meat are cooked at the center of the table over a charcoal grill, surrounded by various banchan and individual rice bowls. It's almost like a barbeque steamboat. And that you come out of the restaurant with your clothes smelling like imu's cafeteria.

Bibimbap (mixed rice) comprise rice topped with vegetables, beef and egg, and served with a dollop of chili pepper paste. It is served in a heated stone bowl, in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl. Everything is then stirred together in one large bowl and eaten with a spoon.

When I first saw that raw gooey egg yolk topping the whole thing I thought I wasn't going to even taste my food.

After mixing everything became a soggy mess. I ate, but didn't finish the food. Maybe it was spoon-licking good afterall for some of us left nary a grain of rice in the humungous bowl. How could they do that. We were going to ski right after that meal, you know.

Samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup), is a Korean soup-based dish. It is basically a whole young chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and boiled in a broth of Korean ginseng, dried jujube fruit, garlic, and ginger. Sounds healthy.

I've been thinking of a conclusion for this but unfortunately can't come out of any. Alright, this has taken up more than 5 minutes of my time. Ergh! Sod it. Shall just publish the thing :)


thundersparks 3/27/2007 10:29 PM  

Bae Yong Jun is nasty???

*Screams* Nooooooo!

Eh... y din u try the live octopus..??! Next time u bring along some sambal belacan to eat with it, u know.... sure u look COOL eating it!

debbi 3/28/2007 4:23 PM  

yeah, nasty nasty. haha. and both kwon sang woo and won bin don't drink and smoke! wee~

we didn't get to visit such restaurants. i just got to know it from somewhere. i think i would try if given a chance. it looks... fun. haha.

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