24 May 2014

Seoul by findingmomo

9/11

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Burger B/ Beale Street (why two different names for the same restaurant why) apparently serves the best Southern style barbecue in Seoul. Sadly the other two weren't in the mood to have so much meat for their first meal of the day so we went with two burgers and a plate of wedges for sharing instead.

The wedges were terrible, the burgers were okay and the pulled pork was outstanding. Will definitely be back to try the spare ribs.

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Decided to take things easy - as we do 99% of the time - on our last full day in Korea by hanging out at nearby Seonyudo Park.

I've always taken the train to Hapjeong station and cabbed or walked to the park. This time we took the train to Seonyudo station on one of the newer subway lines (Line 9) and the station was so clean and new we decided we had to use the washrooms there. We also saw a girl on the train wearing a black shirt that said "SATAN" in big white letters, which made me wonder if she'd worn it on purpose or if she didn't actually understand what it meant. This is why I don't wear things with French words printed on them.

The neighborhood surrounding Seonyudo station looks like a lovely place to hang out at. There's a store with a banner outside saying "Last provision shop before Seonyudo Park" - pretty smart way to advertise by preying on people's fears that they may die of starvation in the 10 minutes that it takes to walk to the next convenience store in Seonyudo Park.

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Stopped along the bridge linking Seonyudo (which is a standalone island) to the mainland just to take in the view. It was foggy but pleasant enough for a picnic and apparently some kite-flying action, although on a clear day you would be able to see across the river to the buildings in Yeouido. You can just about make out the National Assembly Building and its taller friends in the pictures if you squint a little.

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Been almost a year since I was last at Seonyudo Park for a fried chicken and kimbap picnic. Crazy how time flies.

We make it to the convenience store alive, and settle down at a table after grabbing ice-creams. There's a ridiculously cute little boy with a rad perm at the next table, who's sharing a kimbap roll and a bowl of ramyun with his dad. He's wearing an expression of utmost concentration as he furrows his brow, trying to scoop ramyun into the makeshift funnel he's fashioned out of the paper lid of the ramyun bowl. Dang it boy now we all want to eat ramyun.

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Seonyudo Park was once a water treatment plant, but was given a new lease of life in the early 2000s after being converted into a park. The park's existing features were built into the original structure of the plant. What you see in the pictures below, for example, is a pond that used to be a water purification basin. The park is hugely popular with kids because there're lots of structures for them to explore. So cool, right?

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There's a beautiful greenhouse in the park, which Charlotte and Lee explore while I continue skulking around like a creep taking pictures of unsuspecting couples.

We leave the park and walk toward Hapjeong station via Dangsan bridge. The cute boy from the convenience store is walking in front with his dad, and I'm tempted to kidnap him. This entry is going to be seriously incriminating if I'm ever arrested for a crime.

We also spot a film crew on the other side of the bridge, but I'm too far away to be able to tell who they are.

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At Hapjeong there's a crowd at one of the street stalls, which naturally draws my attention.

It's seed hotteok!!! I have never been more excited to see this. Hotteok is a cinammon and sugar filled pancake that's a common street snack in Seoul. Seed hotteok, however, is an upgraded version of the hotteok stuffed with pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and ground peanuts. It's also a Busan specialty and rarely found in Seoul. I love it so, so much.

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Desperate to re-create the success we'd had with the hanwoo last night we decided to eat at an eatery which had hanwoo on its menu. Blah. I can't even remember what the place is called.

What you can never go wrong with is yennal dosirak (old-fashioned lunchbox). Key components are simple - kimchi, seaweed and a fried egg. Sausage slices if you're lucky. How it works is you're supposed to place the metal lid on the lunchbox, grip it tightly and shake the living daylights out of that thing. You'll open the box to a glorious mess, stained vermillion by the kimchi.

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Bingsu, or Korean shaved ice. I've had plenty, but none were good enough to stand out.

Until I tried the one here at Solbing. There was a line to get in even though it was a chilly night. We didn't have to wait long, and were ushered to the second storey where there was an area for floor seating.

So we got the patbingsu, which is red bean shaved ice. The ice here was milk flavored, and was so soft it was unreal. It melted into nothingness. So good okay. I need to have this over and over again.

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Yes, we have a fried chicken problem. At least it isn't as bad as it was last year, when I had fried chicken in Korea 5 times in the same week.

This time Charlotte and Lee were craving chicken from the clapping ajumma (the same one we went to on Sunday night). I was already half fused to my bed and unable to leave the apartment unless there was a fire or something life-threatening. They went to get the chicken while I fell asleep.

I awoke 20 minutes later to the smell of fried chicken. I am grateful for my friends :,-)