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Korea: Nakji Bokkeum in Seoul

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Destinations, Featured, Food, Korea, Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 33 comments

Welcome to Week 254 (11/12/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday. The semester is flying along, and I cannot believe that in just a little over a month I will be jetting off to Spain and Portugal! Until then, experiencing all the traditional Korean food that Seoul has to offer is still high on the list. Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending  another awesome Hansik meetup. Our previous meeting had us savoring delicious Kimchi Jjigae  (spicy Kimchi pork stew) ( (김치찌개) served up at Gwanghwamun Jip in downtown Seoul. You can check it out here.  Last Saturday nights dining adventure saw us again in downtown Seoul, featuring a totally different traditional Korean dining adventure.  We met outside of City Hall Station, Exit 7, and it was a short walk to Wonjo Halmoni Nakji Center (“Original Grandma’s Octopus Center”). Established in 1965, it owns the bragging rights to being one of the oldest nakji bokkeum restaurants in Korea. If you haven’t figure out yet what nakji is, think octopus. Koreans love the stuff!

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Our host, Jason, provided a bit history on both the restaurant, the food, and the owner…

The owner/grandmother who created the dish, Park Musun, made history with her spicy stir-fried dish and spawned endless copycats near the old hotspot in Jongro called pimatgol, or “food alleyway.” But with urban development and modernization, that area has been revamped with new businesses and they’re now located in Bukchang-dong.

Halmoni Park Mu-sun, the original creator of the spicy ‘Mukyo-dong-style’ pan-fried octopus back in the mid-60s. Unfortunately, she is no longer with us as she passed away this year from natural causes. Check out her photo. 

The dish Jason is referring to is nakji bokkeum (spicy stir-fried octopus). We were served both the original, and a less spicy version.


Our dinner, lounging in the aquarium at the entrance.


Live octopus

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Korea: Fall Colors in Danyang, Korea

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Featured, Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 35 comments

Welcome to week 251 (10/22/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday! I have been yearning to get out of Seoul, and last Saturday I finally did it. I day tripped with the Royal Asiatic Society to Danyang, North Chungcheong province, exploring Gosu Cave, Woraksan National Park, and cruising Chungju Lake. The drive took a little longer than expected due to huge amounts of smog/pollution across the entire peninsula this week. Thankfully, we had a great bus driver who navigated the smog and heavy traffic without incident. Once we got to where we were going the weather was picture perfect!

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Our first stop was Gosu Cave, which, with luck would have it,we arrived just before lunch and the afternoon crowds. The route inside the cave is well laid out, and easy to navigate. Towards the end the stairs got a little steep, but nothing to worry about. I didn’t really care for the circular staircase, which seemed to go round and round forever. It was just a matter of not getting dizzy, and making sure that my feet stayed on the steps. The cave was discovered in the 1970s, and it is designated as a national monument. The caverns, stalactites, and  stalagmites are pretty to look at. Photography is a bit of a challenge with the not so great lighting.

A brief explanation of the importance of the cave, and the entrance leading up to the cave.


Gosu Cave, Danyang, Korea

Gosu Cave, Danyang, Korea


Gosu Cave Entrance, Danyang, Korea

Gosu Cave Entrance, Danyang, Korea

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Korea: Antonio Gaudi’s Barcelona at the Seoul Arts Center

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Featured, Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 33 comments

Welcome to another milestone week of Travel Photo Thursday. We’re at week 250 (10/15/2015), and still going strong. Thanks to everyone who keeps our weekly virtual world tour going week after week. Finally, have access to my Flickr account again (oh, Yahoo how I hate you!). I still have a few glitches to figure out with the computer, like why the wifi won’t connect. This problem worries me, since I will be traveling with the computer this winter, and must be able to connect to the Internet. Really, it’s a small problem in the scheme of things, and I’m sure I’ll work it out 🙂 This past weekend I spent several hours wandering through the Antonio Gaudi exhibit at the Hangaram Museum, Seoul Arts Center. This was just what I needed to get me over the top excited for my five days in Barcelona in December. I cannot wait to see Gaudi’s amazing work with my own eyes.

If you missed our visit to the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park.

Photos were not permitted in the exhibit rooms (although Korean’s were snapping like crazy). As is always the case, there were photo op areas set up.


Antoni Gaudi Barcelona

Antoni Gaudi Barcelona, Seoul Arts Center

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Korea: Feasting on Traditional Korean Hansik

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Destinations, Featured, Food, Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 33 comments

Welcome to week 247 of Travel Photo Thursday. One of the things that I want to explore, now that I have moved back to Seoul, is where to find the best traditional food in the city. Restaurants serving up traditional fare are often literally tiny hole-in-the-wall establishments frequented by those who can manage to navigate Seoul’s maze of back alleys, and narrow windy streets. I was excited to find the meetup group Hansik, and quickly RSVP’d to a meetup to savor some old-school Korean food in the heart of the city. In Korean, Hansik means Korean food, and the Kimchi Jjigae  (spicy Kimchi pork stew) ( (김치찌개) served up at Gwanghwamun Jip is purported to be the best in Seoul, and maybe all of Korea. 

Remember to leave your comment and link at the bottom! Magic will happen!

We were met at the Exit 7 of the Gwanghwamun subway station by our hosts, and found ourselves in front of our hole-in-the-wall dining establishment within minutes. (These shots were actually taken as we were leaving.)


Gwanghwamun Jip, Gwanghwaumn, Seoul

Gwanghwamun Jip, Gwanghwaumn, Seoul

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A Favorite Korean Street Food – Gaeran To Su Tu

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Destinations, Featured, Food, Korea, Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 44 comments

Welcome to week 243 of Travel Photo Thursday. My computer continues to limp along as we wait for the parts to arrive; fingers crossed. Last week I brought you a favorite traditional Korean food, Bibimbap. This week, staying with food and Korea, I’m sharing with you one of my favorite Korean street foods, particularly for breakfast. The Korean Egg Sandwich is known by a variety of names; including Gaeran Tost-U and Gaeran To Su Tu. When I buy it I usually just smile and point, since quite often that’s the only thing that will be on the grill.

Remember to leave your comment and link at the bottom! Magic will happen!

You’ll often find these tasty sandwiches being cooked and  served from a Pojangmacha (literally means: covered wagon, and often shortened to ‘pocha’). If your taking a highway bus they usually stop at a rest area, and quite often one of the vendors will be serving up tasty Gaeran Tost-U. This is where I often get my fix. This pocha, located at the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal serves up some of the best Gaeran Tost-U I have ever eaten. I always make sure I am hungry when I take a bus to Dong Seoul.

Korean Egg Sandwich

Korean street food served from a Pojangmacha Tent

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Bibimbap: Eating Your Veggies in Korea

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in Destinations, Featured, Food, Korea, Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 32 comments

Welcome to Week 242 (20/08/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday. My computer has been limping along for a while now, and, to add insult to injury, I spilled liquid on it last week. My numbers no longer work, so I am using an On-Screen Keyboard — Ugh.  Anyway, enough of my computer woes. Hopefully things will be sorted out in the next week or so.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any food with my readers, so let me introduce one of Korea’s signature dishes, Bibimbap; meaning “mixed rice”. The dish is a mixture of warm rice, gently cooked vegetables, gochuchang (red pepper paste), soy sauce, or  doenjang (a salty soy bean paste). I have always enjoyed mine with red pepper paste.

Remember to leave your comment and link at the bottom! Magic will happen!

The dish is easily available anywhere in the country, but if you want to experience the best head to the historic town of Jeon-ju. I wrote about my Jeon-ju bibimbap experience way back in 2010.


This version contains not only veggies, but also bulgogi (beef) . Adding the egg on top changes the name of the dish slightly. Now, we call this dolsot Bibimbap. Yes, the egg is raw, but not for long. The rice and veggies are incredibly hot when they arrive at your table. The egg cooks completely as you mix your piping hot rice and veggies together, usually with a healthy dollop of  gochuchang (optional for those who can’t handle spicy). There’s absolutely no reason to worry about undercooked egg; not going to happen.


Jeon-Ju Bibimbap

A signature dish in Korea – Jeon-Ju Bibimbap

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