Sunday, 30 August 2015

Seoul Food | Cooking Mate

This is a super-old post from last year that I totally forgot I'd started. Oops! I remember it was from somewhere around last Christmas, because the restaurant was playing some very dubious Korean covers of classic Christmas pop hits.

I'll keep it short and sweet, mainly because I can't remember anything except that I enjoyed the food. Heh.

Passionfruit Lemonade
Cooking Mate is a little restaurant in Hongdae, right on the corner of  the road leading from Parking Street up to Artbox (addresses? What is addresses?), next to where the man with the huge, adorable dog usually sets up camp.

There's usually a person stationed outside to let you in or sort out something if there's a wait. Since it's upstairs, I guess it saves you some time rather than going all the way up to find out there's a 2hr wait.

They also have little walkie-talkies, so when we went in we were announced FBI-style to someone upstairs. By the time our unhealthy selves had carried us up, they were all prepared and ushered us over to a specific table. It was fairly quiet when we went, because it was late, but I can imagine this place is pretty organised when it comes to seating customers.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Filipino Restaurant

On a horse.
We don't get to meet up with people as often as we'd like, considering we're all on different, busy schedules, so it'd been a LONG time since we'd seen Ziggy. Naturally, we decided to go full Filipino and headed down to the Filipino restaurant she'd found in Dongincheon a while ago.

I'm used to eating Filipino food like at least once a week at parties, if not more (depending on what mum makes up for us) so I've been pretty deprived recently. Whenever I try to make it, it's always missing...something.

In addition to this, Nick hasn't had as much exposure to it as I would like, so we went for the classics:

Pancit and lechon. Yeeee~!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Seoul Food | Abiko 아비꼬

One of our Korean friends had told us about this restaurant and sent us pictures, and it looked great. When I realised it was the curry house we'd walked past a couple of times and commented on the mouth watering smell coming from inside, it was settled, we had to go.

They sell all kinds of Japanese-style curry with rice or noodles with a few choices of different meat and spiciness. I love the little spice scale on the menu that lets you know what to expect, with descriptions that compare to other famous spicy foods in Korea like "Shin Ramyeon level spiciness", "spicy jjamppong", and "buldak" (super spicy chicken, literally "fire chicken" famous for being delicious but murderous). Seeing as Shin Ramyeon gets gasps from me, and the only time I've fought through buldak was with copious amounts of cheese and alcohol, we usually go for the "mild" option which is described as being "not spicy at all" but definitely still has a faint kick. Which says a lot about Korean spice tolerance I suppose, haha.

Cute decorations!
We went to the one in Hongdae but we've since found out that it's a chain and there's one really close to us, so that's dangerous ;) The food is really great and the service has always been very sweet. I'm fairly sure the menu is in English, Korean and Japanese, so that's pretty fun, but even if I've remembered wrongly and there's no English it's yet another case of it being 90% 'Konglish' so as long as you can read hangeul it's fine ;p

We got a set menu each, which gets you a curry rice or curry udon

Since we were in Hongdae we took the opportunity to get our hair cut at our usual, so here are some unnecessary selfies celebrating how great the people at Hair and Joy always manage to make us feel :p

I also bought the cutest lipstick that smells and feels like it's made from Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser. Also very adorably, it's called "Dear My Wish" which makes no sense at all. Unusual for Etude House, which usually has pretty sensible names for its products in my experience? Oh well ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Little Things

A little post about little things in Spring that made us happy, that wouldn't warrant a whole blog post but are nice enough to share.

Firstly, macarons and excellent drinks at our favourite little cafe, The Ark, not far from the underground market in Bupyeong.

...and it was all yellow (8)

Monday, 24 August 2015

Seoul Food | Yogiyo!

Recently, online and out-and-about, I've been seeing these adverts for a company called "Yogiyo", featuring one of my favourite k-pop groups, Akdong Musician (AKMU for short). The ads are usually too fast for me to comprehend much of what's going on, especially on Youtube where they're only really granted the 5 seconds it takes until I'm allowed to skip the darn thing, and on the subway where the videos don't really have speakers.

But from what I could gather, there was AKMU, there was Yogiyo, and there was delicious food. I was sold.

So far, in our 15 months of living in Korea, we've not managed to muster enough courage to order delivery to our apartment over the phone. There's too much that could go wrong, what with our pronunciation being less than perfect in person, let alone over the treacherous chasm that is a muffled phone line.

Enter Yogiyo, effectively the JustEat of Korea, which has a handy and simple-to-use mobile app (provided you can read hangeul and type words into your Naver 한영 dictionary.)

We set up an account and tentatively made an order for juk, which I'd been craving and completely unable to find a restaurant for (despite walking up and down the same strip of road for an hour with Naver Maps as my only 'friend').

We got a confirmation text containing an ETA on our order, and sat down to watch some TV.
After one episode there was a tap at the door and lo a man in a motorcycle helmet, presumably one of the culprits of those pesky bikes that zip around terrorising the streets and pavements of South Korea, was at our door with an insulated box. He handed me the order, I handed him cash, we exchanged thank-yous and we were done. Next-to-no human interaction, just the way I like it.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Seoul Food | Salon de Mon Chou Chou

TREAT YO SELF part 2 continued with a trip to Bucheon for some sweet, sweet Crycheese burgers (I'm noticing a worrying burger trend with this weekend) before nipping off to Garosugil in the Seoul district of Gangnam. You may have heard of it. <eyerollemoji.jpg>

So, we got our fancy on (or, at least, our attempt at fancy) and tried to not look TOO out of place at Salon de Mon Chou Chou, a famous brand from Osaka, Japan.

Nicolette was sat opposite me, so expect more photos of her than myself or Nick.

It was very faux-chic, almost distressingly so for a country girl like me, in all its white and gold Rococo-esque splendour, filled with painfully trendy Gangnam-ites delicately sipping unusually-named teas and eating hugely expensive desserts.

Naturally, we Instagrammed the heck out of it.

Friday, 21 August 2015

TVXQ Encore Show (aka TREAT YO SELF)

We were super excited for this weekend for a long time because meeting up with friends that are tricky and rare to see is always a special occasion, and via "planning" on Kakao it rapidly spiralled into a Treat Yo Self weekend (that's a reference to Parks and Rec) starting with burgers and cider at our fav: Grabab 

 Import drinks? Treat yo self. AVOCADO? TREAT YO SELF.

Anyway, the next day was the actual concert and naturally we passed the time with selfies, because the road to the Olympic Park is a long and boring one.

#sorrynotsorry #pangit

Thursday, 20 August 2015

동해 | Donghae (Part 2)

I'm deskwarming again, so hopefully I'll finally have some time to catch up on my huge backlog of posts!

As a brief warmup, I'll wrap up the posts about my brief holiday with my co-teacher in Donghae.

Nick went home after breakfast by coach, as he'd managed to nab tickets to a SHINee concert (or so he thought, more on that later, maybe, haha)

After an incredible, yet simple, lunch of 죽 (juk, Korean rice porridge similar to arroz caldo/lugaw which I've probably mentioned quite a few times before because I adore it) with roasted chicken and salt, my co-teacher, her sister and I went to a nearby beach that was much less densely populated than any I've been to in Korea so far.

The water was so clear and the weather was fantastic, no clouds in sight. Other than a couple of families and what looked like a simple pre-wedding photoshoot, it was incredibly quiet out there. I suppose it was because we were visiting out of season. I can't imagine a beach this nice would be this quiet all the time, but one can hope.

The sand was quite rough and sharp, mostly made from seashell fragments. This is where I made a big mistake. We arrived at pretty much the sun's peak in the sky, so I didn't realise the sand would be baking hot like fire. However, the pain was delayed and I was already halfway across, barefoot, to paddle in the water. 

A painful choice between burning my feet more to run back to my sandals, or just speed up and run across the sharp, burning grains until I could rest in the water ultimately led me to standing in the waves shifting uncomfortably while I waited for my feet to recover.

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