Hot Chicken Snacks

Seoul Travel Blog

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Ahnyoung!

I'm on my third day in Seoul and having a lovely time. My only regret is I didn't schedule more time for Korea so haven't had the opportunity to explore the country outside of Seoul, which according to people I've met is quite a shame.

Several things I like about Seoul:

1. Everything is sized for small people like me! Sinks, mirrors, and toilets are all at a comfortable height, and there's no more precarious balancing acts on my tiptoes to avoid touching seats in public bathrooms (which, by the way, are all quite clean).

2. The metro is super fast, and you can easily get anywhere you want to go.

3. Koreans are serious about their shopping. Last night I went to the Doengdaemun area and browsed the malls and shops there - I left around midnight, but they were open for another 5 hours afterwards, wowow.

4. They have fun snacks like the "hot chicken snacks" mentioned in the subject line. These crackers came in a box and are shaped like little chicken drumsticks with a dusting of sweet-hot powder on them. Each one is about the size of a goldfish cracker.

5. Lots of meat on sticks.

6. Interesting fashion. Many many layers and girls with bangs. I'd like to buy a nice pair of flats but will probably wait until China where I won't have as many issues with the language. I did buy a new hat, though, hooray : )

On my flight to Korea I met a really nice girl by the name of Helen, who's a grad student at Hongik University and used to study in the States and Australia. She was on her way back from presenting a paper in Poland, and I learned a lot about networking endeavors in Korea and the issues they're currently facing.

In the past few days I've visited the Gyeonbokgung Palace of Shining Happiness, the national folk art museum, the Namsangol Hanok Village, the Myeong-dong and Dongdaemun shopping areas, and Insa-dong market. I attended a show of traditional Korean dance and music at Korea House, where I also ate a buffet supposedly based on royal Korean cuisine. Unfortunately the food wasn't very good, though I sampled a few interesting dishes like braised pufferfish, assorted mini pancakes, and fresh water snails. I really like pumpkin porridge; it's much sweeter and more glutinous than I thought it'd be. I wasn't able to order the set meals at Korea House because they're reserved for 2 or more people. I saw pictures of those meals, and they looked much nicer. It's really too bad, since I don't think I'll try the royal cuisine again. It's pretty expensive compared to all the other food.

Overall, I haven't eaten nearly as much as I thought I would. Other than the disappointing buffet, my only full meals have consisted of soondubu and bibimbap, which were not bad but pretty much tasted like they do at home. I saw roasted silkworm larvae at a street cart, but opted not to try (or at least not until I get enough courage heh). From street carts I've had fishcake-wrapped hot dog in spicy sauce, these little mung bean filled pancake-y things, a chicken stick, and some kind of round flat fish thing. Tonight I'm meeting up with some folks from the guesthouse to barbeque and drink, so should be able to try more things.

In terms of the show at Korea House, one thing I found really interesting was that the singing in Korea Opera (p'ansori) reminded me a lot of the gypsy flamenco style singing I heard in southern Spain. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it had to do with the voices' intonation and the melancholy but strong sound of it. I forget what it's called, but I also really liked the dance where people have hats with ribbons on their head, which they swing around to drumbeats and music. Very acrobatic and impressive, and I have no idea how they avoid whiplash. Earlier today in Insa-dong, a crowd gathered to watch some kids performing this dance, at the end of which audience members joined in playing the instruments and dancing. Fun!

Before Doengdaemun shopping last night, I attended a show called Picnic Extreme Dance Comedy at the Chungmu Art Hall. I'd seen a commercial for it in the subway, and it reminded me of Roofuspoo and all the K-pop stuff she introduced me to, particularly the videos we used to watch online of Jang Woohyuk and his counterparts doing their Korean b-boy thing. The show was really silly, as expected, and involved a lot of clowning around in addition to the dancing, but it was still a lot of fun. You can tell the performers love what they do, and one of the actors beatboxed in the lobby after the show so people could take pictures with him. Though some adults were there, the average audience age was probably around 17. I felt quite the teeny bopper. Heheehee.

On a more itchy note, I woke up two days ago with several huge lumps on my wrist, arm, and left shoulder. It's nice I'm not allergic to any foods, but I wish I didn't react so strongly to bug bites. I took a Benadryl and promptly fell asleep again, not waking up until 4:30 pm and missing the free English-language tour at the palace near my guesthouse. Whoops.

For my last day in Korea tomorrow, I'm going on a DMZ tour to the third infiltration tunnel and Panmunjom. After that I'm heading to Beijing for my month and a half in China. Though I still don't have an exact plan, I know I'm arriving in Beijing, flying out of Hong Kong, and spending some time with family in Shanghai and Hangzhou in between. I may also visit Fujian, Yunnan, and Xinjiang provinces - speaking of which, I'm off to book a hostel now. Still have to update my Italy and Greek entries, though I've finally got most of the pictures uploaded, yesss. K bye!

 

stellamayfair1779 says:
Hey, I'm living in South Korea right now, about an hour outside of Seoul in Ansan City. It really is a great place. If your interested, you can check out my blog here:
http://travelingchris1779.blogspot.com/
Posted on: Jul 30, 2007
etran says:
Finally caught up! Can't wait to read more!
Gosh, Jane. Don't think I could be more happy/envious/enthused/wheeeee for you! Happy travails!
Posted on: Jun 11, 2007
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