Monday, September 24, 2012

From America to Korea: Downtown Songtan

From America to Korea: A series detailing the adventure of traveling around Korea with Husband and my mother- and father-in-law!  Click here for part one.

A trip to Korea is incomplete without Bulgogi and banchan.  On Mike and Cindy's first full day in Korea, we dined at the local Bulgogi joint in downtown.  This restaurant is more on the modern, quick meal side of the spectrum, but you can also enjoy lovely traditional bulgogi meals, especially in the countryside.  Bulgogi, which means "fire meat," is grilled marinated meat prepared over a charcoal cooker at your table.  

We chose a beef sampler platter and smoked duck!  The banchan, or side dishes, were cabbage kimchi, cucumber kimchi, chapchae (glass noodles), red pepper paste lettuce "salad", bean sprouts, odeng (fish cake), and more!  The meal is also served with red pepper paste, garlic, lettuce leaves, and rice.  You put a small amount of a variety of the foods in a lettuce leaf to eat.

After lunch -maybe this was a mistake- we decided to visit the fish market.  It is, shall I say, aromatic?

I posted some similar pictures several months ago when I was seeing these things for the first time.  I am absolutely amazed at how it feels so close to normal now (I will revoke this statement when I show you our pictures of the raw fish market in Busan).  There is so much dried fish all over this country!  I have honestly not tried it yet -I don't think- but I'm sure I will soon.

I considered cropping this picture, but I think part what is so interesting about Korea is the way very different things coexist.  This person is selling some sort of vegetable on the ground right outside a women's clothing boutique, which also happens to be next door to an open air fish market...and this is completely normal.

Ready made side dishes and kimchis for sale!

I have never seen someone using one of the many random phone booths, but they are kind of fun to spot.

If the real JCPenney had any idea they had such a following in little ol' Songtan...

This is the legendary triangle of death.  It doesn't look like much right now.  Just wait until there is more traffic!  This three way intersection has two way traffic on each of its three sides.  There is just one measly stop sign (you can see it by the bus), and that is new since we've been here.  Buses use it to make u-turns.  Scooters and taxis and anybody who wants to passes you in it.  It is a total free for all.  Want to drive here at night?

Cindy was excited to see there are even Dollar Stores in Korea:)  Do you notice the sign next door on the right?  This is the home of the "Original Handmade Burger, Since 1982"!  Wow, I had no idea the hamburger was invented in Korea in 1982...

On our list of to-do's and to-buy's downtown was a stop at Mr. Lim's.  He is the tailor who makes a lot of the squadron gear for the pilots, and he is also really involved in community service with the base.  He is an Honorary Squadron Commander.  

Mike's birthday was in August, so we took him to have a shirt made by Mr. Lim for his gift.  I think he really enjoyed the experience!  Mr. Lim is a smooth talker, and had Mike set up with a fabric and custom fit in no time.  The shirt was ready in just one week!

Next up:  Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

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