To me, traveling and food go hand in hand. There is no way i'd travel and not enjoy local cuisine. No. Way.
Skipping out on food is like a travel sin in my opinion. I mean, its food! How could one miss out on food? Right?
Food in Korea is definitely one of those you don't want to be skipping out on. I've never classified myself to be a Korean food lover. Heck, before I went to korea, I never touched the kimchi side dish that came with korean food. That's because I have never tried KOREAN FOOD IN KOREA. I've previously mentioned my favourite food place in Jeju - seriously it's THE BEST, and SO AFFORDABLE. But, if you're not heading to Jeju, Seoul has just as impressive and affordable food options!
I would say my favourite food dish in Seoul has to be its KOREAN BBQ. I cannot even begin to emphasize how much I love barbecue, and korean bbq, where the staff cooks the food for you, takes barbecuing to a whole new level!
Here's a collation of the top 5 favourite food items I tried in Korea
1 | Mugyodong BugeokukjibA humble fish base soup store, that serves 1 thing for dinner. There is no ordering needed, just enter, sit down and food would be served. It was THE BEST dinner I had in Seoul.
2 | Yoogane DakgalbiSpicy chicken and cabbage dish. I don't really know what it is or how it's made, all i know is, it was TASTY and i'm craving it just thinking about it!
Plus, it's located in Hongdae which means it's either the perfect mid day pit stop, or the right way to fuel your body for a full day of shopping!
3 | Maple Tree House Korean BBQAwesome service, although a tad bit pricier. I'd say the BBQ in Jeju is better, but the variety in Seoul is way more impressive.
Check out the video below for the best way to eat a cabbage wrap!
4 | Korean Ginseng Chicken SoupLocated at the heart of seoul, this place serves a huge bowl of chicken soup, with sticky rice inside. A delicious meal to end a day!
5 | STREET FOOD IN DONGDAE MUN MARKETI do not need to further emphasize the importance of trying street food in Korea. It is some of the best out there. For more street food shots, check out this video below. It's a full compilation of my food adventures in Seoul, Korea! :)
4 October 2016 Seoul, South Korea
One of the more popular places to visit and shop in Seoul is Dong dae mun. However, apart from the lovely shopping malls, one other MAJOR reason to visit Dong dae mun is the Dongdaemun Design Plaza otherwise known as DDP, in South Korea.
The DDP has some of the most unique architecture among all the buildings in Seoul. The way the metal grid walls of the plaza curve to form that organic structure, perfectly counter balances all the boxy office and commercial buildings in its vicinity.
The DDP isn't only famous for being a museum, but it's architecture has successfully attracted bloggers and a multitude of tourist heading just to photograph by the building. I saw a male model/blogger just casually posing where the wall curves in, so as to capture that indentation as his backdrop.
After he left, I attempted to get a cool shot in the area. But queue the multitude of tourist walking past, and then my expected failure at a glam-metal-grid-futuristic-background-fashion-blogger-shot.
Not only is the external structure of the DDP futuristic, the interior was just as impressive. It had pristine white walls and a huge angular central staircase connecting all the exhibition levels. The staircase bends and cuts in an irregular pattern and appears somewhat like and rotating hexagon from the top. Even this made for the perfect photo opportunity.
Needless to say, I went a little crazy, snapping away at every turn of the staircase.
In all honesty, I don't actually remember myself seeing any exhibitions. I probably passed by 1 or 2 free ones, but did not pay extra to see any others.
As someone who really appreciates the structure and architecture of buildings as well as their interior layout, visiting exhibitions were least of my concerns.
After climbing up the beautiful staircase and passing through corridors of curving white walls, you'd find yourself at the rooftop of the DDP.
One would think you'd be done being impressed, but the roof top view from the DDP is seriously one of the best.
I would also like to point out that the roof of this building is curved and leads you down to from the highest floor to the ground floor of the plaza. Is that not cool?!
Living in Singapore, these types of buildings shouldn't wow me as much. After all, the Art, Design and Media building in my school has slight similarities in terms of architecture to the DDP, but somehow, I WAS IMPRESSED.
Maybe it was the curvature of the surface, the way the light will undulate when it hits the building, or maybe it was the contrast between the DDP and its surroundings.
Regardless, i'd recommend anyone who is visiting Seoul to head over to the DDP and check it out.
Even if you're not an architecture junkie. Just head up to the roof top for a sick view!
20 September 2016 281 Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
One of the popular couple hang out spots in Seoul is the Cheonggyecheon. A stream or river that flows through a huge part of Seoul.
To be honest, regardless of the size of the river, it would probably be really popular among couples. I mean, who wouldn't want to go on a date by a river, watch the street lights flicker, the water fountains dance and just let the night pass by, right?
What's romantic atmosphere of the Cheonggye stream is further enhanced with lights behind the main fountain, reflecting through the ripples of the water, and a rainbow light display under the main bridge. As you can tell from the photos, despite it being dark outside, there were still people chilling by the river.
There were families with their kids, friends with some bottles of beer, it was such a lovely chilled out environment.
Strolling along the river makes for a great night time activity in Seoul (if you're, like me, not that into the whole clubbing scene).
With such a pretty view at night, you'd think thats when people would flock to the river. Turns out, it's just as photogenic in the day!
Lined with tons of greenery (it was summer time!), the beautiful tall buildings as it's background, and a long park along the both banks.
This river is the perfect place for family picnics or an afternoon stroll. I'd bet people walk along the river during lunch or work breaks as well.
In addition to the view, walking along the river bank in the day gives you the opportunity to admire the artistic depiction of one of the historical journeys taken by one of the kings in the Joseon monarch. The series of illustration chronologically highlights the journey taken by the king to visit his father's grave.
If you're going to be in Seoul, I would highly recommend visiting the Cheonggyecheon both in the night and day to get the full experience this lovely stream has to offer!
Plus, it's free and super accessible, after stuffing yourself with Korean food, a leisure stroll is the least you could do :)
For more of seoul, watch my travel videos here!
17 September 2016 Cheonggyecheon, Jongno 5(o).6(yuk)ga-dong, Seoul
The Gyeongbokgung Palace is probably the MOST famous palace in Seoul. It is located in the northern part of Seoul against the beautiful mountains, flanked by a crazy road junction and a ton of talk modern buildings.
This is one massive reason why I love Seoul. You have the city, the modern architecture and the old traditional palaces and buildings all in one place, yet the landscape looks right. Everything looks so seamlessly well blended together.
What I Wore
Top - Taobao || Skirt - Forever 21 | Shoes - Nike | Sunglasses - Accessorize
I'm all for visiting castles and palaces are pretty much common whenever I travel. From the Palace of Versailles, to the fairytale like Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany or most recently, the Kumamoto Castle in Japan. I'd never pass on the chance to pretend Im living 150 years ago in a palace or a castle.
We visited the Gyeongbokgung on Culture Day - the last Wednesday of each month, and the entrance to the palace was FREE. All the more a reason to visit.
The palace reminded me so much of the palace in a Korean drama called Jewel in the Palace (Da Chang Jin / Dae Jang Geum). It was a drama that I watched when I was younger and it had a female protagonist (guess I was a fan of those since I was a kid) who was an orphan, worked as a kitchen cook in the palace, and went on to become the king's first female physician.
I vaguely recall the scenes of the palace grounds, the mini courtyards, the palace maids and cooks running around doing chores and hanging out. I guess that was where my desire to be a palace maid (I wouldn't survive being a kitchen cook, so palace maid it was) came about.
I'd say after having visited so many grand palaces, you can tell from seeing the Gyeongbokgung that it doesn't compare. I'm guessing people living in the Joseon dynasty and the reigning family who used to live in the palace weren't as wealthy. You don't see as many gold, the palace doesn't have all the crazy paintings. Thats one big difference between castles and palaces in Asia compared to those in Europe.
2 September 2016 Gyeongbokgung, Sajik-dong, Seoul
There are 2 things in life I want to try before I die. Bungee Jumping and Plantation / Vegetable Farming.
I grew up in a city. A Metropolitan City. There aren't even proper farms where I live.
Growing up, I've always wondered what it was like to be a farmer. My only experience with farming was hydroponic farming at the age of 11. Oh when I brought home that little bunch of Kang Kong (Water Spinach) I was ecstatic. I remember my grandma bursting into laughter when she saw my vegetables - I told her I farmed enough vegetables with my class for the whole family (in her defence she did question me several times as to how my school had that kind of space).
This is why whenever I get to visit a farm, any kind of plantation area, i'm always more than excited.
Visiting the O'Sulloc Green Tea Museum wasn't initially on the itinerary of things to do on the tour I was on during my time in Jeju. But, midway through the day, we were about to have lunch when the bus pulled up by the famous O'Sulloc Green Tea Museum, You have no idea how happy I was to be able to spend that short amount of time there.
The place had rows and rows of green tea plantation, and when you rub your fingers on the leaves, a faint green tea smell lingers.
If you know me you know that I FREAKING LOVE TEA. With all my heart and soul. I don't discriminate when it comes to tea. But green tea. Oh, how I adore the smell of green tea.
I love green tea cakes, I love green tea itself - hot AND cold, Green tea latte, I love green tea ice cream. Green Tea Everything. Getting to see the green tea farm and then getting to taste the products in the form of the food served at O'Sulloc Green Tea House makes for such a special experience.
I wish I had extra time to actually explore the museum, to perhaps see the manufacturing process or how green tea is dried and processed. Unfortunately, we had to rush off for lunch.
Truth be told, the green tea at O'Sulloc Café is not the best. 2 thumbs up for the green tea rolls and green tea itself, but the latte and bingsoo were pretty average. If you would compare it to say Japanese matcha, i'd choose the Japanese green tea over this.
But somehow, getting to see the green tea plantation, touching the green tea leaves and remembering the smell it left on my finger, made me appreciate the food even more, and made me less critical.
After all it's Korea, not Japan, to each its own flavour!