weishiXjme: pig’s blood in intestines?! (Day 3)

Every day we wake up a little later, so our first stop of the day had to be for lunch because we woke up at lunchtime. Haha! (This is honestly my favourite part about exploring countries without following a tour group because you get to decide when you wanna wake up. And we felt like we could go at a slower pace simply because we were going to be there for 18 days.) It was a Saturday afternoon, so we decided to go for lunch at Hongdae 홍대 (Hongik University Station, exit 9)- this place is particularly exciting during the weekends because (1) there’s a flea market, (2) it’s basically where the youngsters hang out since it is near a university and (3) there’s a whole lot of street performances which are incredibly fun to watch- the place is apparently known to encourage freedom of self-expression?!

So J and I had planned to try some local delicacies, some not so pleasant, and the Sundae (순대; pronounced ‘soon-day’) was one of such not-so-pleasant food stuff. Sundae is basically boiled or steamed pig intestines stuffed with pig blood and Dangmyeon (i.e. Cellophane noodles). Having to try this dish is particularly challenging for the both of us because we really cannot appreciate offal food stuff. Bulk of our video is literally us trying this Sundae at a restaurant called Gongsugan. J’Me was really gung-ho about it like she just stuffed it into her mouth without hesitation. We got several other food stuff: kimbaptteokbokkikimchi fried rice (this I love) and the Eomukguk/Odeng guk (fish cake soup). I thought they were all pretty good, except the tteokbokki because I really couldn’t take the level of spiciness. My tolerance for spicy food is really not very good but I do like Kimchi. I wouldn’t particularly recommend going to Gongsugan just because I think other Korean restaurants in the area would serve the same types of food and they probably wouldn’t differ so much in taste. I personally hated the taste of Sundae, but y’all should try it for the fun of it and who knows you may actually enjoy it? (Jerald and Tianming finished the Sundae homg.)

Something you have to do when you’re in Hongdae is to SHOP. The streets are lined with a lot of shops selling mostly clothing and shoes. The flea market is only held Saturdays. Once in a while, a food store pops up and we decided to get some Takoyaki. It was reeaaally good!! (Then again, it could have been because it was cold outside so to have something warm to eat was really shiok la.) And we noticed this tiramisu shop and I really wanted to try it but the queue was horrendously long so we didn’t. Oh yes, and everyday I need my cuppa coffee, so on this day I got a cup of hazelnut latte from Holly’s Coffee. It was pretty okay, though it was basically priced as much as a Starbucks drink. Now that I’ve discovered Paik’s Coffee though, I wouldn’t recommend Holly’s. (Paik’s Coffee is this amazing coffee chain that serves pretty good coffee and is super affordable. Plus, if you order any types of coffee, you get a free upsize. HOW DOPE IS THAT.)

I didn’t buy anything from the street shops because they weren’t my style, but the international brands at Hongdae had the best sales!!! H&M was located right at the heart of Hongdae and Bershka was across the road. And it was very very festive – there were people dressed as Santa Clauses (minus the beard) singing Christmas songs. I was so looking forward to Christmas!!! I honestly didn’t expect to buy a whole lot of clothes because I thought it was a bit absurd to buy clothing from international brands that were available back home, but the sale in Korea was ridiculously good. I didn’t buy a lot of things on my first visit to that H&M – I got myself a romper for 9,000 KRW (i.e. 11 bucks), a really gorgeous black laser-cut blouse and a Christmas green halter blouse with gold detailing. They were all super cheap. The green blouse was for sale in Singapore a while back, but it was too expensive so I didn’t get it then. Alas, it was for sale at 60% off in Korea so I just had to get it. Needless to say we went back to H&M/Bershka on another day sometime after Christmas.

Palsaek 8 Flavours Pork BBQ place (팔색삼겹살) is really popular amongst tourists. Trishh brought me to the place when we went in summer. I couldn’t remember the way there, so by the time we got there, we were famished and freezing ’cause we kinda got lost. Going back to the train station after that was easier because we found a faster way – Sinchon station, exit 7, cross the road to go straight along Baekbeom-ro for about 150m then you’ll see the restaurant. It’s basically a tourist destination because everyone there was a tourist. We got the beef, stuffed squid and 8 flavours pork set. I love love love BBQ pork so i thought it tasted pretty good. We all did a short review in the video; I personally thought the Miso Paste flavoured pork was good and I didn’t enjoy the herb one either.

Watch our video for more! I promise this one is funny because J’Me keeps judging me and I apologise for the background noise, especially in the restaurant.

xoxo, Weishi

weishiXjme: We go to Seoul! (Day 1)

Finally got around to finishing our video and uploading it on YouTube! This is pretty much just us trying to get to our accommodation and having good food on our first day in Seoul. I was looking forward to this trip the entire semester?!?!?!? For 2 reasons: (1) My first winter, (2) I’m always looking to explore new places. Even though I’ve been to Seoul, I didn’t really get to see more of Korea, so this time around we planned to leave Seoul for Jeju and since we’ve got much more time, we could go to more places and eat more food. I am so ready to gain the kilos on this trip HAHA. As promised, we wanna provide as much information as we can for people looking to travel to Seoul (especially for people who are on a budget), so here goes:

Throughout our 17 nights being in Korea, we decided to stay put at Namsan Guesthouse 3 (http://namsanguesthouse.com). The original rates posted online was 65,000 won for 2 people sharing a Twin room (that is 32,500 won = 39 SGD per night) and staying for more than 2 weeks entitles you to a 10% discount which would amount to about 994,500 won – about 497,250 won (i.e. 597 SGD) per person. Turns out, we got more discount and paid 465,000 won (i.e. 558 SGD) each, which I thought was pretty good since we’re staying for a longer duration with free wifi, ramyeon (essentially cup noodles), bread, and towels.

Plus, living 5 minutes away from Myeongdong meant easy access to food, shopping, and the subway. We tried chimaek (fried chicken and beer) at Oppadak, which is pretty easy to get to from the station. There’s two branches, but the one we went to can be easily located on the second floor. Take exit 4 at Myeongdong station and walk all the way straight until you chance upon a Jipangi ice cream shop. Oppadak is on the 3rd floor. Okay, being the newbie travel blogger that I am, I can’t remember what my friends and I ordered at the place, but the ones we got were pretty good. (I think we ordered 2 sets of halves, so we could try 4 different flavours – I thought the original fried and least spicy one was pretty good.) The 4 of us also got Cass beer which tasted fab with the chicken, and each of us only had to pay less than 10,000 won (12 SGD).

If you’re at the right Oppadak branch in Myeongdong, go downstairs to the 2nd floor and have some bingsu at Sulbing. Opening hours are from 11am to 10.30pm, last order at 10pm. We got their seasonal strawberry bingsu and it was AMAZING. This is unfortunately only available like during Winter ’cause its strawberry season, but if you happen to find it available in Jan/Feb, get it because it tastes amazing. The strawberries are sooo fresh, plus they put so many in there, and I loved how there was a layer of sponge cake at the bottom so it tastes like strawberry cheesecake with lotsa ice in the middle HAHA.

Then we got some groceries on the way back (perks of living 2 minutes away from the GS25 convenience store). Banana milk wasn’t very cheap at the store though! We got a pack of 4 for about 4,500 won (they usually sell it for 1,300 won in individual packing), but they’re worth the price in my opinion. I haven’t seen much variations in price, except when I was in Jeju, so I’d recommend buying a pack of 4 instead of just 1 ’cause its a better deal la.

I just have to say, the weather on the first day was brutal. Like the temperature was at -8 degrees celsius and we honestly weren’t prepared for this so we literally ran to our guesthouse to seek refuge from the cold. But I think its a good change away from erratic hot/rainy weather in Singapore even though I kinda miss wearing anything but long pants and jeans. And I’m SO SO SO EXCITED to upload more vlogs HAHA I figured even if nobody watched it, I’d never get sick of watching my own videos and reliving these memories in Korea. Like I literally had to watch this more than 7 times during the editing process.

Til more, xoxo, Weishi.