Well crap, I don’t seem to remember where I left off but I believe it was just before I discovered some very sad news….

The M-Hat has been lost!!!!

Such sad news as it has been through so many adventures with me… but also time moves on and I shall move with it.

I decided to take a tour of Seoul’s eating and drinking customs yesteray evening which started around 5pm. So I had to move hotels up that way since (as I guessed correctly) I would be out rather late and not want the 40 minute bus rid back home. I so stayed at this hip trendy marriott hotel The Moxy. As all Marriott properties tend to very clean and comfortable. However, even with my “superior king upgrade” the room was still smaller than my bedroom at home. But who cares I just needed a place to crash for a few hours beofore heading out.

As I got closer to the hotel, this was reminding me more of the Asia I remembered. Smell of sewer gas, people washing down sidwalks, shops crammed ontop of each other all mixed with the smells of food of which I have not idea of what they are. In short I loved it.

Wel, I decided my best choice upon arrival at the Moxy was a quick nap and and then I would head out to visit the Buchon hanok village where there are many traditional wooden structures to see. It was also close to the Changdeokgug Palace, which was supposed to be one of the most beautiful in Seoul. Well the stroll through the village was very enjoyable, people everywehre, all kinds of shops and restaurants and of course many many interesting Hanok. However upon arrival at the palace I discover it is closed on Mondays. My timing is impeccable.

After this a quick stop back to the hotel to grab my sweat do-rag as I don’t have a hat to suck up the sweat anymore, I dash off to meet my food tour.. a five hour tour.. a five hour tour. There were AJ a program development manager from the East Bay in California, there was Montana an Army Apache Hellicopter pilot stationed at the base in Korea and his Mom and her boyfriend and myself. A smal intimate group of fun folks.

The tour starts with a stop at a big market with everything uner the sun.. yes miles and miles of crap on a shelf. But as I looked around more and payed more attention, it actually wasn’t crap, there were the necessitties of life. Of course food stalls galore, but linnen shops, electronics shops, lighting shops, hardware, power tools, etc etc etc.

Our first food stop is the traditional Korean pancake orr Pajeon stall. It is a mixure of soybean paste, potateos, leeks, and other vegetables then deep fried to a golden deliciousness that was just the way to kick off the tour because I started off HUNGRY and THIRSTY….. yeah you see where this is going.

We then stopped at the sweet treats and snacks stall and had some white and black sesame chewy, cruchy little square snacks. Then some similar snacks with peanuts. Finally they gave us a try of the beef jerky. As Mike our guide said… its not good. He’s right. Mike is from Korea, went to the states and grew up in Chicago and Toledo, attended the Univerity of Toledo for mechanical engineering, then lost his job and reuturned to Seoul for a wedding of a friend and never left.

Next up was the beef tartare and live squid and soju experience. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves but I have to tell you it was by far the best food I’ve had here thus far!

After the market we were headed to a small “drinking establishment” around the corner that specialized in makgeoli, which is basically a rice based beer/wine. But then the rain came, and I mean the RAIN. So we scrambled to buy some cheap umbrellas and made our way to the makgeoli shop wehre we learn all about the stuff. It is in bottles and looks a lot like milk but is far far far from such a mundane taste. Makegeoli is made rather like beer, mixing, boiling, fermenting and then aging. There are all kinds of makgeoli just like beer and wine from sweet to dry. I of course leaned to the very dry which apparently is very unusual as the Koreans tend to like the middle of the road sweeter stuff.

Then it was off to the drinking center of Seoul for a beer and some other liqueur and a garlic chicken and dried fish sampling. Mike tried to get us to try sea squirt but the description of an ammonia smell really put off all of the group.

Then the tour finally “officially” ended at some street vendors who are the street right in front of my hotel. They weren’t there when I checked in but it turns out they only come out 6pm to 6am every night and are dying out as the government is no longer issuing permits and not allowing the permits to be passed down when the owner dies. So eventually this experience will go away. But we had fun, eating spicy pork cartilage (yes you read that right), steamed squid and something else I cannot remember right now. But to go with it was LOTS of Soju and Terra beer.

But we weren’t done yet so we stayed longer

and we STILL were not finished so Mike took us to another place where he ordered us boiled oxtail and pork spine… with of course more Soju and beer. This was where Montanas mom and boyfriend decided to call it a night. But not AJ, Montana and I .. we had one more stop in us.

After mush soju fueled philosophic conversation it was finally homeward bound. Needless to say today I feel it.

8 Replies to “Gastronomic Delights in Seoul”

  1. happily I can see the pictures now but wish I hadn’t seen the live squid. Calling this an adventure is definitely understatement.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *