Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Seoul's Best Gamjatang: Eungam-dong Alley

Brrrrr it’s cold outside! It’s the wonderful month of February and the winter weather is on full blast. To warm myself up, I visited the famous Gamjatang Alley in Eungam-dong for a hearty and spicy stew made of pork bones and potatoes.

Spicy Gamjatang

Gamjatang (also known as Gamjaguk) is a staple in Korean cuisine, especially during the cold weather.  Although the primary ingredients are pork and potatoes, the stew also contains greens, garlic, green onions, sesame leaves, and ground perilla seeds which creates a rich and strong flavor, giving the dish a unique and spice filled dish. 

Top 5 Famous Restaurants in Eungam-dong
Out of the many gamjatang restaurants on this street, my friends and I decided on Daerim Gamjaguk (대림 감자국) since they had good reviews. (Honestly, all the restaurants on this alley are dedicated to gamjatang, so any one of them would have been as good in my opinion).
Delicious Gamjatang

All of us scarfed down the tender meat and delicate potatoes until only the broth was left. We finished off the leftover broth by cooking some ramyeon and rice in it, leaving us VERY full and satisfied. Not only did we get a generous meal for a bargain price, but the gamjatang made us toasty and warm inside.
A snap shot of the potatoes
Fried rice with the left-over broth
Hands down best gamjatang I ever had, and eating it in this weather made it taste even better. Go grab a bowl with your friends at Eungam-dong’s Gamjatang Alley!

How to get here: Saejeol Station (line 6) Exit 2 go over Wasangyo bridge and take an immediate right into the alley. Take the first left street and you’ll see the sign to the Gamjatang alley!
Here's a great site for more information on Gamjatang: www.visitseoul.net

Monday, February 3, 2014

Lunar New Year's Facebook Event

Hey Guys!  Just wanted to share an event going on for the celebration of a new year.  All you have to do is leave a comment of your wishes for 2014, and you could win!  They are giving away a Cucoo Rice Cooker, two iPad minis, and ten $20 Amazon Gift Cards.  Here's the link: visitseoul.net/2014FBevent

What a great way to start off the Lunar New Year!  Good Luck everyone!

Korean Lunar New Year: Seollal

Ceremonial Table

Seollal, Korean Lunar New Year, is a celebration which marks the first day of the Lunar Calendar..  This day is one of Korea’s most important national holidays of the year, and this year’s Seollal falls on January 31st, 2014.  Families and friends get together to wish loved ones a happy and prosperous new year.  It is truly a special occasion greatly celebrated among Koreans.
Traditional Hanbok Pouch

Seollal is an opportunity for families to get together and enjoy each other’s company by paying respect to ancestors, playing folk games, eating delicious traditional foods, and dressing up in hanboks (traditional clothes).

Charye is the first ceremony that takes place on Seollal.  It consists of preparing the ceremonial table with extravagant food and fruits to honor the family’s ancestors.  Families and relatives take turns bowing to the ritual foods to pay their respect to their deceased ancestors and well-being for the new year. 

This is followed by the Sebae which is the ritual of the younger generation expressing respect to their elders by taking a deep bow and presenting them with gifts.  The elders offer their blessings and good luck by giving each person “sebae money” as a small gift.  The young always look forward to getting this extra money during Seollal.


Once the rituals are finished, it is time to eat the food!  The main dish of Seollal is tteokguk, a traditional rice cake soup consisting of beef, eggs, and vegetables.  It is traditional saying in Korea that one must eat tteokguk on Seollal to add a year to one’s age. 

Seollal Activities

After the meal, families engage in a more casual time which includes fun activities or relaxing after the hearty feast.  The most common activity played on Seollal is yutnori, a traditional board game that involves throwing four wooden sticks.  Some families visit historical sites such as Gyeongbokgunk and Namsangol Hanok Village that host traditional Korean events for Seollal.  Whatever you do, Seollal is a great and cultural celebration that has important meaning in Korea.

If you want more information on Seollal and the Lunar Calendar, visit www.visitseoul.net

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Korea Grand Sale

Kick off 2014 by shopping til you drop!  The 2014 Korea Grand sale takes place from January 3 ~ February 16 throughout the fabulous city of Seoul and other major areas.  Over 27,000 stores from 118 companies take part in this annual event, offering international visitors discounts in shopping, dining, entertainment, and accommodations.

The 45 day nationwide event includes participating department stores, duty-free shops, outlets, hotels, shopping centers, supermarkets, and traditional markets offering discounts of up to 50% to foreigners traveling in Korea. 

On/offline events and festivals with themes of fashion, entertainment, and food will be held all throughout Korea to celebrate Korea Grand Sale 2014.  Join the fun!

More Info: http://bit.ly/1j30nVq
Official Website: http://www.koreagrandsale.co.kr/en/

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Secondhand Book Store in Seoul

Secondhand Book Store is the best place to buy rare and used books in Seoul

Located on the ground floor of Pyeonghwa (Peace) Market sits a hidden jewel, the second-hand book street.  Growing steadily since the 1960’s, many collectors travel from afar in order to find limited editions and rare book to satisfy their treasure hunting needs.

Having been around for over 40 years, used books have accumulated and crowded the small stores. Books are piled from floor to ceiling, wall to wall, emulating the history of each book. The used bookstores sell all sorts of publications including novels, essays, art and photography, poetry, magazines, foreign language titles and hard-to-find books, all at 30-40 percent off normal retail prices.

A Variety of Different Books Can be Found in Seoul's Secondhand Book Store
Shoppers can easily spend hours just looking at titles here until an entire day has gone by! The second-hand book street is a rare sight to see. Visit this charming alley full of history! 

Directions: Take subway lines number 1 or 4 to Dongdaemun Station, then use exit no. 8. Then walk about 7 minutes towards the Dongdaemun Doosan Tower (DOOTA). 

For more information, visit our website: visitseoul.net

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pyeonghwa Market in Seoul

Pyeonghwa Market

Pyeonghwa (Peace) Market paved the way for the Dongdaemun area to become the modern fashion town of Korea it is today. Located just south of Cheonggyecheon, the origins began as a shanty town for North Korean refugees after the end of the Korean War in 1953. Equipped with only a sewing machine, refugees began selling clothes made from US army uniforms. In 1962, the first modern concrete structure, resembling the market today, was built and named Pyeonghwa, meaning peace in Korean, in hopes that no other wars would be fought on Korean soil. This historic fashion market is where the Dongdaemun Fashion Town, now consisting over 30,000 stores in 26 shopping centers, all began. 
Variety of covers displayed at Pyeonghwa Market
Although Pyeonghwa Market is a wholesale market (from 9pm~6am) meant for retail merchants, many stores do sell to regular customers during the day. At prices slightly cheaper than many other retail outlets in Dongdaemun, Pyeonghwa Market is definitely a must visit for any fashion lover. Pyeonghwa Market has since become a fashionable, exclusive market, with continued business for over 50 years.

How to get here:
1) Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station (Line 2,4,5), Exit 13 or 14

2) Dongdaemun Station (Line 4), Exit 8

More information: visitseoul.net/pyeonghwamarket

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gwangjang Market: Over 100 years of history in Seoul

Located in the heart of Seoul’s Jogno, Gwangjang Market is one of Korea’s largest traditional markets as well as Korea’s oldest market with over 100 years of history. Up until the late 1800's, Korean markets functioned as temporary markets, only standing for a few days at a time. In 1905, Gwangjang Market became the first permanently established market that was open every day. It was created with the purpose of reclaiming Korean sovereignty during the period of Japanese occupation. The original building burned down in 1950 and was reconstructed in 1959 as the current three story building.

Specialties of Gwangjang Market

 Each floor specializes in different goods; The first floor is dedicated to the foodies offering a diverse array of street food.  The second floor has vintage clothing and other goods at bargain prices.  The top level carries a variety of high quality silk and fabrics. In fact, a majority of merchants from Namdaemun and Dongdaemun work with Gwangjang Market vendors for their fine-quality textiles.

Luxury Textiles
For anyone interested in fashion, Gwangjang Market is a must visit.  The market is especially popular among young people for its unique vintage clothing and accessories. Retail items include t-shirts, jeans, leather goods and bags which are mainly imported from the US, Japan, and Europe. The market offers a diverse variety of clothing and goods which makes it such an interesting and fun experience. Shoppers can find international designer labels as well as unusual, unique vintage clothing at one convenient location. Smart shoppers with a good eye are able to get high quality goods or even luxury labels at bargain prices.

First floor Food Alley

 Gwangjang Market still thrives today as a popular location for quality silk goods, fabric, hanboks, vintage clothing and its diversity of street foods. The rich culture and history of Gwangjang Market is an experience you shouldn't miss when in Seoul. Visit this charming traditional market for the authentic Korean experience!

Directions: A
five-minute walk across from Jongro 5-ga Station (line 5) exit 8.