Tag Archives: street food

Korea in Spring is Beautiful Even When I Am Not

18 Apr

Spring has arrived in South Korea and it’s beautiful. Arriving in February, everything in Korea seemed kind of grey. There were no leaves on the trees, and no colour on the mountains. At the time, the drizzle reminded me of home (that’s the British for you) but I’m a summer baby and I was looking forward to the changing of the seasons.

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Well, it hadn’t occurred to me that spring in Korea would be so beautiful! Thanks to the Japanese, who planted lots of cherry trees during their years of rule (er, thanks colonial oppressors!), spring in Busan means lots of cherry blossom. My neighbourhood was transformed! My school yard was no longer a cheerless, sandy, gateway to hell (I love my school really)! To really soak up the cherry blossom beauty, I headed to the nearby town of Jinhae for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Image

As you can see, it was busy, but beautiful.

Many Koreans seem to be expert posers. There was a lot of “Korean Vogue-ing” going on, which I attempted to join in on. Please excuse my face – I was also suffered from a bad head cold, hence the pallor.

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For some reason, Koreans seem to enjoy approaching and taking photos of me. I’m always happy to answer university students’ surveys, pose for photos with Korean couples, perform the running man on demand (the question is usually “can you shuffle?” – they love LMFAO here) and wave at small children. On the whole, I’ve found Koreans to be welcoming, friendly, and polite, so I try to return the favour!

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Street food at the festival was pretty special. I ate some spit-roasted pork, and a street waffle (so delicious, and made fresh!). I didn’t try some of the more… interesting-looking offerings though!

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These guys look like whole fried ducklings on a skewer?

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Apparently these guys are squid with the tentacles kind of tucked up.

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This is a vat of silkworm (I think) larvae being cooked up. People get these in a little cup and eat them like a tasty snack. The smell to me seems pretty vile so I haven’t been tempted to try them yet. They seem pretty popular though!

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God knows what this is, but I thought the fin poking out the top looked pretty cool!

I sadly didn’t get any photos of my neighbourhood in all it’s blossomy glory, because the cherry blossoms don’t last long here. One rainy day was enough to get rid of most of the blossoms near my school. I think the temporary nature of the blossoms makes them even more beautiful – they seem so delicate. It’s hard not to go all navel-gazing Lost In Translation-stylee when you’re walking under them. In a word: beautiful.

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If you build it, they will come…

27 Mar

Take me out to the ball game.

I can be forgiven for using this stupid cliché in a blog post about a baseball game, because I’m British and we don’t have baseball at home. In fact, I should be applauded for resisting the urge to refer to a baseball game as a “match” (which I’m reliably informed by my American friends is, in fact, stupid).

British people think that we get American culture, because we get so much of it imported. American brands, American TV shows and with them American slang, games, customs, values and sports. I know a surprising amount about baseball from US teen comedies and their references to “bases”, and the film Field of Dreams. What I don’t get, is why a jumped up version of rounders played by men in striped pyjamas generates such emotion in fans. Then again, I don’t understand that about football, either.

Baseball is big in Korea, and even bigger in Busan which is home to the Lotte Giants, who are supposedly South Korea’s number one baseball team. This Saturday, before the league starts, I went along to Sajik stadium to watch an exhibition game (a friendly, I suppose).

Sajik stadium

It was pretty good fun! The game is easy to understand on a basic level, although I’m sure I was missing some of the tactics. It was relatively slow to get going, but the crowd even for the free exhibition game was lively. There were chants to join in on (okay, make up the words to) and several groups of students even had pom poms and dance moves worked out. Seeing as you can bring your own beers into the stadium, I think that going back to watch an actual league game would be really good fun.

The rest of my weekend was pretty relaxed. I spent Sunday afternoon in Nampodong browsing the shops (but not actually buying much because I don’t have access to my bank account from an ATM at the moment) and sampling some street food.

Noms!

The red stuff is a kind of rice doughy dumpling thing. Maybe. The sauce is pretty spicy. It’s tasty! My favourites are the small dumplings (mandu in Korean) on the left and the sping onion pancake thing on the right, which is delicious with some soy sauce. Om nom nom! 

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