Korea Diary | My Love From Another Star Set (Day 20, Part 2)

6:36:00 PM mandy 0 Comments

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP

As I mentioned in the previous post, our next stop on the itinerary for the day was Dongdaemun Design Plaza or DDP. It is a very interesting place in Seoul that is part shopping complex, part art gallery, part exhibit space, and part park.

Visually it is an outstanding space to look at. There are so many levels that weave from one building to the next yet nothing is straight. Every part of DDP is just curvy and flowy. It is so architecturally different juxtaposed against all the massive erect skyscrapers that are the norm.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit

The reason why Bestie C wanted to visit DDP was for the My Love From Another Star Exhibit. This was the hit Korean drama of 2014. She found out that it was open whilst our stay in Seoul and had it top on her To-Do list. She was (is still) such big fan of the show during the airing so I wasn't surprised she wanted to see it.

I had started the K-drama prior to the study abroad trip but never got to finishing it. (In fact, almost 2 years later and I think I am still a few episodes away from completing the show.) Despite not being as big of a fan as she was, I couldn't say no to the opportunity to see a television show set. Behind the scenes stuff really fascinates me.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Entry hallway

I believe each ticket was ₩15,000 for a full-priced adult entry. Before we got to see any of the sets and costumes, visitors had to take a quick stroll through the celestial lit hallway. Almost as if we're being transporting to another universe in order to see Do Min Joon and his world. Get it? If not, I'll try to give a concise snippet of the show. (I might not do the beloved show justice.)

Do Min Joon was the lead male character in the Korean drama. The premise of the whole show was based on how he has to adapt to life in Earth as an alien who landed in Korea centuries ago. He tries his best not to meddle with humans since it had led to ill consequences before.

Cheon Song Yi was the fabulous celebrity & actress female lead character who happened to find her way into the secluded Do Min Joon's life by suddenly becoming his neighbor.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Filming equipment
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Do Min Joon's apartment entrance hallway Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Do Min Joon's apartment living room
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Do Min Joon's apartment star gazing area
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Do Min Joon's apartment study Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Do Min Joon's apartment college certificates

The My Love From Another Star Exhibit showed the two main apartments featured in the show. One being Do Min Joon's and the other, of course, Cheon Song Yi's.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Do Min Joon's apartment bedroom

An embarrassing photo of me on the set of the drama. I was really there! This was Do Min Joon's bedroom.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Cheon Song Yi's apartment entry hallway Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit -Cheon Song Yi's apartment kitchen dining room
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Cheon Song Yi's apartment living room

Note to self: be less awkward in front of cameras.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Cheon Song Yi's apartment shoes display Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit -Cheon Song Yi's apartment closet
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Cheon Song Yi's apartment bedroom

I've never seen film or television sets outside of what Universal Studios California shows it's visitors. I was surprised by how detailed and finished both houses were. I would have imagined ceilings and lights, especially high ones, to be pretty bare bone since they probably won't show up on camera. Both apartments felt like it could be moved in to immediately.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP - SBS My Love From Another Star Exhibit - Above view of set

If anyone is interested in how it looked like on the "outside" like I was. Sets continue to amaze me.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Gyudon from some Japanese restaurant in Myeongdong

We found ourselves in Myeongdong for dinner that night since Bestie C had a dessert spot in mind. I forgot how we ended up choosing this particular Japanese restaurant. The gyudon, or beef rice bowl, was alright. It wasn't my favorite of everything we had in Korea but it wasn't terrible either.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Myeongdong Softree Ice Cream - Store front Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Myeongdong Softree Ice Cream - Special menu
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Myeongdong Softree Ice Cream - Honey chip vanilla soft serve ice cream

The dessert we were on the hunt for was this soft service ice cream that was topped with actual honeycomb. It is called the Honey Chips Ice Cream at Softree for ₩4,800. I think this was one of those trendy foods that was super popular the summer we were in Korea. Bestie C read about it or saw it somewhere on the interwebs and wanted to try too. (As you can tell, I was usually not the informed one about what was cool in Seoul at the time.)

Such a pairing is something I hadn't seen before. In fact, honeycombs were completely unfamiliar to me. Other than knowing bees made honeycombs and honey is put there by the buzzers, my knowledge of it as food ended there. Who knew it could be eaten?

Having soft served ice cream with honey is so simple but very refreshing and light. I know that sounds counterintuitive since ice cream is supposed to be heavy and creamy but it just tasted light. Since it was a lighter honey, the flavor wasn't overpowering either.

The honeycomb part of it was interesting to say the least. Biting into it led to a burst of honey oozing into all corners of my mouth. But since honeycomb is a type of wax, I was continuously chewing on it until all the honey melted away. I believe the honeycomb wax was edible but after all the honey dissolved, I chose to spit the waxy remnants out.

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Korea Diary | Seoul Fortress Trail, Naksan Hike (Day 20, Part 1)

1:06:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

Another Friday meant another full day of adventures in Seoul!

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course

Hiking was one of the top items on my To-Do checklist. It was only fitting since mountains and hills are everywhere in Korea.

Being the hiking newbie that Bestie C and I were, I ended up choosing a paved path and supposedly easier portion of the Seoul Fortress Wall Trial for Day 20's activity. The wall is from the remnants of the Seoul city wall that was built centuries ago. It circled around most of present-day Seoul that is north of the Han River.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Onedang Dolsot Bibimbap

We couldn't possibly have lasted a hike on an empty stomach! What better way to fill up than with carbs and rice? The two of us ended up having bibimbap at a restaurant called Onedang on the way to the Sinchon Subway station.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Sinchon Station art

The most foreign-friendly way to get around in Seoul is definitely via their subway system. There was Korean, English, Chinese, and (I think) Japanese on most signs and automated announcements.

To make it even easier, there is a mobile app called Subway and/or 지하철 that shows the whole subway map. (For anyone who prefers an online version, Cyber Station by SMRT Kr is pretty similar to the app.) If you enter your starting station and the alighting station, it will spit out very precise directions for the most optimal metro ride. If you need to transfer at a particular station, you will know the name and even the specific subway car AND door number to be at in order to be closest to the transfer exit.

One of the things I miss most about Seoul's metro system was having a numbered exits at every station. It made getting to a new place that much easier. Getting lost in unfamiliar streets is one thing with alleyways, crosswalks, and all. But knowing what number each staircase which leads to the street helps me that much more to calibrate my directions.

(NYC MTA get your stuff together! I'd rather see that first than cell service underground. Just saying.)

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course map Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course entrance

I opted to walk the part of the Fortress Trail leading towards Dongdaemun and Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). It ultimately worked out for the best since Bestie C had actually wanted to visit DDP. The Korean Tourism sites had detailed information about the Seoul Fortress hiking trails. Our path was the #4 Naksan Mountain Trail from Hyehwamun Gate to Heunginjimun Gate (i.e. Dongdaemun).

Somehow we still ended up walking right past the trail entrance by accident after getting out of the right station and exit number. Perhaps the curved staircase was just easy to miss?

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course signs

At some points of the trail, there were some forks in the road which lead into the nearby residential neighborhoods. Luckily there were many signs to ensure that you're going the right way.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course - View Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course - View
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course - Path to nearby homes
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course - Stairs to nearby residential neighborhood

The view during the hike was impeccable. Despite the hot sun shining down on us during the whole hike, I thought it was really worth the climb. The hike was easy in the sense that roads were practically all paved. There were wooden fences for safety and assistance to tired folk like myself. It wasn't crowded with people which let us go at a very leisurely rate.

Visit Korea said this trail was an easy one because of the mountain's relatively low height when compared to other mountains the other fortress sections sit on. If that's the case, I would be very intimidated to see the other routes. I thought the Naksan Trail was already pretty high and steep!

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course - Naksan Park sign

We walked for what felt like hours in the heat. It was exciting to see the big Korean letterings because it meant our hike was halfway done! Reaching Naksan Park gave us an opportunity to relax our increasingly sore muscles.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course - posing on exercise equipment

We chose not to dilly dally around for too long by the time we reached the top of the mountain. The view was great and we were definitely tired, but the both of us were ready to get out of the heat ASAP. The only thing that stopped us for a moment was finding free exercise equipment. As you can clearly see, I worked out quite a sweat on the elliptical-esque machine.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course - Kitties on stairs

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Seoul Fortress Trail - Naksan Trail Course - posing on exercise equipment

We reached our destination once we saw the next fortress gate, high rises, and all the traffic. If we wanted to continue onto the next part of the trail it would have been on the other side of the DDP. Perhaps another time?

Since our final destination was Dongdaemun Design Plaza, it was HIKE COMPLETED!

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Korea Diary | First Class Trip & All-You-Can-Eat KBBQ (Day 19)

9:08:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - National Museum of Korea 국립중앙박물관 - view of Namsan Tower

One of the reasons why I signed up for my Asian art history class at Yonsei was because of the scheduled field trips. Going to museums is something I enjoy. It is a plus if I could sneak a visit during class time. The first of the multiple class trips was to the National Museum of Korea 국립중앙박물관.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - National Museum of Korea 국립중앙박물관 entrance
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - National Museum of Korea 국립중앙박물관 architecture
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - National Museum of Korea 국립중앙박물관 gong
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - National Museum of Korea 국립중앙박물관 pagoda Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - National Museum of Korea 국립중앙박물관 incense burner

As it's namesake reveals, the museum houses everything that was a part of Korean history. From religious to non-religious, art to artifacts, and royalty treasures to commoner commodities. The exhibits are grouped and laid out across the multi-level museum by time period. For history buffs and anyone else intrigued by the past, it would be very easy to lose a few hours time exploring everything.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - McDonald's Bulgogi Burger meal Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - McDonald's Bulgogi Burger

Since our class disbanded earlier than expected, Bestie C (who also took the Asian Art History course) and I decided to finally give Korean McDonald's a try before strolling around Sinchon for a bit. They had a few items that were also on the American menu, like the Big Mac for sure. But we were in Korea so the Bulgogi Burger was an obvious choice. From the looks it was just like any other McDonald's hamburger, just sans pickles and with lettuce instead. The bulgogi part mainly comes from the sweet sauce. Bestie and I both agreed on how different the bun tasted. It was much softer than expected! (That was a good thing.)

Word to the wise: Korea's trash disposal system is very organized and strict. You might not notice at other restaurants because there are people to clean up after you. At some cafes and fast food chains like McDonalds, however,  you will probably have to throw out your own trash. A few things to keep in mind:

  • everything recyclable should be separated from non-recyclable food garbage
  • liquids have to be poured out in the right compartment at the trash station
  • Then cups are thrown out separately.

If all else fails, stand and look a bit confused because there may be a cleanup worker nearby to keep everything orderly and clean. You don't have worry that much!

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Dance crew in Sinchon

Dance crews are abundant in Sinchon at all times of day. In fact a foreign classmate in my Korean language class found her way into one during her short stay in Korea!

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Packaged melons in Korean supermarket

I always forget how special fruits are to people in Asia, particularly in Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong. (Are there any other countries that do this as well?) Fruits at the big supermarket in Sinchon were really expensive when compared to what we could usually get in NYC. Melons can cost ₩20,000. A small pack of mandarins cost ₩8,000. Let's just say we didn't get too much fruit intake during our time in Korea. However, it is my understanding that people usually buy packaged ones like these as gifts or offerings.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Sinchon Chakhan Pig Self Cafe 착한돼지 - All You Can Eat KBBQ entrance

Thank goodness for all-you-can-eat KBBQ! How can we go to Korea and not grill our own meat? Being able to choose whatever you want, however much you want is just the pinnacle of a food lover's dream. While the meat quality isn't the highest stuff you can get, it is all-you-can-eat for only around ₩10,000, plus or minus a few thousand won, or so per person.

Our friends found Chakhan Pig Self Cafe or Chakhan Dweji 착한돼지 via blogs. We were a little worried it wasn't going to be open anymore since turnover of restaurants seem to be quite fast. It was also an "easy to miss" yup of eatery since the restaurant is actually located on the second floor and the stairs are situated in a narrow spot amidst other narrow entryways. Luckily Chakhan Dweji was still running at what seemed to be full throttle when we were there.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Sinchon Chakhan Pig Self Cafe 착한돼지 - All You Can Eat KBBQ grilling meat
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Sinchon Chakhan Pig Self Cafe 착한돼지 - All You Can Eat KBBQ tri-color filled ddeok

Let's just say this was the first of many visits to Chakhan Pig and all-you-can-eat type KBBQs. This was also the places to get our fill in unlimited fruits. But besides being able to eat all the meat and fruits that I wanted, I discovered grilling rice cakes in Korea. That is not something we normally grill at KBBQ in NYC. But it gets better! Chakhan Pig had tri-colored filled rice cakes. The purple colored ddeok was filled with a sweet potato filling, the yellow ddeok was pumpkin filled, and the white ddeok had ooey gooey cheese.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Sinchon Cafe Bingsooya 빙수야
Berry and Injeolmi Bingsoo @ Cafe Bingsooya 빙수야 in Sinchon

Dinner only lasted until about 9PM. We were all stuffed silly from all the meat and grease. What better way to cut grease and beat the hot weather than by having shaved ice, again! We spotted a place called Cafe Bingsooya en route to the dorms in Sinchon. Our big group of 8-9 people shared a couple of shaved ices: Blueberries over milk covered ice & Injeolmi 인절미 (rice cakes, soy bean powder, and almond slivers) over milk covered ice.

I noted the time earlier because this shaved ice cafe closed around 10PM. I remember we were one of the last peoples to enter and the last to leave. While we were eating, the staff was already in the process of preparing to close shop for the night. All of us were surprised by how early a dessert shop closed. Maybe shaved ice in Korea isn't really a dessert in the sense that people eat it after dinner?

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Korea Diary | Cuz I'm a fattie...foodie (Days 15-18)

10:25:00 PM mandy 0 Comments

The next few days must have not been very interesting in terms of going out and seeing. But for me eating is just as important while traveling. When not in class or doing school related things during the week, food was always on my mind.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Edae Food Cafe Dolsot Bibimbap 돌솥 비빔밥 Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Edae Food Cafe Dolsot Bibimbap 돌솥 비빔밥 mixed rice
Stone Pot Mixed Rice or Dolsot Bibimbap 돌솥 비빔밥 @ Food Cafe in Edae
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Edae Foot Cafe Soondae Ddeokbokki 순대 떡볶이
Blood Sausage Spicy Rice Cakes or Soondae Ddeokbokki 순대 떡볶이 @ Food Cafe in Edae

I don't really remember much for this week. But Bestie's blog said Day 15 was a super chill day. We ended up sleeping in and then grabbing lunch in Edae.

Bibimbap seems like a pretty fancy dish to foreigners. In fact an order of bibimbap costs around $10-15 dollars in New York City. But one of my Korean teachers at KLI/YISS said that Koreans don't really eat it all that much. (Don't quote me on that one.) It is essentially just a mishmash of vegetables and meat, if desired, with rice and a spicy sauce. In practicality, it is a very leftovers friendly meal. Dolsot bibimbap just means everything is served in a stone pot to give a crispy layer of rice at the end. This particular one was nearly half the price ₩5,000!

A bowl of mixed rice is more than filling. Yet I still ordered soondae ddeokbokki for lunch as well. How can I say no to rice cakes? It's chewiness is one thing I cannot turn away from. But I think what ultimately led me to order it was the price: ₩3,500. At that price point, I sort of assumed it would be a small portion. Boy was I wrong.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Sinchon streets on a Sunday afternoon

We stopped by Sinchon after lunch to go to a big grocery store. There were necessities like fruits and toilet paper that we needed to purchase. While toilet paper was available in the GS25 convenience store right below the dorms, it was much cheaper to buy it outside.

It was also nice to just take a walk to digest all the food we consumed and to enjoy the nice sunny Seoul weather. Would never know when monsoon rains would fall. Others had the same idea and brought out their skatesboards to the empty streets of Sinchon on a Sunday afternoon.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Paris Baguette Dorayaki Ice Cream Sandwich packaging Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Paris Baguette Dorayaki Ice Cream Sandwich actual

A mid-day snack of ice cream sandwich from Paris Baguette. I think they called it dorayaki, which is a Japanese pancake sandwich with red bean filling. This cold sweet doesn't stand out much in my memory but the concept was nice. I usually have a difficult time with ice cream sandwiches because of how frozen solid the cookies are. A pancake version was slightly easier to chomp on.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - SK Global Korean Chinese food delivery

Sunday night delivery night! What can I say more? Whilst the food wasn't the best quality, it was a sort of comfort food for us. Something that was filling and shareable (kind of) yet no one had to care how they looked eating it. Brilliant!

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Binggrae Banana Milk tastes like cereal milk

Have you ever heard of banana milk or banana ooyoo 바나나 우유? It was something I heard of from Korean dramas and variety shows, but never tried. The banana milk tasted like cereal milk to me more than banana + milk. It had the extra sweetness kick that you would get from soaking your sugary cereal in cold milk. For those that have tried it before, do you think so?

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Day 16 marked the first full week of classes. In reality that just meant an extra day, 4 days instead of 3, when compared to the previous week.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Paris Baguette breads Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Surprise breakfast muffins from best friend

I purchased some breads for breakfast from Paris Baguette the day before in order to have one less thing to worry about in the morning. Imagine the surprise when I woke up to a breakfast treat from Bestie.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - View from EDU building on Yonsei Campus

My morning Asian art history class was held in the EDU building near the main campus area. The above photo was a view from the top floor of that building. The little specks of brown amidst all the trees was where the dorms and Korean language buildings were. It was quite a trek from one point to the other. Despite all the eating, we still got our daily doses of working out by going to and fro.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Korean convenience store foods for lunch
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Korean convenience store foods for dinner - the components Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Korean convenience store foods for dinner - the components - the results
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Yubu chobap from Korean convenience store for lunch

It is plain to see that I was not very adventurous with meals the first few weeks of classes. Lunches AND dinners were purchased from the local convenience stores. Luckily there were about 4-5 convenience stores near the SK Global dorms. If there wasn't a good selection at one, it was a quick walk to scout another. I had never been to convenience stores as much as I had in Korea.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - View from dorm room in SK Global

To not bore you guys with too many food posts...Enjoy the sunset from our dorm room!

I mentioned this earlier in the post already, but the summer in Korea usually means monsoon season. The year we went to Korea was an unusual one in terms of weather. A friend who went the previous year warned me of the crazy monsoon storms. How even your shoes could fall apart from the powerful rains. Bestie and I went prepared with our umbrellas and raincoats. Some Californian friends had specially bought rain boots for their stay. But luckily it only rained about a handful of times in the 50 days we were there. Of those handful, only a couple were of the torrential downpour capacity.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong dessert shop Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong dessert shop menu
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong Traditional Patbingsoo and Green Tea Patbingsoo
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong Traditional Patbingsoo close up

After a few too many convenience store meals, I told Bestie C I had to go out to try Okrumong down the street from the dorms. We passed by this desserts shop many times on our way to Sinchon and it was just calling my name. Mandy...we have red beans! So many red bean treats! Come, come!

I originally went in wanting to try the red bean porridge or patjook. However the names of the patbingsoo and patjook on the menu were similar, traditional (jeontong 전통) red bean shaved ice (patbingsoo 팥빙수) and traditional (jeontong 전통) red bean porridge (patjook 팥죽). The cashier must have heard wrong or I might not have been very clear. Either way, it did not matter!

The red bean shaved ice was delicious. How can ice be delicious you say? Well it isn't just ice...silly. Okrumong's patbingsoo is soaked in a sweet milk, maybe a watery condensed milk. Then it is covered in a layer of sweet red beans. At the end it is topped with 2 rice cakes or ddeok or mochi. This is definitely the most traditional version of patbingsoo there is. The ice could have been shaved a little finer but the sweet milk makes up for it 100%.

Bestie is the biggest matcha fan. It was only right for her to go for the green tea version. She really liked it and said the matcha flavor is definitely there. It is no skimpy, "only the top layer is matcha", type of shaved ice either. The ice was soaked in the green tea concoction. I gave it a try and wasn't too excited. The matcha was too strong and natural for my tastes, i.e. bitter.

These two bowls of red bean shaved ice will set you back ₩8,000 or ₩9,000. While it may look like a small rice bowl sized serving of shaved ice that's not worth the month, I assure you it is not. Please share with someone if you're eating this on a full-ish stomach. Okrumong is a chain in Korea and even have locations in California if I'm not mistaken.

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Of course there were other red bean and rice cake sweets on the menu that I wanted to try.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong Traditional Red Bean Bread Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong Traditional Red Bean Bread - inside

One being the traditional red bean bread or jeontong patbbang 전통 팥빵. It is simple and we have similar breads to this in the Chinese bakeries in New York City, but I had to try it anyways. It was a nice ratio of bread to beans and just the right sweetness. But for ₩2,500, having one was enough.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong Glutinous Rice Cakes
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong Glutinous Rice Cake - Black version Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong Glutinous Rice Cake - White version
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong Glutinous Rice Cake - Black version inside Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Okrumong Glutinous Rice Cake - White version inside
Glutinous rice cake - Black version
Glutinous rice cake - white version

The second & technically also third were these baked glutinous rice cakes or koo-oon chalddeok 구운 찰떡.  Now these were something I don't think I have seen before. I have had sticky rice cakes boiled as tongyuan and steamed in other Chinese desserts, but never have I seen it baked like this.

The menu says the black version was black rice mixed with nuts, while the white version is made of white rice. Both were topped with a dollop of red bean paste in the center. Each little medallion was ₩2,000. I liked these even more than the beloved red bean bread.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Obong Doshirak combo lunch box
Obong Doshirak Combo Lunch Box
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - SK Global House - Crazy Brown
Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - SK Global House - Crazy Brown Chicken Potato Wedges dinner Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - SK Global House - Crazy Brown Bacon Potato Pizza
Chix Steak and potato wedges
Bacon and potato pizza

On day 18, we went a step above our typical convenience store meals of the late. All that meant was getting lunch and dinner from the restaurants on the ground level of the dormitories. We opted for the trusty Obong Doshirak and a new contender, Crazy Brown.

I had ordered the chix steak. My only memory of it was not bad. What did leave an impression in my head was the pizza Bestie ordered. It was definitely not what I would have ever imagined. But then again potato isn't a typical topping we would see in America now is it? Safe to say we all agreed that Crazy Brown probably wasn't a "visit again" restaurant.

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