Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Eating Seoul

Kay (still working in the final days counting down to the wedding!) took us out to dinner last night. To Hanilkwan News - in a basement arcade of modern eateries in a gleaming new high rise in the next block to the Somerset Palace. 

Hanilkwan News specialises in marinated pork dishes with hand made noodles. As with everything we've eaten here, this meal was fresh, light, flavoursome and delicious - and a real adventure for us, trying out all the flavour additions in the side dishes.
Joel had planned to take us hiking up a mountain today (for the great vistas) but he was concerned about the winds blowing in from China spoiling visibility. His tour group was much bigger today. Ros and Pete and friends Julie and David are in Seoul now after a hellish day of flying with Phillipines Airlines yesterday.

His Plan B came unstick too when we found out that the presidential palace is not open for tours on Tuesdays so in the end Joel walked us all up to have a look at the so called blue palace (South Korea's equivalent of the White House) a few blocks north of the presidential palace.  There's a very big security presence in this leafy part of the city.

We didn't need to walk too far from the blue palace for Joel to find a narrow entry lane into the historic old Bukchon district (Seoul's distinctive old town). we are so lucky to have him looking after us as we'd never be able to find our way around so easily in only our second day here.

Bukchon is just a tiny area of this huge city; everywhere else is new new new and very modern. It's quite exclusive now and only very well off people can afford to live here. They must find it hard to adjust to the noisy chattering tourists that fill the streets, especially on weekends.
...... and so many of the tourists rent their hanboks to complete their day of sightseeing.
 You don't see this freeform electrical wiring anywhere else in Seoul.

 This is obviously the shot of the day point in Bukchon!
 If you can't beat 'em join 'em!

 Father of the groom, mother of the groom, and groom!

We recovered from our walking tour with an iced tea break at this beautiful, traditional style tea house.

 I hope I can find this tea house again!
And then time for a dumpling lunch.....I do remember where this little restaurant is as it is just around the corner from the Museum of Modern Art near where we had our red bean snowflake yesterday.
Joel ordered for us - there's no English here and no pictures on the order menu either - but the dumplings were amazing - and we are loving the various kimchi style side dishes with everything we're eating.
Meals are filling but luckily they don't sit too heavily so we had no trouble walking back to downtown from Bukchon - and a stroll down the main shopping street of Insadong, once again only a block or two from where we are staying. 

This neighbourhood specialises in traditional Korean arts and crafts and it's a fun place to browse with a great mixture of high end art galleries, designer clothes, book shops as well as tourist ticky tac, coffee shops and bakeries. I had no trouble finding shops I like here (and buying something).
 .. and Joelly found us another great dessert place to try.... and another variation of a red bean snowflake for me. The snow in this version was dryer in texture and not as sweet. I can assure my readers these desserts are completely fat and sugar free!

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