What a jam-packed, fun-filled week it has been! No complaints whatsoever. Good times with new friends and tasty food in Hwamyeong all week followed by a Friday adventure to Gwangali Beach and Kyungsung University (an area of Busan full of Expats). I’ve seen live music, have tried new foods (who knew I liked grilled radish so much?), and went glow bowling with house music.
On Monday I found my namesake makeup line at a store full of interesting cosmetics (some local, many international). I haven’t tried “Kate” makeup, but once my stock of Canadian makeup depletes I’ll definitely consider it!
After a walk around the area (Hwamyeong-Dong – “Dong” means neighbourhood), we stopped into a spot for some soup! Most places will serve you several complimentary side dishes of pickled radish, kimchi, garlic, and other bits and bobs to either grill up, toss into your soup, or just eat on their own. The dish above is a Bulgogi soup which I believe is called Ddukbaegi Bulgogi (or Ddukbul for short?).
Tuesday night we found Mandu for KRW 1,500 (about $1.75 Canadian). It’s so delicious and is full of beef and kimchi. If you’re looking for a cheap, filling lunch then look no further than Mandu!
The craft beer game in Hwamyeong is strong (well – for Korea!) and we’re lucky enough to have Monster Craft Brewing. This cute little spot has the best chicken I have tasted in Korea with some fabulous spicy garlic sauces. I didn’t manage to save the picture I took, but you can see the massive pile of saucy fries we got as well as the beers we tasted. Mine was an IPA, and my friend’s was a very hoppy Amber. Beer is super cheap in Korea (KRW 3,000-5,000) but these ones were KRW 7,000 because they were from a microbrewery. Worth it! I think we’re going there for Japanese curry tonight. I’m pretty excited!
For lunch I’ve managed to find a super cheap and cheerful spot called Hansot! It’s a lunch box place that serves inexpensive meals with rice, meat, and often kimchi or mixed greens. Meat and vegetables are extremely expensive at grocery stores (they’re cheaper if you buy them on the street but they’re still pretty pricy by North American standards). It’s actually cheaper for me to buy my meals at Hansot than it is to cook for myself at home. I’m able to read the Korean phonetically (the language itself – Hangul – makes a lot of sense but I’m having trouble associating the sounds with the meanings still) so sometimes they’ll understand my order and sometimes I’ll just have to point. There are so many items on the menu ranging from KRW 2,000 to around KRW 10,000 so I have lots of options when I’m really hungry as well as “at the end of the month” 😉
Friday night we were going to spend a quiet night in Hwamyeong, but after a nap and some tunes we headed out to Gwangali Beach and KSU! The lights on the bridge look magnificent. It was raining and I didn’t bring my proper camera with me, so apologies for the low-quality images. We had some local “American” pub fare at Sharky’s Gwangali and then cabbed it over to KSU where we had no wifi and meandered the side-streets until we found Ol’55. The drinks were cheap, plentiful, and served by a cute Oklahoma boy. We met some other Canadian, American, and British teachers and ran into some expats we had met Thursday night at Trivia. The owner of another local bar was there and she had some great stories to tell us while the band jammed in the background. There was free popcorn, and it was quite possibly the best I’ve ever tasted.
After Ol’55 we headed out to Blue Monkey – a club we had frequented on the expat pub crawl last weekend. I swore I would never go back, but it was completely empty so the 6 of us had the entire dancefloor to ourselves! Ps. That’s what bottle service looks like at Blue Monkey – an unexpected delivery of vodka and juices.
The next day I woke up early and watched a couple old episodes of 30 Rock while enjoying the sunshine flooding my apartment. I had plans to meet a gal pal around 10:30 AM who was getting her hair done at a Busan salon. I thought we were heading out on the subway a ways away (most of the exciting spots are about an hour away on the subway) so I was so surprised when the salon was just upstairs from our Hwamyeong meeting spot! The prices were really, really reasonable, and since they had a ton of chairs open I thought I’d get some highlights put in.
Ultimately the deal was, in fact, too good to be true and it was only after they sat me down that they told me it would cost about KRW 389,000 (yep – $400) because I have long hair. I didn’t end up going through with the dye, but I’d go back for a haircut for sure! It’s a beautiful salon and if you take a clear photo of what you want then they’ll do a super job. My friend got her hair dyed in an ombre style and it turned out beautifully (and SO shiny!). It changes her whole look and I would be really happy if my hair turned out half as well. Hers was only KRW 88,000 and considering tipping isn’t customary here it’s a pretty rad deal.
From the salon I headed to the park near our apartment complex. My friend’s boyfriend and one of his friends were playing basketball and teaching some of the local boys some shooting techniques. The sun was shining and it was quite warm out so it was a lovely afternoon spent in the sun. We realised that none of us had eaten by that point, so off to the Korean BBQ place we went!
Earlier in the week someone had made a crack about bowling not being cool when I had suggested we go, so I was pretty stoked when my 3 late lunch companions suggested going to Hwamyung Rock Bowling.
This glow bowling spot was unlike anything I’ve ever experience. Sure, we have “The Ballroom” in Toronto, but the number of LED lights and the raucous house music being played was amazing. We played two games switching up the teams halfway through. Turns out I’m not too bad at 10-pin bowling!
All in all a great week! Saturday was the best day I’ve had in a LONG time (and resulted in a very early bedtime!). Today I’m heading to Nampo with the gals during the day and for Japanese curry tonight at Monster Craft, so another blog post is most certainly on the way soon.
What else should I try in Korea? Any discoveries from your travels (or from Google)? Leave your thoughts in the comments!