June 28, 2010

gyungjoo and sulaksan

took a bus from busan to gyungjoo and picked up a snack at a rest stop.
hodo gwaja (walnut "cookie")
filled with sweetened red bean and bits of walnuts, these things were delicious to eat fresh and probably one of my favorite snacks to get whenever i could.
as well as these hodduk, a thick somewhat oily hotcake filled with honey and bits of peanuts. this guy manned his station like a pro.
we visited the chunmachong (heavenly horse tomb) and other tumuluses, which were a bunch of grassy mounds over a tomb where royalty were buried. the h.h. tomb, named because of a painting of a pegasus (which regretfully went extinct last year) was found in the tomb, was estimated to be around the 5th or 6th century.
lots of rowdy school kids, awaiting in line to go inside the tumulus.
in case you were wondering why some people were sitting on the hills. maintenance!
boolguksa, one of the many temples we visited.
outside, a halmunee (grandma) was doing her thing on the streets and i bought a cup of ginko nuts from her.
check out that building with a pagoda cut into the whole structure.
spotted some young soldiers. korea has a mandatory military service for males.
another pit stop, but this one selling both dried and preserved fish and other seafood like squid.
do you see the grill in the back?
some fish were thrown on and cooked on it, shoot was shot, and cups of home brewed makguhlli were poured and passed all around. makguhlii is a type of fermented rice wine that was originally drunk (as a previous writing tutor, i think the correct form is drank, but when i say it aloud it doesn't sound right). it seems like it's having a popular resurgence in korea (and consequently, the us) as of late, but when i had it bottled here, i found it to be watery, bubbly, and overall bland. although the drink isn't very strong, the stuff i had here was thicker, darker in color, and sweet, overall, a delight to drink.
nearby, a lady hauled her cart filled with yut, a korean malt taffy. you know i had to get some of that sweet that chewy stuff.
the next day, we went up to the sulak mountain.
a long way up via cable cars.
from there it was a short walk to the top. it was hard to see how high we really were since it was so foggy.
there were a bunch of rocks, stacked on top of each other. it's said if you put a rock on top of one of these towers, you can make a wish. i believe this is a Buddhist practice and saw these things all over korea.
you have to do a bit of rock climbing to get to the top, but it was fun and even old ladies were doing it. on a side note, the korea/uruguay and usa/ghana games this past weekend were heartbreakers.
once at the bottom, i picked up some bbundehgee(silk worm larvae) and some little snail like things ( i have no idea what these are called). the larvae smelled and looked horrible. i never had it before nor did i ever really want it although they do sell these things canned in the US. but i decided to give it a shot and found it to pretty good if you can get past the smell. it had a very nutty flavor to it.
there was also an enormous Buddha statue on the grounds. growing up in cali, 99% of the koreans i know are either protestant or catholic. but seeing temples all around korea, i was reminded that at another time, korea was once largely buddhist. it made me reflect on the effects of westernization and its missionaries. on a bigger scale (and by this i mean how it relates to me because i am the world), i thought about my own korean heritage and what it all meant as we took a long bus ride to seoul.

8 rah rah rahs:

Carol said...

What an awesome post! The Mister just told me about the manditory military service a week ago. We were watching the local news and something brought up S. Korea. He mentioned that there has been some incidences in the past where U.S. military men of Korean decent were, um, forced to serve their 2-year manditory duties while they were in S. Korea. Anyway, there's more to it but I thought it was interesting that you brought it up.

It is very interesting to hear other people's perspective about the influences of the West. My grandparents were Buddhists but my mom was a Catholic growing up. But she did revert back as she got older.

kirbie said...

Oh, I want to try all the foods! Except maybe the larvae..

Anonymous said...

I can't do the silk worm thing. Sea snails/conch is fine, but silk worm.. EWWWWW. It's great to see actual pix of folks grilling up dried skate/squid, 2 of my fave Korean snacks. The grill over charcoal seems universal in every asian country, and the ajushi's Nikes are hilarious.

saeng makkeoli seems to be more bubbly. I've done a taste test of about 6 brands, some are just absolute garbage.

sawyer said...

hey carol. yea i have a friend that can't go back right now because he would have to serve.
kirbie, from all your eats, i'd think you would want to try it. just plug your nose before you dig in!
lol preach it sinosoul...i've had a couple here and i swear some of them taste watered down. i'd think you'd be up to try the worm too lol

Christine said...

I think the small shellfish beside the bbundaegee is "so-rah." Was it good? My parents say it's not that good.

Sawyer said...

hey christine. i liked it, but i mean they are tiny little things that don't have too much flavor i guess. thanks for educating me tho!

brad said...

droooling when i saw the hodo gwajah... love that... i wish i could have it stateside.

Sawyer said...

where are you from brad? i'm sure you can get it at a korean bakery although like everything else, it's best when fresh. i have to admit though that the street stuff was better than anything i've had here in the states that i've tried at least

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