June 23, 2010

jeju to busan

there's a trail that goes around the whole island. i would love to be able to hike that one day.
the weather here was great. i was worried that it would be hot and humid but it was def. under the 80s while we were here.
as mr. horsey can attest too.
jejudo, like a lot of korea, has drastically changed over the years with more and more buildings growing, and i learned a good deal of their economy is based off tourism.
the first week we were there, we went with a tour group and one of the places they took us to a place that grew sang hwang mushrooms. they sat us in a room and a man dressed up as some kind of worker started extolling the virtues of the magic medicinal mushroom, which cured cancer, regulated blood sugar, and helped with acne. they were selling a bottle of the stuff for about 120 bucks, and i saw a few people buy a box of the shrooms, well over a thousand bucks. what recession son?
a closeup of the fabled fungus, ground up. i washed it down w/ some ggool mool (honey water....love this stuff, partly because i wasn't allowed any soda growing up and drank this instead. probably also explains why i'm a candy junkie.). i sat there amusedly, watching the play act itself out. that's not to say that i think eastern medicine is rubbish. i find it pretty interesting and would love to study that in school. i simply thought that it was all a con to sell tourists something at an exorbitant price. so I looked it up later and was surprised to find that research did show it as a potential anti cancer agent as well as some other goodies. so you be the judge.
another thing characteristic of the island are these gamgyools. they look like small tangerines, but they have a bump on the top which you can kinda see in this picture. they were more on the sour side. at least the one i tried was.
hopped on the plane to busan, the second largest city in korea. went up the busan tower.
i grew up in the suburbs my whole life so whenever i go into the city, i feel overwhelmed, amazed that there are so many people compacted in such a small amount of space and to whoever first thought of building those high rises and apartments.
our hotel was right next to the beach, and the next morning i did an enjoyable jog following the shore and seeing everyone set up for the day.
for dinner we went looking for the pojangmacha aka street food. we soon found a little enclave of tents. people were on the hustle here (as well as other parts in korea) where they stood outside their place, beckoning you in, telling you they'll give you a good price/hook you up.
in case you couldn't see what this stand was all about
seafood is what they offered
the menu. a U.S. dollar was a little under 1200 won when we got there. soju is dirt cheap. at the markets its around a buck.
i'm not a fan of it, but then again, i don't really have much of a taste for any kind of hard alcohol (if you can even call soju hard). on the rare occasion, i can taste a sweetness to it, but for the most part, it has the disgusting aftertaste of rubbing alcohol to me (guess that just means i have to drink it more often). i usually mix it with beer and it's quite tasty this way. we ordered a bottle and were given some cucumbers with some dwenjang (soy bean paste aka miso) for dip as the halmunee (grandma) prepared our order from behind the counter.
while waiting, we ordered some odeng (fish cake) from the next stand for 2000 won. i've never really liked odeng, and this stick didn't change my mind about it. i can remember having it for the first time as a kid and thinking wtf. i thought the broth would at least be okay and taking a hopeful sip, i was disgusted by it. there are plenty of things to be angry about the world: the radical religious right, douchy liberals (refer to southpark s10e2), or corporate scumbags. but what the **** does that have to do with me? all i cared about was i didn't like the soup and i was pissed. and that's the truf mang!(for those without two gold front teeth that have a gap between them, you can just say "truth" as you silently read this). postscript: i no longer have such strong feelings towards the broth after talking things out with my psychologist.
sea squirts. it's been almost a month since this meal so sorry if i skimp out on the details. soft but some parts were a little hard, like eating those clam nigiris. tasted fresh and like the sea. dipped in some chojang (red pepper paste + vinegar), these were quite addicting.
some steamed mussels served in their own broth w/ bits of jalapenos
another type of sea squirt
some tomatoes to munch on as we took a break. the colors were so vibrant.
i think these were little eels grilled with peppers and garlic
steamed clams to finish off the meal. overall an enjoyable fun meal but i left not wanting to eat that kinda stuff for a while. too much of a good thing yknow?
and in case you had a weak stomach and needed to go to the potty...she had you covered mang! i definitely suffered the next day eating too much of the stuff.

4 rah rah rahs:

Carol said...

haha, awesome. I was wondering when you were going to post about soju tents! The Mister has stories of soju tent outings for those times he was overseas. Mmmm, soju-tini! That's the only way I'll drink it. I've also cooked with it. Love the nature shots, just beautiful! Not sure about the fungi. Kind of gives a twist on the meaning of doing schrooms, not that I would know about those things, really.

KirkK said...

Hey Sawyer - Love the photos.... I also know about that too much of a good thing...thing! ;o)

Christine said...

dang, I would love to go to the southern tip of Korea for the seafood. Is that gamgyool the citrus they use to make yooja cha? I love citrus!

Sawyer said...

u know what? i'm not too sure about that, but i think you might be right. fruit was really good here

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