August 23, 2010

korea: hongdae and shindangdong

We stopped by Ewha University (the top women's university) to visit an old friend, then we were off to Hongdae U, in which the surrounding area is known as a popular college hangout. While I loved UCSD and La Jolla is a beautiful place, it's far from a college town and I was always slightly envious when visiting friends at other campuses, particularly Berkeley, where the city seemed to be integrated, and not segregated, with the school.
The women here were definitely a lot more beautiful than I remembered them to be. Lol, actually that's a guy, rockin the tight jeans and a leopard skin hand bag. A lot of the males here seemed to be on the feminine side in dress...Sorry for the blurry picture, but when you're in the subway station, you gotta move, lest you get trampled.
The subways are awesome here though, and we found Hongdae easily enough.
We stopped by Bonchon, the Korean fried chicken place, for a quick snack. I've actually never had visited this particular joint in the states, so I wanted to see how it would be in the motherland. We ordered some Asahi and munched on some free chip/corn thingies.
The digs.
While waiting, the helpful waiter came out and gave us each a box saying "sample." What the fruit?
Inside the cute little package lay a small chicken wing. I thought to myself if these were the size of the wings, I would feel jipped. It didn't seem to be very fresh, and I guess they were trying to get rid of them. Later when we were leaving, I saw them handing out free samples outside.
The waiter then came out with a metal gravy boat. I asked what it was, and he said it was a fruit cocktail as service. Lol...gotta love it here.
We ordered 5 drumsticks, 3 spicy and 2 soy sauce I think. These were quite big pieces and if you love thin crispy skin, you would enjoy this. I don't remember how the soy sauce tasted, but the spicy wasn't very hot at all. It reminded me a bit of a korean ramen packet seasoning (like shin ramen). I still think Kyochon has the best spicy wings although the one in Rowland Heights seems to have gone out of business.
Up close and personal with that double deep fried goodness.
We spent the rest of the night wandering around from place to place. Some kids spitting some rhymes at a playground.
Wonder what they have in here?
Seriously though, the ladies were looking right, a stark contrast from my past memory of ugly school girls. A friend of mine described this place as a "meat market."
Nearby was some reps from Cass, giving out free beer. Another watered down lager, but hey, it was free, and you know me!
Do your thing little turkey....
As the sun went down, the crowd grew bigger.
We stopped by this strange place that sold "hard" drinks in a bag, much like Kirk's adventure with beer.
I ordered a jungle juice (haha) and drank this down pretty quickly. Not very strong, more sweet than anything else.
We allowed ourselves to be pulled in by the tide of the crowd and ended up at some random drinking place.
We just wanted to drink, but they said we had to order something, so we went with the cheapest thing on the menu, a fruit salad. This weird looking thing came out. I think the white stuff was a bit like frosting.
Of course, we had to get the classic combo. How are you gonna say no to soju for under 3 bucks a bottle? Boktan gumbeh! (Soju bombs lol)
Shortly after, a waiter stopped by and proceeded to quickly put it all this stuff on the table. "Whoa whoa whoa, we didn't order any of this stuff!" *Waiter, giving me a curious look* "It's service yo, so enjoy yourself!" *Me nodding and smiling* "Thank you!" Among the goodies was a cabbage salad, seaweed soup, spicy marinated squid, tofu, and hidden in the dark because I didn't use my flash, a whole fish and corn cheese.
Finally getting to a decent buzz, I started to crave ddukbukki (spicy rice cakes), but I decided to hold back the craving (despite the fact that there were a bunch of vendors on the streets), and we took the subway back home.
But not to worry kids, there is justice in the world. I met up with my cousin the next day, and he took me to Shin Dang Dong ddukbukki town, a small strip that sells solely ddukbukki. There were people outside of their own restaurants, inviting you in, saying theirs was the best and you'd get hooked up.
This ddukbukki was a bit different from what I was used to though. It was served in a big pot and cooked in front of us with a whole other bunch of random stuff thrown in like ramen noodles. We ordered the extra spicy.
After a few minutes, it started to boil and turn an angry shade of red. And St. Peter in heaven, it was spicy. The heat on this was not a creeper; it immediately burned you from the first sip and if it went down your trachea, God help you son. Even my cousin, who has a high tolerance for the spice, had to admit it was pretty extreme. The small rice cakes were on the bottom, but because of the potpourri of other ingredients, there didn't seem to be too much of them, and that was a pity because I like those things. Overall, I preferred the more traditional version, but it was still good. After that, our two weeks in Korea were up. It went by so fast. It definitely is an amazing place, especially since I hadn't been in 15 years, but I hope to visit again soon!

5 rah rah rahs:

KirkK said...

LOL at the "Ho Bar"..... I wonder what would happen if a place with the same name opened here???!! ;o)

Christine said...

I really need to get myself to Korea.

Sawyer said...

kirkk: recession or not, that place would definitely be doing very good business!!!
christine: yea you do!! my fingers are crossed that you'll get sent there for work!

Carol said...

Now that's a ddukbukki to have after a night of um, socializing with friends!

Liz said...

love the drink in a bag

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