Thursday, 26 March 2015

Travel Gastronomy: Breakfast Sandwich


A weird combination that strangely works! At Busan, I was provided with free toast and eggs everyday, in addition were jam and cream cheese (which I later found out were obscenely expensive). At first, I ate them purely unsacrilegiously, egg + cream cheese, strawberry jam + cream cheese. You know, same old, same old. But the woman was staying with, proudly declared it a sandwich as she sandwiched, yes, an egg with her jam. And hey, I was never one to back down from a challenge or ludicrous new experience. Sure the combination of cream cheese and jam works as a dessert and I don't know why I was so surprised. I mean, Vietnamese desserts are notorious for their salty egg yolk centres amidst taro or durian buns. Sour, sweet and salty, really, could this be more multifaceted? For a speck of green, perhaps to really confuse the taste buds, basil or mint, should be added. But it is what it is, simple, fuss-free ensured deliciousness every morning. 

This exactly sums up what I love about staying with different people. You become privy to traits that make them inherently.. them. Unique. If anything, this helped to save me from a gastronomic rut. I love that. Maybe someone has a propensity for pumpkin and it shows up in every creative way imaginable that you're sipping a tea made from it. Or maybe you're staying with a person that's rebelling against rice with westerner food. Either way, it broadens your horizons. So I dare you! Go make this now! The ingredients are bountiful enough and simple to execute! And I sincerely hope that you credit me if you end up loving it haha. To be frank, I don't think this would become part of my usual breakfast (un)rotation as it's nutritionally void. 

  
Toast a piece of bread! White, rye, wholemeal .. whatever gives you the slightest delusion of nutrition


Spread cream cheese thickly and with conviction. 


Follow with a jam of your preferred fruit. I've always wanted to know what blackberry would be like. 


Top with an over easy fried egg. Sandwich with another piece of toast if you prefer! 


Take a tentative bite to determine if it is edible. Results inconclusive. Proceed to shove into mouth whole as what could've potentially been a weird hangover cure may now be the bane of your cravings.

XX

Jeannie

Monday, 23 March 2015

Wandering in Edae


Ewha Womans University is a sight to behold isn't it? It's like a castle built for ladies interpreted in modern times. Strangely, they do accept male exchange students, but I'd imagine that the policy for that is fairly strict. At night, is truly when the magic happens. It lights up majestically like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. Truthfully, I feel like my solo trip in winter for both Tokyo and Seoul have been a massive tease. I've missed the peak of their beauty which made Garousu-gil very ironically hard to find haha. So the next time I come here, I'll make sure it'll be for Autumn or Spring.

I had come to Edae as the general consensus is that, here is where you should shop contentedly. Seeing as it is an area very close to a female's university, the the fashion and food here is very affordable. What I love most about this area is that there are three universities within close proximity of each other which all boast colourful and affordable towns within walking distance. Excellent. It is because of that, I'm going to be offering a very sly and slight peek of the wonder of Hongdae.

But let's backtrack a bit. My last day at Busan, the people I stayed with threw me a samgyupsal party.. oh my god T____T




It was amazing. Amazing. See, this is the type of meal that I would cost $40pp back in Sydney. And here I was eating it like a typical dinner. I may have teared up, I'll let you be the judge of that! And here was when I developed an addition for dipping whatever meat I could get my chopsticks on into a soybean paste I think it was. Gahhhh. And it turns out I do like kimchi.. after it's been cooked to an inch of its life along with the pork belly AHAHAHA. I was so unbelievably touched, I almost didn't want to leave!

 So from Busan to Seoul, I caught the Korail, at the very early time of 7:55am, which thus required me to take a taxi from my accomodation to Busan Station. Taxis are amazingly cheap, in contrast to Sydney where a mere 5 minute journey would ruthlessly cost $15. I believe that for a 20-30 minute ride, I pad $7? Anyway, I'd like to say I made it to Seoul without a hitch, but this is me we're talking about here. In addition to that, I had to call the person I was staying at to give proper directions to the Taxi driver in Korean, but despite all that hassle, I would gladly go through it all again because I was eventually bound to stay at what would be the greatest Airbnb experience of my life. I intend to blog more extensively about my Airbnb experiences after I finally wrap up all my travel posts (a notion I am very much dreading). The place I was staying at was amazing, the apartment, oh the apartment. The way that they furnished it, it exactly how I would've had it been my own, it was just urgh, adorable and had a comforting fairytale cottage kind of theme. Speaking of comforting, they offered me hot tea immediately and a pastry. a welcome perk after I had spent all day on trains, taxis and *insert transport here. They would offer o make me a hot beverage every time I returned from the day's exploration, and ask if I've eaten .. really, it wasn't just the fact that I had paid for it, they were just genuinely hospitable and kind people, and we made friends out of each other.

The day of my arrival in Seoul (by the way, location of the apartment was amazing), I wasn't up for more travel so I took it easy, perusing the plethora of information that they had on Seoul, and forming a rough itinerary of sorts.


This was dinner, and as you can see, they are incredibly talented cooks. Not just that but in all aspects of their lives, they're immensely artistically inclined. I ate dinner and breakfast with them on most days and it was wonderful experiencing what home Korean cooking was like. They told me that most Koreans prefer simple breakfasts ahaha, which reminded me of the person I stayed with in Kobe who insistently declared that he was sick of rice and rebelliously prepared Western food as his breakfast everyday. And I lean more towards simple breakfasts with very slight modifications when the need strikes. Digression. Dinner was a kind of spicy beef rib stew with potatoes and another steeply priced item in restaurants in Sydney ($15!!) - seafood pancake. As a simple dinner.. we were off to a great start!



Yes, and this was breakfast. Yes, I know, I would be jealous if I wasn't me. Actually, if anything, I'm jealous of my past self haha. Breakfast was seafood soup, which I loved the unique texture of! and a fried chicken watercress salad with a fruity dressing. Everyday, they would ask me what my plans were for the day then suggest something not obviously touristy, ah! I MISS THEMMM.


Alright, I'm sorry that you had to read through all that in order to get to the real gem of this post (no I'm not). Ahem. To get to Edae, simply take Exit 2 or 3 at Ewha Womans University via the subway. I mostly took the bus to get around Seoul (which is ridiculously more user friendly than Sydney's wtf) but that's based on location. I promise the rest of the post will be less wordfully jarring haha.


This portion of the town is right off the corner of Ewha. Take the side streets and wander! Here there's a lot of popular cosmetics stores since it is near a womans university and all. 


My favourite store as it carried a blend of unique and feminine items. 



Bows and accessories. 


Tell me where you can find good thick coats in Sydney for less than $50! TELL ME.




Lots of expensive boutique like stores interspersed within the affordable ones. Prices range from 5000won upwards. 



Notice how many Disney prints there are? Likewise in Tokyo as well! They seem to be head over heels in love with them! And Monsters Inc. And Stitch. And One Piece. Not judging, I am too! ahaha


The most affordable of the boutique like stores where I consequently spent the most money. But isn't that an optimistic name? Banana+


Winter boots! You wouldn't believe the prices! Like 10,000won upwards? Insanity. 


Or sneakers if that's your thing. 


I can't believe this is a hairsalon! It does look like a fortune teller's tent doesn't it?




The only vintage store I found in Edae, which makes sense as there's so much affordable, brand new clothing here. Still, it was nice to poke around the attic like decor. 




Korea's typical feminine style carried over for winter. Ahh.. I really should've just scooped up everything in this picture - luggage weight is a pain. For the next trip, it's confirmed, I'm arriving with an empty suitcase. 


Socks of every colour and design imaginable for around 1,000won. I am gobsmacked. 


Intimidating, well-dressed mannequins. The effect of a well structured skirt is amazing. 


Look at how powerful that collar is, it could cut through diamonds! Again.. for 10,000won, why did I leave this behind again? Sigh. 



Pastels, feminine and a twist of individuality. My winning formula. 



The 3D peach floral shirt caught my eye! And my heart.


Full of knits that I prevented myself from looking through, I'm not that masochistic!




A very kitschy store. See what I mean about Stitch and Monsters University? Still, if I could, they all would be coming home with me haha. 





Afterwards, I met the person I was staying with for lunch at Hongdae. Along the way, there were such bizarre things to behold.



Got lost a bit, but everything was so pleasing to look at, it made it all the more fun. Oh, and he also took me to the Style Nanda store, poor guy haha.


Cheesy ddukbokki for only 4,000won. Seriously Sydney.. Oh and, I'm pathetic when it comes to spicy food. I kept reaching for the water and the reason for my chattiness? Had to wait for it to cool before I could brave a bite haha. But even he with his Korean born tolerance for spiciness admitted it was a bit much.. what position did that leave me? huhu. 


I also asked for him to order me gyeranbbang because I still hadn't looked up basic Korean yet and well.. if I was shy about Japanese after a year of study.. it was delicious. and 1000won. ANOTHER! *throws cup to the floor. 



Afterwards, he took me to the Design Plaza and oh myy goooddddd, why is everything so beautiful, and adorable and wacky and and.. I might be missing Korea a touch too much. Afterwards, we had to part ways, taking a transfer bus .. intimidating, I finally arrived back! The place I stayed at was near a Paris Baguette and yes, I know it's a chain but let me experience okay? Ahaha. I bought macarons x__X. Pomegranate/grapefuit .. ahh atrocious memory, chocolate and PISTACHIO. I get the obsession now *weak and easily swayed.


As soon as I stumbled back, they offered me tea T___T. A tea that was homemade by their mother and had the taste that I can't quite describe. Like fruity, sweet and strong with perhaps an alcohol? *ANOTHER!


Dinner was a Korean style risotto with pumpkin (which is commonly cooked with their peel), crab (!!) and other ingredients I had forgotten. Oh and radish kimchi.. of course! And that was Day 2 (technically of Seoul). TAKE ME BACKKKKK.

XX

Jeannie