Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sundubu Sesame Stew at Gwanghwamun

One of the privileges of learning and knowing Korean language is you have the ability to understand speeches in train..ㅋㅋㅋ and to some extend open to many options you could have while travelling in Korea.

But learning is not always. ^^

Anyway..that's not my point that's why I always failed my essay test. Now I know that my teacher is always right! Huhu...

Anyways..*can 'anyway' be plural?* you see why I blabber so much on my intro.

I was famished cause I haven't had my breakfast and was out to assist Min Young on her quest to do Working Holiday in Europe. O-O...nope, I'm not going with her. Rest assured. I need more gold to go..not a typo. Yes gold aka $$$.

So before we checked out Working Holiday office, we went for a quick lunch but I have no idea on what should I eat today? You know...sometimes you kinda have this problem..right? Like..I don't wanna eat rice today..hmm..what should I eat...bla bla bla.

Since it was lunch hour, we decided to follow a group of men in black suits. Hahha..that was so random!!

See..all men in black. ^^

My justification: They are office workers so they must be going out for lunch now and they probably know where is a good place to have lunch.


We were right! ^^ I am so proud of myself.

Some of you might be scared to enter this restaurant. It looks like PAMA's restaurant (Papa and Mama) where there's no English menu and no foreigner ever stepped in.

But...I am so in love with their Sundubu Sesame Stew (영양순두부들깨탕 - yeongyang sundubu derkke tang) for 6,000won.

The taste is so heavenly. 고소하다...I love tofu and I love sesame. They are a perfect match made in heaven. I couldn't finish the whole thing..too much for my stomach. The side dishes are cabbage kimchi, radish kimchi, seaweed, peanut and achovies and spicy mackerel...nyamm!!

We were lucky that we didn't have to wait during lunch hour and this was after the storm...huhu.

How to go to 감미 가정식백반 (Gam mi Ka jeong shik baek ban)?

Get out from Gwanghwamun Station, Line 5, Exit 7 and walk towards Gyeonghuigung palace; about 400 to 500 meters. Once you pass the palace's main gate, the restaurant is just about 5 meters away.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ahn Jung Geun Memorial Hall

If you ever found Kim Sam Soon's staircase, which is nearby Namsan cable car station, don't forget to visit Ahn Jung Geun Memorial Hall which is situated about 100 meters away from the highest step of Kim Sam Soon's staircase.

Who is Ahn Jung Geun?

The painting behind his statue was drawn by his blood..*kidding!!*

The real painting was drawn by his kidding this time. ^^

I have no idea initially.

I was drawn by this symbol...nice, but after knowing the whole thing...errr..I might have to rethink. Either way..Ahn Jung Geun was a patriot through and through.

"An Jung-geun or Ahn Jung-geun (September 2, 1879 – March 26, 1910) was a Korean independence activist, nationalist and pan-Asianist.

On October 26, 1909, he assassinated Itō Hirobumi, the first Prime Minister of Japan and then-Japanese Resident-General of Korea, following the signing of the Eulsa Treaty, with Korea on the verge of annexation by Japan." Source: Wikipedia

If you have a Korean friend, try to discuss Ahn Jung Geun. Their reaction will be " are more Korean than me!!" At least, that was the respond that I got from my Korean friend..hehe.

How to go to Ahn Jung Geun Museum?

Follow the direction to Kim Sam Soon's staircase here.

Once you see this statue, turn right.

Just walk about 10 meters and then turn left, you are there.

Admission is FREE.

I was here! In memory of my long lost gloves..T_T

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mokmyeoksanbang - Hanok restaurant

It's a serene spot to dine. Maybe because of winter?

Hmm..I bet this restaurant will have breathtaking view in any season. That doesn't matter. Just go and dine here. ^^

I was glad that I chose a day when snowfall was predicted. It haven't snowed for more than a week and today it snowed pretty hard.

The snow drenched my coat alright but in exchange of magnificent view. priceless. Subhanallah.

I came slightly before lunch hour so the restaurant is not crowded...yet. The waiter asked me to pay for the meal first at the counter and then pick it up once I'm buzzed.

Hardly one minute and I was buzzed to take my Bibimbap.

This is one pretty Bibimbap..and I love the pungent smell of sesame oil. It's not too overpowering unlike some other restaurants.  Maybe they use better quality of sesame oil...hmm, I'm not too sure.

I love the gochujang sauce too. The spiciness, the sweetness, the saltiness are balanced. Once mixed with rice and the side dishes; wonderful.

The menu with price list.

Bibimbap is hardly a dish where Rain called it '개밥' in the Korean Drama - Full House ^^. However, I found that the bibimbap in Mokmyeoksanbang is quite tastier compared to other restaurants that I have tried.

The lasting memories that I have about Mokmyeoksanbang was the accompanying tea in the kettle. It's Nurungji tea (누룽지차). Nurungji is the crust of overcooked rice and the aroma is quite pleasant. I'm gonna miss this memory. T_T

Back home in Malaysia, I would just give the crust to the chicken but I learned a lesson here in Korea - not to waste food. When I was wwoofing, my host normally would put some water inside the rice cooker pot after she has scooped all the rice. This will be served after we finish our lunch or dinner.

How to go to Mokmyeoksanbang 목멱산방?

There are a few routes to go to Mokmyeoksanbang.

Route 1

The easiest way for me is, after you visit Namsan Tower, take bus number 02 from the base and once the announcement in the bus said: 남산산책로입구B코스 (Namsan Sanchekno Ibku B kose), press the bell.

It will stop near this entrance of Namsan park.

Walk up from this entrance until you reach the restaurant..about 5 minutes walk.

Route 2

However, since I have visited the Cartoon Museum and Animation Center earlier which was nearby, I will show the route from here.

Go to Myeongdong Station, Line 4, Exit 1.

Once you go out from the exit, just make a u-turn and then follow the route below.

You will see Red Cross building on your right and from afar after the traffic light is the Seoul Cartoon Museum on your left. If you walk a bit more you will pass by the Animation Center which is just next to Seoul Cartoon Museum.

Just trail the main road towards Namsan Cable Car Station until you see this staircase on your left.

Walk across the zebra-crossing and let's exercise..hehe. Slowly..counting the steps up. It's worthy for every painful step you take. After you reach the end of the staircase, turn right and walk until you reach the restaurant.

Check out this Naver blog by verygo2d for summer view.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Samsung d'Light - Gangnam



If you happened to be in Gangnam area, let's say after visiting Lotte World at Jamsil Station or COEX at Samsung Station, why don't you take a look at Samsung d'Light.

Samsung; one of the giants in almost every industry in Korea has built up a global exhibition space - Samsung d'Light for its products by Samsung electronics.

I have had a Samsung MP3 Player and Samsung LCD TV back at home; quite okay and have yet to acquire the hand phone though. Many of those who toured with me carry a Samsung phone. Many of Korean too either use Samsung smartphone or at least have some electronics stuff made by Samsung at home.

When I heard that Samsung has an exhibition center, I was quite excited to check the place out.

I love the hologram skit on the floor, really cool. Feia and me had the chance to test on Microsoft Windows 8's performance on Samsung's range of laptop too. Nice..nice..nice.

The floor plan is kinda like this:

B1 - Samsung d'Light shop; we actually entered the building from here

1F - many Samsung's products to test and try

2F - some learning programs and history of electronics stuff

Feia tried the hologram skit and she received  a flower bouquet from 

a pretty handsome man. The issue here is...if only it's real..ㅋㅋㅋ

Tested Windows 8, took photo for memory and played with cool lighting.

If you walk out from Samsung Station, exit 8, you won't miss that 

unique building. Samsung d'Light is just across. 

How to go to Samsung d'Light?

Go to Gangnam Station, Line 2, exit 8 and once you walk towards exit 8, you should see this entrance as the picture below.

Just follow the direction and you will go to basement floor - B1, where Samsung d'Light shop is as seen in the picture below.

After that, go to 1st floor, where you can experience Samsung electronic's latest product.

Official website: Samsung d'Light

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Learning Korean so far.. Part 1

Hi everyone..

How's life been treating you? If you're in Korea, please don't get sick and dress warmer especially in this harsh winter but if you're not, be thankful that you are not in Korea now...hehe and don't get sick too.

Lately I was kinda worried that my Korean fluency sank to the bottomless pitch of the darkest sea...what??!! Hehe...just my rambling.

I admit that I am not a serious learner. I haven't even sat for Intermediate TOPIK exam till now. I just couldn't nail a good enough reason to sit for it.

Although I'm not gonna shy away or totally putting the language off over a dusty rack somewhere behind my subconscious thought.

Let's rewind.

My first effort of learning Korean language was boosted by the aim to spend a 3-month backpacking trip in Korea back in 2009.

So my first good step, I subscribed to

Why I chose Because I studied Japanese from the subset of the same project so it was a natural decision to choose them and I love the neat and user friendly learning module that they present.

I started with Survival Phrases and listening to the podcast diligently every single day from my almost broken Samsung Mp3 player when Sun Hyun Woo was still with the team.

My Samsung Mp3 player was dead by the time I started my backpacking trip and I bought a Sony Mp3 player at COEX which is still healthy. Alhamdulillah.

Having memorized the survival phrases which I thought might be enough before embarking on the backpacking journey but I totally lost the ability to even open my mouth pronouncing them.

When I was bombarded with rapid fire of questions by Korean halmonidel (할머니들) and harabojidel (할아버지들) my mind turned black, my pentium processor became X486? heheh..

I was WWOOFing at that time so I was surrounded with people speaking in non-standard Korean. Basically they speak in local dialet or you may call it Saturi.

Ack!! It was a language shock for cultural shock. @_@

My excuse: They didn't teach me that back in Ooopss...that was my mistake.

My biggest flaw was to assume that I would conquer the communication just by repeating the survival phrases on and on and on. I didn't even memorize Hangul.

I was wrong..T_T. I was intimidated by the sheer abundance of signboards written only in Hangul. Oh My God...I am so illiterate. I was crawling like a baby.

As I traveled deeper towards the rural area of Korea, I knew I was a lost case.

I just hate learning Korean!!! My thought at the time.

So I shut my mind, refuse to refer to my dictionary and just listened.

I listened 95% of the time when Korean communicated with me and relied on body language to get the message across.

Being a laughingstock was a common thing and asking so many things to satisfy my curiosity was a ritual.

I refused to be friends with other than native Korean for my first 3 months trip. Hardly had any English speaking friends let alone Malaysian friends. Nada. None.

Suprisingly, my listening skill gained a notch and it was within a 3 months span. I didn't put much expectation on myself and I'm glad I did that back then. Who am I to expect so much? I'm not a native.

When I travelled, I hardly watched television let alone being a worshipper of highly addictive weekly Korean dramas.

The funny part was, how I missed so much to speak in Malay language..and sometimes I spoke to the babies or little kids in Malay.

But after I came back from the 3-months trip, I had kinda like enlightenment ..hehe after watching the dramas,  I was amused that I actually understood many of words said in the dramas.

I was like.."Wow!!!" and that was only 3 months!!

It took me a month before deciding for another 3 months journey all in the name of learning but...with many hurdles definitely.

To be continued in Part 2.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

JYJ's Jaejoong Coffee Cojjee

Alright, it's partly true that I have become an addict after I came to Korea.

I'm a coffee addict.

Addicted to fresh brewed coffee.

Who won't be tempted by the ubiquitous cafe's on Seoul's street with inviting ambiance and creative interior design to boot.

As if a cafe' trip as one of your must ticked bucket list has become a necessity. ^^

I'm actually crying inside..a so fakey smile..T_T

But JYJ's Jaejoong Coffee Cojjee is definitely a bummer.

A cup of Americano here is 4,800won..go figure ^^

I'm offense to any 사생팬들 out there but I expect more than just coffee when I paid a ridiculous amount at Cheongdam-dong.

The picture is not justified..seriously.

Let me's Cheongdam-dong!! What the heck are you doing with that half-hearted effort on opening a cafe'??? It's not even worth mentioning this cafe' in my blog. Aigoo...


First of all, it should have been a full fledged cafe' with nice interior and creative sense of direction. Jaejoong, you are an artist for god sake.

Secondly, I was disappointed by the cafe's entrance. Not welcoming. Period. I didn't lost my way up to the cafe' but I lost my way inside the cafe'. How frustrating can that be?

Thirdly, don't even talk about the coffee. Super pissed off by the cappuccino standard here. I am a cappuccino lover and I order the same coffee everywhere I go.

Don't you dare order cappuccino here. I would prefer going to Paul Bassett or So Ji Sub's A Twosome Place.

Finally, only fans who crowded the cafe'. We were with Japanese and Chinese fans.

I think the first thing he needs to do is to change the cafe's name. Cojjee sounds like 거지 goji which means beggar or a bum.

See the connection? Coffee Cojjee is a 'bum'mer.

Nuff said...even after my heartfelt confession, I still have some kinda '정' in my heart.

Here is the direction to JYJ's Jaejoong Coffee Cojjee.

First, go to Gangnam Station, Line 2, Exit 11 and walk straight until you see Uniqlo and ABC Mart on your right. Cross the main road on your left and take bus 440 (blue color) to LG Art Hall. The bus stop is in the middle of the road.

Once you ride the 440 bus, if you don't understand Korean..make sure you listen to the announcement or count the stops. By right, LG Art Hall should be the 8th stop excluding Gangnam Station.

After you get off the bus, the main road is behind you, take your left and walk straight until you find:

  1. Tag Heuer Shop and then walk up the road next to the shop as seen in the picture.

  2. Next, you will see '74' shop on your left. 

  3. Goshen on your right

  4. Boon the shop; at the end of the T junction, turn left

  5. Queen's Park is on your left

  6. Before you pass Klele Klele Butcher's cut, you will see an alley on your right, turn right and walk up the hill

  7. Mahna Mahna boutique will be on your right

  8. The road signboard is just above you and just walk straight ahead

  9. Tada...You have arrived at Coffee Cojjee

To Jaejoong and his fan, no hard feeling. 사생팬, please don't bombard me with hateful comments. 

그럼 이만..빠이 ^^

Monday, January 14, 2013

MBC Dramia - Yongin

Are you a 'sageuk' drama fan?

사극 'sageuk' means historical drama. I am for one is not a fan not until after I discovered Kim Nam Gil, my 동생 in the historical drama Queen Seondok by MBC which made me visit Queen Seondok's tomb with Afrianny. Heheh..

I don't really watch period drama because:

  1. 말투 (maltu) - the way they talk is funny

  2. 단어 (dano) - vocabulary wise..I don't understand much of it unless with subtitle

  3. I hate history - this is definitely not Kim Nam Gil's fault..hehe

  4. The long episodes - at least 50? 

I wouldn't think I would come to MBC Dramia ever in my life. 

But no harm trying and once is enough I guess.

Definitely not going alone so I asked Feia to hop along. 

The capacity of MBC Dramia is huge!!! Of course, it's a drama set, what do you expect Zarina? However, it's kinda outskirt..slightly more than 1 hour from Seoul. 

But you don't need 3 hours to explore. I think 2 hours is pretty nice to wrap everything. Unless...there is a drama filming going on and the chances of you meeting your favorite Korean actor and actress is high. 

On the day we visited MBC Dramia, there was shooting going on for drama Horse Healer or Horse Doctor (마의) starring Lee Yo Won and Cho Seung Woo.

I was hoping to meet Lee Yo Won who played Queen Seondok but...a wish was just a wish. Hey..I'm not born to be her 사생팬. ^^

The weather was kind, slightly windy and bright blue sky in January's winter. We took the 9.30am bus from Nambu Bus Terminal to Baekam, the nearest city to MBC Dramia.

The bus fare is 4,200won and you can purchase the ticket either at the counter or the self-payment machine. You may also use your T-Money in the bus, however you should tell the driver your destination cause the bus has many stops. Tell him that you will be dropping off at Baekam 백암. 

The platform number is 18 and we showed our ticket to bus driver. There was announcement in the bus for Baekam and the bus stopped about a minute after that. Baekam is just a small town so don't expect much. 

We were dropped off here @ Baekam town.

By that..there is not even an English signboard for Baekam bus terminal. Beware...hehe. 

Since we missed the first bus to MBC Dramia, we just took a taxi which costs us 8,000won one way. The view of snow on top of the hills and on the harvested paddy field was breathtaking. There were lines of cute little Christmas trees showered with snow which we didn't have the chance to snap it on our cameras. Ahh...아쉽다.

My 2,000 won discount coupon which I had from Seoul magazine (January 2013 edition) cut out was not valid for 2013 because the due date behind was until 2012 (gawdddd!!). 

So, we paid the 7,000won admission. After entering the place, expect much hiking and walking. Plus many cut out boards of the main characters from the dramas ie. Queen Seondok, Jumong, Dong Yi, Arang and the magistrate and etc. 

The visitors were scarce. Only some Koreans and us. The only memorable thing was that that we could be about 10 metres away from an actual filming of Horse Doctor 마의 drama. Yeay!!

After watching the filming for about 15 minutes, I belatedly realize that the main characters would not materialize any time soon, we just walked away. 

We went to the other building down the hill where you could buy some snacks and take pictures of you wearing period costumes with again...the cut out board of the actors and actresses. Pay 20,000 won if you want but we passed.

We were famished! Just grabbed 찐빵 for 800 won and went back to the parking lot to wait for the shuttle bus back to Baekam. The fare is 1,100 won with T-Money and 1,200 won by cash.

Going back to Seoul, Feia bought ticket from Baekam bus terminal while I tried my T-Money on the bus. The bus has no assigned seat unlike when we rode the bus from Nambu Bus Terminal.

In summary, nothing too great about MBC Dramia but once doesn't hurt. Try it..but make sure your visit coincides with drama filming. That would be better.

Just call MBC Dramia's office first before you visit: 02-789-0011

Official website: (in Korean)

My total spending:

Sinchon to Nambu bus terminal - 1,250 won by subway with T-Money

Milk for breakfast - 800 won

Nambu to Baekam (return ticket) - 8,400 won

Taxi to MBC Dramia - 8,000won (divide by 2pax) - 4,000won

MBC Dramia admission - 7,000 won

Snack - pau kacang / 찐빵 (jjinpang) - 800 won

Bus to Baekam - 1,100 won with T-Money

Nambu bus terminal to Gangnam - 1,050 won

Lunch/Dinner at MOS Gangnam - 6,300 won

Total: 30,700 won.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bibigo - Bibimbap

My brother Am and my no-so-distant uncle Adi came to Korea for a visit last year in autumn. We met Min Young; who has visited my family in summer and she brought us to Bibigo restaurant to try out Bibimbap fine dining.

Jeham and Adi.

It's not quite on the budget type...about 12,000 to 16,000 won per Bibimbap menu.

Min Young, me and Adi.

However, the price came with superior service, fine ambiance and distinguished taste.

Bibigo is a franchise restaurant owned by CJFoodville ( of the giants in Korea industry aka 재벌) and the franchise that we went was inside CJ Foodworld located near to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station.

The word Bibigo is a fusion of Korean and English where 비비다 (bibida) means mix and 'go' is...err...means go. ^^

We ordered 2 kinds of Bibimbap and a salad:

  1. Pollack Roe Bibimbap Bansang - 13,000 won (the picture above) - This does not come with spicy sauce (gochujang). Just mix all of them together, the orangy stuff is fish roe and eat it while it is hot. I love to wait until the bottom burnt a bit so after I finish eating all the rice, I have some crunchy stuff to munch. 

  2. Hot Stone Rice Bansang - 12,000 won (I forgot to take a picture..^^;) - This is only vegetables, no egg no nothing but it came with spicy sauce on the side (gochujang). Mix it up to your spiciness level.

  3. Jellyfish and shrimp salad - 14,000 won (the picture below) - I really love this stuff because I like raw stuff like sashimi but....only if the wasabi taste is toned down a bit. 

So far, the other menu on the list has meat in it, so we were down to those 2 Bibimbap choice.

How to go?

Go to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station, Line 2/4/5 and walk out from exit 6. Follow the map above and you will find CJ Foodworld. Bibigo restaurant is at the basement one floor below the lobby. You can use the escalator just next to the reception.

The map is from the official site:

Opening time:

Weekday: 07:00 - 22:00

Weekend: 11:00 - 22:00

Last order: 21:30 with limited order.

You can check out other menu list, price and the restaurants' location from the official site.