Monday, May 23, 2011

Turtle Egg Ice Cream Treat

I found this ice cream treat in the small grocery store that's across from our apartment. I'd never seen it before and it looked peculiar, so I bought one. When I brought it home Kwang immediately recognized this ice cream treat and told me he used to eat these when he was a kid. The Korean name translates into turtle egg.

When I opened up the plastic package I thought to myself, what the hell is this? I hate to say it, but it has a strange likening to an ice cream filled condom. Ok, as a kid growing up in the United States I remember being repeatedly warned about playing with balloons and being scared with the vision of some defiant kid who suffocated from inhaling a balloon. Here they fill balloons with ice cream, encouraging just the opposite. Have all of my instincts been wrong all along?!

The pictured instructions showed that I needed to cut off the tip of the balloon. From that moment on chocolate ice cream came spurting out under the strange pressure of the balloon. I cut a bigger opening about half way through, which was a huge mistake. The ice cream came gushing out at the end and practically exploded all over the floor. I still can't believe this is a mass produced, Korean FDA approved product.  Turtle eggs, worth trying while in Korea.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Urban Gardening in Seoul

Our new 14th floor apartment has a small screened in porch. I think most people put their laundry out to dry here. I've seen some plants growing though in the other windows I've peeked at.  I really miss having a garden so Kwang and I trucked ourselves over to the flower market to see what we could find. We decided on two big planters. Then we bought cucumber, eggplant, hot pepper, and tomato plants. We also got some basil for cooking and some mint for mojitos. I'm hoping if the cucumber plants really take off I an create some sort of trellis running up the wall. Some of my adult students have told me that in their experience plants don't grow above the 8th floor for some reason. I'm hoping to prove them wrong.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

There are so many advertising gimmicks here. However, I can never get enough of the funny costumes. Especially when it's a bowl of udong wore on the head. That fried shrimp does look pretty tasty though!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Seoul's Friendship Festival

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day. After my Korean lesson Kwang and I met up and went to City Hall to take in some of Seoul's annual Friendship Festival. There were booths from around the world selling crafts and regional food. We snacked on sausages from the UK tent and drank German beer. We also caught a couple of performances from Thailand and Korea. We're back at work today, but tomorrow is Buddha's birthday which means another day off (last Thursday was also a holiday).

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Dog Cafe on the Wolmido Boardwalk

Kwang and I walked to Wolmido island from the Incheon subway station. He had a hankering for raw fish and I just wanted to explore. Wolmido has a long boardwalk lined with raw fish restaurants. Warning though, the prices were more expensive than if we had eaten at the fish market in Seoul. While we were wandering around we came upon a dog cafe. We sort of made the mistake of lingering around the doorway only to see that the owner looked pretty frustrated that all of the onlookers that weren't coming in to order drinks. So we decided, what the heck, and went in for a tea and milkshake.

There were about 8 dogs in the cafe. They were all very sweet, but I could tell they weren't really impressed with all of the attention.

There was a giant Saint Bernard. He slept most of the time, although Kwang desperately wanted him to wake up and play. Large dogs are not very common in Korea. I've seen a couple of gold retrievers out and about, but that's probably the largest dog I've seen being walked on the streets. It also seems that people are slightly afraid of dogs. I've had a coworker pull me aside to avoid a dog while walking on the sidewalk. With that said though so many people have little lap dogs that they dress up and take everywhere.

Most people who walked by the dog cafe were really curious about the animals. However, hardly anyone stopped to purchase a drink. I can see why the owner was a little frustrated. After going I was really happy Kwang convinced me to stay. So many cat and dog cafes have popped up in Seoul. I wonder if this is just a passing fad although I hope not for the sake of the animals.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Delicious Chinatown Baked Buns

In Chinatown there was a small shop selling baked buns filled with meat, pumpkin and other delicious fillings. There was a big line outside the shop which is always a good sign. I opted for the meat bun and inside this is what I found. The outside was a crispy baked bread shell. Inside was flavorful meat and a layer of green onions. Amazing.

While we were standing in line one of the shop owners gestured us to come look and see how the buns were cooked. These little bun pods are stuck to the sides of the oven. There are coals at the bottom that heat and bake the buns. Such a great traditional baking method.

Incheon's Chinatown

Directly across the street from the Incheon subway station stands the gates of Incheon's Chinatown. Korea has a fairly significant Chinese population. I was surprised to hear that on the subway some stops are spoken in Mandarin.

A protector of the gates.

I love it when one object is represented repetitively like these red lanterns. 

Here we are posing in front of the gold dragons. I think it was the nicest day yet of 2011.