Category: Food

Being A Vegetarian In Korea

Being a Vegetarian in Korea

If there is one thing I’ve realized about Korean food culture, it’s that they love their meat. When I moved to Korea, I was nervous about finding vegetarian friendly restaurants. But never fear! There are actually a lot of vegetarian and vegan options if you know where to look. Here are some tips for ordering as a vegetarian and some of my go-to restaurants!

 

Ordering as a Vegetarian

Most Korean restaurants specialize in one dish and it is typically something like raw fish, pork, beef, or meat barbeque. Almost all Korean dishes include some kind of meat or fish, so I had a hard time finding where to eat at first. My coworkers were all meat-eaters and I didn’t want to miss out on group meals just because of my dietary restrictions. I quickly learned that all restaurants will serve rice with the meal as well as some kind of side dishes, which are 90% vegetables. If there’s nothing you can order straight off the menu, just ask the server for a bowl of rice and then use the side dishes and gochujang sauce to create some bibimbap! Another option you should look out for at meat based restaurants is soft tofu soup. Just keep in mind that other soups like kimchi jjigae and doenjang jjigae will tend to have a meat or fish based broth. I keep a list of veggie options in my phone that I can show to a server in a pinch which includes:

Bibimbap 비빔밥 – A rice dish with an assortment of veggies, seaweed, and egg. 

Gimbap 김밥 – Korean “sushi” rolls, traditionally made with veggies.

Kimchi 김치 – fermented, spicy cabbage.

Banchan 반찬 – side dishes often served alongside entrees, especially at BBQ restaurants. 

Vegetable Dumplings 야채만두 – Korean dumplings filled with veggies and tofu.

 

Vegetarian bibimbap available in South Korea

While getting resourceful at a meat-based restaurant is a great strategy, I also love to eat at restaurants that cater to a vegan and vegetarian diet. Here are some of my all time favorite spots where you don’t need to compromise taste or choice just because of your lifestyle.

 

Plant Cafe

Plant Cafe is a vegan restaurant that has two locations in Seoul: their namesake restaurant and full size bakery in Itaewon and their newest location in Yeonnamdong. Plant’s menu features delicious items like a mushroom burger, macaroni and cheese, cauliflower wings, and even chili cheese fries. They also have lighter options like veggies and hummus, peanut soba noodles, and smoothies. I recently ordered a birthday cake for my friend’s party and the flavors were unreal. Nobody could believe that the banana salted caramel cake was vegan! Plant Cafe is also a great place to enjoy a soy milk latte, a glass of wine, or my favorite, kombucha!

 

Osegyehyang

This might be the best veggie friendly restaurant I’ve been to! Osegyhyang is located in Jongno amidst the winding alleyways. The restaurant is inside a Hanok style building and has a lovely atmosphere where you can sit on the heated floors and enjoy your meal. I love that they offer traditional Korean dishes that are entirely vegan so you don’t have to miss out on enjoying the culture. It is also very easy to order in English which makes the dining experience that much more convenient.

 

Buddha's Belly

Buddha’s Belly is a Thai restaurant that is vegan and vegetarian friendly. Located in Itaewon, this spot is tucked away on top of a hill which means their patio has an incredible view over the city at night. The servers are very friendly and attentive and provide a comfortable dining experience. Last time I ate here, I ordered the green curry and the Thai fried rice with pineapple, which were both incredible. I went with a non-veggie friend and she was pleased that they served meat options too. Buddha’s Belly is a great place when you’re dining with a big group as they offer all types of options.

While navigating vegetarianism in Korea may seem daunting at first, there are plenty of delicious options to enjoy. I recommend you download the app Happy Cow which will recommend other great vegetarian places to enjoy. As you start living and teaching in Korea, rest assured that you can savor the local cuisine while staying true to your dietary preferences. Bon appétit!

Michelle Duquette is from Toronto, Canada and moved to South Korea in 2015. She has a Bachelors in English literature and a Masters in ESL Education. Michelle has taught at Creverse campuses in Gangneung, Songpa, and Mokdong and currently works as a CDI and April Trainer. Michelle never set out to be a teacher but fell in love with Korean culture and the excitement of being in the classroom. Michelle lives in Seoul with her partner and two cats, Cherry and Frost. 

A Gourmet Expedition into Korean BBQ

What Do You Really Know About Korean BBQ?

Fire up the grill! Korea has no shortage of amazing food but Korean BBQ is one of the best culinary experiences you can have. From traditional charcoal grilling to marinated short ribs and bulgogi, KBBQ is a delicious and fun experience that allows you to grill and eat right at your table. Being able to indulge in the many forms of traditional Korean BBQ is just one of the many perks of teaching English in South Korea. Let me take you on a gourmet expedition into Korean BBQ!

 

Is Korean BBQ Always Beef?

Traditionally, KBBQ restaurants serve different cuts of beef. Pork and chicken are other common KBBQ meats but if you are adventurous, why not try:

  • Gopchang (beef or pork intestines)
  • Gyutan (beef tongue)
  • Makchang (beef stomach)

Gopchang is my personal favorite! The rich and flavorful taste of gopchang pairs perfectly with the smoky char from the grill, creating a unique dining experience.

 

Dry-Aged Meat

Dry-aged BBQ is a sophisticated twist to traditional grilling. Cuts of beef like ribeye and sirloin undergo a dry-aging process that can take several weeks or even months before being served. This aging process allows for more complex, umami flavors to develop and gives the beef an intense, flavor-packed taste. The richness and tenderness of aged meat is the best way to elevate your KBBQ experience.

Wet-Aged Meat

Unlike dry-aged BBQ, wet-aged BBQ relies on soaking the meat in a mouth-watering marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, and various spices before grilling. Wet-aged BBQ is especially tender and is usually cooked on a flat, table-top grill. I recommend that you enjoy it with Makgeoli, as the sweet, tangy flavor is the perfect pairing! One of my favorite places to eat wet-aged KBBQ is Yeonnamseo Sikdang.

 Address: 189-7 Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul South Korea

 

Hanwoo (Korean Beef)

Hanwoo, or Korean beef, is a breed of cattle native to South Korea and renowned for its deep marbling and premium quality. Hanwoo is often compared to other high-end varieties of beef like Wagyu and Kobe. Hanwoo barbeque is great for special occasions but can be enjoyed anytime. Typically, Hanwoo is cooked over a charcoal flame for flavor. I  recommend pairing with a fruity red wine, such as a Malbec, to compliment the robust flavors. You can even choose the beef at certain restaurants, which they then grill tableside. Or, you can take out Hanwoo to cook at home!

 

Seafood Grill

If red meat isn’t your thing, then why not indulge in seafood BBQ? Switch gears and enjoy succulent oysters, shrimp, calamari, and all sorts of fish. Seafood adds a fresh, coastal twist to the traditional KBBQ experience and can be a more affordable option. My favorite place to enjoy all the different seafood varieties is in Busan.

 

Now you’re ready to enjoy all that KBBQ has to offer when you teach English in Korea! Happy grilling!

Michelle Duquette is from Toronto, Canada and moved to South Korea in 2015. She has a Bachelors in English literature and a Masters in ESL Education. Michelle has taught at Creverse campuses in Gangneung, Songpa, and Mokdong and currently works as a CDI and April Trainer. Michelle never set out to be a teacher but fell in love with Korean culture and the excitement of being in the classroom. Michelle lives in Seoul with her partner and two cats, Cherry and Frost. 

Best Things To Do In Jeonju

The Place To Be

Jeonju is an idyllic city known for its traditional architecture, culture, and cuisine. It is a popular tourist destination, even among Koreans. And, for good reason! If you decide to teach English in Korea, make sure to strongly consider spending a year in this amazing city. Here are the best things to do in Jeonju.

Eat More Bibimbap

In Korean, “bibim” means mixing, and “bap” means cooked rice. This traditional dish often features egg, various vegetables, and sometimes cooked or raw meat! Jeonju is famous for its bibimbap, so don’t pass up the opportunity to try it. While you eat, go ahead and order Jeonju’s variation of makgeolli, a traditional rice wine! I had it when I visited Jeonju, and it was absolutely delicious.

Three people cheering Makgeolli, a traditional Korean rice wine in Keonju South Korea

Rent Hanboks

Hanboks are the traditional style of dress in Korea, but they’ve become more popular in recent years. Even though social media often shows only women wearing them, there are hanboks for men, women, and children! It’s super common in Seoul as well as other cities to see people wearing them for special occasions and around hanok villages and palaces. In Jeonju, we payed about ₩17,000 to wear our hanboks all day. Wearing a hanbok while exploring Jeonju is one of the coolest (and most fashionable!) cultural experiences I’ve had in Korea!

 

Women wearing traditional Korean hanboks walk the streets of Jeonju South Korea

Visit A Traditional Hanok Village

Now that you’ve got your hanbok, there’s no better place to go than Jeonju’s Hanok Village. A hanok is a traditional Korean building that features a wooden framework and often intricate, beautiful designs on the walls. This is the perfect place to soak up Korea’s rich history and feel like you’ve been transported back in time!

Jeonju Hanok Village Shops in South Korea
A traditional accomodation called Laon Hanok Gguliam in Jeonju South Korea

Visit Jeondong Cathedral

Right across the street from Jeonju Hanok Village is Jeondong Cathedral! This beautiful religious building was built in 1908 and is a must see when visiting Jeonju.

Head on shot of Jeonju Cathedral in South Korea
Inside of Jeonju Cathedral in South Korea

Indulge In Street Food

Korea has some of the best street food in the world, and there’s a little something for anything. What’s one you absolutely have to try in Jeonju? Korean coin bread. Imagine a waffle and a grilled cheese on a stick. That’s coin bread. Shaped like a coin, this street food is a perfect sweet and savory snack to end your day in the beautiful Korean city of Jeonju.

 

A steret food stall in South Korea

Diana Richtman is a writer and ESL teacher living in Seoul, South Korea. Originally from Savannah, Georgia in the United States, Diana holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in English & Women’s Studies. After receiving her TEFL certification, Diana moved to South Korea where she works at one of Creverse’s April Institutes. When Diana isn’t working, she loves exploring Korea, drinking warm cups of tea, and scaring away her friends with her karaoke performances. 

5 Reasons Why I Prefer Living In Korea

Here are the top 5 reasons Why I Prefer Living in Korea!

1. Transportation (High Tech Bus Stops)

Korea is often ranked one of the best public transportation systems on the planet. Let’s start with the buses, which can take you anywhere you want in major cities as well as across the country. In the winter, Korea has heated bus stop seats as well as heated waiting room areas at some locations. Not only that but some bus stops provide free phone charging stations, and all buses have public Wi-Fi. The bus system is convenient and affordable for anyone looking to get around quickly and comfortable. This is one of the main reasons I prefer living in Korea over the States.

 

A heated bus stop bench with free wirless charging in Korea
Heated Bench and Wireless Charging
Woman waits for a bus inside a glass-covered bus stop in Seoul, Korea.

The subway is fast, safe, and easy to use. All signs and announcements are made in both Korean as well as English. If you want to leave your city and explore another part of Korea, there are regular trains for the stop-and-smell-the roses type of passenger as well as the KTX bullet trains for those looking to get places fast. All of the options are affordable and give you the opportunity to view the beautiful Korean countryside.

2. Online Banking (Sending Money)

Forget Venmo and PayPal. In Korea, you can make easy and safe bank transfers online with your bank. This means you can pay people and businesses as well as receive funds in seconds. No more waiting 2-3 days to see funds show up in your bank account. In Korea, you can have your money instantly. (By the way, they’ve been doing it this way for almost 20 years! For better context, they never used a paper checking system.)

 

A row of ATMs of the top 5 most popular banks in Korea.
A row of ATMs of the top 4 banks
Smart phone app for a Korean bank to allow instantaneous transfer of money to other bank accounts.
Mobile App for Woori Bank

3. Public Safety (No Theft Or Guns)

With strict gun laws, it’s difficult to gain access to weapons in Korea. Between this and Korea’s CCTV coverage, South Korea is an extremely safe country to live in. When compared with other industrialized countries, South Korea has a very low crime rate, and in 2021, they saw their lowest crime rate in ten years. You may not realize it until you are here, but living in Korea made me realize how much unnecessary stress I frequently dealt with worrying about keeping myself and my belongings safe.  

 

4. Cheap Meals (Delicious & Healthy, too!)

The cost of a delicious, nutritious meal in Korea can be as cheap as ₩7,000, which is roughly $5.50 USD. Not only is eating out affordable, but there are plenty of delicious foods to try from. Korea has everything from bibimbap and tteokbokki to pizza and burgers. Oh, and a huge bonus you probably didn’t think was even a possibility. There is NO TIPPING in Korea! Whether you dine out or take a cab, tipping is not a part of the culture. It is a huge savings and makes life so much easier.   

Assorted fish, kimchi stew, and side dishes at a traditional restaurant in Korea

5. Skin Care (The Mecca for All Your Needs)

Koreans love skin care. With a huge market for it, you can find the exact right combination of products for your skin type. Due to its popularity, there’s a wide variety of options, and they are relatively affordable in comparison to American brands. In addition, Korea has many great spa options if pampering is your favorite method of self-care.  And it’s not just for us girls! Men all across the world are starting to take better care of their skin, and Korea has all the products you can think of.  

 

 

Diana Richtman is a writer and ESL teacher living in Seoul, South Korea. Originally from Savannah, Georgia in the United States, Diana holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in English & Women’s Studies. After receiving her TEFL certification, Diana moved to South Korea where she works at one of Creverse’s April Institutes. When Diana isn’t working, she loves exploring Korea, drinking warm cups of tea, and scaring away her friends with her karaoke performances.

Grocery Shopping in South Korea

The Korean Grocery Scene

Are you getting ready to embark on an ESL teaching journey in Korea? As you prepare for your exciting new chapter, let’s delve into one of the most essential aspects of daily life: grocery shopping. Korea offers a unique and vibrant grocery store scene that caters to both convenience and quality. In this blog, I will take you on a tour of the diverse shopping options, from common markets to online shopping.

 

Major Chains: Emart and No Brand

When you’re in the mood for a more extensive grocery haul, Korea’s food supermarkets offer an impressive variety of options. Emart and No Brand are two prominent names that stand out. No Brand, in particular, is a favorite among budget-conscious shoppers. It’s known for its affordability and convenience, offering a plethora of grocery products. However, keep in mind that they might only accept credit cards, as experienced by some shoppers. On the other hand, Emart is a paradise for those seeking fresh produce. Offering the flexibility of both credit card and cash payments, it’s a one-stop-shop for all your grocery needs. Other honorable mentions include Homeplus and Lotte Mart.   

 

Prices of Common Goods

My weekly market runs consist of eggs, bread, milk, chicken, fruits, and veggies. A pack of 15 eggs costs 6,000 KRW ($4.44), a loaf of bread goes for about 4,000 KRW ($2.96 USD). A 1,800 mL carton of milk can be purchased for 6,000 KRW ($4.44 USD) , and a 1 kg of chicken breasts costs about 9,000 KRW ($6.65 USD) ($1.00 USD = 1352 KRW). Fruits and veggies are a bit more expensive, as they are typically imported. Regardless, market prices are still very reasonable and affordable.

 

Delivery Services

In the age of digital convenience, Coupang emerged as a game-changer for grocery shopping in Korea. This online shopping platform boasts lightning-fast delivery right to your doorstep, with options like “rocket shipping” ensuring next-day delivery. While the convenience is undeniable, there’s a crucial detail to remember: to make purchases on Coupang, you need to register with your Alien Registration Card (ARC). As a foreign teacher, this means waiting until you have your ARC to fully embrace the convenience of Coupang. The platform’s easy exchange, return, and refund policies make it an attractive choice for many, earning its reputation as one of the best online shopping experiences in Korea.

 

As you prepare to teach ESL in Korea, rest assured that the country’s grocery store landscape offers a variety of options to suit your preferences and needs. From the freshness of supermarkets to the digital ease of online shopping, you’ll find everything you need to make your stay enjoyable and comfortable.

Amber Ochoa is from Los Angeles, USA, and just recently moved to South Korea in May. She studied Biochemistry as an undergraduate. After graduation, she began venturing out and embracing her love for adventure. She finds that “nothing holds greater power in our life than the unknown.” One night while applying to random jobs on Indeed, she came across an English teaching position in Seoul, Korea. Flash forward, she is now teaching at CDI, Mokdong branch. She claims that Creverse found her and ended up becoming a blessing in disguise. Amber says giving knowledge to students & inspiring them for higher achievements in life is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Korean Cafe Culture

Unveiling Korean Cafe Culture

Teaching English in Korea has been eye opening on so many levels! Stepping into South Korea’s cafe world, time slows, and each coffee promises new connections. My Sejong journey transformed me. Moreover, Korean cafe culture isn’t just about drinks; it’s life woven into existence. Let’s explore five captivating Sejong cafes.

1. Café Drop Top: A Sanctuary for Studious Minds and Friendships

Nestled in Sejong’s heart, Café Drop Top offers productivity and camaraderie. Its cozy setting is ideal for book immersion or engaging conversations. Furthermore, the fresh coffee aroma fosters concentration and connection.

Starbucks: Where Friendships Flourish Over a Cup of Joe

Starbucks, a global coffee icon, nurtures friendships. Friends gather for stories, laughter, and favorite drinks in a welcoming atmosphere with a diverse menu. Additionally, the familiar ambiance makes it a reliable choice for cultivating friendships.

A Twosome Place: Where Intimacy Meets Study Sessions

A Twosome Place blends study tranquility with intimate chats. The soothing design sets the stage for learning and tête-à-têtes. Moreover, coffee enhances connections on every visit.

 

Paik's Coffee: Fueling Ambitions, One Cup at a Time

In Sejong’s fast-paced world, Paik’s Coffee symbolizes convenience. A quick stop refuels with rich coffee, integrating into the city’s hustle. This is a testament to how coffee has seamlessly integrated itself into the city’s hustle and bustle.

Café Florence: Aesthetic Bliss Amidst Friends

Tucked in Sejong’s corners, Café Florence marries aesthetics with companionship. This charming cafe offers an idyllic setting for friends to relish company while savoring treats. Furthermore, every visit is a visual feast that ignites the senses and fosters connections.

Reflecting on my journey from skeptic to enthusiast, Sejong’s cafe culture reshaped my perspective. Coffee extends beyond flavors; it’s a catalyst for forging bonds, igniting creativity, and creating memories. Moreover, cafes have become the backdrop for heartwarming encounters.

Sejong’s cafe culture weaves camaraderie, productivity, and creativity. For me, it painted warmth, intimacy, and vibrant connections. Each cafe provides a canvas for friendships to flourish, ambitions to be fueled, and experiences to be cherished. As a result, memories linger like the aroma of coffee, a testament to Sejong’s profound cafe culture impact.

 

Bella Maselana hails from South Africa where she earned a Bachelor’s of Psychology and has served as an English teacher and Lecturer at the University of SA. Bella currently teaches at April English in Sejong, South Korea. 

American Food in Korea

Eating kbbq, kimchi, bulgogi, and samgyeopsal never gets old while living in Korea. Although, from time to time I do miss the occasional cheeseburger, pizza, and street tacos. I can’t help it! I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Missing food from home is not unusual while living abroad. Thankfully, I’ve run into my fare share of restaurants that serve American food in Korea.

The Cheeseburgers Finds

If you are ever in the mood for a cheeseburger, you’ll be sure to find a McDonald’s or Burger King nearby. Are you worried about not being able to order because of your lack of Korean speaking skills? Not to worry! They have kiosks that you order from with English language settings. The prices are impeccable, as inflation is not a huge issue here in Korea (yet). For instance, you could purchase a whopper meal and spend about 10,000 KRW or $7.50 USD.

More “sophisticated” American food in Korea, Five Guys is also located in Gangam. Lines are usually out the door, so be sure to plan accordingly. The menu is a bit overpriced, but if you’re looking for a quality burger, this is the way to go. Now, if you’re looking for a burger that is absolutely chef’s kiss, Brooklyn burger joint takes the trophy. I go to the Mokdong location at least once a week. The patty is juicy, and the buns are soft, yet sturdy. The meat/bun/accompaniment ratio is even from the first to last bite. Not to mention, the milkshakes are thick, creamy, and smooth. The quality of the meal makes up for the price. You can expect to pay about 20,000 krw or $15.50 USD for a cheeseburger, milkshake, and fries. Be sure to check out this link for additional information on Brooklyn locations and menu.

"American" Pizza

The great news about American food in Korea: pizza parlors can be found on almost every corner. I was surprised to find Papa Johns my first week arriving here in Seoul. The menu is a bit different out here, as all places accommodate their audience. Garlic pepper steak, grilled bulgogi, and shrimp alfredo pizza are common in most Korean parlors. But, you can definitely still order your plain pepperoni and cheese pizza as well. Prices range depending on the size. The smallest size starts at 20,000 KRW. Be sure to click the link to see the official menu. Also, feel free to check out Foursquare’s top 15 best pizza places in Seoul

American-style Mexican Food

According to google, Mexican food is Americans’ second favorite food. So, it’s only right that I include a section of this blog dedicated to the best kind of food on the planet (I am mexican, call me biased). Crazy enough, Koreans can cook up a decent burrito, taco, and quesadilla. Mexican restaurants are not the easiest finds. But, I have found that Itaewon has a handful of good spots. Some meals (other than the usual burrito/tacos/quesadillas) you’ll be able to order include enchiladas, super nachos, tamales, chilaquiles, and mole. Check the link below to see 10Magazine’s top 10 Mexican restaurants in Seoul for Mexican American Food in Korea.

Additional American Food Spots In Korea

Some other noteworthy American food spots in Korea include Subway, KFC, Starbucks, On The Border, Auntie Anne’s, Pancake House, and TGI Friday’s just to name a few!  Mom’s touch actually originated here in South Korea. They’ve been branching out over the years, and actually have some locations in Los Angeles. If you are looking for a delicious chicken sandwich, be sure to check them out!

Amber Ochoa is from Los Angeles, USA, and just recently moved to South Korea in May. She studied Biochemistry as an undergraduate. After graduation, she began venturing out and began to embrace her love for adventure. She finds that “nothing holds greater power in our life than the unknown.” One night while applying to random jobs on Indeed, she came across an English teaching position in Seoul, Korea. Flash forward, she is now teaching at CDI, Mokdong branch. She claims that Creverse found her and ended up becoming a blessing in disguise. Amber says giving knowledge to students & inspiring them for higher achievements in life is one of the greatest feelings in the world. 

Um.ma

Top 5 Korean Dishes

“We” Culture

Korean food has become popular all over the world in recent years. The growing trend of K-pop has led to even more interest in Korean culture. 

Food has an important role in Korean history as a result of social and political changes throughout the centuries. Every province has its own dishes and ingredients that are unique to their own region. If you travel around Korea, you will be become accustomed to the various meals you should indulge in. For example, Jeonju is famous for Bibimbap and Jeju is famous for Black Pork. 

Korean meals predominantly include rice, vegetables and meat. Each meal includes side dishes known as banchan and toppings such as gotchujang, sesame oil, kimchi, doenjang and gotchukaru

Korean food is an important part of Korean culture and is usually consumed in large groups to promote ‘we’ culture. It’s common to share food from various dishes and order meals for the table to share. Koreans enjoy eating together, and it is popular to see restaurants buzzing every night with plenty of customers.

Korean pork samgyeopsal grilled tableside

Samgyupsal

Samgyeopsal barbecue is probably one of the first dishes you will try when attending your first school Hweshik (company dinner). It is a very popular dish in Korea, and there is an abundance of restaurants selling it across the country. 

You usually grill unmarinated, raw slices of pork belly (essentially uncured bacon) is grilled tableside, until all the fat drips off the pan. It is typically wrapped with lettuce or perilla leaf, spicy soybean sauce, grilled garlic, and fried kimchi. 

Be prepared to drink soju while eating Samgyeopsal! Soju is a clear alcohol is made from rice, wheat and barley. It is customary to drink shots of soju while eating out samgyeopsal as it’s considered a way to cut the fatty taste and have a good time! 

 

a bowl of traditional Korean bibimbap served on a yellow table with kimchi on the side

Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a really popular dish among foreigners, and is usually a meal a Korean would recommend you to try when first getting accustomed to Korean food. Most Korean food is spicy, so when eating bibimbap you can add as much, or as little, gotchujang (red pepper sauce) as you like. 

You can order it in a dolsot (a hot stone bowl) or a regular bowl. The traditional dolsot bowl is fired up hot, and sizzles food as you mix the ingredients together. It creates crusty rice at the bottom of the bowl while you indulge, creating a nice crispy treat at the end!

Ingredients in bibimbap include rice, beef, assorted marinated vegetables, gotchujang and a fried egg on top. There are numerous local variations of bibimbap throughout Korea, be found in Jeonju, Tongyeong and Jinju to name a few.

 

close up of a piece of Korean scallion pancake held in chopsticks

Savory Pancakes

Jeon is a flat-like pancake made from kimchi, potatoes, onions, seaweed, meat and seafood. There are plenty of kinds of Jeon, such as Pacheon (scallion), Kimchi Jeon, and Gamja-jeon (potato)

It’s customary to eat it after hiking a mountain trail, and is offered at many mountainside restaurants. Jeon is usually paired with Magkeolli (Korean rice liquor), and is highly recommend to enjoy on a hot summers day. Magkeolli is served in a chilled kettle and is sipped out of a small drinking bowl. 

 

closeup of Korean bulgogi dish with chopsticks holding a piece

Bulgogi

Bulgogi is simply delicious, and my personal favorite Korean dish. It is a a dish of thinly sliced sirloin marinated in a mix of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and black pepper. Bulgogi is usually cooked tableside on the grill or sauteed and served.    

Bulgogi is usually prepared with thinly sliced onions, carrots, mushrooms and scallions. It is popular to wrap it up lettuce and top it off with some ssamjang (a thick red spicy paste), and served with rice and grilled garlic.  

Over the years, bulgogi has been the star in some more variations such as bulgogi burgers and even bulgogi cheesesteaks. 

 

a black bowl of spicy Korean sundubu jjigae

Sundubu Jiggae

Sundubu Jiggae is one of the most flavorful Korean soups you could eat. It has the perfect balance between spicy and sweet, and the silken tofu melts in your mouth. It is customary to choose the type of Sundubu Jiggae you want, ranging from seafood, beef, pork, dumpling, soy bean, or even mixed variations! 

The stew is also commonly topped off with a raw egg, that you crack tableside. Once mixed into the soup, the hot pot cooks and scrambles it, almost like an egg drop soup. This adds flavor to the dish, however you can do it however you like!

HUNGRY YET?! There are so many other amazing dishes to sample in Korea- this is just the top 5 dishes! Check out some of the seafood Giselle ate on her weekend trip to Taean!

 

Tijana Huysamen, a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people.  After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email tijanahuysamen120@hotmail.com to request more information on teaching in Korea!

ATV Adventure in Taean

The summers in Korea can be rather hot and humid. While I was born and raised in sunny California, the difference is the humidity. Korea is hot and humid while California is hot and dry. As the humidity is finally coming in at full strength, I quickly planned a weekend trip to the coast. Follow me on my ATV adventure in Taean!

Transportation

Once you arrive to the Express Bus Terminal, there are two bus options for going to Anmyeon Bus Terminal. Both bus options, but one is more expensive than the other. The more expensive bus is 20,000won, while the more economical option is 11,000won. The difference between the two buses is the spaciousness of the seats. Obviously, the pricier option has more spacious seats, reclinable chairs and additional leg space. I took a 20,000 won bus for my trip to Taean and an 11,000won bus for the trip back. In my humble opinion, it is well worth the extra charge for the comfort! 

Mudflats

Korea has great mudflats! Once the tide is low, the waters recede very far back. This is the perfect time to grab a bucket, shovel, and SALT! Many people dig in the mudflats to collect clams and other shellfish. Why the salt? Many sea creatures leave little holes on the surface of the mud. If you pour salt into the holes, they pop out on their own! You can simply pluck them out and throw them into your bucket. There are so many crabs, too! My friend had to fight two of them that were trying to fight him off. It was hilarious! You can steam, grill, or sautee your harvest for dinner. It’s all a part of the mudflat experience. 

 

ATV Adventures

The region of Taean has many gorgeous forests and beaches. One of the major activities in the area is to take an A.T.V tour. I bought a 50-minute tour that cost 25,000 won. There were different experiences to pick from that ranged in time. I picked the shortest option, but I was not disappointed! I got to go through some rough forest terrain and across the beach. There was a portion where I got to go over several small sand dunes. For me, the forest terrain was muddy and there were many puddles, since it had rained during the night. I loved it! At first, I was worried about my shoes, but by the end of it, I was purposely riding through puddles to maximize splash! 

 

Seafood

One can never go to the coast and not enjoy the fresh seafood! After arriving to Anmyeon, the first thing to cross off my ‘to do’ list was eat some marinated crabs! They are called ganjang-gejang and they are raw crabs marinated in soy sauce. There is also a style where it is marinated in a semi-sweet red sauce – both are equally delicious in my opinion. In Seoul, this dish is expensive. However, whenever one visits the coast, there are huge set menus that get one so much seafood, side dishes and always a fish stew. The set I purchased was 70,000won for two people at a restaurant called 딴뚝통나무집. I’ll add the address below. 

Restaurant Details

There are two more dishes that I really enjoy eating when visiting the coast. The first is like a seafood bibimbap called hwe-deopbap (회덮밥). The other dish is like a seafood cold noodle dish called mul-hwe (물회). These are individual dishes. They both only cost 10,000won each. I found it to be an even better deal where I had it, because I had a great beachfront view. The restaurant is called 밧개횟집. I’ll add the address below. 

 

딴뚝통나무집 (crab restaurant) 

60-42 Seungeon-ri, Anmyeon-eup, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do 

 

밧개횟집 (beachfront restaurant) 

765-81 Jungjang-ri, Anmyeon-eup, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do

 

안면도수산시장 (fish market)

1249-1 Seungeon-ri, Anmyeon-eup, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do 

Apply now to start your teach abroad journey in South Korea today! 

 

Giselle Moreno is from California, USA where she attended the University of California, Riverside. While a student, she always worked with international students and she decided to teach English abroad upon graduating during her third year of university. It was through the experiences of being an English tutor for international students that she felt really fulfilled. She found it particularly easy to get along with Korean students which is why she decided to pursue a teaching opportunity in Korea. She even attended Yonsei University in Seoul for a semester as a study abroad student and fell in love with the city. She is currently working at ChungDahm Learning’s April Daechi branch located in Gangnam, Seoul.