Monday, January 30, 2017

My Homestay-Like Experience in Cheongju

We reach many times in our lives when we have to make a choice. To go left, or right, per-say. For me, one of those moments occurred as I landed at the Cheongju (청주) airport. As I opened my Kakao and prepared to send a message to my Airbnb, I had two options: send my message in English or in Korean.

My Korean is still basic at best and I am much stronger at reading and writing (especially when I can translate a word here or there). But living in an English community at my school, I rarely get the chance to challenge and practice my ability. So I constructed my messages and hit send, opening the door for further communications.

No regrets.

When I arrived, my host greeted me in Korean, but said she could explain everything in English if I'd prefer. I didn't correct her. While I didn't understand everything she said to the T, I got the meaning--bathroom over here, kitchen through the door, and so forth.

That evening, as I was filling my water in the kitchen, I met the Father with a couple of his friends. After hearing about my plans to go to Sangdang Sanseong Fortress (산당산성), he suggested we all go together. All of a sudden, plans are being made and it's no longer just me. The next day, we piled into a giant van and headed up into the mountains. Seven adults and three children; the language of the day was Korean.

Oh Boy.
The mountainous and snow-dotted view.
The day was cold, but the kind of cold that makes the air extra clear and the sun seem that much brighter. Really, it was great hiking weather and I was lucky to have good company. The family brought a couple toboggan-like objects and every time we found a slope covered in snow along the encircling remains of the castle wall, they were quick to take a slide.
View of Cheongju in the distance.
Everyone included me in their conversations and spoke slowly (or repeated when I had trouble). Until now, I've had a lot of one-on-one language exchange experiences. It's been frustrating at times when you need to maintain the conversation but you (or your partner) don't yet have the language skills to do so. In this situation, I was free to listen and follow along and I found that I could understand a lot more than I thought. There was a lot less pressure and I found I could add more at times, too.
The youngest three of my new friends.
After hiking came lunch and then we all drove back for tea and fruit. I was definitely exhausted by the end of the day, but I also had a lot of fun.

Another evening, again because of a random conversation in the kitchen, I was asked if I wanted to go up to "Pizza Hill" before I checked out the next day. (The name "Pizza Hill" is merely how the father referenced these round, stone smoke ovens that used to be used for signal fires and now look like they could make a good pizza). It was almost 9:30pm at this time. The conversation quickly shifted from, "Do you want to go early tomorrow morning? 6am? 7am?" to "Let's go in 10 minutes."

So once more a bunch of us piled into the van and headed up into the mountains. Due to a slippery road, we left the van behind and walked carefully up the slope. Although cold, it was definitely worth it to see the glittering city lights and the "pizza ovens." If only the clouds had cleared so that we could see the stars, too.
Silhouettes against the night sky!
Definitely one of my best experiences at an Airbnb and I hope that I can go back and visit these new friends again. By then I hope I can say more in Korean, too.

Love and Hugs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Moseulpo - Gosari Kitchen

Address: 서귀포시 대정읍 하모중앙로 77
Address: 77 Hamo-Joongan-ro, Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo
Facebook: No official page found
Vegetarian: I don't think anything is meat or seafood free, sorry.
Hours: 11:00-24:00
Price Range: Around ~10,000 per meal
Parking: Street Parking; Neighbourhood Parking

Are you looking for a low-key restaurant with good food and a good atmosphere? Do you eat meat/seafood? This might be the place for you!
Gosari's front entrance is not super flashy or exciting and if you aren't looking, you might miss it.
Gosari Kitchen (고사리키친) is a pork cutlet restaurant, known as donkkaseu (돈까스) in Korean. There are other menu items available (mainly pastas), but the restaurant advertises as a pork cutlet outlet. Ha. Cutlet Outlet. I just wanted to put those two words together.

Moving on. The name Gosari is related to fiddle head ferns and the restaurant's interior reflects this with hanging potted plants. I really like the atmosphere of this small restaurant. It feels nice and light and the staff were very nice both times that I visited.
Many ferns and small plants around the inside of the restaurant.
There are a couple of bigger "room" like areas for bigger parties, but the max you could fit is 8-10 (you can reserve these spaces).

I am no expert on donkkaseu, but a couple of my students and I went there last week and they said it was some of the best that they have ever had. Some high praise, I think. 

They have three different types: Original, Spicy and Oriental. You can then add cheese topping if you would like. I opted for the cheese because I thought it would help counteract the spice, just in case. The presentation definitely passes inspections. Looking good:
Spicy Pork Cutlet with Cheese Topping
Each cutlet is served with a bit of salad, pickles, a side of rice and a couple taters (the fancy plate is only when you get the cheese topping):
Oriental Pork Cutlet
Original Pork Cutlet
One of my students tried one of the pastas and another the risotto. The pasta passed, but the risotto is not recommended. Her verdict? It just didn't taste like a risotto.
Seafood pasta (I can't remember which one she ordered).
With this restaurant so close to my school, I hope to check it out again. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try the squid ink pasta next time!

Love and Hugs.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Andeok-Myeon - Manor Blanc

Address: 제주특별자치도 서귀포시 안덕면 덕수리 2952
Address: 2952 Deoksu-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo
Instagram: (some sweet pictures!)
Vegetarian: Options available.
Hours: 10:00-21:00
Price Range: You can buy individual items (prices very 3-10,000 KRW) or set items (Afternoon Tea Set for 2; 50,000 KRW).
Alcohol: Selections available.
Parking: There is parking behind and in front of the building.

This is one of the best finds--especially for a tea lover like me. It's not exactly on the main road either and if you were not purposefully driving here, you would not find it. In fact, it looks like you are heading heading into the woods or some obscure farm. The image below shows the entry road. Just west of the SanBangSan & TanSan Jjimjilbang/Sauna, turn north off the main road.
This is the entrance road. The white sign in the middle is for the Manor.
As you approach, the building and grounds certainly give off that "Manor" feel. Especially as the structure is built on a hill. The views are just stunning.
The lovely Manor Blanc in January.
View from the front entrance in mid-September.
 And with that view, this post is over. ㅎㅎ

Just kidding.

I'm pretty sure that this cafe doubles as a hostel, but I have never tried to book a room. My favourite feature are the tea sets. When you enter, you will see shelves lining the two back walls. These shelves are full of different tea cups, saucers and pots.

They have a number of different teas available. I will mention that I have not seen an English menu. They have some pictures and one of the staff members could speak a bit of English, but it would help to sound out the hangeul for some of the tea names. Last time we sort of just picked two randomly, which is also fun.

Part of the fun, after selecting your tea, is choosing your tea cup. It's one thing to have tea in a mug at home (or at another coffee shop), but to drink tea daintily from a tea cup? Well, that's rather fine! Don't you think?

This next picture is old--they re-did their shelves so that now there are even more sets on display. I thought I took an updated picture but it is currently MIA. I guess I'll just "have" to go again. ㅎㅎ
The old shelves of tea sets.
Last time I went, I picked this lovely design!
There are so many different designs and you could get a dignified floral design, or like me, you could opt for a set with dragons:
Dragon cups are also pretty rockin'!
If you are willing to spend a little more and have more than just a cup of tea, you and a friend can get the "Afternoon Tea Set." I've had this with three people and again with five. With this, you still get to select a tea (or two), and then you get an assortment of goodies to share and try. Those goodies also arrive in style:
With the Afternoon Tea Set, we received all of these different types of food.
I really liked that this allowed us to try a number of different desserts. As well, in the layers of options, there is usually something that everyone likes and can enjoy. (You can also purchase these individually if you do not want to have a full set).

Need a peaceful, lazy afternoon? Or a good relaxing location for some good conversation? Check it out!
Love and Hugs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Daejeong-eup - Wato Coffee

Address: 서귀포시 대정읍 동일하모로 238
Address: 238 Dong-il Hamo-ro, Daejeong-Eup, Seogwipo

Facebook Page:
Hours: 10:30-23:30
Vegan: You can get a Soybean Green Tea Latte (with or without coffee). I'm not sure about the other "latte" options at this point.
Price Range: Most items are between 3,000-6,000 KRW and then there is one item for 13,000 KRW.
Parking: Street parking is available.

Front of the Cafe.

This is a newer find for me and I think it opened recently. Dear colleagues, it's quite close to our school/neighbourhood on the way to "Moseulpo" and is well worth a visit. Here's a rough map from google--I included the Paris Baguette intersection as an extra point of reference. (Don't you love my doodled words. Ha.):
The blue marks where the 755 Bus stops (at Daejeong Elementary School).
I've only been here a couple of times so far, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my purchases each time. Not only were they delicious, but I thought the size and price were a good match.
The front counter is decorated with sacs of coffee beans.
There are a number of tables and chairs--although it is still a rather small coffee shop. In the spring/summer, I hope they set up a few more outside, too, which would be nice. The tables were decorated with small flower arrangements and the shop as a whole had a good atmosphere.
Different flowers decorate the tables.
I am a huge smoothie fan and generally try the strawberry option whenever it is available. I was not disappointed. I also tried the mango-coconut smoothie which was equally delicious (the coconut flavour was more mild and not overpowering like I thought it might be).
Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie; Garnished with Blueberries and Full of Deliciousness.
The drinks were a lot bigger than what my friend and I expected, too.
A little cake for dessert? Okay. ^^
"Raspberry White Cake" which was a cheese cake. Ha.
Currently, the menu is all in Korean so I thought I would edit the pictures with the added English. But there are three pages and I didn't realize how much glare I had from the window. So for now, this is only the coffee menu. Hopefully I will be able to get the smoothies, teas and dessert menu translated, too. Eventually. (For now, know that they have different cakes, bagels and buns).
Coffee Menu
If you want hand drip coffee, you can choose the following selection of coffee beans. You can also buy 120g for 8,000 KRW. 
List of coffee bean selection.
As for me, I'm hoping this becomes one of my regularly frequented cafes. Once the warmer weather hits, I look forward to having more of the cold beverages. All the smoothies!

Love and Hugs.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Andeok-Myeon - Salon de 소자 38

Address: 서귀포시 사계남로 안덕면 168
Address:168 Sagyenam-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo, Jeju-do
Facebook: I can't find an official facebook page...
Vegetarian: Options available.
Other Food Notice: This place loves cheese.
Hours: 10:00-23:00
Price Range: Drinks are between 4-6,000 and meal items are 10-15,000 KRW.
Parking: There is parking next to the cafe and also nearby.

I really like this cafe and have been here a number of times. It's not too far from where I live, has a great view, and a good atmosphere. I also miss having a panini sandwich every now and again. The cafe sits on a corner and has two entrances:

This entrance faces the sea.
What I think of as the "Main" entrance.
As I was leaving last weekend, I took this shot of the interior (strategically placed so you don't see most of the people present):
Some of the tables and chairs inside the store.
Being an antique-style cafe, there are a lot of cool things to look from the assortment of chairs, pieces of artwork and knickknacks. They recently redesigned their menu and it looks pretty slick, too. The menu has English translations and the owner can also speak English--in fact I've tried talking to her in Korean and she has switched to English. She also has a really good memory for faces. The second time I visited was a really long time after I first went and yet she welcomed me back. It was nice.

If you've never tried a pumpkin latte, I recommend giving it a shot. I think I've also had the almond one as well, but can't remember now if that was here or somewhere else.

Note that any type of "ade" in Korea is mixed with a fizzy pop (probably the Korean "Cider") like 7-Up or Sprite. The cafe has a number of smoothie options as well as other cold drinks that include ice cream! A delicious treat in hot weather (cold weather, too! Just order and stay longer before going back outside).

Apparently they sometimes have a chicken panini (which I did not know), but you have to ask specifically if it is available that day.

I've tried many of the menu items (not all) and haven't ordered something that I didn't like yet.

And last, while the menu pictures feature pictures, here are a couple that I took of my friend's meal and my own:
Could wait to take a picture of this Beef and Cheese Panini
Beef and Spinach Quesadilla
Until next time,

Love and Hugs

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Moseulpo Harbour - Hong Sung Bang

Address: 서귀포시 대정읍 하모항구로 76
Address: 76 Hamo-Hang-Gu-Ro, Daejeong-Eup, Seogwipo
Facebook: ? If there is an official Facebook page, I can't find it.
Vegetarian Friendly: Ye---No. Not at all.
Hours: 10:30~15:00 / 17:30~19:30
Price Range: 5,000-8,000 per single entrée (shared, table dishes are a little more expensive)
Parking: Limited out front, more on surrounding streets.

Of all the restaurants on Jeju, it seems appropriate to start with the one that I have visited the most: Hong Sung Bang. Not because it's my favourite necessarily, but because my students always want to go here and it is reasonably priced. Like seriously: they ALWAYS want to go here.

Hong Sung Bang is a "Chinese-style" restaurant--with Chinese kitchen staff, so perhaps this is mostly true. (I have learned, since coming to Korea, that no matter what kind of cuisine you are having, it will be "koreanified" in some way shape or form ㅎㅎ).

The restaurant is nestled right at the start of the Saturday Market Road (I have yet to go to the Saturday Market and only know this because of the words on the arch in the following picture) near the Moseulpo Harbour.
Arch leading to the main road of seafood restaurants by the harbour. 
From the other side of (my least favourite) intersection. This picture is cool because the car disappears.
To this day, I'm not sure if the "town" has a name since everything on the south side of the island is technically in Seogwipo City. The other foreigners living in my neighbourhood, we all just call it Moseulpo... But for sure the restaurant is in Daejeong-eup which is sort of like the district or county in English, I think (based on what I've seen in the area).
Front of the restaurant.
Hong Sung Bang is a noodle restaurant and many of the dishes at Hong Sung Bang include seafood. A popular pairing is the Jja-jang-myeon (짜장면, noodles with black bean sauce and pork--unless stated as vegetarian by restaurant) and Tang-su-yuk (탕수육, Sweet and Sour Pork). Other items include Jjam-ppong (짬뽕, noodles with pork or seafood) and fried rice (볶음밥, bokkeumbap).

I have been here with people who each order their own dish (with a shared Tangsuyuk) and I have been here with people who prefer to order 3-4 things altogether and share. Personally, I have never finished a full dish on my own and recommend sharing so that you can try different things.

During the most recent venture with my students, we ordered a 3 person set for 43,000 KRW even though we were 4 people. Here are some pictures of what we got:
This was shrimp with a chili sauce.
Tang-su-yuk (탕수육) beneath a pile of onions. 
Bowl of Jja-jang-myeon (짜장면) with sea food.
Spicy Sea Food Jjam-ppong (해물짬뽕) 
Non-spicy Sea Food Jjam-ppong (해물짬뽕) 

Sunday, January 08, 2017

An English Guide to Jeju - New Years Resolution

During my time on Jeju, I have noticed that that there are minimal sources available for English and other language speakers. The Korea Tourism website does not often have up-to-date information which has lead to some confusion and frustration a couple of times. As a foreigner it can be difficult at times to find cool sites, fun cafes, or delicious food. Google maps? Only really helpful with buses and even then it's not the most accurate.

I still remember my early adventures walking around the city: I was so overwhelmed with all of the Hangeul (한글, Korean writing). Despite being able to sound out words, I had no idea what anything was--restaurant, cafe, office--and you can't always see inside to tell.

Now that I have more experience under my skin, I thought I would start making an English guide, of sorts, to Jeju (or at least my part of Jeju) as one of my New Years resolutions. I'll try to include the information that I wish I had known, but I also welcome feedback and if I don't include something that you think is important, please let me know so that I can fix that!

Jeju is pretty cool and I hope that if you decide to travel here, this information can help make your time more enjoyable.

Happy Travels!

Things I've learned about France (or at least Normandy)

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