friends, korea, travel

Seoul 2013, Day 3 – Gyeongbokgung and HongDae

Still wanting to eat a “Korean” breakfast we decided to hit up the local KamJaTang restaurant near our airbnb apartment. The price for pork bone soup is relatively the same as the ones we have in Toronto, but of course, the taste is much better in Seoul! The broth is less salty (less MSG), and it had more meat and vegetables.  We’re still not sure if this is really what Koreans eat for breakfast, but there were some other people at the restaurant so that seemed good enough for us.

Our day’s activities was to visit GeyongBokGung – largest and main palace of the Five Grand Palaces built from the Joseon Dynasty.  I was really looking forward to going because I thought there would be the opportunity to dress up in a traditional hanbok, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.  However, we came across a group of people who were dressed up for a photoshoot and we managed to take pictures with them instead!  They looked really happy we wanted to take pictures of them, but I may have staggered their photoshoot since right after we took pictures with them, so did every other tourist. Sorry!

Unfortunately the palace was really large, and it was an extremely sunny day, so walking around the palace was especially brutal. We frequently had to replenish ourselves with drinks and popsicles.

For lunch we headed to a nearby SamGyeTang (gingseng chicken soup) restaurant which was suggested by Adrienne’s friend Christine. However the line was really long and we could not bear to stand outside in the blazing sun for any longer. We walked around the area and decided on a Katsudon restaurant because it looked really delicious.

In the afternoon, we met up with Christine in HongDae to show us around the area. HongDae is an area that has a bustling nightlife. It reminded me of a fancier Mong Kok (Hong Kong). It had the same vibe of people everywhere in the streets and a lot of small shops along the roads. But it is definitely a more trendy hotspot; there were many groups of people advertising events such as upcoming concerts, and even a group of people filming some sort of commercial right on the street with passer-bys in their background.

As we had lunch really late, we didn’t have much time to properly walk around HongDae before dinnertime. For dinner we had REAL Korean BBQ. In Toronto, as you probably know, the KBBQ is usually all you can eat and you never get any lettuce to wrap your meat in. We were really excited to have KBBQ the “Korean way” and Christine found this extremely amusing that we could be this excited over just lettuce.  Here you order by type of meat and quantities, so we ordered pork belly which is usually a popular choice. However at this particular restaurant they gave really thick slices of pork belly so it wasn’t as tasty as the usual thin slices : (   But it was still a very interesting experience.  We also got to try Maehwasu, a plum wine, but it tasted very much like the cough syrup Robitussin to me…so I didn’t enjoy it.

After dinner we headed to a Makgeolli (rice wine) bar. They serve makgeolli inside a metal teapot which I think keeps it cold. I’ve only had it once at a Korean bar in Toronto, and the one they served here in HongDae was definitely much stronger in alcohol % because after one full bowl I could kind of feel the alcohol. It also tasted better than the one in Toronto too!

It was definitely a fun night because we finally got to go out, drink, and play drinking games like I wanted to. Because how can we not go out and have fun especially on the weekend when we are on vacation???

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