Seoul Day 4: Very Old and Very New

Today is our last full day in Seoul, and we start off with breakfast buns from a bakery in the subway station. Seoul has a very good and extensive subway system, with each station spanning several city blocks and linked by walking tunnels. The tunnels are lined with small stores selling phone covers, clothing, and occasional books, as well as numerous underground bakeries and dumpling stalls. In fact, there seem to be more (and sometimes better) bakeries underground than above ground, and you can follow the smell of fresh baked pastries to find them. Continue reading

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Seoul Day 2: Congee and Palaces

Today was our first full day in Seoul, and it was magnificent! (And delicious)

We started our day with a brisk early morning walk through the mostly quiet streets of Myeong-dong. All evidence of the late night shoppers and street food vendors had been swept away, leaving just quiet winding cobblestone streets in the morning light. On the 3rd floor of the building across from our hotel we found a Congee House, one of only a few establishments open for breakfast at 7:30 am. There we each had a giant bowl of congee – classic abalone for me and bulgogi for Hans. Each bowl of congee was accompanied by three varieties of kimchi, barley tea, and a cold clear soup, and served in a quiet open wood-paneled dining room drenched in sunlight. The abalone congee was amazing and filling happy food, ranking as one of my top 10 favorite international travel meals ever. If you’re ever in Seoul, you absolutely have to try it, preferably for breakfast.

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Welcome to Seoul!

After almost 24 hours of traveling (and a lot of napping), we have arrived in Seoul, South Korea! It is dark by the time we arrive in Myeong-dong, and we discover that our hotel is just one block away from a huge night market! This is super exciting because we are really hungry 🙂

We found all sorts of delicious street food and crowds of hungry people! My favorite was the flame grilled octopus (upper left photo) – he grilled the skewer first, then flamed it with a blowtorch, then topped it with delicious spicy sauce and bonito flakes. We also had cabbage stuffed pancakes topped with a fried egg, sweet flaky pastry fish filled with red bean paste (yum!), and spicy pork with rice flour sticks (upper right) – Han’s favorite.