• About Me

    Always alone but not always lonely
    Always flying but not equipped with wings to fly further
    Always enjoy photography but not being photographed

Lotus Lantern Festival

In celebration of Buddhist thousand years tradition (2556 Buddhist Era in 2012),  hundreds and thousands of lanterns lighted up central Seoul night on 19 May 2012 as the main highlight of the Lotus Lantern Festival.

The Lantern Parade began at Dongdaemun and proceeds to Jogye-sa Temple along Jongno Street. Looking at the crowd lining at both sides of the road, many people seem to have come much earlier to grab a good spot.

   

The Latern Parade began at Dongdaemun and proceeded to Jogye-sa Temple along Jongno Street, lasted for close to 2 hours. People from different walks of life participated in the parade, brightening up the night with lanterns in different shapes and sizes…

    

   

Not forgetting the many beautiful floats around…

   

   

What I find most interesting in the entire parade is the ‘flower shower’ at the end of the parade (strips of pink paper floating down from the sky) with participants and spectators mixing around and dancing together.

   

Pink snow in this wonderful spring season…romantic huh?

Welcome Spring!

In case you are wondering why I had been missing for the past few months, the reason is very simple – I was in hibernation during winter, haha! Other than commuting between work and office, I was really not in the mood to put on layers of clothings just to go out for a few hours…

Now that Spring is officially here, I can continue with my adventure in Kimchi Land.

What best way to start off Spring than cherry blossom viewing🙂

Over the weekend, I went to the park located besides Lotte World which is one of the popular places to view cherry blossom. You can see from the crowd what a popular place it is.

    

And now for some beautiful pictures of this short-lived blossoms…

   

  

Looking forward to seeing more spring flowers in the next couple of months🙂🙂

Odbo Outlet in Seoul

Now that I am working and living in Seoul, I have often been requested to bring back certain Korean-made products when I have the chance to go back home.

Recently, my friends sent me ‘orders’ for Odbo skin care products. They had been brought to buy this brand of products when they came to Seoul for a holiday on tour package. One of the friends told me that it can be found in Faceshop but it is under the Odbo branding.

When I tried to look around in Faceshop outlets, I cannot find this brand at all.                                                                                                                                               When I tried to check with my Korean friends, no one knows of this brand at all.

When I tried to search on the Internet, I cannot find any info on its home page. Even the Korea search engine – Naver failed to turn up any info on this brand.

Being the stubborn person that I am, I refused to give up the challenge to locate this mysterious outlet selling this mysterious brand. After much searching on the web, I managed to find the address of this place and coupled with the help from my Korean colleague, I managed to find the directions to this place and accomplished my mission!🙂

While going around my search on the web, I have been reading some mixed reviews on the web (mainly from Singaporeans) on Odbo. As someone who has been staying here for a while, I believe I can clarify some of the misleading information for the benefits of others who have some doubts:

1. This is a duty free outlet who happens to sell Faceshop products. It cannot be a Faceshop outlet when it sells other products and other brands in the same premise. Anyway, the signboard already states very clearly that it is a duty free outlet, aka meant for tourists.

  

2. It might be a Korean brand but it is not definitely known to the Korean customers. It is most probably produced and packaged for the tourist market.

3. You can only find Odbo in this one and only DFS outlet and definitely not in any other Faceshop outlets.

Since I am never a fan of products that are specially designed/manufacturered/packaged for the tourist market, I believe I will just remain as the “trader” for Odbo🙂

For the benefits of those who are interested to go there, I have attached a simple map below. The nearest subway station is Mapo-gu Office on Line 6 and it takes about 15 to 25 mins to walk from the subway station.

Korean Style Kamameshi

Knowing that I plan to go Insadong, my colleague introduced me to have lunch at this Kamameshi restaurant. The traditional Japanese Kamameshi is cooked in an iron pot but this Kamameshi is cooked in the Korean stone pot, so I named it Korean Style Kamameshi instead🙂

     

This is the entrance of the restaurant. Actually, the restaurant has two entrances. The one on the left hand side opens into another section of the restaurant.

It is quite a simple menu – just 2 pages. Left page is the kamameshi menu, right page is the yakitori menu. I chose the 2nd item on the kamameshi menu which is the seafood kamameshi.

  

Wow! Doesn’t it look simply delicious!! Plenty of ingredients go into this one pot – prawns, seafood sticks, clams, carrot slices, bamboo shoots, dates, lotus seeds etc. All the flavour and taste in the rice come only from these ingredients so for someone who is used to strong flavours (like me), you might find this dish a bit bland. It that is the case, you can always add in the sauce by the side. For me, I still prefer the wholesome taste of this sumptuous pot, especially the crispy rice at the bottom. Even though I was feeling quite full, I just could not resist scrapping every single bit of the rice from the bottom of the pot🙂🙂

Looking at the other diners “scrapping” away around me, I was sure I was not the only happy one with a satisfying lunch.

Direction:

A Leisure Afternoon at Deoksugung Palace

Autumn has finally arrived in Seoul! Leaves are starting to turn into different shades of yellow and brown colours. Not wanting to miss out on the good weather, I decided to get out of my apartment and visit one of the attractions in Seoul – Deoksugung Palace.

Deoksugung Palace is the 1st palace I have visited in Korea (not sure how many there are in total yet, I believe there are at least 4 in Seoul). It is only about 10mins walk from Fraser Place Central Seoul but if you are coming by subway, just alight at City Hall station, exit no. 2 or 3. It is right outside the exit, so there is no way you will miss it.

  

                                                

I find Deoksugung Palace interesting because it is the 1st time that I come across European architectural structures appearing in an Asian historical site. Apparently, the Sekjo-jeon was built as part of the modernization efforts of the Great Han Empire where there was an onslaught of foreign diplomats and missionaries during the early 20th century.

Seokjo-jeon, completed in 1910

As with many other palaces, there is also the daily changing of the guards (except Mon) at 1100hrs, 1400hrs and 1530hrs. This happens right outside the palace gate so you can watch it even if you do not purchase entrance ticket to the palace. FYI, the ticket to the palace is 1,000KRW.

   

 

Even on a Sunday, it was not crowded in the palace due to the bigger compound.

   

 

Coupled with the sun and cool weather, I really have a relaxed and enjoyable Sunday afternoon. All recharged to tackle the new week ahead!

Family-style Korean Restaurant

Let me introduce you to my favourite family-style Korean restaurant so far…sure to be yummy and of good value!

Based on my current level of Korean language (which is near to nil), it is not possible to tell you the name or the street it is on so I will try my best to explain the way to get there.

Take subway Line 2 to Samseong Station, Exit No 6 towards COEX Shopping Mall. When you are inside the mall, look for the way out to Seven Luck Casino. Depending on which way you take, it can be a long way but good thing is that COEX mall is full of shops so it is quite enjoyable to window shop along the way.

Take the exit out to Seven Luck Casino and you should see this main street opposite the casino. See the lane between the 2 buildings? This is where we are heading!🙂

Go straight along the road until you see the restaurant Beer Factory on your left hand side.

     

Turn left when you see the Beer Factory and you will see the destination on your left hand side – a small modest restaurant.

   

The menu is all pasted on the wall with pictures of the dishes but not to worry – you can always ask for the English menu or point to the pictures on the wall, like me🙂🙂

 

This is my favourite dish here – spicy fried pork. It is fried with onion, carrots and vegetables with what I consider the highlight of this dish – the spicy sauce, giving it the right amount of flavour and taste that open up my appetite. With just this dish, I can always finish up the entire bowl of rice. Not to forget the many side dishes that come with it – all for just KRW12,000!

The spicy tofu soup is also to be recommended but it is a too much for solo me to finish this time round. Definitely another ‘must order’ dish if there are 2 or more people next time – yummy yummy!

This place caters mainly to the lunch crowd around the COEX area but it is also opened at night for dinner.

 Whenever I have craving for meat, this is a place I will go for a satisfying and fulfilling meal!

Korea Ginseng Chicken Soup

In exploring the eating places near by apartment, I discovered this very popular Ginseng Chicken Soup restaurant yesterday.

It is just 5mins walk from my apartment and when I went there during lunch time, it was crowded with people, with non-stop human traffic. Naturally, I must try it out myself and see whether it is as delicious as the crowd makes it out to be🙂

I ordered the most popular dish – Ginseng Chicken Soup. Based on the poster in the restaurant, they use wild ginseng. Besides the usual Ginseng Chicken Soup, they also have the Black Chicken Ginseng Soup and a couple other dishes.

When the dish was served to the table, I loved the piping hot ‘smoke’ coming out of the traditional Korean bowl. It makes the ginseng soup look so appetizing…

It was served with a small cup of ginseng wine that you can just pour into the soup for enhanced ginseng taste. Unlike other ginseng chicken soup that I have tasted, the chicken was very tender, the soup was very flavourful (not from msg) and the glutinous rice inside the chicken had fully absorbed the taste of the chicken and the soup. The ginseng taste was not strong since there was only one ginseng inside the chicken. Well, for 18,000KRW, I can’t really expect them to fill the chicken with ginseng right? Haha

The portion was a little too much for me. Try as I might, I can only finish the chicken and the soup, but not the glutinous rice inside the chicken and in the side bowl.

To sum it all, this is definitely a place to visit again, especially with winter coming soon…

Direction:

 Exterior of the restaurant. The signboard reads that it is the 1st Korean Ginseng Chicken soup restaurant since 1960. Besides the locals, I also saw quite a number of tourists (Japanese) there.

 From City Hall subway station, it is 5mins walk from Exit 10. You will see the restaurant on the right hand side. It is by the road, so there is no chance of missing it.

A New Adventure Begins

I am back in Seoul but the feeling is somewhat different this time, as compared to my previous business trips.
From now onwards, I will start a brand new chapter in my life, 6hrs away from Singapore.
For the next 2 years, I have a new home in Seoul, a place that I can call my own.

I had moved into the new apartment since 27th Aug, but I have finally settled down with all my stuffs unpacked only now to post my 1st entry.

For those of you out there who are curious about my new home, here are some pictures.

       

My apartment is located at the curved side of the building, guess which one?🙂

And now, my cozy little home…

   

  

   

For those friends who I have invited for a visit, this is the guest room waiting for you, waiting for you…

 

Not forgetting the view from my apartment…

   

Finally, my small little cozy corner…

 

Looking forward to receiving all  my friends to come and see it for yourself🙂🙂

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