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Wednesday, 28 February 2007

March First Movement--holiday!

Typically, around this time I would be getting a lunch ready for work--but not today! That's because today is a national holiday in Korea. It's the Independence Movement Day, also known as the March First Movement or Samil Movement. This movement marked the first steps towards independence from the Japanese occupation of Korea.

One of the nationalists that helped jump start the movement was Manhae, a Korean Buddhist. His poems on independence from Japan can be seen at Tapgol Park, the origin for the March First Movement. This is all coming together for me now because we visited Tapgol Park during our first trip to Insadong. Check out my picture of the Wongaksaji 10 tier pagoda and our visit to Insadong (the funny thing is, you may recognize the picture of the couple dressed the same from a previous post; it came from that very day--there must be some sort of weird connection between the two...or not) as it's a recommended stop to check out in Seoul.

Holidays in Korea vs holidays in Canada

Back in Canada and the US, national holidays are usually "blended" into either a Monday or Friday, enabling a long weekend. However, in Korea that is not the case. We have today off and we're back to work on Friday. I'm not complaining but it's just something that I miss from back home--those extended weekends where you can just play nonstop.

Here are the Korean holidays for 2007 (courtesy of Life in Korea):

Solar Lunar Compare these to Canadian holidays:

At the national level
New Year's Day Jan. 1
Good Friday April 6
Easter Monday April 9
Victoria Day
(Monday preceding
May 25)
May 21
Canada Day * July 1
Labour Day
(first Monday
of September)
Sept. 3
Thanksgiving Day
(second Monday
of October)
Oct. 8
Remembrance Day Nov. 11
Christmas Dec. 25
Boxing Day Dec. 26
BC Day (where I'm from) First Monday of August

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

DMB, headsets, and steering wheels

These pictures have been waiting to be posted on the blog. Here are their chances to shine...enjoy.

Digital Media Broadcasting (DMB) is huge in Korea. It enables people to watch multimedia on their cellphones and these portable devices. People are watching TV on their cellphones all the time! Check out ESPN live here...from a student's phone! This picture was taken on the subway.

Most cabs are GPS enabled and they also subscribe to DMB...you might just be lucky enough to watch TV while you're in a cab...

Who needs a wireless headset for your cellphone, when you can just wedge it into your helmet?

There are taxi drivers in Seoul and then there are the REAL taxi drivers. Like this guy, with a Raid (a German racing parts company) steering wheel. This guy drove like he was starring in The Fast and the Furious--awesome!

Monday, 26 February 2007

Fashion in Korea: my observations

Another month has pretty much come and gone. Time flies when you are living abroad. We just had to do our monthly batch of progress reports. Hence this delay in posting. Anyways, let's get started...

A while back, when I posted about decorating our officetel, "Lisa" posted in the comments if I'm open to suggestions on topics to talk about on the blog. She wanted to see a bit more about Korean fashion. Well, Lisa, your dream has come true as I happened to snap some pictures of clothing stores in Sinchon and some other miscellaneous advertisements around Seoul.

Looks and appearance play a huge role in Korean society. How you look is very important! Fashion in Korea involves wearing lots of layers and having lots of accessories to go with your clothing. People like to wear clothes that have English text on it, but normally the text serves as the "design" and the literal meaning has nothing to do with anything.

Guys wear a lot of layers as well and most of the time they are in jeans. Women on the other hand take it up to another level. Even in the heart of winter, you will see some women wearing mini skirts with no stockings in high heeled boots--I don't know how they can deal with the minus degree weather in such little clothing! Also, Korea might the high heel capital of the world. The women here wear high heels everywhere. It's quite the feat to tackle multiple flights of subway stairs in heels--I can't imagine how that would feel. Now that I think of it, blister medication and band aid companies probably make a killing here!

Most of the time you can get a sense of what fashion is "in style" by advertisements. Here is an ad by K-SWISS:

Next up, we have Bean Pole (they have Gweneth Paltrow as one of their models; check her out on the side of a bus), which is similar to the Banana Republic and The Gap:

Here's a picture of a clothing store in Sinchon. If you're looking to buy clothes for cheap, you have to check out Dongdaemun:

...and I guess Koreans love their lingerie too:

What I get a kick out of is how couples love to dress the same. This was taken from a while back from our first visit to Insadong:


This is just small sample of what you'll see teaching in Korea. I'll try to post more about fashion in the future.

*edit* Here's a cool link to Naver's weather fashion recommendations (thanks annamatic)...check out the link for what to wear depending on the weather!

Get all the Korean Fashion you can through AsiaJam!

Current promotion, spend $70 and get a free goodie bag!

Sunday, 25 February 2007

The writing is on the wall at Starbucks

You read the title correctly--the writing literally is on the wall at Starbucks! At this location in Sinchon (a bustling area full of university of students) counter tops and the walls were littered with miscellaneous ramblings in Korean. Take a look at these pictures. The text is most likely written by lovey dovey Korean couples, declaring their endless love for each other. I would like someone out there to start this trend at your local Starbucks back home. However, if you get arrested or in trouble, don't involve me please!

My mocha frappuccino--it tasted mighty fine and was mighty expensive:

Here's the writing that was all over the counter near the window:

...it doesn't stop there as there's also writing all over the wall. I think they need to ban Sharpies or something:

You might find this last picture interesting. No, it's not an optical illusion, it's an intersection that has six crosswalks (there's another one directly to the right that you can't see) in Sinchon. Walking diagonally across the street is awesome!

Saturday, 24 February 2007

The Korean rat race: subway transfers

If you read my post about working hours in Korea, then you'll be excited to watch the following video. I have never taken the subway at 8:10am in the morning on a weekday before, let alone on a Friday. I am used to dealing with lots of people on the subway. Usually they are pretty busy at peak times. However, I have NEVER experienced anything like this before! Note to self, do not take the subway in the morning during the week!

This video is me getting off Line 5 (the purple line) at Yeungdeungpo-gu Office (the home of Costco) and transferring to Line 2 (the green line, one of the busiest lines). Keep an eye out on all the people marching up the stairs. My camera ran out of batteries after this clip so I was unable to film myself barging into a jam-packed subway car on Line 2.

Line 2 was even worse than Line 5. I managed to follow the crowds of people and pry my way into a full subway car. Some people were turned away because the cars were too full. Once I was standing in the subway car, I couldn't even turn around. It took me awhile to get away from the door (the worst possible spot) and grab onto a hanging handle. While all of this is going on, I am sweating profusely because a) I have my down-filled North Face jacket on and b) there are at least 200-300 people in this car, breathing at the same time with NO ventilation. Dirty and stinky air, anyone?

In the morning, there are free dailies given out so you see everyone reading them. They are also scattered all over the floors of the subway cars:

Okay, so I managed to have enough battery in my camera to take one last picture. This was the moment after stepping into the subway car at Yeungdeungpo-gu, Line 2 (green line). This man was nice enough to let me rest my arm on his upper back (I didn't ask, I just did it; he didn't seem to mind). With the car being so jam-packed, I was able to just freely lean back on the poor souls behind me--it was quite relaxing, even better than standing!

The trip to Seolleung was about 45 minutes away. People were pushing and shoving. One lady let out a yelp after some people forced themselves into an already packed car, shoving her in the process; another guy beside me had the most miserable face--he was hunched together with his free daily clutched to his chest, unable to move, almost in a vertical fetal position of some sort. I ended up standing the entire time, clutching onto the handle above me. It was like a war zone. Luckly I had my iPod to keep me occupied (although watching people push and shove is equally entertaining) for my long trip. At one point in time, someone had their hands or arms against my butt--I felt extremely violated. That's it, I'm taping tacks to my butt next time.

My tips for taking the subway during the peak times (use at your own risk):
  1. Be aggressive and try to get yourself into the subway car. Don't push anyone, just try to dodge your way through. If you someone shoves you, spread the love and shove someone back (don't listen to my advice)!
  2. Once in the car, get away from the doors. It is the worst possible place to stand. People with push and shove you to enter and leave the car. Wiggle your way to the side if possible.
  3. Want to sit down? Fat chance! However, if you are determined, strategically place yourself over a couple seats and mark your territory. Keep a sharp eye out when your subway car reaches any major station or transfer. You'll have the greatest chances of someone getting up and leaving--that's when you pounce on the free seat like a lion chasing a gazelle.

Friday, 23 February 2007

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Myeongdong

If you are a fan of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf coffee shops from the US, you will be happy to know that the coffee chain is alive and well in Seoul. There are 76 locations in KOREA alone, more than any other international location. Out of 500+ locations worldwide, the Korean franchises account for roughly 15% of that number.

Koreans love their coffee as there are dozens of coffee shops on every street, whether it's a mom and pop hole in the wall, a sketchy coffee cart, or another corporate chain (like Starbucks--the world's largest location is in Myeongdong at four stories high), you can get your caffeine fix anywhere and at anytime.

Following our lunch at Omuto Tomato, Hoo Kang and I went to The Coffee Bean nearby in Myeongdong. This location was enormous, consisting of two stories with lots of interior space. This location is so busy and large that it requires a full public announcement system to call out your name to get your coffee.

A funny sight that you will see in coffee shops is that they are dominated with Korean couples. What really caught my eye was one girl popping a zit on her boyfriend's face. I guess this is common practice here, but it was quite the sight. While she was busy trying to burst that bubble of puss on his face, I was contemplating taking a picture to post it on the blog. By the time I whipped out my camera, it was too late--she had finished her business! Darn! ;) One of these days, you will see snap shots of zit-popping here, whether you like it or not! Ewwwwwwww!

Here's the outside of the location, tucked away from busy streets:

Korean baristas busy making espressos, lattes, etc...

"A regular chai latte for...err...Gdog? Thanks for giving a proper name, you moron!"

The interior as seen from upstairs; this is only about 3/4 of the view:

As we made our way out of The Coffee Bean, Myeongdong was once busy again, bustling with shoppers. Being six feet tall, my view was a sea of black:

Pre-mixed bag 'o Chinese soup mix--thanks mom!

In most traditional Chinese households, families make soup all the time. This is called "bo tong" which means "making soup". But this is not your traditional soup like chicken noodle or minestrone--it's a concoction that involves Chinese herb/medicine mixes that are simmered with miscellaneous parts of the chicken or the cow (I will spare you the details).

Anyways, back home I had the pleasure of having my mom and grandma make these soups all the time. It was second nature for us to have our soup accompany our dinner. Well, after hearing about my constant medical problems (flu, throat infection, pink eye...hmm...what did I miss?) my mom gave a package of "ching bo leung" in Cantonese, or what many call a Ginseng Herbal Soup Mix to my sister's friend Tracy to bring over to Seoul. This concoction consists of the following (courtesy of Smile from the Heart):

Ginseng Herbal Soup Mix

  • Korean Ginseng Root
  • Black Date
    Dried Longan Pulp
    Wolfberry Fruit
    Chinese Yam Rhizome
    Solomon’s Seal Rhizome

Health Benefits

  • Nourishes chi- the body's natural energy
  • Nourishes the Blood
  • Calms the mind
  • Promotes restful sleep
  • Reinforces antibodies
This ancient blend is supposed to nourish and rejuvenate one's body. Well, let's put my soup making skills to the test. After a few Skype calls back home and some Google Talk instant messages with my dad, I took the necessary steps to make some soup! Let's get it on...

Here are the ingredients that I rinsed quickly in water prior to dumping it into two litres of water:

I luckily had some chicken breast in the freezer, so I defrosted it, sliced it into chunks and added it into the concoction:

After bringing this puppy to a boil, I let it simmer for 1.5 hours...letting the real flavors come out of the "mix"; here is the final product:

I must say I did a darn good job of making this soup! You can either have just the broth or you can eat the ingredients too. We drank the soup but didn't eat much of the leftovers. I did enjoy the longan chunks though. So there you have it...Chinese soup from home. Thanks mom!!! :)

Thursday, 22 February 2007

"I'm busy blogging...hold my calls"

Okay, normally I wouldn't do this, but if you're a blogger out there you will enjoy this video. Also, if you work in an office, this is the perfect excuse to tell your boss! Thanks to John Chow for the heads up--just watch the video!

Review from the TEFL logue

If you haven't visted the TEFL logue already, you're missing out on a fantastic resource for your teaching needs. In the realm of ESL websites, it can be difficult to separate the good ones from the bad ones. Need ideas for your classroom? Looking for a job? Need some last minute activities? Look no further than the TEFL logue, as they have a plethora of resources there at your fingertips.

One of the first places I would look is their "Best of" page, where you can find the most popular and resourceful posts made by Katie, the proprietor of the site. She painstakingly updates the site daily (which I have not done lately; I've been busy with work--hey, I'm human!) with lots of excellent information and helpful tidbits of information, all related to teaching English.

Katie over at the TEFL logue has been a long time supporter of my blog and she recently to reviewed The Daily Kimchi (edit: forgot to add the url). I had promised her that I would give her an exclusive video/review when I give my first attempt at eating live octopus. I am one to follow through on my promises so in the next little while (which could be...never--kidding) I will go hunt for a reputable restaurant and eat moving, squiggly, live, baby octopus tentacles. Anyone want to join me??

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Omuto Tomato: fusion omurice= omelette+rice

Do you love omelettes? I love omelettes too--make a me a Denver omelette with onions, green peppers, ham, cheese, and I will be in heaven. Today we're going to be talking about another kind of omelette. It's called omurice, a popular fusion omelette in Japan/Korea that consists of a thin layer of egg encapsulating fried rice. In Japan they cover these omelettes with ketchup, whereas in Korea most of the time it's some sort of gravy.

On the weekend I went to Omuto Tomato, where they make "fusion omurice". I went along with Hoo Kang, a friend and fellow business associate to discuss our plans to take over the internet and rule the world, muhahaha (insert evil laugh)! We went to a location in Myeongdong on Saturday afternoon. Usually Myeongdong is jam packed with people but this was the Seollal weekend, so everybody had left town. It did get busier after lunch but not crazy busy where you wanted to shoot everyone (figuratively speaking).

We started off with "fresh salad" (4900w) each that consisted of greens in a creamy dressing, along with a couple slices of smoked salmon. It was not bad and was an excellent dish to start my first meal of the day.

At Omuto Tomato, their main omurice dishes come in three sizes. You can choose from regular (180g), large (280g), or Xlarge (1000g, or 2.2lbs!). I was going to get the Xlarge size, but my better judgment (or lack thereof) prevented me from doing so. After you've decided on a size, there are four sauces to choose from: Cream, Tomato & Onion, Oriental, or Special (aka the mystery dish). For my first ever omurice experience I went with a tomato & onion served with fried shrimp--it was mighty delicious! Hoo Kang went the Oriental route and decided on a cubed beef and quail egg omurice--another excellent choice.

Here is the inside of the Myeongdong Omuto Tomato. Hoo told me that usually their locations are jam packed but when we went it wasn't busy at all. Don't the colors of the interior remind you of saucy rice omelettes? Sure they do!

Here is our "Fresh Salad" starter. If was I was to recreate this salad with the exact ingredients, it would probably cost me $1000--vegetables are expensive in Seoul, so 4900w is a bargain for this.

Here's my Tomato & Onion omurice. The shrimp was battered which soaked up the sauce nicely. The price for this was about 9500w (I can't remember exactly, sorry):

Here is Hoo's dish...looking very saucy indeed (the price for this...was about 9500w ish):

...and here's a picture that's totally unrelated, but I'm going to post it anyways because I know you all love TwoTwo fried chicken. Check out all the chicken sitting by the store front window. This was taken in Myeongdong--that's a copious amount of chicken!

Our lunch was pretty good, although I was still hungry. For some reason, I am always hungry in Korea and I can't stop eating (and taking pictures of what I eat). My students always ask me why am I always snacking on something--and then they call me a "pig". Nice one kids, I'm going to call your moms now--we'll see who gets the last laugh, muhahaha!

Monday, 19 February 2007

New banner + misc. blog fixes

You've probably noticed by now that my blog has a new banner. It's a picture taken from outside the National Museum of Korea, where we visited on the weekend (I'll post about that later). Currently my blog is still under construction so please bear (thanks Jon) with me. I have received emails from my fellow readers using Internet Explorer that they were still experiencing difficulties loading my blog.

Anyways, I've done some tinkering and the problem seems to be fixed. I've loaded the blog successfully without any errors now in both Firefox and IE. If you haven't heard of Firefox, it's an alternative browser out there that is free and more secure than IE. It's worth giving a try.

For those using IE out there, please let me know if the blog loads properly or not. Also, do you like the new banner? I'm off to the rat race--thanks!

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Spaghetti made by my internet provider

Our internet and cable provider, CJ Corp., is also the makers of processed food and its distribution. I didn't realize this until I saw a premade spaghetti package with the CJ logo at Homever. CJ has branched out into the world of entertainment. One of their biggest successes has been their creation of the largest multiplex theater chain in Korea, CGV (I watched Miami Vice at CGV).

That's right, in the world of South Korean business, the "chaebol," or business group, dominates the scene. These huge corporations are family run organizations that are financed in part by government funding. You might be familiar with a few of the big names out there, such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Lotte, etc. These huge corporations branch out into other businesses and areas, in essence creating multifaceted revenue streams. Why do my students study so hard? Maybe one day they will work for these huge companies, and become a "salary man" or "salary woman." Koreans work long and hard hours--my students tell me that sometimes their dads spend the night at the office--it's crazy. Take a look at this chart of the annual work hours of OECD countries--Korea tops the list at 2390 hours, about 1000 more hours than Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands (that's it, I'm moving to Europe!):

( Annual work hours (source: OECD (2004), OECD in Figures, OECD, Paris. [1]))

Anyways, let's stop all this talk about work (it's depressing) and get back to what I do best...posting pictures about the meals I've eaten. So here is the package of spaghetti made by CJ, my internet provider. Some popular Korean "TV dinners" are noodles such as spaghetti or udon. They are not frozen like our TV dinners back home.

The spaghetti noodles are cooked--you dump the noodles out of the package into boiling water for a minute. The sauce packets on the left need to be in boiling water for a couple minutes--which brings out the wonderful plastic taste that seeps into your sauce, deeelicious! You'll notice that there are also complimentary packets of Parmesan cheese, bonus!

The final result after cooking for five minutes is this masterpiece. Spaghetti with meat sauce and Parmesan cheese, made by my internet provider. The big question remains: when do you think AOL, Verizon, or Shaw Cable will come out with their own instant pasta?

Friday, 16 February 2007

Seollal in Seoul...Chinese New Year back home

On the dates February 17-19th, Koreans will be celebrating Seollal, or Lunar New Year's Day. This is one of the most significant Korean holidays, the other being Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving). This is a time when Koreans make a journey back to their parents' homes and also pay respects to their ancestors. This results in a mass migration (this time around, likely 30 million people will travel) of people all over the country, which can make for spectacular road trips involving multiple "are we there yet?" phrases but in Korean (can anybody translate for me?).

I spoke to all of my students and I would say 90% of them are heading out of town. Some destinations which usually take 2-5 hours will take even longer during Seollal due to the traffic. Most people book their train tickets a month in advance--one of my coworkers booked her train ticket a year in advance (that's what you call planning ahead).

This is also the best time for department stores, as they make a killing selling gift sets. Homever was jam packed with last minute shoppers, all making the preparations for the Lunar New Year.
With the Lunar New Year, we also got some gifts from work. We each got a 1.2kg jar of this rice syrup called "chojong," which is boiled down "shikkae," a barley drink that is widely sold everywhere (thanks Mark!) along with 10,000w gift certificates to Homever--score!

Here's a picture from Homever. Koreans love their gift box sets, ranging from fruit, olive oil, Spam, snacks/candy, and even toothpaste!

One of the most popular gifts are the prepacked sets of fruit, mainly apples, oranges and pears. The prices for these box sets are astounding, probably making it some of the most expensive fruit in the world!

Check this out, eleven Korean pears for 59,000w...or $63USD. Do the math and that equates to $5.72US for ONE PEAR! What makes these pears so special? My guess is there better be GOLD or DIAMONDS inside these pears! But the pears from the Hyundai Department Store during Chuseok still reign as king, coming in at $16US per pear!

Here's another similar box set: four apples, four oranges, and four pears for the bargain price of 59,000w! Hey, at least they come all nice and pretty, gift wrapped for this special time of the year!

Here's another example. 22 golden kiwis for 43,800w or $47US. That equates to $2.13US for ONE KIWI! I don't know if they jack the prices or what, but that is highway robbery to me. Regardless, people were buying these sets up like crazy!

Here's the organic honey/syrup we got from work. If there are any translators out there, feel free to post in the comments. The taste...is...hmm...it has the consistency of honey, but I can't really describe the taste. It's sweet but not very sweet. Koreans eat this on bread and with rice cakes. Every single student at our school received one of these! I had some kids who refused to take this home because it was "too heavy"...my response was "take it home or I'll be getting a phone call from your mom on Tuesday!"

Our 10,000w gift certificates to Homever, a subsidiary of E-land Corp (hmm...maybe I'll spend this on frozen durian...):

So, with our three day weekend we are going to relax and enjoy Seoul. This is probably the best time since so many people have left town! Want to read more about the whole Soellal hoopla? Read more about what Koreans do during Soellal here.

As for myself, I would make the journey back home in Canada to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family, but work does not permit me to do so. So, for everyone reading this back home, "Gung hay fat choy, sun tie geen hong, sum seung see-sing"...don't forget to save my "lai see" for me!

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Decorating our officetel-fun, fun, fun!

After our Christmas vacation in the UAE, we were moved into a larger officetel (also known as a box) a few floors up. Since we came as a couple, our accommodation is bigger than the setup would normally be for a single. Moving into a new place means trying to furnish and decorate. Hey, if we're living in a big square room we might as well try to make it look nice and feel comfortable.

We picked up some plants from Homever. They were quite cheap and they help bring some life into our white box. Here's one of the bamboo plants that we picked up:

This is another plant we decided to purchase. The thing I love the best about these plants--low maintenance, baby!

This little sucker sits nicely on our kitchen table:

I also got some digital prints enlarged from Costco and framed. If you're looking for cheap prints and you have a Costco nearby, I would suggest to get your prints done there. It's only 150w (15 cents) for a 4x6 print and if you're looking to go even bigger it's 700w (70 cents) for a 8x10. Want to go larger? The price jumps to 2500w ($2.50US) for a 11x14. You just bring your photos on your memory card and insert it into the computer at the Photo Counter. It's quite simple and easy to use. Now let's get to something important--don't forget to crop your photos to the 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, or 11x14 specifications before you show up at Costco. This is exactly what I forgot to do and I quickly remember at the last minute. So, with a game of charades I was able to get the employee to show me my pictures before she printed them. My picture now have a couple white borders on each side because of my lack of foresight-doh!

Here are the photos we printed in 11x14. A picture of the sun rise in Dubai and another of Devante's cute little dog:

...here's the view from the beach at the Hilton Beach Club in Ras Al-Khaimah and a shot of the Burj Al-Arab hotel in Dubai:

A quick question for the readers out there using Internet Explorer: are you getting errors when you try to load my blog? I noticed my sidebar on the right has dropped to the bottom (I've had this problem in the past) and also IE gives a pop up error. Although, browsing with Firefox gives no errors whatsoever. I'm trying to remedy the situation and will fix this ASAP. AsianTom pointed this out, thanks!

ReviewMe: 50% off reviews

In the past I have reviewed ReviewMe, the advertising service for bloggers. I posted my first paid review from HotelReservations.com a while ago. Anyways, the requirements to be approved by ReviewMe are quite fickle, but nonetheless we made it on board. Currently, they are holding a 50% off reviews promotion for advertisers looking for exposure on blogs. This means any potential advertisers out there will get a nice discount when choosing a blog to do a review--it also means more money for bloggers writing the objective reviews (like me!). If there are people or organizations interested in being reviewed on this blog, enter the coupon code trial when you check out.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Valentine's Day lunch: paying to cook my own food

For Valentine's Day, Devante and I went out for a quick lunch before work at the Hyundai Department Store. There was this place that we had seen before that I wanted to try out. So we enduredthe freezing cold weather and embarked on our 10 minute journey to Pepper Lunch. This central idea of this place is that you cook your own meat-based dish in a hot stone plate.

We both decided to go with one of their lunch combos, which included a soft drink. Devante with with the pepper steak and rice and I chose the pepper steak with curry rice. Our meals arrived relatively fast (considering the kitchen staff just needs to throw the ingredients onto the hot plate) and immediately we were cooking our own lunch. Paying money to cook your own food, what a concept. At least I didn't have to do the dishes!

Pepper Lunch is a big chain in Korea. It was pretty busy there at lunch time:

Here is their menu. You can choose from an assortment of pepper steaks, pork, and chicken. The pictures exaggerated the serving of meat big time...you'll see what I'm talking about.

Devante's pepper steak and rice dish. Raw meat on a hot stone might not seem appetizing to you, but everyone loves pictures of raw meat in Korea! You see posters of raw meat in bbq restaurants and grocery stores. With most dishes here, meat is not the major emphasis, unlike North America. If you are a carnivore (like myself--hey, I'm a dog) you will need to find other sources of meat to satisfy your cravings:

Here is my dish, which is vaguely similar to Devante's except there was some curry powder on my rice. I had to mix it all up to create some sort of curry beef masterpiece:

Five minutes later and this is what it looked like...appetizing?

If you love sweet pickles or any other sort of pickles, you will love food in Korea. It's served with everything, especially pizza. Here are the pickles we were served. I saved them for you.

Pepper Lunch was alright, it was an experience to say the least. We are going out for Valentine's dinner on Saturday night since we work nights during the week. Any suggestions on where to go in Seoul?

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