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Entries in south korea (6)

Wednesday
Jul022014

Kimchi – Korea’s most revered condiment

It’s safe to say that almost every Korean meal you will ever eat will include kimchi. Kimchi is a fermented dish that can be prepared with a choice of vegetables such as radish, cucumber, or cabbage. The vegetable is cured with salt and loaded with dry chili flakes, then left to sit for a few days until mild fermentation begins to occur, the level of bitterness being determined by how long the fermentation process is. When you eat a Korean meal, kimchi is served as what’s known as a banchan, or a small side dish. Despite being considered only a condiment to complement a main course, kimchi is often considered to be the national food of South Korea.

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Wednesday
Feb122014

Valentine’s Day in Asia – is it a big deal?

Valentine’s Day in western countries is celebrated by everyone from young school children to senior couples who have been married for decades. It’s usually a pretty standard affair – a card, a romantic dinner, chocolates, a gift, and – for the truly dedicated – engagements or weddings.

But in Asia – where western traditions often have to be modified to fit around long-established cultural norms – Valentine’s Day takes on interesting new dimensions.

For instance, in China, there are several important rules one must observe if they want to impress someone. Do not, under any circumstances, give an umbrella or a fan. This is because the Chinese word for both sounds similar to the Chinese word for “to leave” or “to separate,” which is definitely not what Valentine’s Day is about. Similarly, avoid shoe shopping, since shoes represent someone who is ready to walk away.

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Wednesday
Sep182013

Overview of the side dishes that make a Korean meal complete

With every meal you eat in South Korea, you’ll not only get the main dish, but also a variety of small side dishes known as banchan. From a Korean self-barbecue feast to a simple hot rice/salad mixture of bibimbap, everywhere you eat, tasty side dishes will be provided.

There are countless different types of banchan prepared in South Korea, but the exact ingredients will depend on where you are in the country and what ingredients happen to be locally available at that particular time. Soy sauce-braised tofu, boiled bean sprouts in chili, miniature seafood pancakes, quail eggs, candied lotus root, sesame seed-seasoned greens, stir fried potato starch noodles, and of course, kimchi, are just a sampling of the never ending list of banchan possibilities. In fact, banchan are so delicious and offers such a well-rounded realm of flavors, that the side dishes alone could be considered an entire feast of its own!

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Wednesday
Jul312013

Big City Transit: Seoul

If a think-tank full of the world’s top city planners and developers put their heads together to design a state-of-the-art public transport system, it would probably end up looking a lot like Seoul’s. To be fair, that’s not far from what actually happened. The Seoul of post-war Korea expanded rapidly as people from the surrounding countryside poured in. Those people needed practical and effective infrastructure, and transit solutions that worked. And that’s exactly what they got.

That’s good news for today’s visitors. For all of Seoul’s drab (some would say ‘soulless’) architecture, the city redeems itself with one of the cleanest, most beautifully organized public transport systems in the world. All a visitor needs is a public transit map, a card with the name and address of their Seoul hotel written in Korean and a stored value card (try the Seoul City Pass or T-Money card) and you can get pretty much anywhere you need to go. You’ll end up doing a little bit of walking between stations and your onward destination, but this is nominal. Wherever you are headed, the subway, taxis and buses of Seoul will get you there quickly.

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Wednesday
Mar062013

A Korean Pilgrimage

Asia is truly is a region that has it all, offering almost any type of adventure that a traveler can imagine. But in between stints doing the most popular activities and visiting the most popular locations, plenty of people are finding new and more meaningful ways to connect with Asian people, culture, and history.

Of course there are plenty of great things to be said about spending time in Bangkok or Tokyo or Phuket or Phnom Penh and the experiences there are no less real or authentic than any other that the average traveler will have. But what happens when you put a bit of effort into going off the beaten path, to digging a bit deeper into the culture of your temporary home?

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Tuesday
Oct062009

worldwide club guide: seoul

nightlife in seoul

The nightlife in South Korea’s capital can be fun but there are some issues to be aware of – apart from in specially designated tourist areas bars and clubs shut their doors at midnight, most public transport stops at 12:30 am, taxis have a 20% surcharge from midnight-4 am and while Korean-style clubs usually don't have a cover charge, they require patrons to buy a minimum amount of drinks or side dishes (anju). If you’re in a large group this is fine, but if you're alone or with only one club buddy, it can be expensive.

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