Sunday, November 30, 2014

Travel | Seoul 28 Oct - 2 Nov 2014 | Day 1 - Gwanghwamun Square | Namdaemun Market

After breakfast at Tosokchon, walked around the area and headed back to Gwanghwamun. Gwanghwamun 광화문 is the main and largest gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace, but Gyeongbokgung Palace remained closed on that day (every Tuesday).

getting our bearings right
passing by Gwanghwamun gate

Nearing Gwanghwamun Plaza, we saw white tentages and some banners. Perhaps some festival was on-going? Realized that we had stumbled upon the 2nd Korean Food Day Festival, and it was their opening day. So lucky!

2nd Korean Food Day Festival
tail-end of performance

Exhibitors were showcasing their produce, and there were some display on food and culture related items as well. Most of the exhibitors spoke only in Korean.

related to weddings

intricately carved

There was a bibimbap making as well, participated by over a hundred chefs probably.

chefs awaiting to participate in bibimbap making

Some tents offers sampling of their produce. The one offering Korean beef wasn't ready, so did not have a chance to taste any.

pounding rice cake, traditional way
duck meat is not that commonly found in Seoul, don't you think so?
beautiful view
vibrant colours of early autumn

Nearby, are the landmarks of Gwanghwamun Plaza.

statue of King Sejong, with Gwanghwamun in the background
closer view of King Sejong statue
Admiral Yi Sun-Sin statue
a shot of its vicinity

Nearby King Sejong's statue, there is an entrance to the underground where it is like a mini-museum for information related to King Sejong's and Admiral Yi Sun-Sin's history. Without King Sejong, there would probably be no hangul, or it might've been introduced much later?

walls in the lift

Went back to hotel to check-in, before heading out to Namdaemun. One word of caution. Namdaemun stuffs are more expensive as compared to Dongdaemun.

plenty of food

Dried goods such as gingko, sliced sweet dates, seaweed packs can all be found here. Seaweed packs are around 5000. Though the one that I got from an ahjushi seller was 10,000. Hmm. Bought a hoodie from Namdaemun Market for 20,000 (~SGD25). It is probably double of its price elsewhere in Dongdaemun.

Past 630pm, the makeshift stalls begun to line-up in the middle of the streets. Made a mistake of sitting down at the first one that we saw. A small plate of stir-fried eel, cost 12,000. If you need to eat at these places, at least ensure that the seafood are kept in chillers. The vendor that we had, didn't.

spicy stir-fried eel
Walked around and saw fresh ginseng. Didn't get any but bought one big pear from an elderly man. Written price was 1500 but he tried to charge us 2000 for it instead. Tsk, tsk. Other places, the same type of pear sells for just 1000 per fruit. Shopping on Day 1, has its risks.

fresh ginseng
My friend had all sorts of snacks while going around Namdaemun. I was adamant on trying Jokbal and Namdaemun Market does have a stretch of street where 3-4 vendors were selling those.

One offered take-away for just 4500₩  but upon enquiry, realised that it was just skins for that price. Tourist must do what tourist must do, so opted to dine-in. Requested for the smallest medium-sized jokbal possible.

jokbal from this shop
The shop looked as though it had been around since the 80s.

dining table
pork trotters, greens, spring onions, beansprouts soup, dipping sauce, beanpaste sauce, green chili and garlic cloves, radish
jokbal @ 25000₩(~SGD32)

So much food for just the 2 of us. Haha! The pork skin was actually pretty chewy. Nice but nothing to shout about.

Lady boss (whose face is printed on the banner), was friendly and taught us how make the wrap. She even fed my friend. Haha!

wrap it all up

Too much food, and of course, we couldn't finish. The shop packed the meat and sauce for us to take-away, back to the hotel.



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