Up fairly early once again. Adam had to go to work, so he trusted us enough to set us on Korea without causing an international incident. We took the train to Insadong, where we were yesterday. It's kind of an arts & crafts area, with a lot of traditional Korean stuff: pottery masks, inlaid pearl boxes, art, etc.
I found a lot of something to get Zoe (fans), not so much for Tristan, and nothing that really grabbed me for Jennifer. I did get a cool bookmark that we'll use as a Christmas tree ornament, and a bibimbap fridge magnet. We also found some gelato: green tea for me, peach for Steve, and mocha for Jason.
We walked out of the Insadong area so Steve could go to Burger King.
They did have some non-American menu items that looked good, like the Bulgogi Burger. I'm not sure if that would violate my No American Food policy or not, but I didn't eat there anyway.
We walked down past the electronics district, in a search for lunch for Jason and I. We found a huge indoor bazaar, called the _____ Market. (It was a lot like Zern's in Gilbertsville, PA for those familiar with "The Sale.") It started with cloth & fabrics,
then moved to fish and meats and decorative food baskets and fruits.
Jason bought a dragonfruit; something he'd come to enjoy in Vietnam. We found the food vendor section. One booth after another, maybe 10 feet wide with seats or a bench and a tiny kitchen, and a tiny counter, mostly occupied with bowls of ingredients. We picked one and sat down. It seemed like each booth served about one dish. Our booth was bibimbap. We had our large, non-stone bowls of rice and veggies to which the vendor lady added things like nori, dried squid with sweet chilies, and tiny dried minnows.
We also got a hot bowl with some kind of soup with roasted barley. It was a lot of food of pretty good quality (even though the cleanliness of the place was iffy). It was a whole W3000 each.
We walked around the market some more and took a lot of pictures. We totally missed the pig snout lunch vendors
as well as the ground mung bean pancakes with scallions (the samples of which were delicious.)
Outside the flea market was the electronics market. This was like something out of the movies. Tiny "streets" with vendor shops on both sides, some as small as a decent walk-in closet, selling everything electronic.
We wandered through several alleyways, dodging the occasional merchandise-laden motorscooter.
We went back into the building proper and found a vendor selling Canon gear. I bought a lens hood for my 28-135mm lens for W19,000. I thought I had negotiated down to W15,000, but when I only got W1,000 change from the 20K I gave him, I guessed my negotiated price was lost in translation.
We took the train back to the apartment, planning to go out later to the only decent Italian restaurant in Seoul (allegedly). I think we all ended up inadvertently napping in front of the TV, so instead we ate-in. Adam made some pork that looked like bacon, but wasn't cured or salted, so it cooked up more like beef-looking (brownish) than bacon-looking (pink.) We had that with thick slices (Jason is not handy with a kitchen knife) of high-powered Korean garlic, bean paste, traditional kimchi, and lettuce & sesame leaf wraps. It's definitely a meal that would do well in the states, especially the cooking at your own table-style, which this was not.
(View my entire set of Korea trip photos here on Zooomr)
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