Friday, January 20, 2012

Dakgalbi in Chuncheon, South Korea

My dear friend, Hellena, arrived in Korea for just a couple of days and I got to spend Thursday with her.  She is a flight attendant with Quatar and she lives in Doha.  She rarely gets to Korea so I was thrilled to see her one last time before we leave.  

She always loves to take me to new places and had decided to take me to Chuncheon which is about an hour and a half East of Seoul for lunch.  She was pouring over subways and bus routes when her boyfriend took pity on her and took a "sick"day to take us in his car.  I took the bus to Seoul and they picked me up at Sadang Station.  We also picked up one of Hellena's friends.

Chuncheon is famous for dakgalbi which is a spicy chicken dish.  In Chuncheon, there are tons of dakgalbi restaurants but Hellena's boyfriend knew which one was the best and that is where we went.  It wasn't much to look at from the outside.
                                                 Or the inside for that matter.
But it's all about the food and I know from back home that some of the worst looking dives have the best food.
I was unprepared for how much food they brought.  I thought this could feed a small army and to prove my point shortly after we arrived, a bunch of guys with military uniforms came in to eat too.
                             This is what it looked like as it was cooking.  It smelled delicious.
                     Afterwards we went to a nearby dam to look around.  It was really beautiful.

Next we had to find a coffee shop in downtown Chuncheon because that is what you do when you eat a HUGE meal in Korea.  The girls were remarking that you could really tell we were in the country and I asked why.  They told me to look at how people were dressed.  Women had on jeans and tennis shoes.  I didn't see one person wearing high heels.  They told me that is how you can tell you are in the country.  Hmm.
Then it was back to Seoul and we dropped Hellena's friend off in Gangnam.  The traffic was horrible.  We were meeting Hellena's flatmate from Doha for dinner who also happened to be in Korea at the same time .
We went to, of course, a very famous restaurant for Chinese food.  There was already a long line of people waiting but when the owner saw me, he immediately found us a table.  We all felt bad about it and didn't want to be treated differently.  The owner also kept a special eye on our table and we wanted for nothing.

 This picture is me with Hellena and her boyfriend.  He really was a trooper and never complained once.
I ate maybe two small bowls of food.  I was still stuffed from lunch but someone they managed to finish everything.
 Hellena and me waiting for of all things after all that food, ice cream.  I told them not to get me any but they did anyway and I could only eat one small bite.  I was sooooo full.
We even managed to find my favorite store, Art Box, and I bought a few things.  The thing in the lower left corner is a passport holder and Hellena told me I had to have one.  It's what all Koreans do and you know me if all Koreans are doing it, so am I.  I took the subway all the way back to Suwon Station for the first time with Hellena making sure I got on the right one.  The Incheon subway and the Suwon subway are on the same track.  How confusing is that!  I got to Suwon Station, caught the 777 bus after a few minutes and made it home shortly after 10 pm.

Hellena flies back to Doha on Saturday but returns on Monday.  She invited us to her sister's house for Seollal and her mom is going to cook for us.  I'm so excited and can't wait.  Rocketman is flying back tomorrow afternoon so he will be in town too.

Rocketman informed me that his Kindle is not waterproof.  He has a habit of reading in the tub and guess what happened?  He dropped it.  So I got another thing added to the growing list of things we need when we return to the States.

Here are a couple of videos I took of the dakgalbi:

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