There’s nothing more exhilarating than walking down a crowded street full of food vendors and hungry patrons crowding around carts while stuffing their faces. This scene exemplifies my one of my favorite pastimes: eating.

In the Seoul nightlife, you can’t get away from street food. It’s everywhere. Busan exemplifies a similar food-filled street structure. On my recent trip to South Korea my boyfriend and I had a lot of fun eating at street vendors and had some great food in the process.

Dukbokki and pajeon

Our first night dining on the street brought us to a little tent with a woman selling everything from live sea cucumber to Korean style pancakes. We settled on the Korean pancake, “pajeon,”  and a spicy rice cake called “dukbokki.” The pajeon was definitely my favorite out of the two. The rice cakes have a surprising texture to them. From first glance they look soft, what you would expect rigatoni to feel like. In all actuality they have the texture off very stiff and undercooked gnocchi. All in all not bad, but not my favorite.

Another night brought us to a seafood vendor selling fresh, and live,

Live octopus

octopus… among other things (urchin, sea cucumber, etc.) The owner and operator of the cart began preparing the live-octopus meal by digging his hand into the small fish tank he had on his cart and yanking out one of the five octopi in the tank. He then ravenously pulled the head off of the still-moving octopus and chopped it into bite-sized pieces and scooped them onto a Styrofoam plate for us. He also added some chopped garlic, chillies and sesame oil, which surprisingly added a lot of flavor. This wasn’t my first time eating live octopus; but I didn’t learn to appreciate it’s taste, or should I say mobility, until this most recent visit. It was tasty, but requires thorough chewing as it sticks to your throat!

Dave eating the fluffy, tasty, dough-ball heaven

Finally, the best street food we found was fried dough balls stuffed with a sesame seed, sunflower seed and brown sugar mixture. There’s really nothing more to say about it other than it was fantastic and tasted like heaven. It also only cost 60 cents. My only regret: Not buying two.

Me eating kimchi udon in Seoul

We also had some delicious food not found at street vendors. There were a lot of restaurants serving up what I considered to be Japanese and Korean fusion. One excellent example of this was Kimchi Udon, which consists of two of my favorite things: kimchi and noodles. The broth reminded me of kimchi jjigae, a Korean stew made of kimchi.

 

Dave and the Korean BBQ

Dave and the Korean BBQ

And, of course… Korean barbecue, the best thing on the whole trip. We ordered pork belly (samgyeopsal) both times we ate barbecue. It is a fatty layer of meat, somewhat resembling american bacon but subtracting the salt content. We had a grill directly on the table, and were in charge of cooking it ourselves… although the wait staff ever-so-kindly helped us with the cooking process. After the pork was grilled we dipped it into a spicy chili sauce and wrapped it up in Korean lettuce with onions, roasted garlic, mushrooms, cabbage… and any of the other 10 dishes they put on the table. So delicious, so affordable… I dream of Korean barbecue when I’m back in the U.S.


South Korea posts coming soon! Lack of internet on my home computer is hindering my ability to blog with pictures.

My post-undergrad days have left me with a temporary job  keeping me busy from 6 am to 6 pm. With such a draining routine five days out of the week, I can’t help but find my mind wandering to various different places.

Here are a few locations I’ve been dreaming about over the past couple of weeks:

Bali, Indonesia

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Phuket, Thailand

Munich, Germany

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cairo, Egypt

Marrakesh, Morocco

All of these places sound amazing to me right now… but there are also so many others…

Dave and me in Pisa. (March 2009)

Ten more days until departure for South Korea with my boyfriend, Dave. This will be our third trip out of the U.S. together. Last spring we traveled to Florence, Pisa, Rome and London, and last summer we went to Canada.

Last summer I also took a trip to Tokyo and Seoul with a friend of mine. The busy, food-filled streets of Seoul were utterly unique to my strictly European travel experience. Firstly, the vast majority of currencies I’ve used in my adventures have been either the British Pound or the Euro which not only dominated the U.S. dollar but also my bank account. Secondly, I could eat out in Seoul for all three meals and spend around  fifteen U.S. dollars (less with street food).

Eating Korean BBQ in Seoul. (June 2009)

Other than the difference in expenses, Seoul has such a rich culture with amazing food. There are beautiful palaces and shrines hidden in the streets of Seoul. Markets have street vendors selling amazing snacks and also some adventurous food… such as live octopus! Food is another reason for my travels. I love to eat… but that can be saved for another entry.

So, ten more days until take-off. My anticipation will hopefully make the time flow faster; however, I doubt it.

Keep reading for more tales of Seoul and Busan… or whatever else comes along!

Me in a small town just outside of Salzburg, Austria. (October 2007)

Hi, I’m Julie, and I am a self-proclaimed travel addict. I’m about to take an adventure to one of my favorite places in the world, Seoul, and I felt compelled to start a blog before I left. This blog has been years in the making. In the fall of 2007 I studied abroad in the small town of Paderno del Grappa, Italy. In the three months I spent there I was able to travel to 12 beautiful European countries, thus beginning this money-sucking but absolutely invigorating addiction. To my utter regret, I never managed to document my time there, but things are changing.

My time in Italy was one of the best times of my life. Almost every weekend we were able to travel to a new country and experience life in a new culture with a different language. This kind of high was indescribable. Coming back to the United States brought back the familiar monotony of my scholarly career. It only meant one thing: I had to travel and regularly. Now that I’m done with school and finding myself with more free time than necessary, traveling is all I can think about. This blog will document my next adventures and everywhere I’m thinking about in the process.

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