Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Flowers and Food

Spring is such a happy time in Seoul!  What fun it is to see colorful new life everywhere after a gray and dreary winter.  A recent walk along the Namsan mountain trails revealed how beautiful and colorful this city really is!  (Unfortunately, although my photos are saved correctly on my PC from my phone, they are not uploading here correctly.  You'll have to use your imagination a bit to correctly orient your view.)

The street food vendors in Myeongdong come out in full force each weekend of spring.  I noticed several "new" offerings this year:  colorful chocolate covered strawberries, fried dumplings, japchae (stir-fried noodles with vegetables), jajangmeon (black bean sauce over noodles), cream-filled waffles, meatballs, crepes with Nutella, cream puff-type rolls, Indian-style ice cream, filled churros, stuffed pancake roll-ups, seafood skewers, and "J-shaped" cones filled with soft-serve ice cream.  And I had to include a photo of one new store front in honor of my son-in-law, Ben!

And here are some of the old familiar offerings.  Believe it or not, all the food photos (except the one with Bob) on this post were taken on the same day as I walked down just two streets.  The market really comes to life each spring with throngs of people meandering the narrow streets and sampling the large variety of street foods.  If you can handle the crowds, it really is a fun experience!

  I love springtime in Seoul!

Davis' Visit

Arriving in Seoul just in time for the cherry blossoms, Terry and Craig landed on our doorstep the day after our return from Texas.  They were here with members of their branch to attend the temple, although we like to think they came just to see us!  It's easier and less expensive for them to come here from Beijing than it is to travel to their assigned temple in Hong Kong.  On Friday, April 4, we drove south across the Han River and visited the Buddhist Temple Bongeunsa.  It was originally built by a high-ranking Shilla Monk in 794, but has been rebuilt several times over the course of time.

From the temple, we drove a short distance to see the royal tombs Seolleung, where King Seongjong and Queen Jeonghyeon and buried, and Jeongneung, the resting place of King Jungjong.  Their reign was during the time of the Joseon Dynasty around the 1500's.

Saturday morning was spent at the Seoul Temple, and that afternoon we visited the War Memorial of Korea.  What a contrast between light and dark!  For lunch we introduced the Beijing group to one of my first Korean meals, Samyetang - or ginseng and rice stuffed chicken soup.  Learn more about it by clicking here.

We had a couple of young single women from the Davis' branch come stay with us that evening and we all went to church together the next morning.  They had an opportunity to visit the Changdeokgung Palace together that afternoon while Bob and I tried to rest and take care of church responsibilities.  A link to a previous post about the palace can be seen here.  Our last day together was Monday, April 7.  That morning we walked the path on Namsan mountain to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms.  We hiked to the tower and although it was a little foggy, we were able to get a nice view of springtime in Seoul.


We quickly walked through Namdaemun market and grabbed some street food for lunch, including Yachae Hoddeok, which is explained here.  We got more than we bargained for from one shop owner!  Then Mr. Kim took us to the Folk Flea Market, which captivated Craig and Terry for hours.  That evening we feasted on traditional Korean barbecue (the photo is a representation only - found in bing images with no original reference) in Myeongdong followed with a new street food dessert - cream stuffed waffles.  It was the perfect way to conclude their first "taste" of Seoul.

Thanks for the fun visit, Craig and Terry!