Thursday, 23 October 2014

혜화 와 낙산 | Naksan (again) & Filipino Market

A while ago, I'd read about a Filipino market that happens every Sunday in Hyehwa, selling food and sundries. I've been meaning to go for a while now, because I miss hearing Filipino being spoken on a regular basis, and I've been meaning to get some things like patis and sinigang sa sampalok mix so that I can a) spice up my cooking a bit, and b) let Nick try a few more Filipino foods considering he can't try my mum's cooking for quite a while.

So when our new (at the time, again I'm really behind on these posts) friend Ziggy offered to take us around, I was pretty stoked.

I will say, this has become a 'thing' now. Never expect to see a photo of Nick smiling while eating on this blog.

We settled at a stall selling hot food, very reminiscent of a Barrio Fiesta setup (i.e. I feel like I'm eating in my Tita's back garden under the table umbrella) and ordered a set meal of rice, ulam, and a spring roll. We also grabbed some bbq because oh my goodness.

Nick had menudo and I had pancit, and I think Ziggy had binagoongan but I'm not sure because I heard dinuguan so now that's all I can remember. Regardless, it was all really tasty and I'm pretty darn happy I went.

I was way too excited and ate too fast, so despite wanting both biko and banana Q, we ended up all just getting the banana (which was excellent, just the right amount of salty and sweet, but it's nothing compared to eating it with vanilla ice cream). While browsing the shops we all bought a big cup of iced coconut milk drink for about 1000 won each. Normally I'm not a huge coconut person, but this was SO GOOD. Now all I need to find is some gulaman. That green, green goodness.

I picked up a packet of bayleaves and peppercorns, to fill the gap that my adobo has been so sorely missing, and a sampalok mix packet, as well as some little bags of Mang Tomas. I wanted a bottle but nowhere seemed to have one, so I'll have to make do for now.

We moved on to a lovely cafe where we talked about films and a project we're currently working on (which I won't mention properly until it's left infancy and we've actually done something) and all sorts of things, before going to Baskin Robbins (when DON'T we go to BR?) because apparently it was Day 31 which is a regular special event whereupon when you make a purchase they upgrade you to the next size. Whaaaaat?! Turns out it's only for the large family packs, not your standard cones, but we were there so we bought ice cream anyway. Puss in Boots is EXCELLENT.

Then, what do you do when it's a nice day in Seoul and you're full to bursting with food? Of course, you climb a mountain. Of course. It was meant to be a nice tour around all the street art in Naksan but we turned it into location scouting mission and general hike of "how high can we climb?" with a directional sign promising us "amusement".

Turns out "amusement" leads us to a large open space, one of the many free outdoor gyms available all over Korea, and a great view of Seoul. Not bad, but not what I expected.

As appears to be quite common in SK, all of these high vantage points are great date spots, so I ended up with all my landscape photos looking like dramatic romance shots from k-dramas.

After a great sunset, we decided to go back down to the station, taking a route that we thought would be more scenic. It was, however it turned out to be the biggest detour, as we were blocked all along one side by what I can only assume was one of the big walls of Ye Olde Korea. The next opening would presumably be something ridiculous like Dongdaemun.

It wasn't, because it's big, old, and there's not enough room in Korea to be hemmed in by such arbitrary things as walls, so eventually a main road punched through, which we followed to a subway station.

We played around and took some photos of my new Aladdin leggings c/o Black Milk
FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON we really, really wanted McDonalds. Why. Why does anyone EVER want McDonalds. I promised myself I'd already eaten a load, so I'd just buy a pack of fries, so of course I ordered a McNuggets meal. OF COURSE.

Presumably that wasn't enough, because we then went to Cold Stone Creamery for dessert. I've heard about this franchise before, mainly just through people praising it, so I've been wanting to go for a while now. My bucket list of unhealthy eateries is now longer than my presumed lifespan if I visit them all.

Oh well. I'd rather live a short, happy life full of good food than a long, dreary life of celery.

Cold Stone Creamery is interesting in that, you choose your cone, you choose your ice cream flavour, and then a topping (or more if you want to pay extra) and they kind of...teppanyaki it up. That's an obscure analogy. They kind of scoop your super soft, gelato-esque ice cream onto a metal work surface, then add your toppings, and use two spatulas to combine it all, almost like making your own personalised flavour. It's so good, because this way you don't end up eating all of your toppings right at the start. By far, it's my favourite ice cream I've had since coming here.

Anyway, after all that, it was getting late, so I guess we decided to go home before we got stuck in the station with no choice but to eat even more food. Man, I love food.

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