Day 2 Korea. Sept. 15, 2016
Today was a really great second day in the land of kimchi and palaces (got to eat/see both of those today)!
In the morning, we locked up our hanok VERY securely with one of the primitive forms of lock and key — a chain with a stick 😂 — and then headed to the little cafe called Café Lee Mong right in the Gangneung Seongyojang village that was open to the public for free today thanks to it being a public holiday. We each got a drink and had a breakfast of mooncakes and Korean pastries (to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival) before we headed on our way to another hanok village, but which was much bigger and had more historical significance.
This was called “Wu Chok Kai” and featured not only a well known artist’s work and life but black bamboo shoots too. It was a very sunny day but it came with a refreshing breeze that made the day nice to explore in.
After some photos of the palaces, museum, artifacts, and more posing (it really was scenic and gorgeous there), we took a cab to ‘Coffee Street’, a place famous for its coffee and coffee shops in Gangneung.
When we got there, the beach was view-able from the road. We spotted a small vendor selling snacks and impulsively ordered some “Welldome assorted skewers” and a shaved ice dessert to share.
The Welldome assorted skewer had squid balls, chicken, shrimp, squid, and some type of spicy fish balls on it. It was okay but the shrimp’s firm texture definitely stood out.
The shaved ice was covered with red bean, sugar, cherries, and jellos. The shaved ice were in big chunks which made it refreshing and the red bean topping was quite sweet.
Then, we wandered around to a large seafood market which happened to act as a restaurant on the second level. There were a lot of live fish, crabs, and different types of sea life kept in tanks that I hadn’t seen before, including a bright red one that looked like a stunted eggplant (lol).
We wandered upstairs to the second floor to inquire about their prices and how the seafood would be prepared – cooked or raw. Once we got an answer, we took a seat and had a really fresh seafood meal! (!!!!)
Our table was another sitting-on-the-floor-type ones where you had to take off your shoes first. The server lined our table with banchan, a large pot with the fish and soup in it, and also a plate of the red sea life all cut up ready to be boiled in the hot soup to be eaten.
This was a fantastic seafood feast!!
After we had tasted some of the boiled fish and delicious soup, we were served with the crab, crab legs, and mollusks. The crab was incredibly fresh and freshly sweet. The mollusks were also meaty and fresh too.
I ended up really enjoying the red sealife…
I need to find out its name. (Found out it’s called a sea squirt!)
After finishing off the food on our table, we waved goodbye to this nice seafood spot we discovered on a whim and strolled down ‘Coffee Street’.
There were rows among rows of coffee shops, ranging from the omnipresent Starbucks to a popular chain Hollys Coffee to Coffee Cuppers to more unique coffee houses featuring freshly roasted coffee and homemade cakes.
By now, the sunniness had transpired and it was cloudy. There was still a nice gentle cool breeze which made it so nice to walk around to.
There was a big ‘coffee cup and coffee beans’ structure right on the beach and some exercise equipment on the beach on a patio for anyone to get a good workout in. It was fun!
We couldn’t leave this part of Gangneung without having a cup of coffee, thus we sat on the second floor patio of Coffee Cuppers and enjoyed a pretty cafe latte. (I regret not getting a piece of cake with my coffee after walking out to enjoy the more true experience of coffee and cake in Korea. Ah well). It was really nice still; the latte wasn’t strong in caffeine and I liked its smooth taste — drank it down like water.
By this point, it was getting late and we still had one more destination to go to. We hopped onto another taxi (only the third one brave enough to take four of us in one car) to head to the second annual Ohsaekdalbit Culture Night. It looked like a mid-autumn festival celebration even though I know Koreans celebrate Thanksgiving here instead.
There were a lot of people in the park area and we were able to even borrow a free lantern to play with/take photos with. It was so nice!
There was a traditional tea ceremony too which we peeked into.
Then, we returned the lanterns and headed to the night market and food trucks (!). Dinner time!
The small night market spanned one street where they sold everything from drinks (in a lightbulb) to jewellery to tea to decoratives and more. It was rowdy but in a very controlled way since everyone was walking down one way (not like usual night markets). I could see the lake in the distance. It was beautiful and so calm.
Then we approached the open field where there was some sort of performance happening, people sending floating lanterns into the sky, and of course, the food trucks (!)
We tried out a dish from every food truck that was there — there were only four. Every menu was written in Korean so I couldn’t understand what we were ordering.. until we got it in hand. We tried a squid and cabbage dish, Spicy rice cakes, fried soft tofu, and jook.
The raw squid and cabbage salad had ample squid in it, that when mixed with the hot sauce, made it quite a terrific meal. However, I tried not to eat too much of the squid since I was mindful of my cholesterol intake.
The spicy korean rice cakes had fewer quantity in the cup than I expected. Regardless of that, the rice cakes were very chewy and firm. I liked the well-made sauce too.
The fried soft tofu was a surprise favourite. It was just lightly fried and so its insides were still really soft and tasted fresh. It was covered with a slightly sweet sauce that I couldn’t place my finger on.
The jook, Korean congee, as I had later learned about from my friend after not knowing what it was at first tasted really good! It was like comfort food.
There was seaweed on top of porridge-like soup with mushy rice cake consistency plumps and king oyster mushrooms. It was so good and I loved the taste of the seaweed in it.
I saw some floating lanterns being sent up in the air which was pretty neat too. I thought they only did those in Thailand (lol).
Luckily, we were only 15-20 minutes walking distance from our hanok home and had a great time doing so to get home.
I took so many photos today: food, landscape, selfies, and the like. Tonight is our last night in the hanok stay. We leave Gangneung tomorrow and head to another city in Korea! Until the next post! 🙂