Cheong-gye-san mountain hiking story

Cheong-gye-san(청계산) mountain is extended from Seoul to Gyeonggi-do(경기도), and it is one of the popular mountains which many Korean visit. After the Cheonggyesan station opened on 2011, going to the Cheong-gye-san got more convenient. I hiked the Cheong-gye-san(청계산) mountains in weekend as it is easy to go the mountain if I take new Shinbundang Line.

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Take the gate 3 exit and walk through the road, you could see the Wonteogol(원터골) passageway. I’ve walked the below course which is about 1.86miles(3km) and it took about 1hr 30min. The Maebong peak is 1911ft(582.5m).

“Wonteogol Entrance->Wonteogol Yaksuteo(mineral spring)->Kkalttakgogae Ridge->Heliport->Maebong Peak.” If you like to know more about the Cheong-gye-san’s course click here.

If you keep walking you could find the Cheong-gye-san mountain’s entrance. The weather was good and it was weekend that I could see lots of people were hiking the mountain. If you hike the 청계산 you could see many huge rocks.

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One of the rock which you can see in below is called Door rock(돌문바위) as the rock has a open space like a opened door.

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In above picture’s sign it says ‘Receive the vital force of Mt. Cheong-gye'(청계산의 정기를 듬뿍 받아가세요). I could see many people are walking around the rock.

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This is just before the top of the mountain. The view was awesome and I could see the Jamsil-dong with lotte building.

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The road just before the top of the mountain is quite steep.

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This is the top of the mountain.

Thanks for reading.:)

Why Korean put cash into the pig mouth?

Last winter, I went to a Han River, riding a bicycle and saw the new opened water skiing shop. The first thing I saw in the shop was a pork head with cash in its mouth.

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In Korea, many people do the ritual blessing ceremony called Gosa when they are launching its own business, starting a business-related project and moving a new house. It contains many of the typical shamanist features, such as various food and alcohol offerings, burning incense, bowing, and especially the central place of a pig’s head offering. You can see the Korea opening ritual ceremony in below video.

Visitors stick cash what they prepared into the pig mouth or nose or ear. Then they kneel down and bow to the table. The big reason people put cash into the pig is pigs are a symbol of good luck and fortune in Korea.

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1. Pig has similar pronunciation with Money in Korean

Roughly more than 60% of the Korean vocabulary came from Chinese and Pig(돼지) word is in this case too. Pig(돼지) is written as 豚 Chinese character and it pronounces ‘Don’(돈) which is same pronunciation with Money(돈) in Korean.

2. Pigs symbol the fertility

Pig usually gives birth to about 10 piglets at once and one pig could give over 100 piglets for 5 years. Because of this reason pigs have been signed the fecundity and luck in Korea for a long time.

So people believe the pigs will help in thriving a business and that’s why they put cash into the pig. However, normally people prefer to stick the cash in pig’s mouth and even some people never stick it in pig nose or ear. They believe if you stick the cash in pig’s nose, the pig could not breath and will die. And if you stick the cash in pig’s ear, the pig could not hear when you make a wish. Meanwhile, the pig will bring money when you stick the cash in pig’s mouth.

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Good luck dreams

Also dreaming of a pig is interpreted as being extremely fortunate as the animal is symbol of good luck, wealth, and fortune in Korean culture. So many Korean buy lottery after the day they had a pig dream and believe it or not few people said they won the lottery which they bought after they had a pig dream.

Thanks for reading.:)

What does the North Korea leader drinks for a Hangover

You might have heard Kim il-song is the North Korea’s first supreme leader. Current North Korea’s leader is Kim jung-un, and his grandfather is Kim il-song. Today I will introduce about North Korea’s ‘Kim il-song hangover drink’ which leaders drank.

After many North Korean defectors came to South Korea, we could have more info. about North Korea and some TV programs started broadcasting the North Korea’s life and culture. “Kim il-song hangover drink”(김일성 해장차) was also broadcasted in South Korea cable channel.

There is Live Long Lab in North Korea just for the North Korea leader health care, and this lab regularly made hangover drink to Kim il-song and Kim il-song.

1. Potato peel tea

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The North Korea leaders usually had the potato peel tea in the morning after drinking. Gardenia seeds are included only in above Potato peel tea and you could check the above and below picture’s Potato peel tea has different color.

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The way of making it is first dry the potato peel which is washed. If you use a microwave, you can dry the peel more easily. And then fry the potato peel in a pan. After that there are two ways of making a tea. First way is just boil the dried peel with water. Second way is grind the peel into powder and put it in warm water.

2. Burdock, Milk Vetch Root tea

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Burdock and Milk vetch root are common oriental medicine ingredient. North Korea leaders also had this tea in the morning after drinking. The way of making ‘Burdock, milk vetch root tea’ is similar with Potato peel tea. First dry the ingredients and then boil the water with dried burdock and milk vetch root.

In South Korea we have different kinds of hangover food and drink. In fact, even I lived my whole life in South Korea, I’ve never heard these kinds of North Korea’s hangover drinks before.

Next time I will introduce South Korea’s hangover food.

Thanks for reading.:)

5 Homemade Korean Dishes with Cheese

Cheese is not traditional Korean food ingredient and came in after the Korean war(1950-1953). Currently many people are eating cheese in Korean dishes.

Today I will introduce 5 Korean foods which people usually adding cheese.

1. Cheese Ramen

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You can check Cheese Ramen recipe in here.

2. Korean Rolled Cheese Egg Omelette(Gyeran Mari in Korean)

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You can check original Korean rolled omelette recipe in here.

3. Cheese Kimchi Fried Rice

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You can check the recipe in here.

4. Cheese Rice

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Just after cooked.

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After the rice is mixed.

You can check the cheese rice video recipe in here.

5. Cheese Kimbap(Korean Cheese Sushi Roll)

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You can check the Cheese Kimbap recipe in here.

There will be more Korean foods which Korean add cheese, except these 5 Korean dishes. If there are other foods you know, please leave a comment.:)

7 Types of Korean Jjamppong

Jjamppong is popular Korean spicy noodle soup with all kinds of ingredients mixed in. There are many Korean Chinese restaurant in Korea sell both Jjamppong and Jajangmyeon. Did you know that there are 6 different types of Jjamppong as there are 7 types of Korean Jajangmyeon? Today I will introduce 6 types of Jjamppong.

1. Original Jjamppong(짬뽕)

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General Jjamppong uses seasonal vegetables and seafood such as squid, clam and mussel with red pepper powder to taste spicy. Current Korean Jjamppong is red and hot, but until 1970’s normal Korean Jjamppong colored watery and gray. There were many Korean who liked spicy taste and they requested Korean Chinese restaurant to make a spicy Jjamppong. After that both not spicy and spicy Jjamppong were existed for a while, but later people called the Jjamppong only the spicy ones. Usually both Jjamppong and Jajangmyeon noodle is same and uses diverse seafood and veggies for ingredient.

2. Gul-Jjamppong(굴짬뽕)

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Gul means oyster in Korean. Gul Jjamppong has light and cool taste as it uses the white soup instead of red pepper powder. It seems not spicy but has chilli for Gul Jjamppong’s ingredient that it tastes little spicy.

3. Samsun Jjampong(삼선짬뽕)

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Samsun means three kinds of miraculous powers; first came from heaven(usually Pheasant Meat), Second came from land(usually Songi-mushroom which is one type of Korean mushroom), and third came from sea(usually sea cucumber). Samsun Jjampong has these three ingredients in additional comparing the normal Jjampong. However, Songi-mushroom is expensive that many Korean Chinese restaurant additionally use seafood such as squid, oyster, sea cucumber, clam…etc. instead of Songi-muchroom(송이버섯). Samsun Jjampong is expensive than normal Jjampong as it uses more ingredients and Samsun Jjampong soup is spicy as normal Jjampong.

4. Nagasaki Jjamppong(나가사키 짬뽕)

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This is Japanese Nagasaki Jjamppong. Soup is not spicy and uses chicken and the bone of the pork for the meat broth. It is popular for Japan’s Nagasaki local dish and more similar with Korean Udon noodle which is served in Korea Chinese restaurant.

5. Bibim Jjamppong(비빔짬뽕)

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The below picture is the one after I mixed the sauce and the noodles well with chopsticks.

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Bibim means ‘mixed’ in Korean. Bibim word is also used in Bibim-bop(비빔밥) which is served as a bowl of rice topped with divers vegetables and egg. If Bibim is in Korean food vocabulary, you can assume those food does not have soup.

The ingredient of Bibim Jjamppong is same with Jjamppong and the only difference is in whether has soup or not. Normally Bibim Jjamppong is more spicy than normal Jjamppong. However Bibim Jjamppong is only served in few Korean Chinese restaurant that I also didn’t see the restaurant where it sells Bibim Jjamppong.

6. Jjamppong Bop(짬뽕밥)

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Bop(밥) means rice in Korean. Jjamppong Bop does not has normal noodle. It has little glass noodles(made of sweet potato starch gel) instead of normal noodle(made of flour) in a soup. Also rice is served separately or within the Jjamppong soup.

7.Pepper Jjamppong(고추짬뽕)

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Pepper Jjamppong is the most lately created food. The founder said he got an idea from people eating Jajangmyeon with adding dried red pepper in it. Statistically Korean people usually eat more spicy food in economic depression and Korea economy was in IMF crisis(financial crises) in late 1990s. The founder wanted to cheer the people so made new pepper Jjamppong. It uses Cheongyang red pepper which is the most spicy type of pepper in Korean pepper.

Thanks for reading.:)

Why March 3 is Samgyeopsal Day in Korea?

Samgyeopsal is thick and fatty slices of pork belly meat which is a popular Korean dish. March 3rd is Samgyeopsal Day in Korea in every year and it started in 2003. This is because the word “Sam” in Samgyeopsal has similar pronunciation with 3(Sam in Korean) and March 3rd has two 3.

You can check how to pronounce Numbers in Korean in here.

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There are few origins about the Samgyeopsal day starts and the two reasons are most persuasive.

1. To promote the consumption

Early 2000s foot-and-mouth disease occurred in Korea and spread in the country rapidly. 12 percent of the entire domestic pig were slaughtered to ensure the disease would not spread further. After that, the Korea livestock association started March 3rd as the Samgyeopsal day to promote the pork consumption.

2. One call from the elementary student

One of the elementary student called the Korea Federation of Livestock Cooperatives and said “March 3rd(3월 3일 pronounce Sam woul Sam il in Korean) is similar with Samgyeopsal and eating samgyeopsal in 3/3 will be more delicious! Let’s make March 3rd as the Samgyeopsal day”. Then the livestock employee posted this idea in internet and the responses were good that it started.

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I’m not sure which origin is true, but it is obvious that Samgyeopsal day promoted the Samgyeopsal consumption. Statistically in Korea Samgyeopsal is sold 3~5 times more than other days in Samgyeopsal Day and also many big supermarkets(e-mart, Lotte mart, Homeplus) are doing discount event in March 3rd.

Thanks for reading.:)

Busan trip-Does Korean eat live octopus?

Second day in Busan I went to the Korean sea food restaurant. Before the Sashimi which is the main dish, many sea food side dishes were served.

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Until now I received the question “Does Korean eat live octopus?” quite often from foreigners. In my case sometimes I eat live octopus only when I have chance to eat. I could eat because there is very little food that I could not eat including foreign food.:) I don’t enjoy eating live octopus that much. Also in this time, I ordered Sashimi for the main dish and live octopus was served as one of the side dishes.

Today I will honestly say my thought why some Korean enjoy eating octopus and what is an attractive taste for some Korean even the moving could seem gross.

1.Live octopus is chewy.

I think Korean like chewy food then other people. Korean frequently eat Korean rice cake(떡) and there are diverse Korean cuisine which has the rice cake(떡) for the ingredient such as Tteok-guk(떡국),Tteok-bok-ki(떡볶이), Chap-ssal-tteok(찹살떡)…etc. Live octopus is also chewy that this is the taste what many Korean enjoy.

2.Octopus is Good for health

In live octopus there are many good ingredients such as protein, iron, vitamin…etc. and it also has stamina that it could help to find refreshment for body. Accordingly some people eat live octopus to boost up energy.
But, live octopus and the cooked octopus Korean food such as octopus soup(낙지연포탕) has same effect for health that if you don’t like live octopus you can try different Korean octopus food.


This is Octopus soup(낙지연포탕) cooking video.

3.Korean enjoy the combination of live octopus and the sauce taste

When I see in internet how foreigners try eating live octopus, many of them eat it itself without any sauce and say it is not tasty… I will introduce how Korean eat live octopus and which taste Korean enjoy.

In Korean food SAUCE is really important. Many famous Korean restaurant has their special sauce method and this is a big reason why they got popular. It also applies in live octopus. 99% of Korean eat live octopus after dipping it in a sauce. We don’t eat itself. General Korean live octopus sauce is Sesame oil with crushed garlic or Red chilli-pepper or Ssam-jang.

BUT! If you have chance to eat live octopus, please be careful when eating it. They move even it be cut and if you swallow not sliced octopus which is not totally chewed, they could move to your airway. Until now few people died in each year while eating the live octopus and block. If you would like to try the live octopus, I recommend to eat the one which were cut in small pieces to avoid the danger.

Thanks for reading.:)

Busan trip-Top 3 food you should eat in Busan

Currently Busan is one of the hot vacation place for Korean young people. It only takes 3 hours from Seoul with KTX that many people even go Busan for one day trip. Today I will introduce top three Busan local food which you should try if you visit.:)

1.Milmyeon(밀면)

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Above bicture is Mul Milmyeon(물밀면) which is one type of Milmyeon.

During the Korean War(1950-1953) many Korean flee to Busan and they wanted to eat Naengmyun(냉면/ Korean cold noodles). However, they could not find the buckwheat what is the ingredient of the Naengmyun. So they made the noodles with flour instead of buckwheat what people got from US army as a relief. Nowadays Milmyeon(밀면) is one of the representative Busan food.

Milmyeon is similar with normal Korean cold noodles but just the noodle ingredient is different. Milmyeon is chewier than Naengmyun(cold noodles) and have spicy sauce, half of egg, vegies in top of it. Also Milmyeon divided in two types; Mul milmyeon(물밀면) and Bibim Milmyeon(비빔밀면). Mul(물) means water that this is the one which has soup with noodles. Bibim Milmyeon is more spicy than Mul Milmyeon that if you are not good at spicy food I recommend to eat Mul Milmyeon and taking out some red pepper paste which is in top of the noodle.

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Above picture is Bibim Milmyeon(비빔 밀면). Normally it is quite spicy.

2. Pork rice Soup(돼지국밥)

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Pork rice soup(called Dwaeji gukbob 돼지국밥 in Korean) is a dense meal in a steaming stone bowl. Normally it was boiled about 24hours in a big pot.

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Above picture is the side dishes which comes out together with pork rice soup. In some restaurants serve the soup and rice separately but some places give the soup which the rice is already inside the soup. It depends on the restaurant. The way to eat the pork soup is first season the soup with Saeujeot(세우젓/salted shrimp) and put the noodles and chives in the soup. And the last step is put the pepper in soup. I like pepper a lot that I never miss putting pepper when eating pork rice soup.:)

3. Cold Pig’s feet(냉채족발)

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Jokbal(족발) is a Korean dish consisting of pig’s trotters cooked with soy sauce and spices. Normal Jokbal is served just after boiled in a pot that it is hot. But new type of cold Jokbal started in Busan and it became Busan’s local food. The good Jokbal restaurant is determined whether they got rid of the pork small in food. It has sliced pork, cold jelly fish, cucumber, carrot and egg on top seasoning with wasabi, which makes the nose chocked up.

The difference with Normal Jokbal and cold Jokbal is in whether the pork is seasoned. Normal Jokbal is served with the pork itself which you can see in below with other side dishes but cold Jokbal seasoned with diverse ingredients.

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Thanks for reading and if you have any question please leave a comment.:)

Busan trip-Gukje Market and Seed Pancake

One day when I was talking with my friend I said “What about going trip to Busan in new year?” And she said “Great Coll”(Coll(콜) means Okay Let’s do it in Korean)

We were in café where near with my home that I brought the laptop right way and we started to search the Busan trip. Just within 3 hours we booked the hotel and bought the KTX train ticket. This is how my Busan trip is started.

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After I first arrived in Busan I came down the escalator and went to the Busan train station. The good thing is the transportation card which I used in Seoul is also worked in Busan that I didn’t need to buy metro ticket. I took the subway in Busan station and left in Jagalchi station. The voice announcement in Busan station both talk in Korean and English that it is easy to catch the station.

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The Busan Gukje market(국제시장) got famous after the Ode To My Father(국제시장)Korean movie,which is about Korean War with North Korea in 1950, got popular. This movie surpassed 10 million ticket sales in South Korea that became 11th Korean file to surpass 10 million tickets sales.

If you visit Busan Gukje Market you should try “Korean Seed Pancake”(씨앗호떡). After the Busan Gukje Market and the seek pancake are broadcasted in famous 2days&1night Korean tv show, seed pancake got popular and became the typical snack that you should try when you visit Busan.

Normally sugar, ground walnuts and peanut are inside the Korean sweet pancake, but the Busan seed pancake has seeds instead of penut and walnuts. It was unique pancake what I can’t easily try in Seoul that I liked it. Also they give you the seed pancake in paper cup that it is easy to eat with looking around the Gukje Market.

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Thanks for reading.:)

Why Korean say Cool when eating the spicy food-Part 2

Today I will introduce the situation of using the “Cool” meaning except in food.

1. When the pee came out
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People say Cool as expressing the cool feeling when just after the pee came out. To be more concrete, the word “Cool” means the good feeling of the impurities came out well from the body in this situation. But don’t say “Shi-won-ha-da”(Cool) in Korean to somebody else you are not familiar with. Koreanonly say to really close friends.

2. When scrubbing off the dead skin from the body.

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Korea has a unique culture in Korean bathhouse. Getting naked and scrubbed down.

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This is the scrubbing towel which Korean use and it is called “Italy towel” or “ttamiri towels”(때밀이 타울) in Korean. Instead of using a soft loofa, Korean use wash cloths that aren’t very nice. However, Korean who say cool are enjoying this painful feeling. As it has the hurt feeling, it produces excellent results in getting rid of the dust in the body. When the dirt is coming off from the skin during scrubbing, they feel the body is getting clean and eliminating the waste from the body. This is why they say “Cool” when scrubbing the body.

3. When having a massage
Normally, older Korean prefer to have very strong massage.

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When having a massage it could be felt a little painful but also could have a good feeling at the same time. Because it helps the muscle to get recover from the fatigue. Many Korean say “Cool” in this situation, especially who are old. I think they feel the pain as the muscle is getting relax.

4. When soaking in a hot tub

Korean say “Cool” for the hot feeling when they are in hot tub.

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One of the Korean characteristics what you can see from the number 2,3,4 is partly Korean enjoy the painful impression. My mother sometimes say “Cool” while she takes the shower. Before, I checked the water temperature when she was taking a shower, but it was really hot for me that I could not imagine taking shower in that hot water.

These four situations are the general situation when Korean say “Cool”. If there is other general times to say “Cool” please leave a comment.

Thanks for reading.:)