Duck in Pumpkin and my first Pimm’s

For a few months now, I’ve been hearing about a magical fusion food in Korea: duck in pumpkin (호박오리, hobak ori).  I’d classify this dish as “gourmet Korean food,” considering you have to make reservations several hours in advance so they can prepare the dish.  The duck and pumpkin are smoked for several hours beforehand… it’s so good!! A friend of mine wrote all about this restaurant and dish on her food blog, My Big Bite of Life.  I recommend checking it out because it has a lot more information, including the restaurant phone number and a map.

Somehow I managed to make a reservation at 고야 for 5 people on the phone… entirely in Korean.  Might not seem like much but it was a big hurdle for me! They obviously understood because after walking to the restaurant, the hostess ushered us to a prepared table and started setting up the banchan.  The restaurant smelled divine and we couldn’t wait for ducky to arrive! The waitress could obviously sense our excitement because she quickly came back with the chef d’oeuvre.

Duck in Pumpkin at 고야 (Photo Credit: Ché of mybigbiteoflife.wordpress.com)

After finishing up every scrap of delicious duck, we went back to my place for some Pimm’s and lemonade! For those who don’t know, Pimm’s is a spicy, citrusy English liqueur.  Our friend Claire was desperately missing the stuff, and so she had a visiting friend bring it in his luggage! I think Pimm’s is mainly a summer drink, and it’s mixed with lemonade (which is really Sprite, but in England they call it lemonade…) and assorted fruits.  As far as I know, Pimm’s isn’t really available in America, so it was totally new to me.  It was certainly tasty!! All of the following photos are from the talented Emily Bell:

Preparing the fruits
Oranges, lemon, and cucumber
Claire creating the concoction…
Tada! Happy Pimm’s face!

Since it was Saturday night… we headed to my local makgeolli bar, 대포 3000.  The owner was quite taken with 5 foreigners in his bar and gave us two dishes on “service” – free! All in all… a pretty good Saturday night!

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Video: How to Move in South Korea

This morning I was rudely awakened by a loud, mechanical noise.  By this morning I mean the ungodly hour of 9:30 AM, so don’t feel too bad for me.

It turns out my next-door neighbors were moving out.  Every so often, I see a family moving in or out of a nearby apartment.  Since almost everyone in South Korea lives in high-rise apartment buildings, moving is not the same as it is in the States.  Instead, people pack up their belongings in crates and lower them onto a platform via the balcony.  This is the same for larger items, such as furniture or televisions.  The platform then descends on a track to the movers, who expertly pack up a truck.  Then the empty platform ascends once again, sometimes with empty crates on top.  This whole process can take a very long time… but no one has to carry a sofa down 20 stories, so it’s worth it.  When the next neighbor moves in, the process is just reversed.

Here’s a short video demonstrating what I’ve described.  Remember, this goes on for hours.  Normally I don’t mind, but when it’s my next door neighbor and I’m asleep… well, I might be a bit grumpy at work today.

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Video: Korean Apartment Tour

Despite living in Daegu for nearly 2 months, I’ve only just filmed my apartment tour.  Better late than never, right? I remember looking at similar videos when I was still a prospective English teacher, and they certainly helped me prepare for the possibilities.  I think it’s also a great way to share my place with friends and family.

So, without further adieu:

Oh, and did I ever mention that as part of my contract, my rent is free? Because it is – that’s the best part!

If any prospective English teachers have any questions about my place or position, feel free to leave a comment!

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