Yongsan Market

Selling cabbage on the street

Traditional markets are everywhere in Korea.  Seomun Market is the largest in Daegu, but there are countless smaller markets on practically every street corner.  Elderly women spread out tarps and sell whatever is in season.  All of the food is grown locally.

Kimchi for sale

Late November is cabbage season, which means its kimchi season as well.  Recipes are passed down through families.  The markets are bursting with cabbage and other kimchi ingredients.  Many families make enough kimchi to last an entire year – although others are starting to buy kimchi at the grocery store.

Radishes?


The Yongsan Market is pretty small.  It’s mostly women sitting on the ground, but there is an actual structure.  It’s in bad shape after years of not being maintained.  Still, it’s a great place to run out to if you need some more potatoes or onions for a recipe.  (You’ll have to buy a dozen, but they last a while.)

Dried rays… yummy

Radishes, turnips, garlic, and cabbage
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Freaky Food: Makchang (막창)

Sometimes, on Wednesday nights, the NETs at my school get together and grab dinner.  A few weeks ago we opted for a Daegu delicacy, makchang (막창).  Similar to chitlins, makchang is actually grilled pig intestines… sounds good, right? They belong to the anju food group, aka food to be consumed alongside soju.  I’m not a soju fan and I was sick… so I opted out.  It’s a popular dish, is appropriately freaky, and originated in this area, so we bit the bullet and tried a place near work.

our makchang on the grill

It was served with lettuce leaves for wrapping, onions, garlic, and some kind of ssamjang.  They also gave us a frosty cabbage soup and squid salad.  The pieces were pretty big so we cut them.

Ultimately… it was good.  It had a slightly sweet flavor, enhanced by the sauce.  We got the spicy variety but it didn’t pack too much heat.  Some of my fellow diners were put off by the chewy texture as well as the flavor.  My Korean coworker described it as “bold.”  Honestly, wrapped up in my lettuce leaf, I didn’t find it to be particularly strong.  Would I eat it again? Yeah.  For the price, though, I’d rather have some good samgyeopsal or galbi.

Freaky Food: Makchang
Verdict: Decent, but not worth the price

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Autumn at the Arboretum

The Daegu Arboretum has a lovely history.  The site was originally used as a landfill from 1986 to 1990.  Today, however, it has been converted into a sprawling botanical garden which also includes several hiking trails.  All of this is free of charge! To get to the Daegu Arboretum (대구 수목원), take the red line south to Daegok, and then follow street signs to the entrance.  They’re in English, Korean, and Chinese.

Autumn is probably not the best season in which to visit, but it’s definitely better than winter.  To compensate for the lack of flowers, the Arboretum is currently hosting a chrysanthemum flower show  which was a bit crowded.  I enjoyed the peaceful walk through the trees regardless.

There are tons of benches and rest areas throughout the grounds, so if I were you, I’d pack a lunch and head over to the arboretum one day for some r&r.  What do you have to lose?

If you’re interested in some of my photos, check them out after the link below.  I’ve been practicing some new things with my camera… 🙂

the entrance

blowing in the wind

by the stream

a chrysanthemum temple

twist twist
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Andy’s Family’s Visit

Last month, Andy’s family came to Daegu.  Unfortunately, so did Typhoon Sanba – yet we managed to find some things to do.

First, there was a baseball game.

Samsung Lions (Daegu) vs. Lotte Giants (Busan)
Go Lions!!

Then we tried makgeolli and shabu shabu.  Yum!

During the storm, we ducked into an arcade for good old-fashioned fun.

The Champion

We feasted on duck-in-pumpkin… (Andy and I will find any opportunity to do so!)

at Goya in Igok-dong

And finally, we explored Apsan, one of Daegu’s protecting mountains.

I can see my house from here!

Andy and his family also explored Busan while I had to work.  Their trip definitely flew by!! It was really great to see some familiar faces.  Also fun to see Korea from a newbie’s eye – we might still be fairly new ourselves but it’s so easy to become accustomed to the oddities of Korean culture.

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Typhoon: Sanba

Typhoon Sanba hit South Korea earlier this week.  It was hailed as a Super Typhoon, Category 5, but by the time it descended onto Daegu it was little more than a strong tropical storm.  Other parts of Korea were not so fortunate, but living in an inland valley does have its perks.

Whatever the classification, the storm still meant lots and lots of rain.  Here are some shots I took (with my new Nikon 3100 – a birthday gift from Andy!!) during and after Sanba.

Downtown

Downtown

The stage downtown

Ominous clouds over 2.28 Memorial Park

Finally, some sun!

View of downtown Daegu after the storm

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Freaky Food: Beondegi Round 2

About 3 months, Andy and I faced one of our fears… eating bugs! Beondegi are super popular snacks at Korean events or even sold in stores, similar to popcorn or nuts.  I remember very clearly my distaste for this snack… but Andy wasn’t convinced.  A second round was in order.  Watch the verdict below.

Don’t forget my original post on beondegi!

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International Bodypainting Festival

Fantasy Make-up

Last weekend, Daegu hosted its annual International Bodypainting Festival in Duryu Park.  Bodypainting seems like an unusual choice for such a conservative and modest country, but the massive crowds clearly indicate a lot of interest.

Artists from all over the world were present (including 2 or 3 from the States), as well as international models.  I heard many languages spoken in the various tents.

There were three categories at the festival: bodypainting, fantasy make-up, and most photogenic model.  The contests were on Saturday and the awards on Sunday night.  Either day, I’d recommend going later in the afternoon (after 3pm at least) to see the models with the most amount of paint coverage.  As it gets dark, the models assemble on stage while K-Pop blares into the crowd.  If you get hungry, you can always buy food from one of the vendors lined up next to the field.

My friend Deva wrote a great article for Chincha!? magazine, read it hereWarning: some photos might not be safe for work!!

European models chatting
A Korean artist works on her model
Just a small cross-section of the astounding number of photographers
One of the best – a jaguar prowling on a Korean temple roof
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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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