We wanted to go back to Yang Chul Cooking (the same place we went to Wednesday night for a cooking class) for lunch, so we started out day 3 by heading to Sinsa station. We got there early, so most places were closed, and we just walked around.
The first area we were at seemed to be a big fish area. There were also a ton of Japanese restaurants!
We found our way into a snazzier part of town and ended up people-watching from the second floor of a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. We witnessed a photoshoot!
Around noonish we found our way back to Yang Chul Cooking. The menu changes everyday; today there was fried pork cutlet! It came with shredded cabbage; a bento-esque bowl with kimchi, pickled veggies, dried fish with cashews, orange, and rice; soup with veggies; and a boiled egg, similar to the kind you find in ramen! It was SO good. At first we thought the fried pork cutlet was a Korean take on the Japanese tonkatsu, but once we started eating it, it reminded us more of schnitzel; regardless, it was delicious!
Again, the staff was so friendly. Song posed for one last picture as we left!
Afterwards, we headed back to Insa-dong.
We saw a ton of people wearing hanboks, traditional Korean attire. Despite the freezing cold, they seemed to be having a blast! Apparently some tourist attractions let people in for free if they’re wearing hanboks.
Next we decided to go cafe-hopping. The first we found was tucked away up on the second, third, and fourth floor of a narrow building. I ordered a set of jujube tea and grilled rice cakes, while Paul got cinnamon tea.
The grilled rice cakes were basically mochi, drizzled with honey and some kind of crumbled nut. Jujube is a type of Korean date, called daechu. The jujube tea was like nothing I’ve ever had before – it was sweet, rich, and thick.
Also, I’ve discovered that Korean teas usually have a couple of pine nuts floating on the surface. Not sure why, but it definitely makes it look good!
While we were at the cafe, we noticed an interesting little stand across the street. When we finished, we went down to investigate.
“Honey sweet dragon beard.” It’s SO GOOD. The guy explained to us how this traditional Korean treat is made:
First, a little ball of honey rice cake. He flattened it out, poked a hole in the centre, stretched it, and started flinging it around in cornstarch as he began to fold it again and again.
Then he kept folding it, over and over again. He counted numbers of loops aloud as he made them: “One…two…four…eight…sixteen…” On and on he folded and doubled the number of strands, until he stopped at 16,000! (And it took less than a minute!)
When he finished, the strands were all thin, like spiderwebs.
He quickly wrapped up a small spoonful of nuts in these strands and gave us a sample. It was so good, we bought a box for only $5! He suggested that we freeze it for the best taste, and boy, was he right!
Next we went just a few shops down the road and found another cafe at the top of a narrow spiral staircase. A lot of cafes are at least one story up, if not more, and I love being able to people-watch!
This time I ordered a green plum tea, and Paul ordered fermented ginger tea. Both came with a little rice cake and some kind of chip.
So far, this shop’s tea has been my favourite. The green plum tea was divine – in Japan, I love umeshu, or plum wine. This tea tasted very similar – but instead of plum over the sharp bite of alcohol, this was plum followed by sweet honey.
Paul’s fermented ginger tea was great, too – apparently, every single ginger drink and dish I’ve ever had before was mild compared to that fermented ginger! I downed my green plum tea wine within minutes, but Paul was only able to take a few sips at a time. When he offered me a taste, I immediately found out why – the only word I can think of for this drink is scalding. But not the temperature; no, it was the heat of the ginger in my throat that made me stop for a break after only two sips!
Afterwards, we hopped over to a great chicken & beer restaurant called Brew 3.15. We got in right as they opened, so the kitchen wasn’t ready. We went ahead and ordered a sample of beer while we waited. Once they were ready in the back, we ordered their fried chicken and fried saucy chicken; SO AWESOME.
And that was day 3! Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, and I’m not sure what our plans are, or what we’ll be doing; but I’m looking forward to it!
Until next time! またね、ddo bwayo!