삼광사~ Buddha’s Birthday

May 12th was Buddha’s Birthday in South Korea (부처님 오신 날) and we made the journey to 삼광사 temple, where thousands of paper lanterns (연등) are adorned all over the temples grounds with messages wishing for things such as long life and congratulating Buddha. The atmosphere was nothing short of magical. Although it was quite busy as you walk higher up through the temple’s grounds you can usually find some places that are quiet and serene.

The temple’s architecture on it’s own was gorgeous, but coming here during May is definitely the best time to visit. There was also a small market where you could buy some street food and snacks.

We got here easily by taking the number 15 village bus from Seomyeon (서면) and rode it till the last stop. The temple’s open for 24 hours but the buses tend to stop running around midnight. If you call a taxi the fare to get to Seomyeon is only around 5 000원!

See you next time~ 🙂

Racoonamatata Cafe~ 라쿠나마타타 카페

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These raccoons were sooo cute! This cafe is located by Kyungsung University station (경성대역) by exit 5. We had gone to this cafe during the evening, which was right when the raccoons were starting to wake up. And boy were they energetic! We had bought smoothies at first and after we finished them we went inside their play area with some treats and immediately we had their attention. These raccoons seem a little overweight ( I think they get treated a little too much) but they also have a really nice play area with lots of places where they can climb and roam around.

These raccoons acted like excited little kids and treated the blankets that we brought in like toys. Originally the blankets are supposed to help protect your clothes but I found if I moved it around at all I would have a raccoon leaping at it trying to wrestle with it. It was so adorable but I soon found out wearing tights to a place like this is a bad idea, because these raccoons have sharp claws!

The worker there clearly loves animals and she spent a lot of time playing with them and talking about them with us. It was nice to hear about each raccoons’ unique personality 🙂

The drinks are a little pricy (around 6000 – 7000원), but the price includes the entrance fee too so it’s definitely worth it!

Cafe Review:

Drinks: 3.5 / 5

Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5

Service: 5 / 5

Price: 4 / 5

Their Instagram: racoonamatata_busan

Until next time~ ^^

Coffee Museum~ 부산 커피 박물관

Within Jeonpo’s coffee street (점포 카페 거리) is, without a surprise, a coffee museum! It’s free to enter and you can get there from Jeonpo Station (전포역). If you go out of exit 7 it’ll be less than a block away!

It’s a small museum with only two rooms, but it’s packed full of antiques that all have their own story. The information is sometimes translated into English, but for the most part it’s in Korean. Even if you’re not fluent in Korean you can still appreciate the intricacy of the different machines and how the techniques they used in the past influenced how coffee was made and tastes. The owner is really friendly and as far as I know he collected all of these machines himself. His passion for coffee really shows when you walk inside!

Also, there’s a really lovely rooftop patio one floor above that you can go onto when the weather’s nice 🙂

I definitely recommend coming here even if it’s just for a short time! Then afterward you can appreciate a real cup of coffee next door at Landmark 9 or among the dozens of other cafes nearby.

Until next time~

나중에 봐요 🙂

Cafe Review~ Zapangi Cafe

What seemingly is an ordinary but cute vintage vending machine is actually the door to a cafe!

It’s a really fun vintage atmosphere which is totally opposite to the traditional feeling of the city outside. We got here by exiting the Mangwon station (망원역) and walking a few blocks away from exit 2. The entrance is impossible to miss! Also, usually you’ll see a small crowd of people waiting to pose in front of the door so it can take a while to actually get inside!

The desserts here are amazing. I’ve gone twice and first ordered the orange crepe and then the second time around I ordered the tiramisu cake. The crepes took a long time to make but we really appreciated the care and effort the workers took to make them. You could tell they really cared about the result and it turned out to be unforgettably delicious. It was verrry close tie to my grandma’s special grand mariner orange crepes :). We had different milk tea’s to complement our fancy breakfast’s and they were very high quality and lovely to drink. Although it’s expensive (the crepes are around 10 000원 or more), all of the things I’ve tried here are just as tasty as they look which can be rare to find!

Cafe Review!

Coffee / Tea: 4 / 5

Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5

Food: 5 / 5

Service: 4.5 / 5

Price: 4 / 5

Their Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/zapangi_official/

Until next time~

Korean Cooking~ 한국 음식을 요리하는 것

Ever since my first trip to Korea a few years ago I became motivated to learn how to cook Korean-style food. I did it mainly to bring back the memories of being there and also because it’s so so tasty. Korean culture believes that food is more than just something to eat – it’s seen as medicine for the body and also gives a reason for family and friends to gather and talk and share the experience of eating together. In fact it’s so integral to the culture that in the language “밥을 먹었어요?” (Have you eaten?) is equivalent to saying “how are you?” In English.

In Seoul we journeyed to a less touristy part of the city in Dongdaemun and ordered ingredients in a local market and cooked together as a part of a tour called OME Cooking Lab. The tour guide was so friendly and guided us through the winding alleys of 경동시장, which is a HUGE market spanning around 300 000m. I still feel intimidated navigating the different markets in Korea so it was nice to have someone to rely on to find what we needed and to also find our way back without getting lost. 🙂

Once we reached our cute little workshop room, we made several different recipes- bulgogi (불고기), kimbap (김밥), soft tofu stew (순두부찌개), spicy rice cakes (떡볶이), five-grain rice (오곡밥), and green onion pancakes (파전). We managed to make this whole feast with the guidance of our guide and her 엄마 in just over an hour. Personally I loved the rice cakes and soft tofu stew because of all the vegetables we added and the fact that it was spicy. During the colder months spicy food is just so comforting and brings warmth back after a day spent outside. Especially with makgeolli (막걸리) 😋

Here’s a link to the tour we went on:

http://www.instagram.com/ome_korean_cooking

http://www.5-tastes.com/

Hiking 황령산

This is one of the best places to see a panoramic view of Busan 🙂 in my opinion, this view beats the view from Busan Tower and it’s free!

My friend and I chose to hike most of the way up but if you want you can drive or take a taxi too. Sometimes the taxi drivers won’t want to take you up places like this because it’s outside of the city center but sometimes they don’t mind. We went to 시청역 (City Hall Station) and from there transferred to village bus #1 and rode it to it’s last stop, which was at the base of the mountain.

The hike isn’t that long and it took us less than an hour to climb each way. We chose to hike in the late afternoon so that we could catch the sunset and see Busan’s cityscape change from day to night. There’s a nice (but a tad overpriced) cafe at the top and it was calming sit there with a cup of tea and watch as the city gradually lit up and came to life during the night.

Very magical 🙂

마법처럼~

Wearing Hanboks in Gyeongbokgung~ 경복궁 한복 입는 경험

My Canadian friends and I went to Seoul during my winter break and one of the things we decided to do was to rent hanboks (한복) and walk around Gyeongbok palace. We had went there once before in 2017 but never had the chance to wear hanboks before, and it honestly made the experience way more special. The history of the palace is incredibly interesting and it felt like you’re walking back in time the deeper into the palace you get. The palace was built during the Joseon Dynasty in the year 1395 and has undergone a lot of changes from how it was originally, and it’s interesting to see how the buildings were built and what they were intended for.

Some buildings are dedicated just for royalty and you can notice the difference because some will have intricately painted walls with vivid colours in comparison to others which are unpainted and undecorated. Some buildings were dedicated only for specific purposes, for instance there’s one building that’s set by a gorgeous pond which was made just for the Queen to relax by herself when she needed to. Also, I thought it was so ingenious that the buildings are built with interlocking wooden beams instead of using nails. Every part of each building was pieced together like an intricate puzzle and the measurements had to be so precise for it to be built stabley.

Warning: hanboks are a little difficult to wear if you’re plus size. Our had to be pinned down to accommodate for our curviness. There may be a hanbok rental shop with different sizes, but the one we used was free size. However on the plus side they did our hair for free, so we only had to pay around 15 000원 for 3 hours and the entrance fee to the palace was free! It wasn’t much to pay for a great experience.

Here’s a link to some history of 경복궁!

http://koreatourinformation.com/blog/2013/12/08/gyeongbokgung-palace경복궁-景福宮/

Till next time~

나중에 봐요~ 🙂

Cafe Review~ 시계 토끼의 유혹

This will be a section of my blog dedicated to the different cafes of Korea! For the past 5 years or so I’ve become a hopeless coffee addict, and I’ve decided to turn this addiction into a hobby and scour out the best and most unique cafe’s in Korea. Korea as a country has a bit of a coffee addiction as well- cafes are one of the most popular places to go out with friends, go on dates, or to study.

I went to this cafe on December 31, the day after BTS’ V’s birthday. Some of my friends and I have been collecting cup sleeves with the different BTS members on it and it’s become a sort of mission to collect them all. Usually you have to get these cup sleeves the day they’re released because they’re so popular and there’s limited quantities. Because this was the day after Tae’s birthday, it became my ‘mission impossible’ to still find some cup sleeves somewhere.. and this situation luckily ended up bringing me to this cafe. It’s a cute little cafe tucked away in a small alley inside another alley off of a side street. This was one of the only places left that had them, and the cafe staff were kind enough to offer 2 cup sleeves when I ordered one drink!

The cafe is Alice in Wonderland themed, and has a whimsical atmosphere with different art and collections of seemingly random objects that somehow end up tying really well together. For instance there’s a corner totally dedicated to Totoro, then in another corner there’s a small dark room that’s painted completely black and another that’s lined with coffee cups upon coffee cups with different hand-drawn art on them. Whoever drew on these is a really talented artist.

The outside patio is a nice hang out spot and the mirrors alongside it reflect the beautiful decor from inside the cafe. I think this cafe would be best to enjoy during a midsummers evening, because you’d get the change to enjoy the lights and outdoors.

The coffee itself was good too, albeit a bit overpriced. That’s understandable because you’re essentially paying to be inside this cafe and to enjoy your time here. I didn’t try the food, because sadly the selection was a little lacking. They mostly just have tiramisu cakes. They looked delicious, but if you want to eat some real food you will have to go elsewhere.

The staff were incredibly friendly too. That was one of the highlights of my time here. My friend and I had been talking to one of the baristas about BTS, and he had told us that on Tae’s birthday they had given out special photo cards with each drink. We were kind of disappointed to hear that we missed out on this, but about 10 or so minutes later I saw him walking towards us with what appeared to be a pile of napkins. He secretly gave the pile to us and it turns out he hid two photo cards inside them. Definitely from now on I will be coming to this cafe for every other members birthday, and I recommend doing that to whoever enjoys collecting these cup holders too. 🙂

Now time for cafe 👏 review 👏:

Coffee: 3.5 / 5

Atmosphere: 4 /5

Food: ? / 5

Service: 5 / 5

Price: 3 / 5

SNS: https://twitter.com/0ujbwLfSgZtPCDj

Until the next coffee~

Christmas Festival~ 크리스마스 트리 문화 축제

Christmas in Busan has been completely different from all the Christmas’ I’ve spent in Canada. It feels strange to live in a place that never snows.. this is the one time of year where I actually love having snow blanketing the ground and trees. Generally not many places here (besides cafe’s) really decorate for Christmas, and because I’m spending most of my time with friends of different countries and cultures I realized that Christmas is definitely for the most part a Western and European holiday.

However, I was so happy to stumble upon one area of Busan that turns into a Christmas wonderland in December. I was luckily traveling to Nampo one day and came across a street filled with thousands of glistening Christmas lights and the sounds of Christmas music and caroling. Briefly, I felt like I was home again! It turns out this is a yearly festival called the 부산 크리스마스 트리 문화 축제 (Busan Christmas Tree Culture Festival).

One thing that was really amazing was the LED Christmas tree that’s built in the center of Nampo’s main square. It has to be at least 5 or 6 stories tall. It becomes the hub of most of the Christmas festivities with many carolers and spots for people to bring their instruments to play to their hearts content. We came across a group of 아저씨’s singing and it was so cute and heartwarming to listen to them sing together.

Nampo is also really famous for it’s street food. Actually the main reason why we came here was to try out 호떡- a famous food that’s especially made in Nampo. It’s so light, buttery and filed with so many nuts and seeds. By then there was a lot of hype surrounding this snack because we were looking for it for so long, and honestly it lived up to the hype. I now feel the urge to eat one each time I’m near Nampo.

We also tried 어목 (fish cakes) and 유부초밥 (Yubuchobap), which is fried tofu stuffed with rice and veggies, and was served with a broth that was really comforting to sip on in the chilly evening weather. Everything tasted SO fresh. I also tried 프로즌 스모어, which is Konglish for ‘frozen smore.’. It was basically a toasted marshmallow with ice cream inside.

Nampo’s a fun place to begin with, but it’s definitely one of the best places to go to in Busan during Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone~ 🙂