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~ 🙂
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:
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!
Till next time~
나중에 봐요~ 🙂
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~ 🙂