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Saturday, December 28, 2013

[Asiana Flight] Meal Service: Asiana Airlines Korea <--> Japan

Are you flying Asiana from Incheon Airport to somewhere in Japan?

I moved from Seoul to Kansai (Kobe, Japan) in October.
My flight was over the noon hour.
I, being ridiculously frugal, did not really want to pay money for an overpriced airport meal...and I was flying Asiana, so I knew the food should be ok...if I got food.

But, I figured there was a slim chance that I would get an in-flight meal since the flight is a whole 1.5 hours.

But, I did some searching anyway.

I could only find information on Korean blog sites, so I figured I would share this as a resource for anyone who is doing some traveling (or moving) from Korea to Japan or from Japan to Korea.

It's nothing much, but it is enough to hold you over until you get to your destination and can buy real food.

You get a sandwich, orange juice, water, and then tea/coffee service after your meal. They will also offer you some other beverages (soft drinks, I was not offered wine/beer on this flight).

The taste isn't too spectacular, but it's satisfying nonetheless. It's basically a croissant sandwich. I was worried it would have ham on it, since I'm kind of scared of ham, but this sandwich didn't have any. It was mainly vegetables, but did have mayonnaise and sliced cheese.

Now you know, you do receive a sandwich on flights between Korea and Japan.

Friday, December 27, 2013

[Tokyo, Japan] Preliminary New Year's Trip Itinerary

Hello, happy holidays everyone!
I am in my final two weeks in Japan. As a result, I had a lot of final projects/presentations to work on at my internship this week, so I was not able to update this blog as much as I had hoped.

I leave for my Tokyo trip tomorrow afternoon to see my friends and go to Tokyo since I've never been and I don't know when I'll be back in Japan. (Living here was completely an internship offer, quit my Seoul internship and job and came to Japan over the course of 4 weeks.)

Anyway, that being said. I was completely unprepared for going to Tokyo. I don't know anything about Japan/Tokyo. I've only been surviving in Kansai because I work every day during the week and I have a really really good guidebook for if I venture out of Kobe.

I also just learned about fukubukoro (Japanese grab bags of sorts). Although I'm not really a fan of Japanese fashion, I am considering buying one just for the experience and testing my luck. Any recommendations about where to go? I would prefer a bag/accessories or electronics or food product (ie tea) fukubukoro. 

Anyway, I did a super crazy itinerary ... it seems like most stuff in Tokyo is closed down for New Year's holidays save temples/shrines. I'm also not super crazy about shopping, so I think for a bunch of the stuff, I will just go, take a picture, walk around like 10 minutes and then leave.

I also don't really know much about food in Tokyo, so this is going to be an interesting trip. I can also speak/read basically zero Japanese.

Also, I was thinking about the number of airline miles I will be banking over the next three weeks...I am worry environment for my carbon footprint. I am also sad that there's no such thing as a universal airline miles program...

Japan until 10 January. Korea until 13 January. Minnesota until 18 January. New York from 18 January.

Too much flying!

Anyway, please take a look at my itinerary and let me know if you think there are any HUGE holes in it and if you have any recommendations for food!

There are so many places that I wish I could have put on there, but they were closed (ie. gardens)

I also highly recommend if you are planning a trip. It has information about closing dates, prices, locations, etc. for almost everything.

Also, I took some of this information from and the Yokohama Tourism site. I will try to credit where credit is due...if you see anything in sentence form, it's likely from

Sunday, December 22, 2013

[Seoul, Edae / Ewha Women's University Cafe] Chocolateria San Churro

I discovered San Churro about three or four years ago. It used to be the only place where you could get churros in Seoul. It's actually an Australian cafe chain.

However, following recent food trends in Seoul this has definitely changed based solely on the emergence of a lot more churro cafe chains.

I discovered this cafe three or four years ago after my Danish roommate said she was craving churros. I did a quick Naver search and found Chocolateria San Churro. AND, luckily for us, it was in Edae. (We were living in Yonhui-dong - neighborhood next to Yonsei University.)

So, we made a study plan and went and tried out their churros set.

Read more!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

[Seoul / ICN Layover] Neal's Itinerary. One night layover in Seoul.

After posting the itinerary I made for my friends, I received an email from Neal asking for an itinerary for him and his girlfriend.

They will be arriving at 4:45PM to Incheon Airport (ICN) and then leave at 7:10AM the next morning and have opted to stay at a hotel near the airport.

So, this will be a much different itinerary than the previous one.

Also, a great resource for people who are doing a layover in Seoul is this website from the Korea Tourism Organization. There are actually free transit tours available for you!! I envy you if you are able to take advantage of this great program! If you do go on the “transit tour” let me know how it is, please.

By the way, don’t click on the banner on the left side of the page, these tours cost money and, honestly, aren’t worth your time. Korea is very manageable to do on your own, even if you know no Korean.

Unlike Steph, Neal and his girlfriend do not have any food requests since they don’t know any Korean food, so I have to do Korean food justice and show the best parts of Seoul! So much pressure!

But he requested to go to some major Seoul landmarks – Cheonggye Stream and Namdaemun Market and requested to have galbi (Korean marinated beef or pork ribs).

For them, I decided to make an itinerary around Central Seoul (City Hall, Gwanghwamun, Insadong, Gyeongbok-gung).

Read more!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

[Kobe, Japan] Harbourland / Umie Mosaic Shopping Center

If you're in the Kansai area, I recommend that you check out Harbourland in Kobe for a great night view!

You can do some sightseeing around Kobe, maybe in Kitano - one of the oldest foreigner settlement in Japan - or in Motomachi Chinatown - one of the largest Chinatowns in Japan. Or, you can do a bunch of shopping around Harborland and, if you're traveling with children, there's the Anpanman Children's Museum and a ferris wheel.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

[Hongdae Cafe] Peony

By now, I'm sure you have recognized a pattern. If I eat dessert, it's going to be bingsu. I also carefully select my bingsu will rarely see me eating a bingsu at Cafe Bene. I'm also pretty sure I haven't had a bingsu at Paris Baguette, ummm, ever. When I choose my bingsu place, I make sure that they are really well known for it. Luckily for me, bingsu gained a ton of popularity and you now find a ton of stores that sell JUST bingsu all around the country.

Today, I want to introduce you to "Peony" cafe in Hongdae. It is well-known for it's homemade strawberry shortcake and it's strawberry bingsu. I was obviously there for the bingsu primarily, but, of course, I also had to try the strawberry shortcake.

It is very popular! We waited in line for about 40~45 minutes. The line snaked out into the know the parking lot road that goes down the middle of Hongdae area. Then we finally got into the cafe!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

[Myeongdong Restaurant] Myeongdong Namsan Wang Donkatsu (명동 남산 왕돈까스)

While my parents were visiting me in Seoul in October, we went to a few places that were not included on the itinerary I made for their trip (click here to take a look!).

One day, they were getting sick of eating Korean food and wanted something "light," so obviously I took them to the famous dongatsu restaurant in Myungdong. Because, you know, what's a lighter meal than a slab of fried pork bigger than your face? Well, at least we got Japanese food and not Korean?

It was recommended that I take my parents to this particular store by a friend AND I was having a hankering for some donkatsu before I moved to Japan. Logical, right?

So, we walked from our hotel near City Hall. I will provide walking directions soon for getting around central Seoul on foot since I think it's useful to know. You can save money and time sometimes since many times you have to transfer trains (from City Hall to Gyungbok Palace, for instance). 

Friday, December 13, 2013

[Seoul, Myeongdong Restaurant] Battery Park

When I first arrived in Seoul in the summer, there was this one restaurant that was gaining popularity over a ton of social networking sites and Korean food blogs. So, naturally, it went on my eat list.

It is conveniently located in Myeongdong, so it's easily accessible after a day of shopping in Myeongdong or after sightseeing in the Gwanghwamun/City Hall area. Or, in my case, after working in central Seoul.

Monday, December 9, 2013

[Seoul, Sinchon] Hello Kitty Cafe

2 Iced Green Tea Lattes with Hello Kitty art and frozen yogurt "service."
Check out Sinchon's Hello Kitty Cafe!

I first came across this cafe about 3.5 years ago. I loved coming here to study while I was on exchange at Yonsei University. It was great because it had free wifi and the beverages were relatively inexpensive, so it was great for my student budget. On top of the great price, when you order a latte, you get a cute character art on the top.

It is also known for waffles, but, sadly, I do not have a picture of that.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

[Korea University, Anam] Jjim and Jok

My favorite Korean food is jjimdalk, maybe I mentioned it before, followed very closely by bingsu. If you don't know jjimdalk is a delicious chicken dish. If I explain it, I will not do it justice. Do you ever get the feeling that when you describe something it never sounds as good as it tastes? Basically, this is stewed chicken with vegetables, sweet potato noodles, onions, dduk (Korean rice cakes) and the sauce. You typically also eat it with a side of rice, just because it tastes better and the sauce goes well with the rice..also because it'll fill you up.

One day, I was doing my typical food blog searching right before lunch at my research lab and I stumbled across this place near Korea University. Since my lab was near Cheongyangri, my co-worker and I took the bus to Anam and ate here.

[Osaka, Kobe, Japan] A la campagne - Tarte cafe

My first weekend in Kobe, Japan, I went to Osaka to meet one of my best friends. It had been three years since we last saw each other, but it felt like just yesterday.

We went to a tarte cafe she knew and really enjoys. Actually, we tried to go to about six other cafes, but, since this was in Umeda on a Saturday afternoon, there was a very slim chance of finding any open chairs.

We finally found chairs A La Campagne with minimal waiting time. We were maybe 8th in line and waited about 30 minutes.

Friday, December 6, 2013

[York, England] Betty's Cafe and Tea Rooms

One of the biggest tourist destinations in York is Betty's. This past week I went with a couple of my friends and I know why so many people are willing to wait in long lines to get in. There are actually two Betty's in York. The main one is in in St. Helen's Square, near the Mansion House. It has a main seating area and a basement. We were in the basement, which was nice because it has a little more space. Depending on when you go, there can be a long line--it wraps around the outside of the storefront. We went in the early evening and had to wait, at most, 2 minutes. They also offer reservations of Afternoon Tea. The second Betty's doesn't have the line but it is also smaller. It is at 46 Stonegate, which is roughly halfway between big Betty's and the Minster.

One of Betty's specialties is Afternoon Tea, which is a selection of sandwiches, sultana scones with jam and clotted cream, miniature cakes and a macaroon, and a pot of Betty's Blend tea. One of my friends ordered it and was surprised at how filling it was. They also offer cheese scones if you prefer a savory option.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

[Sinchon/Ewha University Cafe] Pop Container Oreo Bingsu

So, I really really love bingsu. I was really eyeing this Oreo bingsu for weeks.
One day, finally, I got my ex-coworker from research lab to go with me!
I was actually kind of worried about trying this bingsu. There is a tendency for stuff to be very visually appealing in Korea, but actually not taste that good and be a major letdown.

Monday, December 2, 2013

[Makati City, Manila] Buddy's

Before I got to Manila, I naively thought that all Filipino food was the same.  But I quickly realized that this was not the case.  In the Philippines, different regions and provinces have specialized ingredients that, when cooked together, come alive in a distinct flavor unique to the place.

Buddy’s encapsulates such uniqueness.  Its food originates from Lucban, Quezon, a province Southeast of Metro Manila still located on the island of Luzon.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t know anything about the place prior to this restaurant, but after coming here, I would love to go and see it in person.

Chandelier- type decor

Pink rice "leaf"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

[Seoul, Gangnam Cafe] Shall We? - Tart café

Shall We? Yes, we shall.
I don't remember exactly how I discovered this place last year. Likely, I was hungry at night and was doing some foodblog research, one of my favorite hobbies. It is very close to the station, so it is a great meeting place. Actually, I met many friends here and maybe went each week or something crazy like that.
Red Grape Tart and Banana Tart
It sells tarts and beverage items. Actually, I think that they also serve other baked goods, but I was here for the tarts and had eyes only for them. They also have fresh, made-to-order salads, pastas, and pizzas.
Some of the tarts appear to be there just for the visual know, so people, like me can take pictures of them and have their friends be jealous of them.

Friday, November 15, 2013

[Seoul, Gangnam] Julio - Mexican Food in Seoul

Lunch Set: Chicken Burrito with Fries (6,900KRW)
So, one day after meeting my Korean tutor last summer, I decided to wander around Gangnam. You know, scoping out my next meal...or my next seven. I happened to come across Julio on my way to cafe hill. (See the Standard Coffee Bar post for a great cafe!) As an American, I really miss the idea of Chipotle while abroad for a long time...I don't know what it is about Chipotle, but it's definitely crave-able.
So, I was kind of in the mood for a burrito and I came across Julio's by accident. I took a look at the menu and the prices were reasonable (not as high as Dos Tacos and definitely not as high as On the Border, but not as cheap as Chois Tacos). The lunch set menu is a great deal! So, if you can go for lunch, I highly recommend you to do so.

Do you have any recommendations for Mexican food places?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

[Korea Restaurant] School Food

So, I usually try to not eat at large chain restaurants, but sometimes you have to make an when the area you work in only has chain restaurants and is in a part of Seoul that is not really near anything. School Food is, I guess, a Korean chain restaurant...kind of like a Korean-style Applebee's or TGI Friday's (nevermind that there are plenty of TGI Friday's in Korea...). It's regular Korean food, but in fusion-style presentations and flavors. That also means that the price may be more expensive than you are used to paying for bunshik.

I apologize for the fuzzy picture. This was before I changed phones, so this was a 3- or 4-year-old smartphone...aka before phone companies got everything figured out.

I used to work near Cheongnyangni Station (청량리역)...incidentally one of the most tricky stations to spell in English, ever. This is line 1/Jungang line. It may be a good option for you if you want to get something to eat before you catch the KTX or the Jungang line somewhere.

Cheongnyangni Station Location: 3rd Floor of the Lotte Department Store. 

If you are staying in central Seoul, there is one in the B1 floor of the YoungPoong Bookstore at Jonggak Station (line 1).

There are plenty of other locations, so you can readily find it somewhere.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Requesting: Tokyo Travel Hints

Hi, I apologize again for my lack of posts this week.
My work was SUPER CRAZY last week and this week will be about as crazy, if not crazier.

As you may know, I am living in Japan now for three months, been here about one month already, so crazy.

I am going to go to Tokyo over New Year's since I have a SUPER long break from work, a full week!
I heard it will be crazy in Tokyo because of the bank holiday and super crazy New Year's sales. I may die.

I have never been to Tokyo and I actually don't know that much about Japan.

Anyone have any suggestions for what to see/do? Of, my personal favorite, any one have any suggestions of where/what to eat? (I know I'm turning the tables and asking you for advice!)

I am going to buy the JR Japan Rail Pass, I'm pretty sure, so anything JR is fine! Any suggestions of a great itinerary?

Monday, November 4, 2013

[Seoul, City Hall Station Restaurant] Shipwon-jip Green Onion Bulgogi + Steamed Egg

Shipwonjip - A well-established restaurant (more than 49 years in operation) known for its charcoal briquette-fired meats.

It has been featured on numerous television programs. While I was planning the itinerary for my parents' visit to Seoul, I knew they would want to have Korean barbecue, so I did my typical 맛집 research and found this gem.

[York Cafe] Patisserie Valerie

Patisserie Valerie is a chain pastry/sweet shop. There are about 80 in the United Kingdom. I went to the one in York.

Their pastries are baked daily, so the earlier the better. I had cheesecake and a decaf cappuccino. The cheesecake was 3.95 GBP (6.25 USD) for a generous portion. I had to take half of it home to finish later. The cappuccino was 2.80 GBP (4.50 USD). It was good but nothing extraordinary.

I enjoyed the cheesecake but I probably wouldn't go there again. There are better places in York and Patisserie Valerie is a chain, so it lacked in personality.

Patisserie Valerie is at 5 Feasegate, just off Davygate in the city centre.

[York Cafe] Chloes of York

Chloes of York was the first tea room I have ever been to. It was also the first place I went to eat in the city centre.

It is a family run tea shop. I didn't have any of the baked goods but they looked pretty good and were reasonably priced. I had a ham sandwich with coleslaw and crisps, all of which came from Yorkshire. I also had a pot of tea. The whole meal was around 6 GBP (roughly 9.50 USD). The tea was just an afternoon blend but they had a few other options. It is fresh brewed for each person and is 2 GBP for a small pot, which is about two medium cups. The sandwich was good, as were the crisps and coleslaw. The best part was that all of the food was fresh and local.

Here's the website:

Chloes is pretty easy to get to. It is located on Colliergate between St. Saviourgate and St. Andrewgate.

York directions tip: anything with "gate" in it is a street and anything with "bar" in it is a gate (in the Roman walls).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

[Sincheon, Korean BBQ] Saemaul Shikdang (새마을식당)

I typically try to not eat that much Korean barbeque or meat, but some just have to partake in it. A good option, in my opinion, is 새마을식당 (Saemaul shikdang).

It is a chain and the menu and atmosphere do not vary much from branch to branch, so it's a pretty safe bet.

Where's your favorite Korean bbq place?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

[Sinchon] Loving Hut. Delicious Vegan Food + Rose Lemonade.

[Sinchon] Loving Hut. Delicious Vegan Food + Rose Lemonade

I have heard from vegetarian friends how difficult it is to live in Korea. Virtually everything has meat in it in some form or another. I can only imagine how difficult it is to be vegan in Korea, especially since kimchi, a staple of Korean food, contains fish and shrimp products. Even the kimchi here is vegan! There is no shrimp or fish in it.

Loving Hut is also great, it has been pointed out to me, for individuals who cannot or do not consume pork products due to religious dietary restrictions and, from someone who consumes meat, the dishes that usually contain pork, in their Loving Hut form, do still taste like the meat-containing version.

A while back, probably around 3 or 4 years ago, my friend introduced me to Loving Hut in Sinchon. The Loving Hut is apparently a chain of vegan restaurants around the world started by a spiritual leader. Each store has its own unique menu. I have only been to this store and one in New York, so I cannot tell you what is on the menu in the other stores in Seoul/Korea, but I can send you directions if you need them. Just leave a comment.
Top: Vegan jajjangmyum
Bottom left: kongnamulbap (bean sprout rice)
Bottom Right: Vegan tangsuyuk (Sweet and sour "pork"), jangmi lemonade (rose lemonade)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

[Gangnam Cafe] Standard Coffee Bar

Green Tea Ice Cream Waffle and Iced Americano from Standard Coffee Bar
I know I said on Instagram that I would write a review for Standard Coffee Bar earlier this week, but my internship got crazy and I got an editing job, so I did not have as much free time this week as I had anticipated. I finished the editing job, so now I can finally write about this waffle.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

[Ewha/Edae/Sinchon] Herb Cup Chicken

I apologize for my lack of posts, I will try to do better in the future. I just moved to Japan week ago and my parents were in Seoul the week prior to my move, so everything was super crazy.

I will write more more about my parents' tour later, but we basically did everything on my itinerary (minus the trip to Mt. Seorak).
As I indicated on the Instagram account, I really really like this chicken stand.

There are two particular "Herb Cup Chicken" stands that I recommend highly. In the Ewha and Sinchon area, there are about five such stands, but they are actually different. So, when you go, I recommend you look for the men that are featured in the pictures in this post.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Travel Itinerary: Seoul and Korea in 9 Days.

 Since my parents are coming to Seoul to visit me, I decided to make an intense travel itinerary.
I am trying to incorporate the tourist destinations they want to see and also include the places I want to see before I move to Kobe, Japan.

This plan is really intense, but definitely do-able. It's mix-and-match depending on the weather forecast. Actually, I've been living in Seoul off-and-on for nearly three years now, but, actually, the most difficult thing for me to do was plan the tourist-y stuff in Seoul.

I am the most impressed by my ability to include a TON of food and cafe options. There are definitely ones I have forgotten. I also tried to avoid going to chain restaurants, but sometimes that is very difficult to do. For example, my favorite Korean food, jjimdak (steamed chicken), is very difficult to find in a non-chain restaurant, unless you go to Andong. I was considering a one-day trip to Andong, but, as you can see, there is not that much time. If you have more time, you should definitely go there to experience staying in the hanok (traditional Korean house), eat jjimdak, and take part in/watch the tradition Korean mask dance.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or send me an email! I am happy to help you out more with your planning!

Tutorial: How to use free WiFi on Seoul subways

Korean Shopping Tips

Other Korea Travel Itineraries

Recommended travel books:

If you are traveling to Korea, while English is often available on signs and at tourist destinations, it may be wise to know a few phrases since oftentimes the staff at restaurants and other tourist destinations, bus stations, do not know English well. I have looked over multiple Korean phrasebooks and I recommend the Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook & Dictionary for its small size (makes it great to carry around) and its ease of use.

If you are planning on staying only in Seoul, I would recommend getting a travel book that is solely about Seoul. Top 10 Seoul (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide) is great! It has color photos, great maps, and is also very compact, making it a great travel companion.
It gives you a feel of all the different neighborhoods and districts of Seoul and a brief overview of what each district is known and how the  city is laid out to help you plan the most efficient and fun trip!

I definitely recommend, if you get the chance, to get out of Seoul and really explore Korea. Each province and city has its own feel and personality. Plus, the country is about the size of Indiana and transportation options abound, so traveling around is definitely do-able.

Choosing the best country guide was a little more difficult for me. I am typically a Lonely Planet fan, but I found their guide to not be quite as current as this Frommer's guide.

Having an up-to-date guide is very important in Korea since things can literally change overnight!  

[Hongdae cafe/Seoul cafe] Maman Gateau Caramel Bingsoo/Bingsu

Caramel Bingsu
Caramel Bingsu from Maman Gateau in Hongdae/Hapjeong.

So, this is my first official post here. It is slightly nerve wracking.

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