Category Archives: LIving In Korea

Highway Rest Area Tour in South Korea![고속도로 휴게소]

One of the perks of traveling in South Korea are the highway rest areas.  Unlike highway rest areas in California where I reside, highway rest areas in South Korea come fully-equipped with fresh food, restaurants, restrooms, and even a mini grocery store. Instead of hampering your poor body with the usual McDonald’s or Jack In The Box, you can pamper yourself to fresh Korean food, udon, and even steaks.  You can literally find about 20 different types of fresh food to eat here. Besides good food, there’s also shops where you can buy souvenirs, golf clubs (sometimes), and even local meat shops where they sell Han-woo (Korean beef). Want a tour of highway rest areas in South Korea? Well, good thing I took some footage on my last trip, here’s a video tour: Here’s some more photos of the highway rest areas in South Korea: Udon is my favorite, it’s really good. Korean Meat Market!?! [고속도로 휴게소]

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Korean Elevators!

Most people in Korea live in apartment buildings and this is mostly because there’s simply little land for everyone to go around, especially in metropolitan cities like Seoul, which is the second largest city in the world after Mexico City. Koreans love doing things fast.  What do I mean by that? If you goto a restaurant, waitress will seat you, they will come back within 5 seconds to take your order, you order your food, and food will be on your table in the next 30 seconds or less.  This is a typical lunch process in Korea, everything is done fast. Now, if you go into a Korean elevator, the elevator door opens and closes, like 10 times faster than any elevator you’ve been in the States.  Also, Korean elevators allow you to “cancel”, meaning you can press floor 20 then press it again to cancel.  This way you can undo your mistakes or perhaps you forgot to bring something and must go back to your floor. Also, you can notice in the above photo there’s a TV on the elevator.  Most Korean elevators have this which is nice I guess.  And you will notice a bunch of ads for … Continue reading

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Clubbing in KangNam, Seoul!

If you are into nightlife, there’s really two good places to go in Seoul, HongDae or KangNam. KangNam is where I used to live in Korea couple years back when I was working in Korea, I literally went clubbing every weekend so I know where the hotspots are. Last time I was in KangNam, I went to KangNam NB, to take some photos and show you what it’s like. Drinks are a lot cheaper in Korea than here in the States. Sadly, a lot of these young Koreans don’t know how to really get it on.  That is probably the only downside to clubbing in Korea.  Of course, there “are” some nights you can get some action on but most nights, people are a bit too conservative at the clubs. I did spot this guy who had a really funny hairdo, I had to take a photo with him. If you goto HongDae, there’s also bunch more clubs and probably a bit more foreigners. Another thing, in Korea, they won’t let you in if you wear too formal.  Just dress casual so you can get it. If you are white or black, you will get in no matter what, these … Continue reading

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Dduk Tak – Korean Rice Wine Bar Review in HongDae!

Dduk Tak (뚝탁) is a Korean rice wine bar in HongDae [홍대](and other parts of north Seoul) that serves Chamsary Makkoli (참살이탁주). This Chamsary makkoli is the best makkoli I’ve tasted in my WHOLE LIFE!  No kidding, I don’t want to capitalize like that, but Chamsary makkoli is really good. Why Chamsary makkoli? Chamsary makkoli is made 100% purely from Korean rice wine, no other ingredients/additives added. The taste?  The taste is very mellow, a hint of sweetness and carbonation.  It’s the cleanest Korean rice wine I’ve tasted in my whole life. I asked the owner of the Dduk Tak Bar why this is so good.  And he tells me it’s all in the art of transporting the Chamsary makkoli from factory to the restaurant at the designated temperature, somewhere near freezing so the taste does not change. This is why you can actually buy the same makkoli from groceries in Korea but it wouldn’t taste the same because the temperature is everything. Chamsary makkoli and the food at Dduk Tak was sooo good, I came back here one more time the day before I flew back to San Francisco. FYI, you can only taste this Chamsary makkoli in South … Continue reading

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How to Sleep in Korean Subway!

(Koreans sleeping on the subway.) Back in 2004-2005 when I was living in Korea commuting to work on the subway for about an hour everyday, I used to get some really good sleep. Well, how do you get some good sleep in the Korean subway without forgetting to get off at your destination station? What I used to do was set timer on my cellphone so I would wake up 1-2 stations before my destination station. Of course, this would only work if you know how long it takes to get to your destination but most likely you would if you commute everyday. Also, don’t fall sleep all the way that you are totally unconscious as there are people who will rob you while you sleep. 🙂

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Korean Subway – Seoul Metro!

Seoul’s subway called Seoul Metro, is one of the biggest subway systems in the world. The Korean subway isn’t like any other subway you’ve ridden though, there’s a bunch of ads, TVs, newstands, shops, and even small restaurants. How to use the Korean subway?  You need to wait where the foot diagrams are so people can get out the center path.  When the subway gets busy like during rush hour, don’t mind people who hit you with their shoulders as if they are playing football because they ARE playing football in the subway, literally. Just don’t end up as one of those rude people on the Korean subway. There’s cameras everywhere in the city of Seoul including the subway. Yes, you are being watched. Advertising on the subway is virtually everywhere, this is probably good advertising space though as near 20 million people ride the subway on a daily basis. Oh god, can you please stop the ad spam?  Don’t worry, Koreans are used to ads and advertisers have no worries about spreading them like spam.   Maybe that is why Koreans love spam. The funny thing about Korean subway system is that it gets bigger every year. In about … Continue reading

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Korean Plastic Surgery!

Plastic surgery has gone out of control in South Korea (since last time I was there in 2005), there’s more plastic surgeons and even ads like the one featured above on the subway. On my recent visit, I even saw a girl who had a swollen nose with a big band-aid because she just had a nose job. Apgujungdong District, the same place where Galleria Mall is, is notoriously famous for plastic surgery hospitals.   They are literally on every other block. Well, some plastic surgeon is making a LOT of money.

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Korean Triangle Sandwich – My Favorite Korean Breakfast!

When I used to work in Korea couple years back, I used to eat the above combo for breakfast.  Actually I used to eat two of these sandwiches. Koreans love triangle sandwiches and don’t like the ends. This particular sandwich I bought at Korean 7-Eleven for 1,600 won, about $1 USD. It’s about 10 times more fresh and delicious than sandwiches sold here at 7-Eleven in the U.S.. You can also find these sandwiches and other derivatives of the triangle sandwich at local bakeries, which should be open in the mornings. Unlike the U.S., most restaurants don’t open in Korea until 10AM or so.  There’s not really a morning restaurant culture in Korea so most people eat at home.  Although the night food culture is entirely the opposite. [삼각샌드위치]

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Korean Gas Stations

For those of you who might visit Korea, you might notice something about Korean gas stations. What is that? Look carefully and tell me what you can find in the photo above and below: If you look very carefully, you will notice that there’s gas handles coming from the top! Yes, that’s quite the norm for most Korean gas stations. And Korean gas stations are all “full service”, they will not let you pour your own gas. No, no need to tip them either, there’s no tipping in Korea unless you “really” want to. Most of these gas stations will also give you free stuff like napkins everytime you fill up. When you fill up your car at a Korean gas station, you just need to tell them how much you want to fill up. For example, tell them “20,000 won” if you want to fill up 20,000 won worth of gas. If you want full fill-up, just say “Man-Dang”.

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Korean Moving Portable Elevator!

Just when you thought, “it would be easier to move if they made a moving portable elevator”, Koreans make it. The other day I was walking and noticed this moving portable elevator that was moving stuff to an aparment. I can’t understand why they don’t have this in America. This is definitely going to save me some time moving and stop people from clogging up my apartment’s elevator or destroying things while moving. They used to actually have an elevator that was attached to the roof of most apartment buildings back in the day when I used to be a kid in Korea, now they have this, certainly much better idea. In Korea, labor is so much cheaper, especially for things like moving. On the other hand, because labor is so cheap, you won’t get rich being something like a plumber or electrician.

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