How to Make Makkoli, Korean Rice Wine!

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For the last 6 months or so, I have been guilty of making my own makkoli (막걸리), Korean rice wine, at home. Above is a video tutorial I made while I made my last batch of makkoli. It’s actually not hard to do, let me just outline the steps here real quick: 1. Get some rice, you can use sweet rice for best results. 2. Clean the rice by washing it with water, do this like 30 times at least and until you see no visible clouding when water is added to the rice. (As you can see in the photo, the rice is now really clean, very white and no cloudiness with the water.) 3. Once the rice is clean, fill it with water in a big bowl and let it sit like 3-5 hours. This is so the rice absorbs water and also all impurities are gone. 4. Drain the water, then let it sit for another 3-5 hours, this will make sure there’s no remaining water. 5. Steam the rice now until you have nice sticky rice. This is the same method you use on Thai sticky rice. (This is what I use, a big Korean pan, … Continue reading

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How to Sleep in Korean Subway!

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(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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Apportion Women’s Hair Accessory Shop!

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When I was walking by this store, my first thought was “abortion”? I took a closer look and it said, “Apportion”.  Koreans like to name their brands a bit from the rest of the world, let’s just say brand FAIL. There’s even this factory in Korea called FAG I remember.

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3 Men Daytime Drinking in Insadong! [Image Cache]

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(Click photo to enlarge) Right on the south side of Insadong, Seoul, Korea, I took this photo of this wall with painting of mountains. At the time, I didn’t realize it but now I realize there were 3 men in the photo daytime drinking, they were drinking Korean rice wine Makkoli. As you can see in the close-up, these guys look like hikers that went hiking perhaps and taking a break with daytime drinking. Daytime drinking is very common for old folks in South Korea (as is here in the U.S.).  And no, the police isn’t going to do anything, it’s part of the culture!

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Korean Subway – Seoul Metro!

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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!

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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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Gayageum – Korean Musical Instrument

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Gayageum (가야금) is one of the many Korean traditional instruments, let’s say it’s kinda like a violin but with different sounds. Gayageum is probably one of the more famous Korean instruments and they had this show of it at the Incheon Airport in South Korea.  I had a few hours before my plane left back for San Francisco so I took a video for all you to see: Gayageum might sound a bit “off” to those of you hearing it for the first time but that is how it’s supposed to sound and how Korean traditional songs sound like. Also you can see more Korean instruments I outlined in the Cheonggyecheon floats.

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Korean Triangle Sandwich – My Favorite Korean Breakfast!

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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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Galleria Mall LED Lights in Apgujungdong!

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Galleria Mall in Apgujungdong District, Seoul has been around for as long as I can remember.  About 15 years ago or so, they installed these animated LED lights that display flowers, people, and more. BTW, Galleria Mall is exclusive to selling famous brands around the world for brand whores.  Of course, you will be paying a hefty tax over buying them in the U.S. so I would never shop here.  (unless I lived in Korea) Galleria mall also has another building across the street, which isn’t as spectacular. See location on Google Maps [갤러리아백화점]

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Korean Skyscrapers – Hanskin Building!

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One of the things I enjoyed while growing up in Seoul, Korea as a kid wasn’t the number of trees or parks (which are fewer than most) but the high number of mulit-level buildings and skyscrapers. Over the last 20 years, Seoul probably has developed thousands more new skyscrapers and I do highly enjoy them. When I first immigrated to California some 20+ years ago, I was highly disappointed by the lack of skyscrapers in San Francisco bay area.  I was used to seeing buildings everywhere like in Seoul.   I wished my parents had moved to New York, I would have enjoyed it more. Anyways, here’s a building of headquarters of Hanskin, who makes women’s cosmetics, you can see this building between Shinsa Station and Kangnam Station.

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