26 February 2013

My Favorite Korean Food: Dak Galbi (Part 2)

Remember my recent post about a new Dakgalbi restaurant opened in Jakarta? Apparently, there was a newer Dakgalbi restaurant in town. Seigo Dakgalbi, was just opened one month ago in Tebet Green mall.

Inside the restaurant

Not like Yoogane which is a chain restaurant originally from South Korea and focusing only in Dakgalbi, Seigo Dakgalbi is a general Korean restaurant that only exists in Indonesia and offers a lot of varieties of Korean foods. Not only Dakgalbi, they also have famous Korean foods like Bibimbap, Sundubu Jjigae, Bulgogi and famous street snacks like Kimbab, Tteokbokki, Odeng, and Twikim.

17 February 2013

Winter in Chuncheon

From Ice Festival in Hwacheon, I and my friends continued our trip to Chuncheon, the capital city of Gangwon-do province. We took the bus from Hwacheon bus terminal to Chuncheon train station bus stop (30 minutes ride). From there, we took city bus to Myeongdong street (10 minutes ride), a popular street of fashion, foods, and clubs in Chuncheon. The name Myeongdong is the same with the most happening place in Seoul too. Our destination is Dakgalbi Street. Chuncheon is famous for Dakgalbi, a spicy marinated chicken ribs. We had dinner in one of Dakgalbi restaurants over there. The portion was bigger than in Seoul, and it was more delicious. Another famous food from Chuncheon is Makguksu, a spicy cold noodle.

In the Dakgalbi restaurant where we had dinner, we asked the owner where the nearest Jimjilbang (찜질방) was. He then gave us the address, and we took taxi from Myeongdong to there. Jimjilbang is a public bathhouse in Korea that's opened 24 hours. It is usually equipped with uniform (pink for woman, blue for man), hot tub, shower, sauna, spa, massage table, ondol-heating floor and mats for sleeping, snack bar, TV, and so on. People can use all the facilities and sleep overnight for only 6000-10,000 won. That's why it is a favorite place to stay overnight for budget travelers.

That was my first time going to Jimjilbang. Shower, sauna and hot tub were in separated between men and women, while lounging and sleeping area was mixed. In the shower room, I felt so awkward being naked in front of other women and seeing them naked too, but they looked so natural and not really care. Maybe if I visited Jimjilbang more often and already used to it, I wouldn't care anymore. In the sleeping room, it was also awkward laying beside strangers. At night, I was laying besides my friend and a woman, but when I woke up in the morning I found a man beside me. I left my friend who's still sleeping there (she was also shocked waking up to find a man sleeping besides her :P), and went down to the women floor. Apparently there was a sleeping room too in that floor, but unfortunately it was not equipped with heated floor. That's why it was so cold and not so many women sleeping there.

We then checked-out from Jimjilbang, and continued our journey to explore this city. We didn't have any plan, we just walked randomly. After grabbing some breads for breakfast in Family Mart, we walked to the what it seemed like a train station. Apparently our Jimjilbang was located near Chuncheon train station! There was Tourist Information Center outside the station, and we collected some brochures. After quickly reading some of them, we decided that we should check Soyang River Dam, the biggest dam in Korea. We took bus 12-1 from a bus stop in front of train station. About 20 minutes later, we arrived. The dam was located between mountains, and the sky was clear, it was so beautiful!

12 February 2013

Ice Festival in Hwacheon

Korea has never-ending festivals. They are very creative in making festivals on every season, including winter. On January last year I and my friends went to one of their famous festivals in winter season: Ice Fishing Festival. I was so excited, not just because this was the first time I went fishing, but also because we're doing it on top of icy river. This festival is also called Sancheono (산천어) Ice Festival, because Sancheoneo (means mount trout) is a kind of fish that we can catch there. This festival is held annually in January, when the river in Hwacheon is really frozen. Hwacheon is one of the cities in Gangwon-do province that is well known as the fastest ice freezing place in the country because of cold valley wind and clear water.

I and my friends went to Hwacheon using public bus from Dong Seoul bus terminal. There was bus every 30-40 minutes, and it took about 2.5 hours to get to Hwacheon Intercity bus terminal. The terminal was just 10 minutes walking distance from the main spot of Sancheono Ice Festival. We looked for a guesthouse or motel to stay in this area. We didn't book it in advanced, but we could find a cheap good motel there even though it's a holiday season.


08 February 2013

My Favorite Korean Food: Dak Galbi

Last week I just discovered a new Korean restaurant in Jakarta. It looked familiar so I stopped a little, and stunned. It was Yoogane (유가네), the famous Dak Galbi restaurant in Korea!

Yoogane store in Citywalk Sudirman, Jakarta

Dak Galbi (닭갈비) is marinated spicy chicken dish normally mixed with some vegetables (like cabbage and onion), sweet potato (goguma 고구마), and rice cake (tteok 떡) together in a hot plate. Dak in Korean means chicken, and Galbi means rib. Nevertheless, they don't use rib in the dish. In Dak Galbi restaurants, like Yoogane, the dish is being cooked directly on customers table. They put the raw chicken meat that has been marinated with some kind of chili sauce, together with other ingredients on the hot plate. Waiters are going around each table to stir the dish for about 10 minutes. Don't worry, even though it looks scarily red and spicy, but it is not that spicy. Below was some pictures of Dak Galbi I ate in Korea.

Still raw (@ one of Yoogane stores in Seoul)