Friday, January 07, 2011

Seoul 2010: Namdaemun and Ginseng Chicken

The hotel we stayed in was Millenium Seoul Hilton. It's pretty conveniently located, just a short walk from Namdaemun market. Seoul station is pretty near but I think the nearest subway station is Hoehyeon. Hoehyeon is just a stop away from Myeongdong, where the malls are. It took us about 5 minutes to walk to Hoehyeon.

So anyway, after a good rest and showering, we headed out to Namdaemun Market. I think this is like Chow Kit Road/Petaling Street in KL. The streets were quite confusing to us and there were underground shopping areas too.

Mary in Namdaemun Market. It was coldddd, but thankfully there wasn't much wind, so it was bearable with proper clothing.

Ginseng galore.

Trotter time :P

We had lunch at this noodle shop that seemed to have lots of patrons. Seating was tight and Sean didn't eat much. But the noodles were quite yummy.

It started snowing while we were having lunch. Yayyy, Sean was happy. Strange thing I realised, when it's snowing, it doesn't feel quite as cold as when it's not. We continued walking and getting a little lost and ended up at the edge of Myeongdong, in a mall called Shinsegae.

After walking about for a while, we headed back but somehow got a little lost. We jumped into a cab and fares aren't expensive at all. A 10-min ride would cost no more than S$6. There are no surcharges or call-in charges or any of those nonsense :P I like the transportation system in Seoul. The next day I was also impressed to find a very comfortable subway system with very low fares. So my impression that Seoul is like Japan was quite wrong, both in the good and bad sense. Transportation is really cheap BUT the toilets are really bleahhhh, Bangkok loos are much cleaner.

Our cab ride was most interesting. When we had gotten lost, two kind Koreans saw us looking at our maps and offered help. Well, one of them, an elderly lady, pointed us to a completely different direction, but still, Koreans are really helpful. But we also saw a very ugly Korean. Our cab driver somehow couldn't navigate the steep slope to the hotel, so he needed to reverse out the right turn he had made. Most cars behind him were reversing to allow him to do so except this idiotic young man right behind us who just refused to budge.

This fella caused a minor jam and then after a few minutes, he came out of his car, approach our driver and both started having a Korean-style shouting match. Quite funny to watch, just like what you see in Korean dramas, the men shouting and going "HAIIISSSHHHHH!!!!". LOL. An older lady came out to calm the young chap down, I think maybe his mum, and he went back, still refusing to reverse and instead drove straight on, when it was obvious he meant to turn right too.

That was fun to watch :) We had to get out of the cab there and climb up that slope ourselves. Wilson and family came to pick us up for dinner at a ginseng chicken place recommended by SQ Seoul staff. We each had our own bowl of chicken ginseng, except Sean. We ordered a roast chicken for him.

At the traditional-looking restaurant and yes, Brian is playing his DS again.

Chicken ginseng is I guess an acquired taste? I found it quite tasteless actually. I prefer our chinese beggar's herbal chicken. The rice is stuffed inside the chicken so you're eating a kind of soggy soft rice, like hard porridge.

The ginseng in the chicken.

The hearty meal did fill our tummies nicely, and Brian and Eddie liked their ginseng chicken.

Sean helping to zip Valerie's jacket...awwww :D Remember Valerie? Here and here.

She's not even 4 but poses like a pro. she's grown.


monlim said...

You know, Seoul was never on my must-go-to list until you told me you had a great time there! Sounds fantastic with the cheap and easy transportation plus good deals.

Lilian said...

Yeah, I really didn't think I'd enjoy it this much. Having said that, given a choice of a revisit, we all would do Japan first before Korea again. Cos of food lah.

Anonymous said...

Lilian, I love all your food pictures lah!!! I am hoping to go to korea too!!

We had the same entcounter last year. We were going to the chalet at changi, driving along this small 2way traffic road, there were cars parked along the roadside, so at any one time, only one side of the car lane could move. So eventually the traffic built up and we were stucked in between. There was this car, a middle age man driver, he just refused to give way to the cars that was coming from the opposite side. All the drivers came down and talk to him, some even threaten to beat him, but he just refused to budge. So in the end, the cars from the opposite direction had to reverse all the way up hill for this middle age man's car to go thru 1st. Very terrible...


Lilian said...

Some people just can't give in even a teensy bit, always must win. What miserable lives they must lead!