I’m still studying Korean here in Seoul, but as a way to transition more into a work-mode I’ve been studying at a more casual pace at YBM in Jongno, a 20 minute bus ride from Sinchon. I’m really enjoying studying in this area (the center of the city both now and historically). Being the cities center since the city’s inception, the area’s full of history. 4 of Seoul’s major palaces are located within this area, as well as Bukchon folk village, King Sejong’s (the creator of hangul, the Korean writing system) home, Insadong, an area packed with traditional shops, tea cafes and traditional food, and of course the now iconic Cheonggyecheon stream. I typically finish my class, grab a quick bite then make my way to Culcom cafe across the street to study for a few hours.
This past week, my friend Mao decided to visit my area for lunch together. I hadn’t gone to Gwangjang Market, a large, often cramped and busy yet vibrant and energetic market located along the Cheonggyechon stream, in a long time. Despite living here for going on a year and a half I still haven’t tired of the market scene and energy. Feeling the urge to revisit I proposed the idea to Mao and we made our way there for binddaeddeok (빈때떡), a pancake made from mung beans and Dubukimchi (두부김치), pork, with mixed vegetables and fresh kimchi over squares of soft tofu. I suggested we make our way from my school’s area to the market by the stream. Along the way we stopped a few times to watch the fish along the river and just relax a bit.
(Big picture along the restaurant’s back wall)
After reaching the market, I returned to a spot I’d visited a year ago, a little restaurant tucked away from the long rows of food vendors. We ordered a bottle of Makgeolli (rice wine) to share and ate and talked for a good hour. Towards the end a young man and older woman working there got in a fight, yelling at each other for a few minutes. I’ve seen it before so just laughed it off, but the man apologized to us profusely as we reassured him there’s no need for concern. Anyway, was a fun trip to market as always.