Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sultan Kebabs - Lunch

For lunch yesterday, I went up the hill to the Sultan Kebab place. Yummy. Kebabs here are more like what I guess we call gyros in the U.S. At Sultan's Turkish kebabs, you have a choice of chicken or lamb. I haven't tried the chicken yet, but the lamb kebabs are tasty. I usually get the non-spicy version (surprise, surprise). They come with slices of meat, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and a sauce.
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How to make a pound cake without the usual tools...

We had a potluck dinner the other night for the ex-pats in the office for Lunar New Year. I made a pound cake. I discovered a few things during the process.

The recipe is pretty basic:
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.

*** Note: If you don't have a mixer, or a wooden spoon, a plastic rice paddle works just as well.

Stir in the flour.

*** Note: If you don't have a measuring cup, the liquid measuring cup that holds 4 cups filled halfway works just as well.

Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla.

*** Note: If you don't have measuring spoons, regular spoons work just as well.

Stir in the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each addition.

Pour into a buttered and floured bundt cake pan.

*** Note: Use the only baking dish you have. But be careful because you can't adjust the rack to a higher level in the oven, so the bottom will get browner than it is supposed to. And instead of cooking for 75 minutes at either 180C or 170C, check after 30 minutes, then keep checking every 10 minutes after that until done. Turn down the temperature as needed.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

More random wandering...

Today we wandered over towards City Hall and Namdaemun Market. There's an ice skating rink set up right now in front of City Hall. I skipped that. I figured why pay to fall on my backside when I can do that for free on any sidewalk around.

Building near the Kyobo Book Center building at the intersection of Sejongno and Jongno to commemorate something or other (I didn't read the sign). I'll have to go back and get more details later. When it's warmer.

Statue of Admiral Lee Sun Sin, middle of Sejongno.

One corner of the Korea Bank Museum building. This was built in the 1910s, designed by a Japanese architect, and looks like a European castle. It was originally the Korean Bank building when the bank was first established following independence from Japan in the 1950s. It now houses the museum.

One of the things I find entertaining sometimes is the use of English in signs in countries where English is not the first language. Just down the street from this Mr. Pizza was a men's clothing store that had apparently gone out of style. But it was the place where your lover would like your clothes. I'll have to go back and see if I can't get a photo.
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Sunday, January 18, 2009


Samcheongdonggil is a neighborhood within 10-20 minutes walk from our apartment. I've been wanting to go there for a while because it's where the art galleries are. The area reminds me very much of a northern California college town, with lots of shops and galleries, restaurants, cafes, and wine bars. When the weather gets warmer, we'll come back and try some of the wine bars or cafes, many of them look like they have nice outdoor seating areas. Then again, there is also one that has fur-lined benches and chairs for winter (sorry, no photo).

An art gallery with some interesting works outside.

Upside wine bottles in a planter outside of a restaurant and wine bar.

Anyone need a roof tile?
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Random Seoul Stuff

Seoul is an eclectic mix of stuff, most of which has been built following the Korean War. In this first photo, there's a 1920s style house surrounded by a wall, a 1930s style church, with modern in the background.

Home, sweet home, in the background.

Art along a wall leading down into a garage.
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How many LG box fans can you find in this picture?
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There are all sorts of statues and carvings sitting around that I see when I walk around.

These two are sitting outside a gallery right outside the front door of our apartment building. Occasionally in the evenings, when I'm walking home from the bus stop, some of the galleries are hosting little events, usually with wine and cheese.

This is a set of carvings along the road between Anguk Station and Insa-dong.

These two are at the beginning of Insa-dong.

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More random Seoul wandering

After lunch today, we headed up towards Samcheongdonggil.

According to one of the tourist maps I have, this structure is Dongsipjagak. It's in the middle of the intersection where Samcheongdonggil meets one of the large main roads. The colors on this are consistent with many other gates and structures, with the turquoise and gold colored design painted underneath the roof.

Random sign along Samcheongdonggil.

View of Gyeongbokgung from one of the gates along Samcheongdonggil.
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Mandu Guk

We went back to the mandu guk restaurant today for lunch. I still have no idea what the place is called, but it's always crowded with Koreans and the food is really good.

Today, we got a bunch of different side dishes. Clockwise, from upper left: julienned potatoes, green beans, ubiquitous kim chi, and my personal favorite, jap chae. The jap chae are potatoe noodles, and they have some type of mushroom and green onions usually, along with very thinly sliced carrots.

My coca-cola bottle, glass, from 2002 according to the copyright date on the side.

Mandu guk: dumpling soup. These are king dumplings, i.e., large.

The inside of a dumpling. I pull my dumplings out of the broth one at a time, put it in a small bowl, and break it into bite size pieces. The filling is a blend of pork, vegetable (possibly zucchini), and green onion, with some spices.

This is the front entrance, with trays of dumplings. There's a woman in the window making dumplings, and filling tray after tray with them.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009


When I lived in Japan a few years ago, I discovered these things called custard cakes. I called them "Japanese twinkies". They were these sponge cakes filled with cream, and I loved them. I can't really stand Twinkies, but Japanese custard cakes, I will eat an entire box, in an afternoon.

They have something similar here in Korea, but I can't really tell what flavor they are [this is where being illiterate can make life difficult!]. We did, however, discover Choco-Pies. These are a chocolate coated sponge cake with a marshmallow filling.

And if you'll note, the photo above matches pretty closely to the photo on the package. And yes, I ate this for breakfast today. With a glass of cola to chase it.
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Random numbers

2 - the number of McDonald's within 1 block of my apartment
2 - the number of Dunkin Donuts on one block of Jongo (almost across the street from each other)
1 - KFC within 1 block of home
1 - Baskin Robbins within 1 block of home
1 - Pizza Hut within 1 block of home
1 - Starbucks within 1 block of home
2 - Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the same building (found another one down a side street off of Insa-dong today)

No wonder I don't feel homesick.

3 - the number of big screen tv's on buildings that I can see from my living room window

Saigon Grill - lunch

One of the things I love about being in a big city is the variety of food options. Jacksonville had lots of bbq joints, and a few good restaurants, but the variety was pretty limited. Here, I can find just about anything, whether it's Turkish kebabs (aka gyros), Vietnamese beef pho, schnitzel, burger, or any number of other things that I don't know the name of or the ingredients that go into it.

To celebrate a friend's birthday the other day, several of us headed out to Itaewon for lunch and went to Saigon Grill. This place has been highly recommended by a Vietnamese co-worker. And it was good.

These are the vegetarian spring rolls.

These are a fried roll of some kind - I don't remember what was in them. But they were tasty.

My bowl of beef pho. It had nice good size pieces of meat and the broth had a good flavor to it. I added bean sprouts and sliced onion to it.

Baguette sandwich that had all sorts of goodies in it, including a barbecued meat of some kind, vegetables, tomatoes, pineapple, cilantro, and hot peppers. And yes, I picked the hot peppers off of my piece of sandwich.

This is the nasi goreng, which is an Indonesian style fried rice dish, that came with a fried egg on top.

The tea they served was hot, which was lovely on a cold day, and had a nice flavor to it. The plan is to come back and try this place for dinner one night.
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