Friday, April 10, 2015

Foto Friday: Foodilicious week on my Instagram! 3

I just realised it's been some nine months since I did a collation of what I had been eating and posting on my Instagram! So here's a quick list the really notable items that I had been eating thus far!


Sio Bak & Sio Ark @ Siang Yuen Traditional Roasts
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


Chicken Chop Hor Fun @ Wing Kee Ipoh Hor Fun
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


Filipino-style Spaghetti @ Kabayan Filipino Restaurant
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


Potato Salad Inari @ Ichiban Sushi
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


Sweet & Sour Chicken 깐풍기 @ Tae Woo Korean Restaurant
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


Sembawang White Beehoon @ White Restaurant
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


Bara Chirashi Don @ Tanuki Raw
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


Salmon Sashimi @ Ikoi Japanese Restaurant
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


And of course, not forgetting the favourite eats I had while I am out in other parts of the world since my last collation! Very interesting how I got out and about in three different countries within nine months actually!

Homemade toasts @ Mali Beach Resort | Koh Lipe, Thailand
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


Spicy Chicken Stew 닭볶음탕 @ 찌개마을 | Seoul, South Korea
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on


Portuguese Egg Tarts @ Lord Stow's Garden Cafe | Macau, China
A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on

So just like before, please go ahead and click on to find out more details of the food featured in each photo if you like! And I truly hope that I am not going to forget about this collation for another nine months after this! Follow me on @lobsterpaints if I do, okay? Hehe!

Otherwise, till the next time! :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Travelogue: Korea 2014 - Day 9 @ Hongdae (Hongik University Street) | Seoul, South Korea

If you had been following closely to this travelogue that I am doing on my trip to Korea last year, we already managed to check out quite a lot of the so-called shopping havens in Korea with a high percentage of them actually being quite disappointing. But even so, it was already our ninth day in Korea and sixth day in Seoul itself and it was really about time we check out yet another highly raved shopping district within Seoul and find out all about it ourselves! Read on to find out where!


[Korea September/ October 2014]
4th October 2014 - Day 9 @ Hongdae (Hongik University Street)
As always, I am that unusual early riser when I am overseas or supposed to be on a break or holiday. So I managed to have a large pocket of time to check out the neighborhood around our apartment while waiting the girlfriend to rise and prepare for the day.


Chungjeongno/ Seodaemun Station

Chungjeongno/ Seodaemun Station | Seoul, South Korea
A rather quiet Chungjeong-ro 충정로 on a Saturday morning!


Chungjeongno/ Seodaemun Station | Seoul, South Korea

Didn't realise that the railway trains would run by just behind our apartment just like the apartment we took up during the earlier part of our trip in Busan! Feels like a deja vu!


Standing Coffee (Seodaemun Station) | Seoul, South KoreaStanding Coffee (Seodaemun Station) | Seoul, South Korea

And during the morning walk, I managed to chance upon Standing Coffee, one of the hottest cafe you can ever find in Seoul! I believe the tall tables and chairs were recent additions but this cafe started off with the concept that it comes with absolutely no seating area so you can either grab a coffee and go or choose to stand around to slurp up the contents of your cup. And by 'hottest cafe', I was referring to macho male baristas in neat white button downs who will serve you from behind their counters.

Anyway. it was really quite disappointing that almost everything on the menu was unavailable during my visit, even their signature Blue Lemonade that everyone is harping about, and I had to settle for a simple Earl Grey tea since it was really quite chilly that Autumn morning and I needed something to warm myself up.

In other news, I am not too sure if they are still in operation since their official website is down and I cannot find any other recent updates and details about the cafe. Any Koreans here to help verify this? :)


Hongdae 홍대 (Hongik University Street) & Hongdae Free Market 홍대 프리마켓

Hongdae (Hongik University Street) | Seoul, South Korea

The area in front of Hongik University is a fascinating neighborhood known for its youthful ambience and a place where there is freedom for self-expression. And within Hongdae 홍대, there are unique cafes, galleries, fashion shops, live cafe and clubs, art markets or gourmet eateries and you can expect cultural events, street performances and numerous festivals held there. No wonder the place is a popular hang-out for locals!

And upon arriving at Hongdae on a beautiful Saturday late morning, we stopped by KongBul 콩불 for a quick brunch before commencing our afternoon exploring the neighborhood!


Kongbul 콩불 @ Hongdae (Hongik University Street) | Seoul, South Korea
KongBul (Hongdae branch)

According to a few other articles that I just managed to find on Kongbul, it seems that Kongbul is a franchised eatery with a fair bit of outlets across Seoul and possibly across Korea too.


Kongbul 콩불 @ Hongdae (Hongik University Street) | Seoul, South Korea

I am not sure if they offer other food choices but from the only menu that I had seen while we were out at the eatery, the place offers bulgogi 불고기 over a very simple menu. And thankfully they had their menu in English completed with cute illustrations of exactly what they are serving and we managed to settle on our choice and had our brunch served promptly.


Kongbul 콩불 @ Hongdae (Hongik University Street) | Seoul, South Korea

Kongbul 콩불 @ Hongdae (Hongik University Street) | Seoul, South Korea
Kongbul Set A

This set for two comes with bulgogi and generous helpings of bean sprouts, complete with noodles, cheese, fried rice and a carton pack of Coolpis 쿨피스 to make up to a full meal. I have to say that it was really quite yummy and hearty for brunch and the best part is that all that only costed us ₩15,000. Cheers to affordable food! :D


Anyway you can find almost everything for everyone since the shopping streets at Hongdae are quite endless. So instead of elaborating on that, I rather point and direct you to one particular area just beside the kids' playground in Hongdae!

Hongdae Free Market @ Hongdae Playground | Seoul, South Korea

Hongdae Playground | Seoul, South Korea
Hongdae Playground 홍대 놀이터/ Hongik Children's Park 홍익 놀이터 공원

Every Saturday, since year 2002, the park transforms into grounds for Hongdae Free Market 홍대 프리마켓 where folks from all walks of life gathers to display everything artsy fartsy from handmade crafts to performances.


Hongdae Free Market @ Hongdae Playground | Seoul, South KoreaHongdae Free Market @ Hongdae Playground | Seoul, South Korea
A quick view of Hongdae Free Market...

Although the flea market was so packed with people and the sight of the crowd might deter you from hopping right in to check it out, I have to say that it is really going to be worth checking out since whatever you are going to pick up from the stalls is definitely going to be one of a kind! Got myself a bunch of earrings from a very talented girl at Janginsoin and a pair of hand-painted mugs for the brother and sister in law!


Hongdae Free Market @ Hongdae Playground | Seoul, South Korea

A corner of the park separated for live performances. And that afternoon, there were various indie bands going up to sing a song or two for the crowd that had gathered! Beautiful voices to hype up the flea market! 

Anyway, I think the Hongdae Free Market is really worth a trip to check it out. Imagine I am saying that even though it was so goddamned crowded and I am someone who hates crowd! Haha! Anyway, I really feel that you cannot simply get that youthful feel and ambience as well as those beautiful arts and crafts anywhere else! More info on Hongdae Free Market at http://www.freemarket.or.kr/.

A photo posted by @lobsterpaints on

Shaved Ice with Cheese 치즈빙수

And aside from shopping our afternoon away, we wasted no chance to stop by random cafes, eateries or even this shaved ice cafe, Hongdae Dalsuda 홍대 달수다!


Style Nanda @ Hongdae (Hongik University Street) | Seoul, South Korea
A side note to all you fashionista girls, Hongdae is home to the flagship store of Style Nanda!


Hongdae (Hongik University Street) | Seoul, South Korea
Buskers that made the spectators laughed and filled the streets with lots of joy!
Too bad we don't understand a thing they are saying or singing!


Actually there is so much more to Hongdae on top of what I mentioned in my post here! There is just too much food, shopping and fun you can find in this lovely district that I have to say that Hongdae is currently my favorite district in Seoul until someone can find me another awesome town that can convince me to replace Hongdae in my heart!

And by the way, we actually sneaked off to Hangang Park for a bit in between all the shopping and eating at Hongdae and that actually made us fall in love with the park so much that we actually called off the plans the next day and planned a picnic instead even though it was cold and chilly in Autumn! I will elaborate both our experience with Hangang Park in the next post! Stay tuned!




More posts from Korea September/ October 2014 travelogue series:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Travelogue: Korea 2014 - Day 8 @ Ihwa Mural Village and Namdaemun | Seoul, South Korea

After taking a good break the day before by allowing ourselves to relax and do nothing much other than shopping and eating a lot, we were all refreshed and ready to take on another day of sightseeing within Seoul!


[Korea September/ October 2014]
3rd October 2014 - Day 8 @ Ihwa Mural Village & Namdaemun
We started our day bright and early only to realise that it was National Foundation Day 개천절, a national holiday in South Korea, and most of the eateries around our apartment are taking a day's break! But that did not stop us anyway! We filled ourselves with whatever we could find and proceeded with the planned itinerary for the day!


Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을
Located in Ihwa-dong within Jongno-gu, you will be able to find a similar mural village to that of Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan. Anyway, Ihwa Mural Village started in year 2006 when the local Public Art Committee carried out a project together with 60 artists to paint the walls of the houses in the village with beautiful wall murals and installed other art pieces to improve the local environment.


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Arriving at Hyehwa Station (Line 4) and quite taken aback by how crowded it was! 


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Very colorful and lively town around Hyehwa Station!

Just for your information, the town around Hyehwa Station is actually home to theaters, galleries, museums, unique cafes and restaurants and pretty much everything else you can relate to with art. And I guess that explains the perky looks of the town. Very unique, don't you think? :)


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
There was an arts festival and a very hyped up carnival going on that day.
No wonder it was so crowded!


Never mind the festival or the crowd, we began our walk to Ihwa Mural Village without further ado. It should take you under 10 minutes worth of slow walking to see the first marker, provided you aren't shopping along the way like what we were doing. Hehe!

3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Yellow Man

This yellow man or cat or whatever we should call this is creature is one of the most popular wall mural you get to see in the photos of most people who visited the village as it is actually considered an important marker for you to find your way to the mural village!

And then you shall rejoice because after the sighting of this particular wall mural, you are halfway there already!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Blue Sky Steps

This is one of the many ways that can lead you into the heart of Ihwa Mural Village and coincidentally also the same flight of stairs where Se-na (played by Korean actress and singer, Krystal) slid down in one of the episodes in the drama, My Lovely Girl! 

In other news, Ihwa Mural Village is a popular filming location and was also featured in other Korean dramas and movies. So if you are a fan of Korean dramas, you might find some of the areas in this village very familiar!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Korean snack and frozen Makgeolli!

We took a right turn when we arrived at the top of the flight of the stairs so this really left me wondering if it is just a random wall mural or you can really find some snacks and drinks if you were to follow the wall mural and head left. Hmmm...


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea

3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Fancy meeting The Avengers in Korea! What's more... It was an ultra cute version! Hehe :)


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Sunflower power!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
There is an angel hidden deep down inside me and I am not lying! :D

Anyway, this was a really popular wall mural and we had to queue quite a while just to get a picture with it! It was also quite embarrassing to have everyone in the queue trying to hurry you with those killer stares while you pose that I just have to keep telling myself that it is fine to take my time and pose any how I want to because no one knows me in Korea! Haha!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Flower Steps!

One very happening alley with quite a number of wall murals around the corner before the flight of steps! Very entertaining to try and pose with each and every one of them actually! Scroll down to see how silly we and everyone else would get at this alley!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea

3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
You had us at 안녕!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea

Anyway, Ihwa Mural Village and its alleys filled with all the fun and beautiful wall murals and art installations are very much still an active residential village! So shhh... Please keep your volume down while you are there!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Hello Afro Mama!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
The neighbour's grumpy bulldog!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
This is not a Timberland boots advertisement. Haha!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Yet another of the 'Before I die...' wall just that this one looks way more abused than the rest!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Take a left turn after the Flower Steps into yet another alley... 


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
To the right, everybody! No no! Don't get confused! To left and continue walking down please!

By the way, that sign reads 이화동대장간 which translates as Ihwa-dong Smith. So if I am not wrong, you will be able to find a black smith's house or museum or something along that line if you follow that arrow!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea

3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea

After all that walking, we finally found a bench to sit down and take a break! But it is just that it is not exactly a bench and it was actually quite challenging to cross our legs, let alone just sitting on it! Haha ok, before you get more confused... That bench is a 3D wall mural and we actually have to do a half squat to look like we are sitting on it!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Our footprints and one wall mural that reads: 독도는 우리땅 (Dokdo Island belongs to us!)
Guess that reflects the dispute between Korea, Japan and China about that one precious island...


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
TV, Travel and Time!
I supposed I want more time and travels but not sure about the TV part! Not a fan at all!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea

3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Give me a Hi-5!


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Spotted a guesthouse during our walking trail!

Imagine lodging in a guesthouse located right smack in the middle of Ihwa Mural Village! I can already envision a very fun stay just like how colorful and joyful the village is! By the way, anyone here stayed at Rose and Candy Guesthouse before? How was it? :)


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Koi Steps!
Or rather, these giant sized koi reminds me of sharks actually! 


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
Electrical Scuba Box Man?
Haha I like this one! Very creative how they tried to incorporate the electrical meter box! :)


3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea

3 Oct 2014: Ihwa Mural Village 이화벽화마을 | Seoul, South Korea
And also these ones with all the puppies! Too cute! :)

And this is about all that we saw when we spent our afternoon at Ihwa Mural Village. The village is really colorful and cheery and the wall murals are actually quite interactive in their own way. There is so much more explore but it just so happen to be a day when I am not keen on getting lost at all. So this sums up our adventure at Ihwa Mural Village!


Map on how to get to Ihwa Mural Village as well as the location of the mentioned wall murals too.
Click for an enlarged view!


Sungshin Women's University Shopping Street

3 Oct 2014: Sungshin University Rodeo Shopping Street | Seoul, South Korea3 Oct 2014: Sungshin University Rodeo Shopping Street | Seoul, South Korea

It is probably a known fact that there will be a sizable shopping area (if not, even just one street) near the vicinity of any given university in Korea where you will be able to find some really good shopping deals. So when we were done at Ihwa Mural Village, we hopped a couple of stations over Sungshin Women's University since we were just so nearby.

And we managed to find one pedestrianized shopping street located just outside of Exit 1 at Sungshin Women's University station! It was really quite happening and I like how the street was quite spacious as compared to some others we had been to thus far. However, the shopping and food choices there were skewed towards a slightly younger crowd, say probably around high school ages, although it was in close proximity with the university and we could only give up and move on to our last stop for the day.


Namdaemun Market 남대문시장
Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional market in Korea that you can ever find. And opened in 1964, it was already a one-stop place for a good variety of products sold at affordable or wholesale prices up till today. And by 'good variety', I actually meant that you can find things like apparels, kitchenware, furnitures, electronics, fresh produce and so on!


3 Oct 2014: Namdaemun Market 남대문시장 | Seoul, South Korea

No doubt the market is large, carries anything and everything you ask for and a big bulk of them comes with hefty wholesale discounts but our experience with this market lasted less than 30 minutes. We probably survived squeezing through 2 streets and gave up very quickly on the place after getting multiple elbows in our faces and spine and not forgetting the part when the people in the market were really yelling at the top of theirs right beside your ears!


3 Oct 2014: Namdaemun Market 남대문시장 | Seoul, South Korea
The only favorite thing about my visit to Namdaemun Market - This sunset shot!

And in case your thoughts get skewed because of what I said, you probably should do a little more search about Namdaemun Market. Perhaps someone else has a better suggestion as to when is a better timing to visit the market or a specific area you can check out but I am keeping my experience as a really unpleasant one!

By the way, you can get more information on Namdaemun Market on their official website!


Namdaemun 남대문 (Gate of Exalted Ceremonies)
After we quick walk through Namdaemun Market, we hopped over to check out the the first designated National Treasure of South Korea, Namdaemun, that is located in close proximity!


3 Oct 2014: Namdaemun 남대문 (Sungnyemun 숭례문) | Seoul, South Korea

Officially known as Sungnyemun 숭례문, this historic pagoda-style gateway is one of the eight gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul which surrounded the city in the Joseon dynasty. It was first built in 1398 and rebuilt in 1447 during the 29th year of King Sejong the Great's reign.

The gate was actually the oldest wooden structure you can find in Seoul until it was severely damaged by arson in year 2008. Then it went through restoration for five years and officially reopened to public in May 2013!


3 Oct 2014: Namdaemun 남대문 (Sungnyemun 숭례문) | Seoul, South Korea

This gate was once one of the three major gateways through Seoul's city walls back in the Joseon Dynasty. And somehow I imagined myself teleported back to the olden days when I walk through the gates! Silly me! Haha!


3 Oct 2014: Namdaemun 남대문 (Sungnyemun 숭례문) | Seoul, South Korea
Oh anyway, you should totally check out that beautiful sunset scene!
A really good spot to catch the sunset in the midst of the city!


3 Oct 2014: Namdaemun 남대문 (Sungnyemun 숭례문) | Seoul, South Korea
And of course, a #selfie with the historical gate to end of our day! :)


With that, it marks the end of our 8th day in Korea! Anyway, do stay tune for the following post where I cover Day 9 when we spent an afternoon in yet another popular shopping district in Hongdae and also checking out the ever popular Weekend Free Market there!




More posts from Korea September/ October 2014 travelogue series:

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