korea trip day 02

kor0007crab

We didn’t set the alarm, woke up at 9.30am. By the time we got ready it was around 10.30am. First stop was myeong-dong to exchange money, our friend recommended a place called embassy forex that had no commission and good rates, and we found that this was the only place with a queue and the rate was good.

A few stops on the subway brought us to the samcheon-dong area, the guidebook that mm borrowed from her friend recommended a great restaurant for soy sauce crab or ganjang gejang — blue swimmer crabs marinated in a special soy sauce, served raw. The sauce marinates the flesh and gives it a fantastic flavour and texture, the swimmers were full of roe. I’d never heard of this dish, apparently it’s part of a traditional royal palace meal and I can see why. Not cheap, KRW93,000 (USD93) for two of us, but well worth it. The crabs were super fresh and the banchans really nice.

kor0008souvenir

The area around the crab restaurant was full of small souvenir and craft shops. Socks for KRW700 (70cents), clothing and accessories. I like these lego keychains.

kor0009bukchon

Apart from shops the area was also near to the historical bukchon hanok village. Traditional houses still occupied. Very neat and pretty and well kept.

kor0010hanokcafe

We stopped for coffee at a café called the hanok, mm had americano coffee and I had a red bean ice. I was quite thirsty by then so the shaved ice was perfect.

kor0011insadongdinner

South of bukchon area was insadong, a touristy pedestrian street with traditional craft shops and galleries. It was quite busy when we got there around 5.30pm, we browsed around souvenir shops and craft shops, bought some small souvenirs and a couple of painted cups. We wanted to go to the same small family restaurant we went to in 2006. We found the alley no problem, and the women there still couldn’t speak english. We weren’t able to ascertain whether they were open, so they cleverly brought us to a nearby shop. Funnily the other person told us that they were too expensive, which was right. In 2006 it was KRW20k per person and now it was KRW40k (USD40). Considering our crab was double that, we could afford it, but we decided to explore other places.

We found another food alley off insadong. Several restaurants including ones that looked touristy and the one we ended up at, which was run by 3 family members. A traditional set was KRW13k per person, including banchans, porridge (delicious), soup, spicy pork, pancake. I had a soju and we totally enjoyed our dinner. Walked around the night stalls a little, then made our way back to our hotel. Another nice day.