The district of Uiryeong(의령) in South Gyeongsang province sounded unfamiliar at first. Must be just one of those small towns without much worth seeing, I thought. I quickly realized how wrong I was when I stepped into the marketplace of Uiryeong-gun.
Where are all these people come from and what are they so anxiously waiting for?
Thanks to my above-average height I was able to peek above the heads that are all facing the same direction. We are all looking towards the inside of a small room of a building at a corner of the market. Inside, it’s a group of women in work cloth and aprons sitting around a large table. They are busy working with a big mound of white batter. This is where they make the mangae-dduk(망개떡), or rice cake wrapped in mangae leaves. Continue reading →
The city of Masan is located in southern coast of Gyeongsang province. It is about one-hour drive away from Busan. The former provincial capital is more famous for birthplace of steamed monkfish or agu-jjim(아구찜), a regional comfort food that became national favourite. Agu, or monkfish, had originally been treated as scrap fish and was often discarded when they were accidentally caught in the net. The main reason was that the fish looked inedible–it was just too ugly. So it has only been 40 years or so since agu was cooked and served on table. And it all began in no other place but Masan.
Last April, I had a privilege of attending the famous Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Run. This is a national event that attracts runners all over South Korea. Springtime is when many Koreans travel to different parts of the peninsula in search of the best sites for cherry blossom viewing. Personally, I do not prefer to just stand there and admire the flowers at a crowded tourist attraction. I would rather run under the rows of cherry trees that are in full blossom for the season.
The seven-day bike trip along the east coast of South Korea was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had. During the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holiday in 2016, a friend and I decided to go on a 280km ride going southbound from Gangneung to Pohang. We planned seven days because not only we wanted to ride our bicycles but we also wanted to go swimming, snorkeling, sightseeing and most of all trying all the delicious foods that the East Sea has to offer.
Our two-day trip to Pohang was accompanied by locals, friends of a friend who were born and grew up in this beautiful coastal city that is now one of the leaders of steelworks industry in Korea. An actor friend who now lives and works in Seoul was originally from Guryongpo (구룡포), a small beach town in Pohang that is also famous for regional delicacy called gwamegi (과메기), or half-dried herring. His parents greeted us with such warmth as if we were their own kids and presented us a feast that fit for a king. The night in Pohang lasted as strangers become family over endless pouring of soju and karaoke-singing.