If you are a beginner who just start to learn about Korean food then pajeon is probably one of the very first dishes that you get to try along with other popular dishes such as bulgogi and bibimbap. Pajeon, or seafood pancake, is one of those classic Korean dishes that is enjoyed by so many. It’s simple, tasty, and has been around for many years.
History tells that the famous Dongnae Pajeon, a regional style originated from Dongnae district of Busan, was presented on royal dining table back in Joseon Dynasty. It was first introduced to general public in 1930s when the neighbourhood of Dongnae was filled with taverns and bars serving government officials. The popular recipe then spread amongst merchants of Dongrae marketplace where the workers and peasants began to enjoy what was once only presented on royal tables. Continue reading →
So another friend of mine is visiting from Vancouver and this one also wants to travel to Busan while she is here. For some reason, my Korean friends from Canada are fascinated by the country’s largest port city and I do not blame them for it. Most of these Koreans were born in Seoul and moved to Canada when they were little so they never had chance to visit so many places in Korea (just like myself). However, they have seen and heard stories about how Busan is a big tourist spot and it makes sense that they attempt to squeeze in a short trip to Busan within few weeks of their stay in Korea.
During my trip to Busan, I fell in love with the part of the city called Nampo-dong (남포동). This is where history comes alive with so many traditional markets still thriving. Markets such as Jagalchi Fish Market, Kangtong Market, and Gukje Market are all crowded with tourists due to their national fame.
Located in the city of Busan, Haeundae (해운대) is commonly known as one of the best beaches in Korea. In summer, the endless sand beach is filled with families, friends and lovers enjoying the sunny breeze of Korea’s biggest port city. This is my third time visiting Haeundae but first time ever to visit in winter. Thanks to my dad, we got to spend a night at a luxurious hotel room overlooking the coast. As I looked down from the balcony I saw something odd on the sands of Haeundae beach.
It’s the mysterious crop circles!! I mean.. not circles, but staggering lines heading towards the sea. Who made it on a beach and why?
For three days that I stayed in Busan there is one place that I visited everyday and that was the infamous Jagalchi Market (자갈치시장). I just love the atmosphere of this historic landmark of Busan. As soon as you step on the soaked pavement you can smell the sea and feel the story of every merchant.
There are two opinions about where the name of Korea’s biggest seafood market come from. Some say the name “Jagalchi” was originated from the word “jagal” (pebble) as the neighborhood is filled with plenty of pebbles. The others say that the name came from “galchi”, a popular edible fish in Korea.
The last day of our trip to Busan was a Samiljeol (삼일절: literally means 1st of March). Naver dictionary translates it to “Independence Movement Day” but I personally question myself if the word “independence” is the correct term to describe Japan’s defeat and withdrawal from Korean peninsula in 1945.
Korea had its government under the name of Chosun Dynasty before the Japanese invaded and took over from 1910~1945. After World War II was over, the Japanese retreated and new governments of North and South Korea were formed as the nation got divided in half. I would consider the period of Japanese invasion was more like occupation than colonial era as Korea was never really part of Japan despite the attempt of colonization. The duration of occupation was short and happened during WWII when such invasion of similar nature happened in other parts of the world as well. Instead of calling Samiljeol as “independence movement day”, I think “resistance” or “rebellious movement day” sounds more historically correct.
Some people do not enjoy raw fish but I, for one, love sashimi. Back in Canada, I enjoyed raw salmon and tuna but here in Korea the ones that I could get an easy access to are common white fish called wooreok and gwangeo. Because I live in Daejeon where the nearest sea is about two-hour drive away I guess I was never able to experience exotic, unusual sashimi. So it was indeed a delightful shock when I found myself in Busan and was faced with a fish called milchi (밀치) – something that I have never heard of in my entire life.
At the famous Jagalchi Fish Market (자갈치시장) in Busan, my friend and I grabbed a seat inside the old building referred to as Sashimi Center. There is a newer and bigger building nearby that was built for the tourists but I always prefer something more traditional and local. My friend is visiting from Vancouver but she is originally from Daegu, not too far from Busan. We both wanted to try some sashimi in a way that locals do so we asked for the “chef’s recommendation”.