Jeju Island, South Korea: Food

Part 2 is dedicated to a topic close to my heart: Korean food. More specifically, hoeguksu (회국수) and ogyeopsal (오겹살).

jeju island part 2 food in the foreground and a picture of ogyeopsal in the background

If you visit Jeju, and you’re not vegetarian, these two should be high on your list of food to try.

Hoeguksu consists of raw fish, noodles, veggies, and spices. It’s a bit spicy, so it makes a great meal if you’re in need of re-energizing.

After exploring Seongsan Ilchulbong in the morning, I was ready for an early lunch. I was the first one to the restaurant, so my food came out quickly and ate peacefully. I was lucky because it filled up shortly after.

An empty restaurant near Seongsan Ilchulbong, Jeju, South Korea

The empty restaurant near Seongsan Ilchulbong, where I ate delicious hoeguksu.


The spiciness of Hoeguksu can be offset by eating it with different side dishes. Dongchimi (동치미 radish water), is my go-to for spice relief.  
Hoeguksu with side dishes. jeju, South Korea

Hoeguksu with side dishes.

Close up of hoeguksu.

Hoeguksu, all mixed up and ready to eat!


If you’re familiar with Korean food, samgyeopsal probably sounds familiar. Ogyeopsal is like samgyeopsal, but instead of having three layers (sam= 삼 = 3), it has five (o = 오 = 5). 

This ogyeopsal/samgyeopsal was made from Jeju black pork, but I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between it and what I have eaten in Seoul or Busan. However, it came with grilled pineapple, something I never encountered outside of Jeju… and believe me, it was amazing. AMAZING.

If you didn’t know, eating Korean barbecue is usually a group activity. It’s a bit strange to eat it alone, but the restaurant staff was very kind and didn’t seem to judge too much. 😉

Black pork ogyeopsal being grilled on a round table, surrounded by korean side dishes and beer

This may seem like an intimidating amount of food for one person, but the taste made finishing it an easy task.




Cycling and Eating in South Korea: Part I

Bike on a bridge over a river in South Korea.

A foggy day cycling in South Korea.

I have very fond memories of cycling and eating in the South Korean countryside. There are few things that are better than working up an appetite cycling, taking in gorgeous displays of nature, and then taking a well-deserved break to eat, in my opinion, some of the most delicious food on the planet. 

Below, I’ve written about one of my favorite areas for cycling and eating.

You have to do both to get the full experience! Oh, and if you don’t have a bike or don’t feel like carrying your bike on the subway or in your car, you can rent one near the station! I only cycled around the northern parts of South Korea, so if you have any other suggestions, leave a comment below!


A view of mountains and a river from a bike trail in South Korea.

A view from the bike path.


Cycling in Namyangju (남양주시) / Okcheon (옥천군):

I cycled from Paldang Station (팔당역) to Asin Station,(아신역) roughly 25km (16 miles). There are other stations in the area if you feel like cycling more or less.

*If you’re living in Bundang/Seoul and haven’t already downloaded:

I highly recommend you do so. These include transportation information about Seoul and the surrounding areas. It makes life a lot easier.

Map from Paldang Station to Asin Station, South Korea

Map of the cycling trip I took from Paldang Station to Asin Station, South Korea

I rented a bike near Paldang Station for ₩10,000 (~$8).

There’s a restaurant in front of Guksu Station that serves really delicious food. I can remember it clearly, but I can’t recall the name, so I’ll do my best to direct you there because it’s definitely worth the stop.

A restaurant,역전마당, is marked on the map (bottom of page), but I’m not sure if it’s the same one. I believe I ate at the one marked in red. Look for a white building, across from the station. The restaurant is very sparsely decorated with a separate screened-in area off to the side. If you can’t find it, at least try to find somewhere that serves Jeon (전: Korean Pancake) and Makgeolli (막걸리: raw Korean rice wine) …that’s the mission 😉

And now for the pictures of food… 😎

Memiljeonbyeong, kimchi, and makgeolli in South Korea

Memiljeonbyeong (메밀전병), kimchi (김치), and makgeolli (막걸리). ❤

Buchujeon, a Korean leek pancake

Buchujeon (부추전) is a Korean leek “pancake”

Map (from memory, so this is the approximate location)


Map for the restaurant across from Guksu station.

If you go (or have been before), let me know what you think! Also, please feel free to share any advice or experience you have about cycling around South Korea. 

잘 먹으세요~ Eat well!

Smiling Hara Hempeh

I just finished my second meal made from Smiling Hara Hempeh and I’m ready to give an honest review! 

First, the name is clever. If you were wondering, Hempeh is tempeh with hemp seeds and peanuts. The flavor I went for was Smoked Salt + Pepper

smiling hara hempeh

Smiling Hara Hempeh combines tempeh with peanuts and hemp seeds.

My Overall Scores:

In the world of store-bought, Vegan/Vegetarian packaged products, I give Hempeh a 95%

For those of you interested in comparing it to an actual meat product, I give it a 90%

Specific Details:

+ I loved that one package contained 44 grams of protein.

+ I made two meals using this as the main ingredient.

+It had a good taste on its own. I didn’t marinate it in anything–just lightly seared it in butter.

+The texture was much better than other tempeh products I’ve had. It didn’t fall apart upon contact. In fact, it was pretty resilient.

+It was thick, so I think this made it more suitable for meat substitution.

+Left me full, but without the greasy, heavy feeling that eating meat can sometimes cause.

 If you’re trying to mimic the taste of meat, it probably doesn’t have quite the texture you’re looking for. Personally, I’m not trying to find a replacement for the taste of meat–the protein is more important to me.

It was a little bit dry in the center of the Hempeh, but the outsides were moist and tasty.

I ate it in two ways: In a salad and in a sandwich. My favorite was the sandwich, but this could have been because of the jalapeño crab dip I added.

A salad with hempeh, red leaf lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, and seared balsamic vinaigrette brussels sprouts.

Hempeh salad: Hempeh, red leaf lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, and seared balsamic vinaigrette brussels sprouts. Yum.

Poppy seed bun, jalapeño crab dip, seared hempeh, and spinach.

Hempeh burger. Poppy seed bun, jalapeño crab dip, seared Hempeh, and spinach. Simple, but tasty.

I purchased mine from a local health-food store. If you’re interested and would like to purchase your own, you can find it online at Smiling Hara Tempeh (also includes a store locator).


Happy Lunar New Year!

happy lunar new year written in english and korean 새해 복 많이 받으세요

I lived in Korea for four years. Needless to say, I picked up some habits and traditions during my time there. One of these traditions is celebrating the Lunar New Year (Seollal), in addition to the Gregorian New Year. I returned to the United States in the summer of 2016, so this is the first year I’ve celebrated outside of Korea.

Lunar New Year is a pretty big deal in Korea. Almost everyone gathers with their family to perform ancestral rites, play traditional games, and eat a lot of food. Where I live now, there’s almost no sign of celebration. So, I decided to celebrate in the ways I could.

I bought Hangwa (한과), Korean traditional candy and sweets, and made ddeokguk (Tteokguk / 뗙국). Ddeokguk is considered to be the most important New Year’s food. During Seollal, everyone adds a year to their age, and eating ddeokguk is the main step in completing this process.

ddeokguk written in the foreground in english and korean, with a picture of ddeokguk in the background

Ddeokguk (tteokguk) is made with beef broth, beef, ddeok (rice cakes), and garnish that usually includes dried seaweed, egg, and green onion.

I used ideas from two Ddeokguk recipes: Korean Bapsang and My Korean Kitchen. When you see the soup, it looks so simple but making it is actually quite time-consuming.

ddeokguk tteokguk beef broth in a pot

Making beef broth for ddeokguk. (Water, yellow onion, green onion, garlic, beef, and seasoning)

Full disclosure: the ddeokguk I made wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t how I remember it and I don’t think this is due to the recipes. Nevertheless, it was fun to make and made me feel like I was somehow participating in the Seollal celebrations I became so fond of.