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-of-restaurant-near-guksu-station-south-korea

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).

 

This week is Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli) film week

studio ghibli film week written in the foreground with images from three studio ghibli movies in the background

Ahh, Sunday. A day of rest and just a bit of work, for me. While working, I came across a post on Booooooom (don’t try to count the Os): 50+ Artists Pay Tribute to the Films of Hayao Miyazaki.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched a Miyazaki film, but after reading Booooooom’s post, I decided to dedicate the next few days to enjoying the magical worlds brought to life by Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

A picture of Hayao Miyazaki in front of a gold background

Hayao Miyazaki –Thomas Schulz

 

This week’s Studio Ghibli line-up:

Sunday: The Red Turtle (La Tortue Rouge), 2016

Monday: Grave of the Fireflies

Tuesday/Wednesday: Only Yesterday, 1991

Original, 1991 Trailer of Only Yesterday
2016 North American Release Trailer of Only Yesterday

Thursday/Friday: Pompoko, 1994

 

Sunday: The Red Turtle (La Tortue Rouge), 2016

Drawing of man on raft looking at large red sea turtle

The Red Turtle / La Tortue Rouge, Studio Ghibli

A+ –I now see why Rotten Tomatoes gave this film a 93% (I think it should be higher, but I consider this a high score in the world of Rotten Tomatoes).

It was simple, yet incredibly powerful, due to its simplicity.

  • The graphics: Simple, but beautiful
  • The audio: Simple–mainly the sounds of nature.
  • The soundtrack: Simple, yet effective. It does what, in my opinion, a good soundtrack should do: adds just enough to evoke the intended emotion and guides the audience into wherever they’re meant to go, without being a distraction.
  • The dialogue: Simple. Less than Castaway.  (very simple–you’ll see)

I loved the message and the beauty of this story. Just like the dialogue in The Red Turtle, there isn’t a lot I can say about it–I think it’s better if you just watch and experience it for yourself.

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.

Respite from winter

Today was filled with so much beauty that it brought me out of the depths of my mind and into the world. I sat down to write a much more complex, analytical post but was gently led away from it by the allure of the outdoors.

Flower on leaves

I’ve never been able to resist a warm breeze and the gentle heat from the sun, especially on days that should be dreary and cold.

sunrise-at-fisher-park-greensboro-nc

I was fortunate enough to have the time to participate in this welcome respite from winter. I walked around downtown Greensboro, stopping for a few minutes to just sit and enjoy the scenery in Fisher Park.

reflection in a creek at fisher park greensboro nc

Those of us who have the time and awareness to appreciate things like this are incredibly blessed. I didn’t spend any money, but being present and truly connected to the world made me grateful for who I am as a person and content with where I am in life. To me, that is the ultimate goal, and it’s something money can’t buy.

ee cummings poem i thank you god for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

5 ways to easily bring about change in your life

 

 

 

5-ways-to-easily-bring-about-change

We all have a responsibility to make our society better. There aren’t a lot of excuses for not contributing in some way. This is because now, more than ever, there are so many ways of facilitating change.

5 simple ways we can bring about a positive change in different areas of our lives:

1. In our companies : Even if you aren’t the one in charge, your attitude and behavior can contribute to increasing the overall quality of your work environment. I know from personal experience that having one person with a sunny disposition can bring at least a faint glow to an otherwise gloomy situation, even when things aren’t so good with management.

If you’re having trouble getting started, check out Udemy’s tips on 10 ways you can achieve a positive attitude at work. For more convincing, read LiveStrong.com’s article about the additional benefits of having a good attitude at work.

2. In our local community : Pick a local charity or non-profit and volunteer as much as you can. Once a month is better than never. This will not only help the community, but help you grow closer to your neighbors and give you a sense of purpose. We all want to feel needed.

3. In our internet community : Participate in positive and uplifting ways and STOP responding to trolls. Remember that they’re encouraged by your reaction(s). START answering people’s questions on websites like Quora.

4. In our friends and families In my opinion (and experience), you can’t make someone change. I’m sure we have all tried it before and failed miserably. (If you have succeeded in forcing someone to make a lasting change, please let the rest of us know how you did it.)

Instead, be patient and lead by example. This doesn’t mean you have to surround yourself with toxic people. Remember, we might not have control over the people around us, but we do have some control over who we surround ourselves with and even more control over how we respond to the people we’re around.

5. In ourselves : This is by far the most important. 1-4 depend on our ability to facilitate change in ourselves. Regardless of who you are or where you are in your life, there’s always a way to improve or change in a positive way.