For the holiday season, Matt and I decided to play off the 12 days of Christmas and enact a “12 Days of Dongsong.” We wanted to go to a new place, usually a restaurant or coffee shop, every day until Christmas.
Since Dongsong has tons of restaurants, it wasn’t hard to find new places to try. It also forced us out of our comfort zone (wait, we already have a comfort zone in Korea?) to try some new restaurants rather than heading to our favorites for a few weeks. Some friends joined us along the way, and we even met some new ones.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way we lost some pictures of two of our days, including one of the best desserts in Korea: hoeduck. I could have just snuck in two pictures of random days and you would be none the wiser, but … well, I don’t do things like that. So instead, I’ll give you 10 days of Dongsong, starting with Day 3.
Day 3: We tried a new barbecue restaurant with most of the Cheorwon Troopers, our local group of native English teachers.
Blythe and Matt had a hot pepper contest.
Jackie thought she remembered the name of something that was delicious, so we ordered three servings. Then I translated it using Google and it said “seagull.” Ummm. Luckily we later found out it was just a different cut of pork. Google Translate doesn’t know everything after all.
Day 4: A cute little coffee shop hidden above Daiso, which is like the Dollar Store of Korea. It was called Park’s Cafe. Matt looks a little rough, he had just been to a teachers dinner.
Day 5: The huge burger poster at the end of our road had been teasing Matt since we moved here. We finally decided tonight was the night. We walked in, asked for a burger and got denied. Apparently the restaurant only had chicken. We are unsure of whether it means burgers are seasonal, they were just out for the night, or the poster was a trick. In any case, we told them we didn’t want chicken, left that restaurant and went down the street to another restaurant to order…
Chicken! Haha. But isn’t that cool packaging? And I figured out how to order and then tell them my address for delivery and leave. Those Korean lessons are paying off in convenience!
Day 6: We went to a newer restaurant called The Story with two teachers from Matt’s school and our neighbors Cal and Christal.
The Story is adorable. The owner did all the work inside himself, including paintings, brickwork and little touches everywhere. It’s really cool.
Pork cutlet. Or chicken cutlet. I can’t recall.
Day 7: After trying to go to a restaurant I’d been dying to try and getting told it was too cold to sit where I wanted, (it was in a tent outside) we went to the restaurant next door. It might have had the most delicious galbi and salads in town.
The Mick Jagger of Korea? They wanted to see our fancy drinks. Then the restaurant owners told them to leave us alone!
The owner and his son. After a few so-co-meks (soju+cola+beer) with Matt and Christal, I asked the server if he could drink one with us. …
And that’s how we became friends with Jinu, the son of the restaurant owners. He hopes to become a chef in America someday.
Day 8: My co-worker Hyo-sook invited us to her home for dinner. She cooked a delicious meal for us.
Day 8: The best part of dinner was getting to hang out with the kids. The older child was shy but boy did the others warm up to us.
In the running for cutest kid ever.
Attack! Tae-ho, in the blue, was very interested in Matt’s stubble. He asked his parents about it and wanted to touch it.
The two little boys wanted me to read them stories. They didn’t care whether I was telling them stories in Korean or English. They probably couldn’t understand me in either language!
I think they were hamming it up once the camera came out.
Day 9: Getting into this restaurant was quite confusing. We saw a sign but couldn’t figure out what door to enter. Would it be someone’s house? Who knew. Certainly not us, anyway.
Day 9: The women working inside tried to speak to me in rapid-fire Korean. My problem is I know just enough to make people think I know much more than I actually do. Then they start talking fast, and I have to eventually just ignore them and get on with my business.
Day 9: Makguksu, which is cold buckwheat noodle soup. It is delicious. At 4,000 won per bowl, this place had me excited, but I think we’ll stick with our tried and true Cheorwon makguksu restaurant for 6,000 won a bowl.
Day 10: Jiggae restaurant.
Day 10: Jiggae with our neighbor Christal. We probably won’t be going back to this restaurant. Not bad, but nothing special about it.
Day 11: Technically we didn’t go anywhere new this day. We had a dinner party in our apartment. However, we actually cooked at home, and had new friends over, so I think it counts.
Day 12: Christmas day! Lunch took us to a galbi restaurant in Sincheorwon. We chose our own meat and posed by the cow billboard!
So much meat!
Cooking the meat at our table.