Japanistic Korea

Seoul and Beppu are different like night and day (go figure: one has 1 Starbucks, the other has coffee shops for probably every third adult of the 10.5 million inhabitants). In Seoul, I found many differences between Japan and Korea, but the countries do have some things in common as well.

 

Incheon in the foggy frisk morning

Beautiful views

Traditional Hanok village

Beautiful architecture and history

Navigation (or passing a car) can be a challenge!

Small side streets with no names

 

My first meal in Korea: bimbap with free sides of kimchi, pickled daikon and Korean soup!

Similar, delicious cuisine

Schisandra tea with pine nuts

Appreciation for  high quality tea.

When it comes to tea, I definitely prefer the Korean one. The various possibilities: Schisandra, jujube, ginseng, and all the other other herbs: the variations and possibilities seemed to be endless! Japanese matcha and sencha are nothing compared to these various powerhouses. The bimbap, or Korean sushi, on the other hand was not that convincing. Usually the Korean sushi roll consists of spam/ham, surimi (fake crab) and mayo, which are not the ingredients I’d want to put on my roll. The nori is seasoned with some oil (grape, olive or other), and there is no soy sauce for dipping. The Korean soup is not as delicious as miso, but it comes for free with the divine kimchi and daikon, with refills! Point to Japan for this dish, point to Korea for the drinks!

 

Both of the countries also use a sign language I cannot understand. The difference is that in Japan I can at least read hiragana and katakana, whereas in Korea I had no clue what most of the signs or texts said. Luckily it is possible to manage without knowing Korean. For some reason, I automatically and accidentally spoke what little Japanese I can in the shops and restaurants. Maybe the numerous Japanese tourists had some to do with that, or then I am turning more Japanese than I thought I would.

 

 

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Street food, fast food, good food?

Bagels, pretzels, hot dogs and pizza may have defined New York’s fast food scheme in the past, but nowadays there is so much more to choose from. If you get hungry while running from one meeting to another, there is no need of stepping into a crowded, air-con freezing Mc Donald’s (Or Wendy’s, or Dunkin’ Donuts, which seems to be all over the place)¬†to get re-fueled.

Cheap hot dogs, kebabs, and so much more – everything halal (and/or kosher)

Some of the street food stalls are not the healthiest of the bunch, but there are also some alternatives to the pieces of who knows what meat.

People with food restrictions are not left to die of hunger in the streets

Not really that hungry? Have some munchkins, then.

Nuts for nuts

Craving for something sweet instead?

Belgian wafels and dingels (whatever that means).
Cupcakes in different sized and flavors, always topped with different sorts of frosting.

If the mind and body can be satisfied with something else than solid food, solutions can be found on the streets.

Juices, smoothies, shakes – add protein for extra health boost!

If juice is not enough to relieve you from the heat, there is a better ailment. The following are not stalls, but trucks.

Yogo is supposedly healthier than ice cream, unless you go nuts with the toppings!
One of the many different ice cream trucks that drive around. Mr. Softee is probably the most common truck (not pictured).

In addition to these more traditional choices, the New York streets are roamed by food trucks selling bit more upscale, or at least exotic, dishes.

Phil flips his steaks right in front of you.
Peruvian fusion – no grilled guinea pigs on the menu?
Japanese tacos, whose logo is a samurai bean? Works for me!

By the way, all these pictures were taken during one walk in one afternoon! I can hardly imagine how many different options there are in total. I’ve heard rumors about food truck get-togethers, that sound interesting.

I did forget to take a picture of one of the many newspaper/magazine kiosks that sell snacks, and one of the fresh fruit stalls. This weekend I was also treated to an original “ices”, shaved ice with syrup on a cup. The thing melted within minutes, even though I am pretty fast when it comes down to that. Coming up: short introduction to all the ice cream stalls that are everywhere!