Alspensia Ski Jumping Stadium (알펜시아 스키점프 경기장) – Pyeongchang, South Korea

2013-11-22 08.03.49

Alepensia ski resort in Pyeongchang, Gangwondo, is one of the most well known ski resorts in Korea, and I have been lucky enough to visit a couple of times (in both summer and winter) which I will post about later. Located at the resort is the Ski Jumping tower and stadium which will be used to host the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

IMGP7949

30 minutes walk, or a few minutes in a car up a mountain from the hotels of Alpensia, is the location of the stadium and ski jumping tower. To get to the tower from the main stadium, you can take the mono-rail (2000Won fare), then from there take a guided tour of the jumping facilities and get an amazing view of the surrounding mountains and ski fields from the top! It’s definitely a really unique view and experience seeing what the athletes go through to compete in the winter sport.

IMGP7941 2013-11-22 09.56.36

From the top you can look down into the stadium which seats 28,000 people. During the winter Olympics in 2018 the stadium will be extended to seat 60,000!
Within the stadium itself is also a museum dedicated to winter sports and is quite interesting to spend some time looking through (I’ll post some more details about this later too).

IMG_3173 IMGP7944

Like the locks of love on Seoul’s Namsan Tower, here there are also locks which couples attach to the railing with written messages, then toss away the key to symbolize unbreakable love.

IMGP7950

If you’re in Pyeongchang for some skiing or boarding, take an hour of your time and enjoy the breath-taking views and experience the thrill of being on the edge of the ski jumping tower!

Korean Beef – Hanwoo (한우)

Hanwoo / Han-U (한우) is Korean beef that is born and raised in Korea with maintained stable traits and blood lineage. Beef is common to eat in Korea, however due to the limited space, and mountainous countryside, a lot of the beef that is eaten in Korea is actually imported from other countries, such as Australia.

2013-11-21 18.56.37

Hanwoo is quite different to the beef that is imported – it has a much more marbled fat pattern throughout the cuts, and is eaten fresh as it does not need to be frozen and imported. For these reasons, its much preferred (though more expensive) for Koreans.

One of the most famous areas for premium Hanwoo is in the Pyeongchang regions of Korea. I just took a trip to Daegwallyeong  (대관령) which is a pass in the Taebak mountain range of the Pyeongchang region, in eastern Korea.

IMG_3091

A well known restaurant for tasty, fresh Hanwoo is Daekwallyeong Hanwoo Town, the largest Korean beef restaurant in the region. The restaurant is located quite close to the ski-resorts of Pyeongchang (address: 376/46, HOENGGYE-RI, DAEKWALLYEONG-MYEON  PYEONGCHANG-GUN  GANGWON-DO ) and definitely recommended if you are in the area!

IMG_3095

Only the most premium grade (1++) is served here. In my photos you can see the perfect marbling on the beef! The beef has an incredible flavour and just the right texture and chewiness. A way that I like to eat the beef is to bbq it along with some cloves of garlic, wrap them both in a sesame/perilla leaf (깻잎) and lettuce leaf with some spring onion and maybe some SammJjang depending on what accompaniments are served and pop the whole thing into my mouth…add some soju…맛있어요!!

2013-11-21 18.59.20

If you’re in the Pyeongchang region (or even just in Korea) pay the extra and try the Hanwoo!

Smartphone Food Delivery App in Korea – “배달의민족”

It’s fairly well known that Korea has incredible delivery services – you can order just about anything you can think of, to just about anywhere you want.

You can be in a crowded area by the Han River at night, and call one of the many fried chicken shops nearby and have some chicken & beer delivered to you, fast! somehow they will always find you, wherever you are in the crowd – and If you order something that comes on a plate or in a bowl, the delivery person will even come back once you’ve finished your meal, and pick up the used dishes so you don’t have to worry! Amazing!

Often while studying in Seoul, some friends and I would order some delivered lunch so we could eat on the grass on campus and enjoy the nice weather rather than sit in a restaurant. It was really convenient, and quite unique.

When I was with friends, It wasn’t a problem for them to call a restaurant to place an order for me– but after school, living alone in an apartment, my foreign accent and korean speaking ability would often confuse the restaurant worker on the phone and a few times I couldn’t order exactly what I wanted. This could get a bit frustrating for me as well as the person taking the order, but I recently found a fantastic solution!

배달의민족 is a fairly new app (free on both Iphone & android) which not only lets you search for nearby restaurants to order delivery foods from, but you can also order online using the app, and pay instantly by credit card! Perfect!

Here’s how it works:

-Download the app from the Itunes store or Google Play store, depending on your device.

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-12-34

-Type in your location and select the closest address

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-12-49

-Choose the kind of food you feel like eating by clicking on the icon, or search for a specific food in the search bar.

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-13-18

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-13-37

-Browse the restaurants nearby with the food you want, and click on the one you wish to order from.

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-23-20

-Search their menu for the specific dish you want to order

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-23-34

-Depending on the dish, select the size and quantity.

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-23-45

-Log in using your ID & Password, or you can use your Facebook account.

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-23-52

-Add your address & details.

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-26-13

-Claim your rewards points or coupons.

Screenshot_2013-12-14-22-26-20

-Pay by credit card, then wait for your food to be delivered!

This app is a life-saver for helping you to find restaurants in your area to get delivery from, and also for 바보 외국인 like me who are hard for restaurant workers to understand on the phone! Check it out and enjoy your delivery!

YongPyong Ski Resort Korea (용평 리조트 스키장)

2013-11-21 15.53.26

Just two hours drive East of Seoul, in the centre of the Baekdudaegan mountains, is the YongPyong Ski Resort in Pyeongchang, Gangwondo.
YongPyong is one of Korea’s best ski & snowboard parks, with 31 ski slopes, 15 chair lifts and a 3.7km long cable car gondola ride.
I recently spent a day on the slopes of YongPyong – I’ve snowboarded a few times previously at other parks in Korea, so thought this time I’d try Skiing.
At YongPyong is Dragon Plaza – Asia’s largest ski house, and in here (as well as restaurants serving many types of tasty Korean foods and an awesome view of the ski fields) you can find a few ski-rental stores where you can rent all the necessary equipment for a day on the slopes – everything from clothing, to goggles, skis and boots. (a full day ski hire costs around 23,000W)

IMG_2876
The park offers ski lessons with an instructor in English starting from about 34,000W for a beginner half-day session. As it was my first time skiing, I found it really helpful to get me started, and definitely worth doing. By the end of the lesson I had a lot more confidence and learned how to stop, so I got a lift pass and was able to enjoy the rest of the time skiing freely!
For the really adventurous, YongPyong has a really high quality terrain park, featuring a half pipe, quarter pipes and rails!
Yongpyong will also be the host of the slalom and giant slalom events during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics!

IMG_2898

A great thing about YongPyong resort, is that even though its primarily a ski resort, it’s open with lots of activities year-round. As well as the ski slopes, the resort features a full golf course, swimming pool & saunas, fitness centres, bowling alley and other facilities to provide the perfect place to relax at any time of the year.

2013-11-21 14.01.04
Close by to the resort is Woljeongsa Temple, which I visited last year and will post about another time!

Korean Tangerine Tea (귤차) & Honey Citron Tea (꿀유자차)

Now that the winter really has arrived in Korea, and Tangerine’s are in season during these  winter months, Tangerine (귤) Tea (차) is the perfect drink to accompany the freezing cold weather and keep you healthy and prevent a cold!

2013-12-10 20.20.38

I was first introduced to 귤차 in winter last year when my friend invited me to a café in Seoul and recommended Tangerine Tea, as it had freshly been made and I had never tried it before.

2013-12-10 20.30.35

As a gift, my friend bought me a jar of the fresh tea so I could make it myself at home, and introduce it to my friends and family. Around this time of year, many people will make their own 귤차 in their home using tasty Jeju Island tangerines. A benefit of this is that you can control how much sugar and other ingredients are added to the tea, so you can make it to your own specific taste (and how healthy you feel) – if you’d rather buy it, lots of café’s and markets sell jar’s of their home-made tangerine tea which is very delicious and quite cheap.

2013-12-10 20.30.09

Another similar style tea that I enjoy in Korea is Honey(꿀) Citron(유자) Tea (차), as with the Tangerine Tea, honey citron tea can be made at home, bought from café’s in jars, or an instant version can also be found in sachets in the supermarket, which makes it quick and easy to make at home. I prefer to have it fresh, but sometimes it’s not possible, so these options are a good solution.

2013-12-10 22.06.23

Its really easy to make – just pour the contents of the sachet into a coffee cup, add hot water, and stir! Yum!

2013-12-10 22.07.03

Both귤차 &꿀유자차 are sweet and refreshing and high in vitamin c which is great for colds, headaches, fever and help with sore throats!

Samwon Garden (삼원가든) in Seoul

Recently I visited Samwon Garden in the Gangnam district of Seoul, Korea. It is a large, first-class restaurant, serving fresh and tasty traditional Korean food in a beautiful garden atmosphere.
The restaurant is tastefully designed and decorated, with charming and elegant wooden furniture and interior, in a traditional Korean style.

2013-11-20 20.10.05 2013-11-20 21.10.01

The Samwon Garden restaurant specializes in delicious traditional Korean meals – especially famous for it’s Bulgogi and Galbi. The menu boasts a great range of beef dishes as well as many enjoyable Korean & Japanese beverages. In true Korean style, the dishes are accompanied by a number of enticing side dishes and wonderful service.

2013-11-20 20.27.06 IMG_2795 IMG_2799 IMG_2817

Check out the menu and information at their website: http://www.samwongarden.com

Address:
623-5 Sinsa-Dong Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, Korea.