Tuesday, May 28, 2013

[Jeju-do, Korea] Guesthouse in Seogwipo City, Jeju - Minjunggak (민중각)

Jeju Island is an oval-shape volcanic island located at the southern tip of South Korea.  The island is 73km from the east to the west, and 31km from north to south.  It is approximately double the size of Singapore.  The island itself is a favourite vacation spot for many Koreans themselves.  Tourism is one of the key businesses in Jeju.  In 2010, domestic tourists accounted for almost 90% of the total tourist count of 7.5 million.  This figures is rather significant considering that the total population on the island was less than 600,000.
On the island, there are many mind-blowing ocean, mountain and natural scenic spots and that was why Jeju was selected to be 1 of the world's New 7 wonders of Nature.  There are 368 small mountains within Jeju and 90 islands off Jeju, which is why Jeju is the ideal place for hiking and island hopping.
In terms of accommodation, the key consideration would be whether to stay at the northern Jeju in Jeju-si (Jeju City), where the airport is about 10 mins drive away, or to stay at southern Jeju in Seogwipo, where you will be nearer to ferry terminals making it more accessible if you plan to island-hop. 
For myself, I stayed at 2 guesthouses during my recent trip to Jeju.  The name of the first guesthouse is Minjunggak and it is located at Seogwipo city. It is 5-min walk from the Seogwipo intercity bus terminal and eateries such as Paris Baguette, Dunkin Donut. It is also a stone-throw away from 2 food streets! There are also several convenient stalls such as GS25, Familymart, 7-eleven.

Those of us who had stayed in guesthouse in Korea would know that the rooms are general quite small, and expect to lug your luggages up the stairs - don't expect any lift in the guesthouse. If you are lucky, the friendly host may help you with the luggages but they aren't obliged to do that.


Minjunggak's room is very spacious and clean. The room came with 2 single beds complete with quilt and blanket.  There is enough luggage packing space for both occupants, which is almost rare compared to guesthouses in Seoul.  On the floor that we stayed, there were about 5 units in total. What I like is also the big LCD TV in the room... wow! There are 2 sections within the room, one of the main bedroom while the smaller section is the toilet cum shower room.  In the shower room, there is a bath-tub and a rain-shower facility. The only downside is that there isn't any wardrobe and as such clothes would have to be hung on the door or on the wall.

The guesthouse hosts were very kind. It happened that I was on vegetarian diet on one of the days. I bought some vege-dumplings from a nearby restaurant which turned out that there was meat in it. The hosts helped me called up the restaurant to check if they had mistaken my order and they even accompanied me back to the restaurant, hoping to get an exchange. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get an exchange.  The lesson learnt here was that vegetable dumplings in Korea typically would be made with some meat.  This was the box of dumplings which I did not get to eat =(

When we returned to the guesthouse, the kind lady host offered to cooked me some vegetable pancakes.  She prepared a mugwort pancake, kimchi pancake and even gave me mugwort rice cakes (wrapped in cling wrap). It was my lucky day ^^

I have not heard of or tasted mugwort before this.  Pronounced as ssuk (쑥) in Korean, it is a seasonal vegetable and it is harvested typically in the spring season.   It is a common ingredient used for Korean rice cake, tea, soup and pancake.  Known to be a blood cleanser, the vegetable contains medicinal properties.  In Chinese, it is known as ai cao (艾草).  It is served as a form of cold dish or stir-fried with meat.  It is also used in the Chinese Acupuncture process.

(Fresh mugwort sold at traditional market in Jeju)

The overall experience with the guesthouse has been great, in terms of its location, its service and its facility.  The price is almost very reasonable!

For the guesthouse address, map and rates, you can refer to this link (http://univird.tistory.com/109) or book via BnBHero.

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Related Posts:
Autumn Travel Promo - Seoul / Busan (click)
Korean Air Promo - Singapore to Seoul (click)
Flight Options to Jeju (click)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Korea Eats : Feasting out at Jebu Island (not Jeju Island )

Korea Today - A Feast on Jebu Island 제부도, 바다음식 열전!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Singapore Style : Korean Beancurd Stew (순두부찌개)

Doesn't those scenes in Korean dramas where the actors/actresses are eating piping hot stews from the pots make you drool?  One of the popular stews in Korea is the Sundubu Jjigae (순두부찌개).  It is a hot and spicy stew dish with beancurd and seafood, with an egg on stop of the dish.
It is actually quite easy to cook up a pot of Korean Beancurd Stew once you have the stew pre-mix.  The pre-mix is a sauce which I got mine from one of the Korean supermarkets. 
Koreans would typically eat this stew with rice.  For a change and to localise this, I decided to add the thick nice noodle into the stew.
For ingredients:
1.  Stew Pre-Mix (it can serve up to 4 pax)
2.  Eggs
3.  1 pack of Beancurd
4.  Some Thick Noodles which depends on how many persons you are serving
5.  200 ml of water
6.  Seafood
1.  If you are using the thick noodles, cook it separately first and put it aside.
2.  Add the water and stew pre-mix into the pot. 
3.  Turn on high heat and let it boil. 
4.  Lower the heat and add in seafood ingredients
5.  Followed by eggs, beancurd and noodles.
6.  Turn on high heat for the final boil and that's it!
Simple, isn't it?  Taste wise, it is not bad.  If you prefer the stew to be thick and spicy, then the portion might be sufficient for just 2 persons.  If you do not take spicy food well, you will need to add a bit more water.  The thick noodles can be replaced with glass noodles too and it is all a matter of preference.

Related Posts:
Korean Army Stew (부대찌개 / Budae Jjigae) (click)
Cheese Ramyeon (click)

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thai Express : Sa-nook Red Tom Yum Fish Soup

Fancy having some hot and spicy (yet affordable) Tom Yum?  Consider trying this Sa Nook set meal at Thai Express.  In Thai, Sa Nook means "fun" and it is a way of the Thai's life.

I am not sure how many knows that you can request for some cashew nuts (appetisers) while waiting for your food to be served, and it is free of charge.  The sugar-coated cashew nuts fried with lemongrass, curry leaves and dried chilli is rather addictive.  Fret not, it isn't spicy when though it is fried using dried chilli.  On days where the food quality is so-so, this might just be the saving grace.

The Sanook Tom Yum Fish Soup's portion was quite reasonable.  Came with a few pieces of thick fish slides and some straw mushrooms.  The soup was hot and spicy to the right level and would be a good choice especially on rainy days.  The set came with 3 small green curry chicken balls.  Frankly, I didn't taste much of a green curry and the texture wasn't as crispy as they look.  The chicken balls were probably made by mashing with some potato mash.  The sago with red-coloured attap seeds dessert was alright, if you are not a fussy dessert person. 

Strongly recommended by my colleague to try this Thai Style Sir-fried Kang Kong with fermented beans and chilli padi, it was indeed very very good.  We, Chinese, usually like food with the wok-hei fragrance.  That requires the chef to have good skills to cook the dishes in high heat and without getting charred, and this stir-fried kangkong has that!  As you can see, the dishes was cooked with a generous portion of fermented beans and lots of chilli padi.  But a word of caution too.  The dish is rated with 2 chillies, if you are not a fan of spicy food, stay clear from this! 

This dish is highly recommended, if you are at a lost of what to order at the restaurant.

Website: http://www.thaiexpress.com.sg/
Address: 68 Orchard Road, #03-24 Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839
Tel: +65-6339 5442
Operating Hour:
Daily: 11.30am to 10.30pm
Last order at 10pm

Getting there: Take MRT to Dhoby Ghaut MRT station.  Use the underpass and take the exit that is directly linked to Plaza Singapura Basement 2.  Although Dhoby Ghaut MRT is contacted by 3 different lines [(North-South Line (Red), Northeast Line (Purple) and Circle Line (Yellow)], the station is inter-connected and it is not necessary to exit to the street level to go to the mall.  Simply look for directional signs to Plaza Singapura and head towards the direction.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Korean Grocery Shopping in Singapore

Fellow Singaporean blogger Aini has compiled a very comprehensive list of Korean supermarkets in Singapore.  Compared to a decade again, when there was only Seoul Plaza, Shine Supermarket, Koreana Trading and Solmart, there are so many more supermarkets that have found their way into Singapore.  I personally shop at Shine Supermarket at Burlington Square and Solmart at Square 2 more often than the others because they are more accessible to me. 

Sol Mart
Square 2, #03-06 to 08
Tel: 63976421
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 9.30pm

Plus point: Their staff can converse in English and Mandarin!

Getting there: Right above Novena MRT Station.

Opening soon at Star Vista.

Getting there: Buona Vista Station.  Walk 3 mins to the mall which is located right next to the station.

Other Outlets:

West Mall
1 Bukit Batok Central Link, #04-20
Tel: 6862 8225

Tampines 1
10 Tampines Central 1 #B1-22
Tel: 6481 1558

Lotte Korean Mart
Tanjong Pagar Store
67 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088488
Tel: 6222 1646
Opening Hours:
Mon to Thur: 10.30am to 9.30pm
Fri: 10.30am to 10.00pm
Sat: 11.00am to 10.00pm
Sun: 11.00am to 9.30pm
Value-added service: Free Wifi!
Plus Point: Some of the newer products can be found in Lotte Korean Mart!
Getting there: 7-min walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT Station

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Bugis Store
The store faces Beach Road and it is between Liang Seah Street and Tan Quee Lan Road.
Address: 101 Beach Road #01-02 Singapore 189703
Tel: 6337 5073, 9116 7125
Getting there: Bugis MRT Station, Exit D, takes 2 mins to walk to the store.

Shine Korea Supermarket
14 Scotts Road #01-15, Far East Plaza Singapore 228213
Tel: 6733 4632

Check out the variety of snacks!  Don't you feel like buying the entire store?

Getting there: Take MRT to Orchard Station and walk to Far East Plaza (~ 4 mins).

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Other outlets:
175 Bencoolen Street #01-10/11 Burlington Square Singapore 189649
Tel: 6238 8897

6 Raffles Boulevard #02-218A, Marina Square, Singapore 039594
Tel: 6336 0607

371 Beach Road #01-05/06 Keypoint, Singapore 199597
Tel: 6296 8541

5 Stadium Walk #02-31/32 Leisure Park Kallang, Singapore 397694
Tel: 6346 5739

Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm

Seoul Mart
Parkway Parade #B1-84A (Next to Cold Storage)
Tel: 6440 4989

Vivo City #B2-19 (In front of Giant Supermarket)
Tel: 6275 4989

Bedok Mall #B2-55 (MRT Connection at B2)
Tel: 6702 4145

Hill View 2 #01-16
Tel: 6710 7234

Headquarters / Warehouse
Tel: 6778 1004
Hp: 8128 4989 / 9780 4989

Online Korean Supermarket - Happy Haeyo

The complete list can be found on fellow blogger Solelyseoul's blog....



Happy Shopping!

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Monday, May 06, 2013

Went gaga over Goguma (고구마) aka Sweet Potato

I am never a fan of food/dishes that is made of sweet potato because they look so uninteresting.  But the variety of sweet potato made into delicious breads, cakes and drinks has changed my preference towards sweet potato (only when I am in Korea).  Look at how enticing the following are:

1) Sweet Potato Cake from Paris Baguette
2) Garlic Sweet Potato Bread from Paris Baguette
3) Sweet Potato Latte
4) Sweet Potato Cream Bread from Paris Baguette
5) Apple and Sweet Potato Bread from Tous Les Jours

Do you wanna try them too?  They are all delicious!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Taiwanese Confectionery - Sweet Musings at Star Vista

If you have been to Taiwan and tried the freshly made 太阳饼 (Sun Cake), the slightly moist flaky skin with a strong milky taste filled with malt is sure to linger in your mind for a while.  Other than the sun cake, another popular confectionery would be the 凤梨酥 (pineapple cake) which are typically in square or rectangular shape.
The sunshine has finally been brought into Singapore by Sweet Musings, a new brand name and shop in Singapore.  They are true to their commitment in bringing the Taiwanese flavour here. The owner, the chef and the ingredients are from Taiwan.  The owner had a shop in Taichung before she decided to bring it over here.

The cakes are freshly made and packed at the store.  Lots of samplings are  available for the fortune bell cake (福钟烧), sun cake, pineapple cake, earl grey egg roll, yam cake (芋泥酥), nougat except for the chilled mochi and panna cotta which comes in 4 flavours.

Prices range from $1 to $3.50. Not exactly cheap but still affordable and you don't have to travel to Taiwan even if you have some cravings for these Taiwanese sweets.
Sweet Musings
1 Vista Exchange Green (The shop at Buona Vista has moved out.  Call contact number to check on new location)
The Star Vista #02-05
Tel:+65 63392885
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SweetMusings
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun: 10.00 am to 10.00 pm

Getting there: The Star Vista is located right next to the Buona Vista Station.

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