Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Asian Eyes' Korea - Bibimbab

Bibimbap, Korean's fried rice 
dish on iron wok
          Day 4, Nov/20/2012, 6 pm: Dinner menu today is Bibimbap (mixed rice), a signature Korean dish. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with sautéed and seasoned vegetables and chili pepper paste. A raw or fried egg and sliced meat are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating. It can be served either cold or hot. Vegetables commonly used in Bibimbap include julienne cucumber, zucchini, turnip, mushrooms, bell flower root, as well as spinach, soybean sprouts, and bracken fern stems. Tofu, either plain or sauteed  or a leaf of lettuce may be added, or chicken or seafood may be substituted for beef. For visual appeal, the vegetables are often placed so adjacent colors complement each other.
          Our food are ready when we arrived at the unassuming restaurant. On the iron wok, piles of cabbage, chicken and chili pepper paste being stirred fried along with a few scoops of rice. The aroma was great and it lingered in the air and stuck to one shirt and hair, long after dinner. As usual Kent went around to ensure everyone had a seat, had kimchi and was eating. We quickly finished our our Bibimbap in no time as it was very delicious. We had 2 helpings of rice added on and were enjoying frying them. All my kids always like fried rice, so, by the time we were ready to make our exit, the wok was squeaky clean. There was rice crust at the bottom of the wok which Kent mentioned was the best part but by then we are already very full to stomach more.
           After dinner, we proceed to our next destination, a 2.5 hours bus ride to Toseong, near Soeraksan, to Del Pino Golf Resort, where we will stay the night. Our room was a Korean tatami style where we slept on warmed floor. It was our first time experiencing the Korean sleeping style. Here are the pictures I took during dinner and on the way to Toseong:
Del Pino Resort location: 403-1, Wonam-ri, Toseong-myeon,Gangwon-do, Goseong-gun, Goseong-gun, South Korea
Finally we arrived at our Bibimbap restaurant
Melted down snowman outside the Bibimbap restaurant greeted us as we stepped down from our bus.
Our Bibimbap ready for frying before we added the rice. I was given the task.
The sizzling sound of Bibimbap makes my mouth waters and hard to hold the camera still!
Ah, the fragrance of our Bibimbap permeated the air, stuck to our shirts and hairs too.
Lettuce leaf, kimchi and more sauces accompanied our Bibimbap.
Our bibimbap ready for eating. An awful lot for 4 persons, but we finished them in no time.
The evidence that we finished off our Bibimbap, but we passed on the crust, said to be the best part.
Snacks on sale in rest area on the highway halfway between Nami Island and Toseong. As we were still full from the Bibimbap, I opted for a cup of coffee instead.
Selection of snacks available for sale. The price - 2,000 to 3,000 won (About USD$2 - USD$3).
Our warmed bedding tatami style floor for the night at Del Pino Resort, but no lights out for us just yet.
Our bedding for the night. A room sleeps 5 but we had 2 big rooms to ourselves.
The convenience shop at Del Pino Golf resort sells a lot of stuff which we can cooked in our room. Sorry, no takers tonight.
A map of Del Pino Golf Resort. We were at the northeast of Peninsular Korea, quite close to the border to North Korea actually.
Yummy poster of food at a restaurant at the resort. Yummy but did not enticed me as I was still full from the earlier Bibimbap session.
Bistrograin, our breakfast place tomorrow.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Asian Eyes' Korea - Nami Island Exit

More photo from Winter 
Sonata in Nami Island.
        Day 4, Nov/20/2012, 4 pm: It was time we  make a U-turn and we headed back to the jetty area for our designated 4.45 pm appointment time as set by Kent. As we retraced back our steps, we saw lots of attraction and master piece that we missed on the way in. We stopped by an eating place to buy some buns. A small bun (pau) here was priced at W3,000 each. Boy, they were expensive! We bought 2 just for curious taste. Well, simply put, the bun back home was nicer. When we arrived at the agreed meeting place, Kent and Jeff were already waiting. Only half of our tour group members had arrived. We gathered around fire place for warmth and then decided to kill some time in a nearby souvenir shop. Everyone arrived on time, and we boarded the ferry at 5 pm to cross the river to our bus. We just huddled inside the ferry's belly as the weather had turned chilly. 15 minutes later we reached the jetty on the other side for our next journey. Next itinerary on the card was dinner time. 
        All in, of all the places I went or going to in Korea, I would rate Nami Island as my top favorite. Unlike other theme parks that we had gone to, there is not a single ride in Nami Island. The attraction here are more of natural beauty scene, posters, pictures, human arts and architectures and sculptures exhibits, and that are what that make Nami island unique. Of course the rise of the popularity of Korean drama wave (Hallyu) played an important part that spring forth Nami Island as a premier getaway romantic vacation place in Korea. It was a pity that we only spend some 2 hours on the island as it had more to offer, more place to explore and more scenery to take in. Here are all the pictures I took as we make our exit and waved goodbye to Nami Island:
Nami Island location: 1024, Bukhangangbyeon-ro, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.
Coordinates: 37.79154°N 127.525435°
Tel: +82-31-580-8114, +82-31-580-8008

Bar-coded bull is tough. They are right on the dot even though it is down?
A colorful bull-drinking-fountain for bird? 
Trishaw, apart form tandem bicycle, is for rent on Nami island. 
A statue of a bookworm? Well, he did not tell me his name.
Statues of tjn man Pinocchios on display. 
"Boo, hoo hoo, someone just lost his head", said a snowman to another peering out of the window. 
Steaming bun (pau) with firewood. They are costly at $3 each for a small one. Phew!
Old tree men doing a conference? I was stumped!
Another bull statue outside a restaurant selling steaks.
A lady selling sausages draw in a big crowd. 
Portraits of long serving Nami Island amusement park's employee being displayed at the island. A clever way to boost long term employee loyalty.
Scenic posters depicting some of South Korea's great views
A butterfly park. Tourists stand in front of it to metamorphosis into a butterfly. 
"Watch it, fluttering butterfly overhead". Held up by steel string, they make howling sound when the wind blows.
Ants, from the movie "Antz"? 
More insect exhibits - a cicada and a paratrooper ant from Star Wars. Ha, ha, me and my imagination.
A scene from a bug's life? Oh god, I watched too much movie.
Shy Korean teenagers warming themselves by the fireplace. As I clicked, they tend to cover their face or simply looked away.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Asian Eyes' Korea - Nami Island Elephants

           Day 4, Nov/20/2012, 4.00 pm: We are in our final stretch of our tour to Nami Island, pushing towards the far end. Here I was caught surprise to find exhibit of elephant paintings - lots and lots of them. What was more surprising is that these painting were drawn by a Malaysian artist, Mr Mohd Yusof Bin Ismail, whose name I have never heard before back in Malaysia! After I read the information posted by Nami Island that I started to respect this fellow. Yusof is known in the art circle and to friends as “Yusof Gajah” and for a good reason, too. Elephant is a constant inspiration in his artistic career. Yusof is also Malaysian’s foremost naive artist . He was born in 1954 in Negeri Sembilan, educated in Singapore and received his art training at the Sekolah Seni Rupa Indonesia and Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia in Yogjakarta. He had won many awards for his work, both nationally and internationally and also awarded the Grand Prix (The Real Elephant) Noma Concours for Children’s picture Book Illustration by ACCU in Tokyo. Yusof has held many solo exhibitions in Malaysia, Indonesia , Japan and Norway and he now paints in his studio in Batu Caves, Selangor.
           All of Yusof's exhibits in Nami Island are elephant-themed. They are all unique and it is hard to say which one is the best. Maybe the readers can choose one from the list in this blog. Here are all the pictures of his art work. Go Malaysia!

Nami Island location: 1024, Bukhangangbyeon-ro, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.
Coordinates: 37.79154°N 127.525435°
Tel: +82-31-580-8114, +82-31-580-8008

Elephant painting 1
Elephant painting 2
Elephant painting 3
Elephant painting 4
Elephant painting 5
Elephant painting 6
Elephant painting 7
Elephant painting 8
Elephant painting 9
Elephant painting 10
Elephant painting 11
Elephant painting 12
Elephant painting 13
Elephant painting 14
Elephant painting 15
Elephant painting 16
Elephant painting 17
Elephant painting 18
Elephant painting 19
Elephant painting 20
Elephant painting 21
Elephant painting 22
Elephant painting 23
Elephant painting 24
Elephant painting 25
Elephant painting 26
Elephant painting 27
Elephant painting 28
Elephant painting 29