The evening I arrived in Hwamyeong I was completely wiped out from travelling for so long, so Brittany and I went straight back to hers to chill and catch up. The next day, we woke up pretty late after a long night of chatting, but we got up and went out for lunch before Brittany started work. We went for something that I had never tried before and was probably not 100% suitable for a hot, hot summer afternoon, but I wanted to try anyway – sundubujjigae!
Sundubujjigae translates as soft tofu soup, a spicy soup with soft tofu pieces and lots of vegetables that comes out bubbling hot. It’s delicious as it is, but crack an egg into it and you have pretty much the best winter food ever.
Full and happy, we left the restaurant, we headed out and Brittany went off to work for the afternoon, leaving me to explore. I wasn’t 100% confident in finding my way round that first day, especially since the only times I had travelled in Korea before were with other people, so I stuck around Brittany’s neighbourhood, Hwamyeong. It turns out there was a lot to do there! And by ‘a lot to do’ I mean lots of shopping! I finally got to go back to all my favourite beauty stores (hello again Etude House, Face Shop, Innisfree!), have a wander round, and also found some nice little cafés. I eventually headed back to hers for some rest as I was still pretty tired from travelling and then walking round all day. Later on we went to one of the local convenience stores where I met some of Brittany’s fellow expat friends and had some fun drinking (hello again soju, my old friend) and playing some games.
The next day, Brittany had planned for us to go to Haedong Yonggungsa, the water temple (a temple by the sea) which turned into a whole afternoon of exploration – wandering round the temple which was packed with people, and walking along the coast in the good weather. That evening, we went to a bar where we had jeon for dinner. Jeon can be all sorts of things fried in a pancake batter, but our selection of jeon included four different types of pancake. My favourites, as always, were the kimchi jeon (kimchi pancake) and the haemul pajeon (seafood and green onion pancake). With jeon it is typical to drink makgeolli, an unfiltered rice wine, and with our meal we had a big jug of kiwi makgeolli! The bar, aptly nicknamed “The Penis Bar” by Brittany and her friends because of its large wooden carving of a penis outside the entrance for no apparent reason, served all sorts of flavoured makgeolli and I really wanted to try the raspberry one (or maybe it was strawberry?) but with my limited time in Busan we didn’t get a chance to go back, unfortunately!
Our Sunday consisted purely of shopping and eating, so it was a great day, naturally. We went to an area of the city called Seomyeon where you can find lots of shops, lots of cafés and lots of restaurants/bars. After doing a significant amount of shopping, underground and overground, we stopped at a room café called Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You. A room café is somewhere you can rent a cosy little room to relax in for a couple of hours. Ours was all pink with a cushioned floor, blankets, pillows, and a TV, and included in the price we had our choice of unlimited snacks including hot drinks, crisps, toast, ice cream and all sorts of other things. It was a really sweet way to relax for a couple of hours without having to go home, and afterwards we went off for dinner at a kind of pricey (at least compared to other places) chicken and beer restaurant and then went home.
Despite being ridiculously tired all of the time, I was already enjoying the start of my trip. It definitely didn’t feel like I had been away from Korea for over two years! And being with Brittany again was just the best, despite our fair share of ‘hangry’ moments!
Next time: all about my last two days in Busan, including a trip to another temple and the world’s biggest department store.
This is a post in my South Korea Second-Timer series. Read the others here!
My Holiday Bucket List
Part 1: Plane Panic and, um, Personal Space Please?
Part 2: Welcome to Busan!
Haedong Yonggungsa 해동용궁사 – The Water Temple
Beomeosa 범어사 – Temple of the Nirvana Fish
Gamecheon Culture Village 부산 감천문화마을
Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁