Gang Nam Korean BBQ

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Gang Nam Korean BBQ is located on the corner of Empire Centre and has been around for quite some time, but for some reason or another, I never gave it a try. Finally, on a weekday night, I headed over with S, J, and M for a Korean bbq night.

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Each table has a grill in the middle, so space-wise, you don’t get a lot and it gets rather crowded to eat.

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Banchan

Once you’ve placed your order, they bring you a large assortment of complimentary Banchan, which included marinated bean sprouts, kimchi, sweet potatoes, pickled radish, green salad, and lettuce to wrap your meat in.

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Marinated Pork Short Rib

We ended up ordering one of their BBQ dinner combos which was around $45 and is supposed to fill 2-3 people. It came with 4 meat dishes, a choice of Seafood Pancake or Japchae and a choice of Bibimbop.

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Chicken Bulgogi

All their meats were very flavourful since they were well seasoned. You got quite a lot of meat for the price you pay. Our combo also came with Pork Belly and Pork Jowl.

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Japchae

We chose Japchae as one of our options and it was a large dish (the picture above was half eaten already).

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Bulgogi Bibimbop

For Bibimbop, you can choose between vegetables, beef, seafood or pork. We went for the stir fried beef and it was very flavourful.

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Beef Tongue

We also added the Beef Tongue separately and these were delicious. I love the chew on it.

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Man-du

The last add on we had was the Man-du which are steamed meat dumplings. These were addicting and I loved the sweet soy sauce that came with it.

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Overall, we were extremely happy with Gang Nam Korean BBQ. We were beyond full and could have done with just the combo itself. Prices are quite reasonable, although we had some soju and beer, so it ended up costing over $30 a person. Otherwise, it can be quite reasonable. Service is also quite friendly.

Pros:
– BBQ dinner combos are great value
– Most dishes were well executed

Cons:
– Restaurant is a bit small so can be crowded on weekends
– Table gets very crowded

Price Range: $20-40

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3

Gang Nam Korean BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Hog Shack Cook House

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Hog Shack has been around for a long time, and it’s probably the only barbeque meat restaurant we have in Richmond. Finally, I decided to make a trip to Steveston to get a meaty dinner.

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The interior gives you that all American feel with white and red checkered tablecloths and wooden decor. They have a lot of long tables as well so it’s great for large groups. Their menu is basically for the meat lovers, with all meats smoked in house and all the rubs and sauces also made in house. It’s the place to go if you want some Kansas City style BBQ.

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Smoke Lover’s Combo

Since S and I were not that hungry that day, we decided to just share a combo. The waitress said that the combos are quite large and would be sufficient for two people. When it came, I thought it looked rather small, but we were actually quite full by the end of it. The Smoke Lover’s Combo comes with beef brisket and pulled pork. With the combos, you can then choose two side dishes. We went for the potato wedges and hand-cut fries. The beef brisket had a nice crisp on the outside and was super moist and tender inside. The pulled pork was very flavourful and it wasn’t dry. The meats are definitely really good here! As for the potato wedges and fries, they are just quite average. They were crispy but I found that they were too golden brown, which meant that the oil might’ve been a bit old.

Overall, we were quite pleased with Hog Shack. If you’re looking for smoked meat in Vancouver, this is a great option other than the famous Memphis Blues. Service was subpar though. Felt like it wasn’t attentive enough although it was really one girl running the whole restaurant.

Pros:
– Great smoked meats
– Perfect place for large groups to share platters

Cons:
– Service was lacking a bit

Price Range: $20-40

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 4 Overall: 3

Click to add a blog post for Hog Shack Cook House on Zomato

Gyu-Kaku (Broadway)

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Pitcher of Beer

Gyu-Kaku has two locations – one in downtown, and the second on Broadway. Since it was relatively close to work, I headed down there to meet up with the girls for dinner. On Mondays, the whole day is Happy Hour, so there are some pretty good deals! For drink deals, the pitcher of Sapporo is just for $9! (It’s a full pitcher by the way, just that I took the picture after pouring.)

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Steamed Chili Dumpling

We ordered one of the items off the Happy Hour Menu. The Steamed Chili Dumplings are normally $6.95, but is $4.95 during happy hour. They were your typical dumplings with some spicy sauce on it. Not bad, but it’s nothing too special.

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Gyu-Kaku Salad

Gyuk-Kaku offers many set course meals. The best part is that you can have more people than stated on the menu and still order these sets. We chose the Meat Lover’s for 2, although we were a table of three, and we were more than filled. The set is for $55, and when split between 3, it comes to around $20 each. It starts off with some appetizers, including the Gyu-Kaku Salad. Topped with burdock, greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and hard boiled eggs, it’s quite a salad. It came with a Japanese mayo sauce, which was very delicious!

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Edamame

Next up were the Edamame. Lightly salted, and a huge bowl!

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Chicken Karaage

The Chicken Karaage came with a spicy mayo dip. I found that there was too much batter compared to meat. This could’ve been worked on.

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Garlic Steak, Spicy Pork, Toro Beef Tare

Then our meats came. Each table is equipped with a built in barbeque so you can self-barbeque. However, I found that your meat could be easily burnt when you don’t look after it. My favourite had to be the Toro Beef. It was thin, tender and fatty. The Spicy Pork was probably my least favourite since it was easy to overcook it so it became rough. Many of the meat are already marinated, but they also provide you with three sauces. A spicy, sweet, and ponzu sauce.

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Bistro Hanger Steak Miso, New York Steak Miso, Yaki-Shabu Beef Tare

More meat came and another favourite was the Bistro Hanger Steak. Well marinated and tender meat. All cuts were very good. I didn’t have a single piece that was tough to chew. Other than meat, there was always Corn Butter, which were corn niblets that were wrapped in tin foil with butter inside. When you place it on the grill, the heat melts the butter. Very yummy!

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Sukiyaki Bibimbap

There was also a Sukiyaki Bibimbap. However, I found that it tasted more like Chinese sticky rice, rather than a bibimbap. I guess it was the type of rice they used. Not bad!

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There was also dessert to end the night. Since it’s a two person course set, it only came with two scoops of matcha ice cream, but they were one of the biggest scoops I’ve had. Overall, I was quite satisfied with Gyu-Kaku. Service was very attentive. Our grill was switched multiple times, and they even switched up our beer mugs to frozen ones once in a while. Quality of food is pretty good, and the price isn’t too bad. One of the better barbeque spots I’ve been to.

Gyu-Kaku Japanese Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Potter’s Garden

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Since we were in the Metrotown area, we decided to grab some food after hiking. We ended up going to Potter’s Garden. There were customers constantly coming in, which is always a good sign! I believe the owners are Korean as well, but they can speak fluent English, so no problem with ordering here!

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They first start you off with some appetizers. Here, we have marinated seaweed salad, beansprouts, sweet potatoes, and kimchi. We actually got two sets of these for 5 people, and I’m pretty sure you can ask for a refill.

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They also provide you with lettuce so you can wrap your grilled meat, some dipping sauces, and my favourite ssamjang.

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Bulgogi

We started off with the Bulgogi, which is just stir fried marinated tender beer with vegetables. Since we only ordered two grilled dishes, they did not open up the grill for us to grill on our own. I actually prefer that since I don’t exactly enjoy the grilling part and smelling like grilled food afterwards. The meat was very tender and flavourful. Along with ssamjang and wrapped with lettuce, it was very delicious!

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LA Galbi Jui

Next, we got the LA Galbi Jui, which are grilled marinated prime ribs. I found the ribs to be slightly disappointing as the meat was a bit tough to chew. And of course, there weren’t too much meat as well. The sauce was very good though.

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Nakji-dolsot-bibimbap – rice mixed with assorted vegetables, octopus, optional red pepper paste in a hot stone pot

My favourite of the night was the Nakji-dolsot-bibimbap. This was your typical bibimbap or rice in hot stone bowl with a twist. It has assorted vegetables like bean sprouts, carrots, and zucchini, but also octopus! The octopus was very tender and easy to chew. It was also dressed with the red pepper paste so it was very flavourful and feisty! Recommend!

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Japchae

We got our all time favourite Japchae, which is potato noodles stir-fried with vegetables and beef. This was a small size and was a good portion to share so everyone could get some. It was filled with lots of vegetables and beef, so you would get some crunch to it.

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Haemul Pajeon (seafood)

Lastly, we got the Haemul Pajeon, which is the Korean style pancake with seafood. Again, this was the mall size. I thought this was done very well as the top was crispy, and they didn’t cheap out on the seafood. It had a mix of squid, shrimp, and of course lots of chives.

Overall, Potter’s Garden was quite good for the value. Nothing too outstanding, but I would probably revisit again when I want Korean food near Kingsway. I believe they are also open until 2 a.m., so a perfect place to get some drinks and late night snacks.

Potter's Garden Korean BBQ 香辣里 on Urbanspoon

Korean BBQ (City Hall Station) – Seoul

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Bulgogi

On the last night of my stay in Seoul, I met up with my Korean friends, D and S, whom I had met during exchange. Can’t believe we saw each other again in less than a year! Anyways, it was pouring rain that day, and they said to meet at City Hall Station. They were going to take us to a restaurant famous for pig feet, but unfortunately there was a huge lineup. It was this tiny alley filled with restaurants, and even though it was flooding and pouring rain, people were still out eating! We ended up going to the second floor of a building for barbeque food. Once I entered, I immediately realized that they were mostly business men who had just gotten off work. The restaurant is very casual, with just tin chairs and tables and little to no decoration. We settled down, and we let the boys do the ordering. First off, we got Bulgogi, which is marinated beef. It came on top of a hot pot grill and topped with lots of green onions. I didn’t think it would be too special, but the marinade was so delicious! We were also given lettuce leaves to wrap them in and it tasted great with ssamjang (hot pepper soybean sauce). On the table, we also have some complimentary appetizers, like kimchi, garlic, bean sprouts and radish. The plastic bottle was Makgeolli – the Korean rice wine that we loved! This was the cheaper version since it is commercialized for supermarkets and convenience shops. Still, very yummy!

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Spicy Bulgogi

Next, we had a Spicy Bulgogi. When I initially saw it, I freaked out since I was scared it would be super spicy. Luckily, these were not as spicy as I had imagined. It also had a hint of sweetness to it. The sauce was so addicting, and simply having green onions grilled along made the dish perfect. The beef was so tender! In the back, we have a half eaten Steamed Egg. Very simple with just green onions, but it was a great side dish.

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Kimchi Tofu Soup

Other than barbequed food, we also got the Kimchi Tofu Soup, which was sizzling in a hot stone pot. Slightly spicy due to the kimchi, and filled with soft tofu. Very appetizing and was delicious mixed with rice!

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Pork Belly

Lastly, we ordered the Grilled Pork Belly, which is a very famous dish in Korea. It is called Samgyeopsal in Korean and has just the right amount of fat to meat ratio. They come in long slices, and as you grill, you can snip it into smaller pieces with scissors. They are delicious when eaten with ssamjang and wrapped with lettuce. Extremely delicious!!

Overall, this restaurant was way better than expected! The interior may not be anything special, but the food is really good! We payed less than 20,000 won each too! I wish I had gotten the name, but it was pouring rain and I just followed my friends, so I wasn’t into the whole blogging mood.

Hwang’s Eel Resetaurant – Seoul

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Our friend is a huge CN Blue fan, and apparently one of the member’s father has a restaurant. I know nothing about the band, but she insisted we must go. Off we went to Hwang’s Eel Restaurant, which is as the name says, famous for grilled eels!

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The restaurant isn’t exactly glamorous looking or anything. above each table is a vacuum looking tube to suck our the smoke from the grills. As you can see, there is an area where you can sit on the floor. That area is basically the hardcore fans area since you’ll find tons of post-it-notes all over the walls with the fans comments.

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All around the restaurant, you will find pictures of the band. I guess if you are a die hard fan, this will definitely get you excited.

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First, they brought us the appetizers. You each get a seaweed soup, which was probably the worst I’ve had on this trip. Then, you get some sort of a garden salad, where the leaves were wimpy looking. You also get some sauces for dipping later, and some lettuce for wrapping you grilled items.

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Beef Rib Eye (2 orders)

When we tried to place our order, the server basically said you must order 2 orders of the grilled items. When we said no, she was just pissed off and said we must and walked away. Service here is definitely lacking and I felt like the servers hated their jobs here. The servers are all older aged ladies. In the end, we had to get 2 orders, and we got the Beef Rib Eye. Honestly, this looks so little for 2 orders! It was 12,000 won for one order, so it came to 24,000 won for this small plate! Pricey!

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Steamed Egg

We decided to not eat too much since the prices weren’t that cheap here. We added the Steamed Egg as well to just fill ourselves up, since it was only 4,000 won. The steamed egg was poorly made however. It was really watery in the center and lacked flavour. Something that shouldn’t be too hard to master…

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The meat ended up being decent wrapped in the leaves and topped with the ssamjang sauce (spicy soybean paste). However, I honestly don’t think the food is worth the prices here. It’s just average food with poor service. If you’re a fan of CN Blue and must come here, then don’t be expecting much from the food. If you’re not a fan, then I would advise to avoid this restaurant.

Address: 5-2 Yeongdeungpodong 3(sam)-ga, Seoul

Cheongsapo Suminine (수민이네) – Busan

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When in Busan, you must eat seafood since it is known for fresh seafood. Our friend suggested to try Cheongsapo Suminine (수민이네) after Spa Land. It’s located right off the Haeundae Beach, and we decided to cab there since we were too tired to metro. Our cab drivers knew exactly where it was since the restaurant is actually quite famous for their grilled eel and seafood. We went down a windy road, which we thought was a little sketch. If you’re taking the metro here, you would just need to walk down these smaller streets, since there’s no metro close to the beach. I probably wouldn’t advise to do so late at night. Finally, we arrived, and the restaurant wasn’t anything glamorous. From the outside, it looked a bit run down with tarps around since it was a bit rainy that day.

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We went inside and realized we were stepping on gravel and pebbles. I would advise not to wear anything too nice or high heels here as you’ll have trouble walking here. Plastic green chairs and metal tables, but still a ton of people. This reminded me of those places in Hong Kong where you can eat fresh seafood. We got there at around 9pm, so the place was only half filled. I hear that during peak hours, you may even need to line up here!

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There’s basically only a few items on the menu. 3 types of shellfish, eel, and some side dishes like instant noodle or rice to accompany your seafood. If you’re not into any of this, then this is not the place to be. However, if you love shellfish, you MUST visit this place! I would rate it the best meal I had in South Korea! Anyways, it was pretty funny because we couldn’t communicate with our server, and we weren’t exactly sure what the types of shellfish we were getting. He ended up giving one our friends a tour in the kitchen to show her exactly what it would be. No english names, but we got a gist just by the looks of the shellfish. We started off with 2 servings of the first type of shellfish- scallops. I’m a lover for scallops and I absolutely love getting them in Chinese restaurants. I was excited to see how they would be prepared in Korea! The scallops are seasoned with just a few simple ingredients – butter, onions, and green onions. It also comes with a bowl of enoki mushrooms.

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In Korea, they love to wrap their food, whether if it’s seafood or meat. Korean lettuce wraps are called ssam. Here, we have lettuce on the left and shiso on the right. Shiso leaves have a bit of a minty, herby taste to it. You either like it or you don’t. For me, I preferred the good old lettuce.

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This is ssamjang, which is a thick, spicy paste that you add to your wrap. It’s basically soy bean paste with gochujang (spicy chili paste). Super addicting!

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For 2 servings, it’s actually quite a lot of food. I believe it was 20,000 won for 1 serving of scallops. That’s around CAD$20.

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Our server began to place the first round of scallops on the grill. Another thing to note is that while you may see most modern restaurants use gas, or a hot pot type of grill, they use a traditional charcoal grill here. Literally a lump of charcoal which they bring to your table and place into this pothole. Pretty neat! After grilling these scallops on their shells for a few minutes, he then transfers them into the aluminum bowl with enoki mushrooms in it and cuts the scallop into smaller pieces.

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Then he takes the shells and places it on top of the aluminum to let it cook. Super interesting and a good use of the shells!

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He lifts the shell up, and here we have delicious cooked scallop. So fresh and delicious! Words can’t even describe how good it tasted with those simple ingredients! You can also dip the scallops in this soy sauce which comes with a bit of wasabi. On the side, there were also several small prawns.

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He would have two ways to cook the scallop. You can either leave it on the shell, or have it cut up into pieces and cooked with the enoki mushrooms in the tin foil. He then brought us some scallops that had a spicy sauce already on it. Those were pretty delicious too!

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This was our server, and pretty much our personal server of the night! He’s the owner’s son and was the only one who knew a bit of English and could communicate with us. It was pretty funny since most people were shown how to cook their food once and then were left to do it on their own, but he ended up serving us the whole night – for 2 whole hours! He would stand next to us and cook the whole time! I guess it was because we looked like we had no idea what we were doing… Much thanks to him and he definitely wins for best service in South Korea!

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After our two servings, we were full, but we felt like having a bit more… I mean the two servings were for 5 of us, so we felt like we could have some more. This time, we decided to get the mix of 3 shellfish. This was what most people got anyways. This included the same scallops, but also clams and giant clams. We’ll talk more about these giant clams later on…

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Here we have the clams and a spicy scallop. The clams have much more meat compared to the scallops, but are much tougher in my opinion. These clams are also larger than usual. Not the baby clams you normally get at restaurants. We all agreed that we liked the scallops the most since they were less chewy and more tender.

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Then came these giant clams… I don’t think the picture shows how large these things are… The shell is the size of your hand! What in the world were these things?! We questioned that the whole time at dinner, yet our server couldn’t give us an English term. After doing some googling, we figured they were just a larger species of clams. We thought they were mussels all along because of their shells, but if you look closely at the meat, it really resembles a clam or oyster. The meat itself was quite a lot too, but we found it extremely chewy! It was too tough to chew. Not a fan of it sadly.

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As you can see in the picture, there were also some appetizers that came along, however we didn’t really like them. First, they had a kimchi-like dish, but it wasn’t napa cabbage, but rather a skinny long veggie. I found it a bit odd to taste so I didn’t have anymore. It also came with the Korean green chili peppers and some garlic cloves. Then our server decides to bring us some eel, which is what Suminine is famous for. However, both K and I aren’t huge fans of eel due to the tiny bones. I’m not even sure if we were charged for the eel, but he said it was some special package or some sort. Again, lack of communication. Anyways, since he already began cooking it, it was too rude for us to say no since he had been such a good server.

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The grilled eel surprisingly tasted pretty good in the lettuce wrap with the ssamjang spicy sauce. Still, I wasn’t a huge fan of all those tiny bones! I was so worried I would choke on it if I didn’t chew thoroughly.

All in all, Suminine is a must visit if you’re in the Haeundae area! Excellent service even though they lack English skills, but most of all, delicious and fresh seafood! I believe each person paid only around CAD$20 too so it’s not bad at all for the amount of seafood we got! And that was our last night in Busan. We would leave the next morning. Must sees that we missed were the Haeundae Beach and the Gwangali Beach. I hear they are both beautiful, but we had rainy weather most of the time so it wasn’t worthwhile for us to visit.

 Address: 595-4, Jung2-dong, Haeundae-gu,Busan,South Korea

Bits and Pieces of Amsterdam

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During my visit in Amsterdam, I also snacked on some food that I think are worth mentioning. After the Burger Bar, we walked a few steps and smelt some freshly baked goods! It was coming out of the Metropolitan, which offers a variety of pastries and sweets, including waffles, ice cream, and chocolate.

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For myself, I chose this Chocolate Crispy Ball. It wasn’t something I had seen before, so I decided to give it a try. It’s sort of like corn flakes but coated with chocolate and all stuck together. Not bad, but it got a little too sweet after a while!

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Then, another night we were wandering the streets and ended up in Chinatown. We were starving and M suddenly disappeared into Nam Kee. Nam Kee specializes in Chinese BBQ meats, and the ironic thing is that I usually hate it when my mom buys this back in Vancouver.

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However, a few of us girls decided to share a box of mixed meat and the weirdest thing was I thought it was so delicious! I guess when you don’t eat something for 3 months, it tastes really good to you. I used to eat this pretty much every week when my mom was lazy to cook and I just got sick of it… And never had I thought soy sauce on rice could be so delicious… The meats were lean and you got a lot for the price you paid for. Nam Kee also has 2 other restaurants in Amsterdam, one of which we visited on a different night. However, I didn’t’ think the other restaurant was as good as this one. Or perhaps I was just really hungry and standing on the street eating this take out box was so satisfying…

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Duvel beer is a Belgian beer owned by a Flemish family. It’s a strong golden pale ale, which M said was really good. Although it is supposed to be a little bitter, I found it quite easy to drink. I enjoy my beers to be light and easy to drink.

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Our hostel had a bunch of coupons for activities in Amsterdam, and one that caught our eyes was the XtraCold Ice Bar. Honestly, we were all quite disappointed in this. It cost around 16 euros and to make things worse, S and I had split up from the group. We also got a bit lost trying to find the bar, and by the time we got there, we were told that we only had 15 minutes left of the “experience”. When we bought our tickets, we had “reserved” a time for the experience… Apparently, the whole experience only lasts around 50 minutes. We asked if we should still go in, and the guy at the till said it was up to us, but that we wouldn’t be getting the full experience. Since we didn’t want to split up from the group, we quickly got put into these parka jackets and gloves that were supposed to keep us warm. They also gave us some 3D glasses. When we got in, all our friends were freezing. Apparently the experience was watching some penguin cartoon show… which I definitely did not understand for the last 15 minutes. The ice room was extremely small with “fake glass”. I’m pretty sure it’s not real but more like clear plastic since I took off my gloves and touched it. They also did not have enough seats, so many people ended up having to stand in the back for the entire show. They have a mini bar in there with one bartender and you receive 2 complimentary shots in these ice shot glasses. Honestly, I did not think it was worth our money and our friends were freezing for the whole hour and said we hadn’t missed out much and would’ve rather came in late so they didn’t have to suffer the cold. They also didn’t allow photography inside, but only with their camera which of course, you needed to pay for the photos after. Outside of the room, there is an actual bar with more normal temperatures, and I thought the setting seemed pretty nice. I’m pretty sure the drinks were really expensive though, and it seemed more like a tourist attraction since the bar was pretty much empty.

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On a different morning, we got up early and went to look for some breakfast. And…we ended up at a Donair shop and ordered some chicken nuggets and fries. The chicken nuggets actually reminded me of Mcnuggets and they were extremely crispy on the outside. The fries were also quite different from American and Spanish fries. They were very crisp, and my friends said they were Belgian fries. Belgian fries are fried twice, hence they are much crispier.

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During our sightseeing, we found the famous I am Amsterdam sign!

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Another cool attraction we discovered was the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. It’s not exactly a museum because it’s more like a cheese shop. Inside, they have literally all types of cheese. Cheese with flavours such as truffles, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, sausage and much more. My favourite was the pesto cheese and the hickory cheese which literally tasted like sausage! The shop is quite small, but it’s filled with such a large variety of cheese, and almost every type of cheese has samples for you to try. The staff are also really friendly and don’t really force you to buy anything. I wish I took some cheese back, but my backpack traveling really limited how much space I had… Downstairs, there is an extremely mini museum. They have a few boards with some cheese history, and then they have outfits and props like traditional Dutch wear and clogs for you to dress up in to take pictures. Other than that, it’s really more of a cheese shop than a museum. Worth checking out if you’re a cheese lover and won’t take up too much of your time!