Gwangjang Market (광장시장) – Seoul

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I love the comfort of eating at a restaurant or cafe, but street food is honestly what it’s all about. The sanitary standards may not be up to par, but honestly, sometimes I find the best food out in the streets. After a day of shopping, we locked our goodies in the lockers at the metro stations (best invention), and off we went to Gwangjang Market. This market began in 1905 and has over 100 years of history! It’s one of Korea’s largest markets and is the oldest! You may have heard of Namdaemun and Dondgdaemun Market, which are famous for their wholesale and cheap prices, but many people aren’t aware of this hidden gem – Gwangjang Market! During the day, there are shops that sell everything from silks, clothing to kitchenware. However, by night, the food scene is the what’s bustling here! The front section is filled with packaged food and I was surprised to see many international items, including American chocolate and candy.

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As you walk in, it becomes many of the food stalls. A super simple set up with benches in front of the cooking area, you are literally sitting shoulder to shoulder here. You’ll find everyone eating here, from office people to tourists like myself.

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Apparently, there is a Jeon Alley, which I believe we hit. Jeon is basically any ingredient that is battered and pan fried in oil. It’s sort like a pancake dish. These are mostly vegetable jeons.

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Here, you’ll find everything from spicy race cake (tteokbokki), potato glass noodle (japchae), to blood sausages (sundae). The stalls are all operated by these older aged ladies or aunties (ajummas). They can be pretty fierce and demanding, but at the end of the day, they just want to be efficient and get the food to you.

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We ended up settling here, since we saw there was space to sit down! To be honest, most of the stalls serve the same things, so it didn’t seem any different.

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Gimbap

First, we got the famous Gimbap! Rice filled with simple vegetables and wrapped with seaweed. Our gimbaps were rather simple, with only pickled radish and carrots inside. It was brushed with sesame oil and sprinkled with white sesame. It came with a dipping sauce too, which wasn’t exactly soy sauce. I’m not sure what it was, but these gimbaps were super addicting with the sauce! I was sitting literally on the edge of the bench, almost falling off, but it was well worth it! There was a granny in front of me who was rolling these gimbaps, and she was super friendly even though she couldn’t speak any English. She ended up giving me a free roll that she had just wrapped! Super cute! I hear there is a Gimbap Alley nearby too….

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Bindaetteok
If you walk around the market, you will see this huge pancakes being sizzled in guzzling oil. I was determined to try them, and later learned that they were called Bindaetteok. They are mung bean pancakes which are fried in oil. The mung beans are first soaked and then turned into a batter by grinding them in between millstones. Pretty cool! Apparently, this market is the place to get the traditional mung bean pancakes. I have to say that they are quite oily, but at the same time, really delicious! Dip it into the dipping sauce which is made of rice vinegar, soy sauce and slices of onion, and you will be super addicted. These pancakes are also fairly cheap, but will get you very full. Crispy on the outside, and gooey inside!

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Yachae Twigim

We saw a bunch of colourful deep fried goodies in front of us, so we asked the diner next to us what they were since he knew a bit of English. Funny enough, he said he didn’t really know. He just knew they were deep fried and really delicious and couldn’t be bothered to know exactly what he was eating! Anyways, we got an order of it, and it came as an assortment. After some research, I learned that they were called Yachae Twigim. They’re basically deep fried vegetables. A lot of the ones we had were actually something similar to bean curd though. It had a chewy texture which was interesting but good! There was also something similar to deep fried kimchi, chives and imitation crab, zucchini, and peppers. Some were more spicy than the others, but I think it’s worth trying if you have others to share with. Probably something you can’t get in restaurants!

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That ended our meal at that stall, but walking around for a bit more, we decided to sit down at another. It’s like food stall hopping here! Ps. Look at that huge long black thing… It’s the Sundae, or Korean blood sausage… Yup, I’ve had it in Vancouver, but I wasn’t looking forward to having it again. Not my cup of tea!

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Tteokbokki

At this stall, we went for the Tteokbokki, also known as the spicy rice cake. These were rather fat pieces, but still very soft! I found this sauce to be quite spicy compared to the other ones I’ve had in Seoul. I love how they wrap their plates with plastic bags. So smart. Less cleaning for sure, and it’s also a great way to pack up your rice cakes in case you can’t finish.

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Eomukguk (Fish Cake Soup)

Next, we had the Eomukguk, which is essentially fish cake soup. Mmmm, I absolutely love this and could eat this every day! Apparently, people love to eat this with the spicy rice cake, since the broth is super warming after having the spicy rice cakes! The soup is made from anchovy stock and is extremely flavourful. I couldn’t help but finish all the stock! It also had seaweed in it which helped bring the seafood flavour. The fish cakes are soft and chewy. A must!

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Japchae

Last but not least, we had Japchae. Japchae is made from sweet potato noodles and is stir fried. It’s usually mixed with vegetables and other ingredients like beef. It’s stir fried with sesame oil and often topped with more sesame, so it’s very pungent in that flavour. Our japchae did not have any meat in it, nor any vegetables other than green onions. But holy, these were probably the best japchae I’ve had! The noodles were very thing and bouncy and were served lukewarm. So simple, but so delicious!

A must see if you like food and want to experience some traditional street food! However, be warned that when you visit in the summer, you will be drenched in street. When my hair is up, this means serious business. We were all sweaty by the end of our meal, but it was well worth it! Be sure to check out the Yukhoe Alley as well, which is a few alleys down. It has several restaurant serving up Yukhoe, the famous Korean steak tartare. Get off Jongno-5 and exit #9, and you will find Gwangjang Market!

Solid Works Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream – Seoul

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Korea is famous for starting trends, and their food scene is always full of crazy interesting new food. The newest trend is the liquid nitrogen ice cream. The ice cream tastes the same, but there’s cold air oozing out so it’s all mysterious looking. Plus, just by watching the making of this ice cream is an interesting show. Solid Works recently opened in June in Seoul, tucked away at the end of a street in the Ewha shopping district. We saw people walking out with super cool looking ice cream with syringes, and we couldn’t help but go take a look. A huge line up was formed in the tiny shop, and we literally waited a good 30 minutes for our ice cream.

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The concept is supposed to make it look like a laboratory. I believe Flask, which opened in Busan was the first to come up with the concept in Korea. Their atmosphere looks way more interesting, whereas at Solid Works, only one of the workers was wearing the lab coat. With Kitchen Aid cake mixers, they literally make your liquid nitrogen ice cream on the spot. Therefore, it takes quite a while, especially since they only have two workers.

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Mango Gelato

C got the Mango Gelato, and it was full of mango flavour. Very yummy! Love the cold air effect. I guess this place is really more for the pictures and cool experience seeing how it’s made.

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Ferrero Roche Gelato

K and I shared the Ferrero Roche Gelato. I personally like to eat fruit flavoured gelatos since it’s more refreshing, but the only one with the syringe in it was the ferrero roche or tiramisu. I can’t believe by the time we got to order, the tiramisu was sold out! Super disappointed! Anyways, our ferrero roche gelato also came with Simpson chocolate cookies and a chocolate pirouline. The syringe was filled with chocolate syrup which you can squirt on your ice cream. The ice cream was smooth and creamy and tasted just like any other ice cream. Plus, the price isn’t even bad. At around CAD$5 a cup, it’s not even bad considering how much gelato can be in Vancouver. Cool concept!

Address: 34-48 Daehyeon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

Insadong Geujip (인사동그집) – Seoul

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After a day of exploring the Insadong area, we began to look for food. There’s so many restaurants on the main street and we came across Insadong Geujip. It had a huge line up, but surprisingly, when we asked for a table of 4, we were able to get a seat immediately. The restaurant is huge! He took us behind the kitchen and there were more rooms set up which gave you some privacy. The restaurant is in a traditional hanok house, so it’s pretty neat!

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First, we were presented with the complimentary appetizers. There was cold tofu with a spicy sauce, marinated radish, mayonnaise salad, kimchi, and seaweed soup. K’s favourite was the cold tofu as usual. It has no flavour on its own, but is delicious with some spicy sauce. My favourite was actually the marinated radish. I don’t normally like radish, but it was the spicy pickled flavour that I enjoyed. It also had a great crunch to it!

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Nakji Dolsop Bibimbap (bibimbap in a hot stone pot)

We decided to share three dishes between the four of us since we weren’t very hungry. First, we got the Nakji Dolsop Bibimbap. It was our first bibimbap in Korea, and it definitely didn’t disappoint us. Mixed with beansprouts, zuchhinis, cloud ear fungus, carrots and seaweed, it gave you a crunchy texture and bursts of flavours. Instead of the typical egg yolk that they normally use, there was octopus in it! Tiny baby tako which were marinated in a spicy sauce. Super tender and flavourful. We much preferred this bibimbap compared to the ones we just plain old veggies!

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Doenjang-jjigae (soybean paste stew)

Next, we had the Doenjang-jjigae, which is a soybean paste stew. It’s a bit different from the typical tofu soup, because you can really taste the soybean. It’s pretty much like miso soup with tofu in it. The soybean flavour was very rich and strong. A very small hint of spice as well, but I was addicted to this!

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Gungjung Tteokbokki (Royal Palace Rice Cake)

Last but not least, we had Gungjung Tteokbokki, which can be translated to the Royal Palace Rice Cake. We had plenty of spicy rice cake, so we decided to go for the non-spicy version. Filled with marinated bulgogi (beef), carrots, mushrooms, chestnuts and a sprinkle of sesame, it was absolutely delicious! The rice cakes were super soft but still remained the chewiness. The sauce was sweet and not overly salty. We definitely agreed this was our favourite dish!

I’d definitely recommend checking Insadong Geujip out if you’re in the Insadong area. Prices are fair and service was pretty quick. Best of all, the food is delicious!

Address: 3, Insadong 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Tom N Toms Coffee – Busan

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Tom N Toms Coffee is a South Korean coffee shop with multiple franchises. We saw plenty in Seoul, but we always ended up eating something else. We decided to get breakfast here since it was next to the metro station where we lived in Busan. We got take out so we could bring it on our train back to Seoul. Other than coffee and other beverages and snacks you would find at a coffee shop, they are also famous for their pretzels. Their pretzels are freshly made to order and you can see here the lady is rolling out our pretzels. Since it is freshly made, it does take around 10-15 minutes, so don’t get it if you’re in a hurry. We were almost late for our train!

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This is their menu for pretzels. There are definitely a lot of variety. From sweet to savory, there is something for everyone. You can also make it into a set, which comes with a drink.

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Parmesan Pretzel

K and I decided to share two pretzels. First, we got the Parmesan Pretzel, which we found to be our least favourite out of the two. The pretzel wasn’t a whole, and instead, was cut up into little bites. Tons of Parmesan cheese on it, so the flavour was really good. However, we found the texture wasn’t as soft as the other pretzel. We felt like it was a bit of a rip off compared to the other pretzels, since it was quite plain. Something you could get at a pizza shop too.

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Corn Pretzel

The Corn Pretzel was really good! A pretzel baked with mayo, sweet corn and cheddar cheese. The dough was super soft, and the stringy cheese along with the sweet flavour of the corn was a great match. I would definitely recommend this one! All in all, a great place to visit if you want some coffee and pretzels. A great change from the typical Starbucks menu. The pretzels aren’t cheap though, as they price around CAD$5-$7 each. You could definitely get a bowl of noodles at a Korean restaurant at this price. I guess anything that speaks American or European food in South Korea is pricier. Until next time Busan! Next up, back to 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

Shinsegae Centrum City and Spa Land – Busan

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If you love shopping, you must visit the Shinsegae Centrum City Department Store in Haeundae, Busan. The store is listed as the largest shopping complex in the world! With 14 floors and 2 basement floors, it even has a golf driving range! Of course I headed to the basement floor for the food department! Very similar to Lotte Department store, but with way more food! We found Lady M Confections, which is a New York based confectionery. The cakes are absolutely beautiful to look at, but are quite pricey!

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Mille Crepe

We decided to try the Mille Crepe, which is their signature cake. This is a must try! Layers of paper-thin handmade crepes with super light pastry cream in between the layers. It’s super light and fluffy and the crepe just melts in your mouth. I’ve never had such a light delicious cake before! It’s also not too sweet. Well worth the CAD$7.

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Next, we found these mochi curled up in leaves. Thought it was pretty interesting looking, so we decided to give it a try.

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Mochi in Leaf

We were surprised that the mochi wasn’t white, but rather a slight grey with green specks in it. We suspect that it may have been mixed with tea leaves. The mochi is filled with red bean paste, which I liked, but I found the mochi to have a strange flavour. Wasn’t very sweet, but rather a little sour. Really odd and not too pleasing to the palette.

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Spa Land

The Shinsegae department store connects to Spa Land, which is the main purpose for our visit. Spa Land is the perfect place to relax after several days of traveling. It has 22 spas with natural spring water being pumped from underground, 13 Jjimjilbangs and saunas, and an open-air foot spa. Jjimjilbangs are public bathhouses that include everything from saunas to massage chairs. At Spa Land, it is only 13,000 won on weekdays for adults and you can stay up to 4 hours.

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Spa Land is huge! After paying at the reception, you will need to remove your shoes and put them in a locker, where you will get a key to the rest of your lockers. You then segregate into your gender’s change room and you can change into the uniform they provide you. Lockers are included to store your belongings. We realized that you need to be completely nude to go into the gender-segregated baths. No swimsuits whatsoever. We weren’t too comfortable with that, so we ended up just going for the saunas.

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Each sauna room are different themed. They are also at different temperatures. A sign is placed outside with the name of the sauna, temperature, and the health benefits it brings. Most of the saunas are around 40 degrees, with ones reaching 70 degrees! There is one that is a cold sauna, called the Ice Room at around 13 degrees.

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Open-air Foot Spa

On the first floor, you can exit to the Open-air Foot Spa. Here, the ceiling is open with some areas being sheltered in case of rain. There are serveral different foot spas with different ingredients in the water. The foot baths are around 30 degrees and are very comforting if  you have walked for a long time. There are also pebble stones on the floor so they provide massaging for your feet.

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Salt Room

After soaking our feet, we headed back indoors to the saunas. The saunas are gender mixed so you can wear your uniforms here. One of our favourite was the Salt Room. It featured blocks of salt as the building blocks of the walls. There are blocks where you can place your head on so that you can lie down. Many people sleep here! At first, I found it really hot and stuffy, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to stay for long. However, when you lie down, I found that you don’t feel as hot anymore. You start to get used to the temperature and you’ll start sweating a lot! This is supposed to help remove your toxins. We found it funny how some people were exercising in the rooms.

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Pyramid Room

This was the Pyramid Room, which featured a 52 degree angle. Apparently this angle is supposed to “collect energies from the universe.” It actually felt quite relaxing here as well since it wasn’t too hot. Not exactly sure how it collects energies though…

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Wave Dream Room

This was the Wave Dream Room, where the centerpiece creates sort of a wave. It’s supposed to help you relax. We didn’t find this one too special.

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Relaxation Room

On the top floor is the Relaxation Room. It’s a huge room filled with inclining chairs and TVs. You can relax on these chairs and watch TV with great privacy. The chairs are side by side but have so much privacy because there’s a board that blocks the other person from seeing you.

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The head rest has a built in speakers so you can hear without using headphones. Most of the shows are in Korean though, so it wasn’t too entertaining for us.

After that, we headed to this area where you can just lie on the floor which is heated. At first, I felt like it wasn’t very sanitary, but I realized there is someone constantly cleaning the floors, so everything is very hygienic here. There is also a snack bar, so we purchased some Baked Eggs. They are cooked in the hottest saunas and remind me of hard-boiled eggs essentially. You also pay for everything additional with your locker key and pay the extra costs when you leave. Other additional costs you may incur are the massage chairs and facials.

Overall, a must try if you have some spare time! Definitely will be revisiting when I visit Busan again!

Address: 35, Senteomnam-daero, Haeun Daegu, Busan

Soft Queen Bee & other Food at Lotte Department (Gwangbok Store) – Busan

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Koran Oden

If you get off at Nampo station and take exit 10, you’ll be connected to the Lotte Department store. There are various Lotte’s in Busan, let alone Seoul, and this location was called the Gwangbok Store. Lotte Department store is the major department store in Korea. They sell everything from fashion, to books, to computers and gadgets. A one stop destination with international and local brands. Well, other than clothing and technology, they also sell food! At the bottom floor of the department is a floor dedicated to food! Restaurants, little small pop up shops and even a supermarket. Of course we headed straight there! Not only do they sell Korean food, but even Japanese, American, Italian and much more! We ended up trying some Korean Oden at one of the stalls. It came with two fish-like balls, and two fish cakes. I like how they add a bit of carrot, peas, and green onion in their balls, so it’s different from Chinese fish balls. The oden broth was light and flavourful. Very yummy!

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Tteokbokki

J got the Tteokbokki, which is spicy Korean rice cake. I find that in Korea, the rice cake is cooked to a much softer texture, but still remains the chewiness and stickiness. Much better than the ones in Vancouver. It also came with some slices of fish cake, which are my all time favourite. The sauce was surprisingly not too spicy, but had a hint of sweetness to it. Great to share!

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At another stall, we found honeycomb ice cream, which is the new trend in Korea. The stall was called Soft Queen Bee. I believe they have a bunch of other stores around South Korea. Honey with milk ice cream is what everyone talks about in Korea. Almost all ice cream shops sell this now.

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Their menu only has 6 flavours. The base is the milk ice cream, with honey added to it. Then you can choose different toppings, such as caramel or the actual honeycomb. It’s a bit pricey at around CAD$5 for a small cup.

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Honey Cube Cream Bee

I chose the Honey Cube Cream Bee. The milky ice cream is drizzled with honey and topped with an actual honeycomb. I’ve never had a honeycomb before so it was pretty neat! I bit into the honeycomb and left it on my tongue. All the honey will come out and what’s left is the comb. I found it sort of odd. It was kind of like wax or plastic left. I really didn’t like the plastic texture left, but I loved the part when the honey came out. The ice cream itself is very creamy and strong in milk flavour. Mixed with the honey, it’s like smooth cream in your mouth. Really good! I think I would opt for just honey and the milk ice cream next time, since I didn’t really enjoy the honeycomb itself.

Overall, Lotte Department has an assortment of food to choose from. It’s a great place to even just grab some snacks. Lots of bakeries and cake shops too! A must see if you have never been to a department store with one floor dedicated to food!

Dwaeji Gukbap, Jagalchi Market, BIFF – Busan

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Garlic chives, kimchi, garlic, green peppers, onions, radish kimchi fermented baby shrimp, noodles

Our second day in Busan would also be our last full day, so we headed out early to try and hit up most of the tourist spots. For breakfast/lunch, we wanted to try the famous Dwaeji Gukbap, which is also known as pork soup and rice. Busan prides itself to have the best of this soup and there is even a street in the Seomyeon district that is filled with shops selling this soup. We headed there and just chose a shop. After placing our order, they brought us a huge dish. At first, I thought they were appetizers to eat, but we later figured out that you should put this into the pork soup. We didn’t end up throwing all these things in, since we weren’t sure. We did however throw the fermented baby shrimp in, which was quite interesting. It brings a bit of saltiness to the soup.

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Dwaeji Gukbap

And the Dwaeji Gukbap arrived! The broth is a milky colour due to hours of boiling pork bone. You’ll find slices of pork shank and green onions in it. The soup is light but full of flavour. Super homey and is perfect on a rainy day. You are also supposed to put your rice in, but we didn’t know until later. Even just by drinking the soup on its own was absolutely delicious. I would say it’s one of my favourite Korean dishes! A must try in Busan!

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Gamjatang

We also added a Gamjatang, which is a very popular Korean dish. I’ve tried it in Vancouver as well, but I found the broth to taste a little different here. Gamjatang is a soup made of pork spine, vegetables, green onions, and hot peppers. It comes sizzling on a hot pot to keep the soup hot. The soup is quite spicy, and is absolutely delicious with rice. It came with potatoes, enoki mushroom and other green veggies. The pork spines have bone marrow in it which is supposed to be really good for you. There’s surprsingly quite a lot of meat hanging on the bones, so you actually get very full. However, I still favour the Dwaeji Gukbap over this one.

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After lunch we headed to the Nampo-dong area. Nampo is famous for shopping, but nearby, you will also find BIFF or Busan International Film Festival. The festival is held in October and is one of the largest film festivals in Asia.

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Obviously the festival wasn’t happening when we were there, but you can still see something similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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There are also various food stalls with long line ups. Food looked pretty good! We were all still full from lunch though.

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Also within walking distance is the Jagalchi Market. It is the largest seafood market in Korea and is a top tourist spot in Busan. There are many restaurants here who will cook your seafood right away for you.

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There is an outdoor market area as well as an indoor one. We took a peak in the indoor market and the floor was all wet and it smelled really fishy. We didn’t feel like going in, so we headed over to the outdoor market. The stalls sell a variety of seafood, from shellfish to prawns, crab, and fresh fish.

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I think the most impressive part of the market were these huge octopi. Pretty much every stall sold octopus. They are ginormous! I believe you can also eat raw octopus here. They are supposed to suck on your tongue and lips, so you need to chew very quickly! I saw some that had been cut into bits already, but they are still squirming! Crazy… As a foodie, I should’ve probably tried it, but I just couldn’t… However, my Korean friends said they are really good and a delicacy!

Overall, Nampo is definitely worth checking out! Plus, you can check out BIFF and Jagalchi Market at the same time!