sageuk drama Dong Yi (MBC 2010) review

The Hwangsa yellow dust season is here. So even though the temperature has been pretty warm and pleasant (16 degrees), the Korea Meteorological Administration advises people to stay indoors when the concentration of yellow dust in the air is high (it was over 200 micrograms per m3 over the weekend :( ). But then what better excuse is there to stay in and watch Korean dramas! ;)


I’m now watching sageuk dramas set in the period of the late Joseon kings (1649 – 1910). (here’s more information about dramas and the early Joseon Kings and mid Joseon Kings). I’ve just finished watching Dong Yi again (MBC 2010) a 60 episode historical drama about the romance between King Sukjong (r.1674-1720)  and one of his concubines Choi Dong Yi who became a top ranking concubine and was given the title Suk Bin.

But the unusual thing about Suk Bin was that she came from the chonin class – the lowest class in Joseon. (read more about the Joseon class system here) So the fact that she actually made it to this level in the royal court is pretty remarkable.

And it gets better … despite some opposition in the government due to his mother’s modest background, Suk Bin’s son became King Yeongjo (r.1724-1776), who reigned for 52 years and was the longest ruling monarch of the Joseon Dynasty. I enjoyed watching this drama more the second time around! Continue reading “sageuk drama Dong Yi (MBC 2010) review” »

Haewoori sashimi restaurant in Seoul

Since T-shirt weather is approaching I am facing up to the sad fact that I should lose some weight. So of course now all I can think about is FOOD and all my favourite restaurants …especially the ones that I shouldn’t go to since I’m supposed to be on a diet. :(


But it’s still ok to eat sashimi, isn’t it? (not sure about all the soju and beer that goes with it though ….) One of my favourite sashimi restaurants in Seoul is 해우리 Haewoori. It’s different to other sashimi restaurants because their sashimi sets are served with a range of seaweed and kimchi as well as the usual lettuce and sesame leaves to wrap the sashimi.

It’s a very Korean way to eat sashimi. You can eat the sashimi just with a soy sauce or chilli sauce dip or wrap it with kelp seaweed with mustard leaf kimchi on the side. I think this is great diet food. Tasty and healthy. Love it. Continue reading “Haewoori sashimi restaurant in Seoul” »

Sweet adzuki bean patjuk and rice cakes

rice cakes

I never knew that red adzuki beans were so versatile. I used to think that they could only be used in the occasional savoury dish – a vegetarian lasagne perhaps. I’d buy a bag of them, put them in the cupboard, and then wonder what on earth to do with them. It’s a pity I didn’t know back then that you can put red beans into a whole range of dishes ranging from boiled savoury rice, to noodle soup, sweet rice cakes (above), bread, waffles, and ice cream. In summer the signature red bean dish here is bingsu, but in winter it’s bean porridge – patjuk. (below)

adzuki beans Continue reading “Sweet adzuki bean patjuk and rice cakes” »

tvN 2014 office drama ‘Misaeng’ An Incomplete Life Review

misaeng drama

My male students don’t usually talk about TV dramas but at the end of last year some of them started asking me if I was watching 미생 Misaeng – the tvN drama about the life of office workers in a trading company in Seoul. At the time I wasn’t watching it. Perhaps like many people, I didn’t think an office drama would be that interesting. Then I was an interviewer for the English speaking test for new employees at a large company and my Korean co-interviewer asked the interviewees which character in Misaeng they related to the most! Everyone seemed to be talking about it. And so I realised that I had to watch it. Continue reading “tvN 2014 office drama ‘Misaeng’ An Incomplete Life Review” »

Happy Lunar New Year 2015

Happy Lunar New Year! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!


A sheep might bring happiness but apparently there is a lot of unhappiness going on at this time of year! That’s because of all the work that has to be done for the New Year festivities! An array of savoury pancakes have to be fried, meat and fish cooked, raw chestnuts peeled, vegetables mixed with sesame oil, and the signature dish of the day – rice cake soup – prepared. Then everything must be plated up early on Lunar New Year morning and presented on the alter to carry out the ancestral rites. And who has to do all this? The daughter-in-law! This is 명절 테러 myeong-cheol te-ro “Holiday Terror” :o Continue reading “Happy Lunar New Year 2015” »

The best kimbap shop in Seoul? Lee’s Roll 리김밥

Lee's Roll

This week, on my quest to find my favourite kimbap in Seoul, I tried 3 different kimbap from Lee’s Roll (리김밥 ri-kimbap) in Apgujeong, Gangnam. Like Kim Seon Saeng this shop sells ‘premium kimbap’ so the prices are more expensive than your regular kimbap. Prices start at a fairly modest  2,500 won for a classic roll and go up to a whopping 5,500 won for a red paprika with Gouda cheese roll.

When I arrived at the shop it was already 2pm and I wanted to sit in a restaurant and eat but all I could see was a takeout section – they have a small shop on the ground floor selling readymade kimbap. There is a small counter with stools against the window for customers wanting to eat inside, but it felt a bit too cramped for me. So I bought the kimbap and took it home on the train with my tummy rumbling. :( But now as I look at the photograph more closely, there appears to be a restaurant upstairs on the second floor which I completely missed. :? Continue reading “The best kimbap shop in Seoul? Lee’s Roll 리김밥” »

Valentine’s Day in Korea

paris croissant

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day – I refuse to be drawn into this commercial event (Mr Kim gets NOTHING - bah humbug :)  But that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy wandering around the pink and strawberry themed extravaganza in the departments stores and bakeries at this time of year.

I wonder how I would deal with February 14th if I were a Korean lady though, since this is the day that only the ladies are supposed to give chocolate to the men in their lives. The shops say you have to buy chocolate for all men not just boyfriends, but coworkers too. It’s a kind of duty. So should I feel guilty if I don’t take part? Continue reading “Valentine’s Day in Korea” »