It has almost been two months since returning from my trip to Korea, and I have to admit, I’m *still* quite consumed by vacation withdrawal. Good thing I have blog posts to make, eh? I’ve covered most destinations that I liked so it’s time to talk about the other things that I miss about Jeju:
Street food. Walking through Jeju is like having to walk through a slot canyon of culinary goodies all calling your name. Everything from odeng (fish cake), tteokbokki (spicy rice cake), hotteok (sweet pancakes), kimbap (Korean sushi), pastries filled with red bean paste and chocolate dipped waffles, can be found in food trucks and markets everywhere. Talk about easy access food!
Samgyeopsal. Okaaaayyy, more food! I thought nothing could beat the samgyeopsal I had at a popular restaurant in Itaewon, Seoul before, but I was wrong. I’ve had the best samgyeopsal in Jeju! For those who aren’t familiar with this dish (you’re missing half of your life!!! kidding), samgyeopsal refers to pork belly meat slices grilled on your table and they’re often served with lettuce, sliced onions, garlic, kimchi and smudged in chili paste or salt and pepper in sesame oil. Another type of samgyeopsal worth mentioning is the Jeju black pig version! It’s more chewy and juicy than the regular pork. If you want to try it, head to Heuk-dwaeji (Black Pork) Street in Jeju City. There are several specialty restaurants to choose from!
Quaint little cafes. I know I’ve mentioned this already but I just want to reiterate the fact that Korea is indeed a coffee lover’s paradise, with photogenic cafes on nearly every block (especially in Seoul). Sure, lattes and cappuccinos are nice but these cafes kept appealing to the artist in me. Give me a Moleskin and toss me my pencil – I’m going to drown in caffeine and sketch!
People watching. Now this is a favorite hobby of mine every time I travel. I can’t count the number of times I was entertained while sitting on a bench or sitting on a chair and enjoying my matcha latte. There was always something to watch, something to giggle at, and sometimes even snarl. Even as I type this, there’s so many images coming to mind. Like the time I saw a group of Korean high school students dancing to EXO’s ‘Overdose’ and doing covers of other K-Pop songs in the streets… Or the time those elderly Chinese tourists were heavily amused by the J-shaped ice cream cones and kept taking pictures. Great times!
Strolling without a purpose. I found that just walking around the streets of Jeju was such a joy! You know the feeling of not knowing where you are but you’re still having fun? Thanks to the random quotes written on the walls and hip, independent shops! You don’t even need a map to do so and the locals are so friendly, so just grab your purse and camera, and go for a stroll!
Language barrier. Yes, believe it or not. Only few people speak English in Jeju and most signs don’t have English translations. What to do? Rely on facial expressions and hand gestures when asking for help. I remember asking a family of three at a bus stop if the bus stop we’re at was correct and they blurted a bunch of Korean words to me, of which I understood about one percent. They probably thought “Poor foreigners, they look so lost!” so they walked my mom and I to the correct bus stop. OMG SO KIND. This scenario happened twice. Can you imagine? Bless these Koreans with big hearts! The more I’ve traveled, the more I’ve come to realize that, sometimes, getting lost is okay.