Rabu, 28 Agustus 2013

Dongdaemun Market - 동대문시장

Dongdaemun has every fashion item imaginable: fabric, clothes, accessories, and wedding goods. the newest fashion trends, along with the newest fabrics, often make their debut in the market. it is home to the largest clothing suppliers in Korea, and aspiring designers also come to here to hone and test their skills. Cheap and diverse clothes attract not just fashion leaders but also the average consumer. It has become a place frequented by major Korean and international buyers as well.
Dongdaemun Market started as a traditional market in 1905 and experienced its first major tranformation in 1970s as it began to develop as a center of the textile industry (both wholesale and retail), further contributing to the fast economic growth of Korea at that time. With the later construction of mega shopping buildings in the area, the market became reborn as the most famous fashion street in Korea.
Wholesalers across the country visit the market at night, forming an iconic night image in Seoul. The market is a mixture of both traditional and modern stores. Some stores maintain their old buildings, selling clothing materials, crafting clothes, or processing them. Modern shopping malls (such as Cerestar, Migliore, Designer's Club, and Doosan Tower) pooped up in the late 1990s, attracting young people by holding frequent music and dance performance at night. Various fashion shows and festivities are also held year-round.
Event though stores may sell goods wholesale, individual consumers and tourists purchase them at retail prices. The market offers special fabrics not found anywhere else and sells material and accessories at very reasonable prices. Simple accessories can even be made on-site at some stores. Plenty of currency exchange services and information desks provide a pleasant shopping experience for international visitors.

Dongdaemun Market opened in July 1905 in Yeji-dong (예지동 ), Whose name means "a neighborhood for learning politeness", so the market was originally called baeugaejang ((배우개장, "market for learning"). The market was also called Gwangjang Market (광장시장) as a company of the same name was set up as market management.
The market was set in a closed structure until the Korean War, when the market was completely destroyed. The market slowly rebuilt over the years, and in 1959 a building was constructed and the  market was revived. In 1998 and 1999, large shopping malls such as Geopyeong Freya, Migliore, and Doosan Tower were built in the district and the market was renovated with a modern atmosphere among the traditional market.

Dongdaemun Market is located near Dongdaemun of which it takes its name. The market is divided into five shopping districs -- A, B, C, D and a shopping town, with 26 shopping malls situated over 10 blocks, 30,000 speciality shops, and 50,000 manufacturers.
The market sells all types of goods but notably silks, and fabric, clothes, shoes and leather goods, sporting goods, plumbing and electronics, office supplies, fortune tellers, toys and food areas specialising in Korean cuisine. It also has many pet shops. The market is on the Seoul list of Asia's 10 greatest street food cities for the Korean snack Sundae and mandu.
The market was traditionally a night market and wholesalers oonce operated from 1:00 am to 1:00 pm. Now, the area is open for 18 1/2 hours a day from 10:30 am to 5:00 am., with some stores open 24 hours a day, although most stores close on Mondays and holidays.

Ever since its opening in 1905, Dongdaemun Market has been on of the major markets in Korea. Specializing in wholesale clothing, the market has grown large, having more than 20 shopping malls. A full range of fashion items  that cover head to toe, are found in Dongdaemun Market at inexpensive prices.
  1. Section 1 - Retail Shops. The main street divides Dongdaemun Market into two sections. Section 1 is on the side where Doosan Tower is found, and Section 2 is on the side of Dongdaemun Stadium. Huge shopping malls in Section 1 basically sell wholesale and retail goods, but mostly deal with general costumers and tourists at retail prices. Thus, they have convenient facilities like money exchanges and information desks with English speaking staff. Opening hours are also aimed at general costumers, opening from 10 am to 5 am the next day. With a pleasant interior, and rhythmical music played all day long, shopping malls in Section 1 draw many young people every day. Various events organized by these shopping  malls (7 or 9 pm) are also delightful. Sometimes you will get to see youth come up on the stage in front of the mall, dancing or singing. Major shooping malls are Doosan Tower, Migliore, Freya Town and Hello apM.
  2.  Section 2 - Wholesale Shops. Shopping malls in Section 2 sell goods both in wholesale and retail, but mainly sell in bulk. That is why shopping malls here usually open at about 8 pm and close at 8 am or 5 pm the next day for the convenience of wholesalers. The peak time comes late at night through early morning. Since most shops deal with wholesalers, there are no dressing rooms. Refunds and exchanges are not guaranteed, so make sure to check the quality and size carefully. Major shopping malls in Section 2 are Designer's Club, Migliore Valley, Nuzzon, Gwanghee Fashion Mall, Jeil Pyeonghwa, and Heungin Stardom. Among them, Jeil Pyeonghwa and Heungin Stardom attract customers in their thirties and forties with items of simple and elegant design. Teens and youth in their twenties usually visit Designer's Club, Migliore Valley, Nuzzon, and Gwanghee Fashion Mall.

Sporting Goods
Near Dongdaemun Market is Dongdaemun Stadium. There is a variety of sporting goods shops around the stadium.

Tourist Information Center
Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Tourism Information Center
Located in front of Exit # 14, the Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, the center provides information in English, Japanese, and Chinese about the Dongdaemun Market, lodgings, and public transportation.
  • Hours: 09.00 ~ 22.00
  • Tel: +82-2-2236-9135~6
Seoul Subway Line 2 Dongdaemun Stadium Station, or Line 1 or 4 Dongdaemun Station


Source: Visit Korea, Wikipedia

Jumat, 23 Agustus 2013

Stir Fried Rice Cake - 떡볶이

Tteokbokki, also known as ddeokbokki, topokki (in Japan) or dukboki is a popular Korean snack food which is commonly purchased from street vendors or pojangmacha. Originally it was called tteok jjim (떡찜), and was a braised dish of sliced rice cake, meat, eggs and seasoning.

Tteokbokki is a traditional Korean street food which can be usually purchased from street vendors also called 'pojangmacha' in Korean. The history of tteokbokki brings us back to the late Joseon dynasty. There are many hypotheses and controversy about its real origin. According to bibliographic data, the first tteokbokki in Korean history is said to appear in a cook book called "시의정서 (siui jeongseo)" written in the late Joseon dynasty. However, based on the fact that tteok (the main ingredient, also known as rice cake) was produced even before in the Three Kingdoms period, it's possible to assume that the history is longer than what's usually considered. Tteokbokki can also be found in medical records: a book called "싱뇨찬요 (singnyo chanyo)" written by "전순의 (Jeon Sunui)", a medical officer in the Joseon dynasty (1460). The purpose of the book was to cure people through food and tteokbokki was part of it.
Tteokbokki was also a part of Korean royal court cuisine in the Joseon dynasty. While the modern version of tteokbokki is red and spicy, the original version was brown and plain. It was called "궁중 떡볶이 (gungjung tteokbokki)", Palace Tteokbokki. Just like the name implies, gunjeon tteokbokki was a main example of korean haute cuisine. It was mainly composed with a combination of tteok, meat, vegetables and different kinds of seasoning. After the introduction of gochujang (Korean spicy paste made of chili peppers) due to the Japanese influence in Joseon dynasty, Tteokbokki became red and spicy. It's believed that the main transition from plain to spicy tteokbokki occured during the 1950s after the independence of Korea. In modern days, most of the tteokbokki sold in street vendors is red and spicy.

Modern History
Following the Korean War a new type of tteokbokki became very popular. While the older version was a savory dish, this latter type was much spicier, and quickly became more popular than the older traditional dish. In addition to traditional ingredients, this tteokbokki used gochujang, a fermented, spicy paste made from chili peppers, along with fish cakes. Other ingredients added to tteokbokki include boiled eggs, pan-fried mandu (Korean dumplings), sausages, ramyeon (which then becomes rabokki/labokki 라볶이), a variety of fried vegetables, and cheese. These days, many kinds of tteokbokki are popular such as seafood tteokbokki (해물 떡볶이) or rice tteokbokki (쌀떡볶이). Flour tteokbokki was popular in early days, but rice tteokbokki is more popular these days.
Sindang-dong in Seoul, where tteokbokki was first sold, is still very famous for the dish and treated as the mekkah or the center of tteokbokki. Since tteokbokki has become one of the most popular dishes, one will easily find a place to enjoy eating tteokbokki in Korea.

  • 1 pound of cylinder shaped rice cake, bought or homemade. (Use a little more if you're not adding hard boiled eggs and fish cakes)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 7 large size dried anchovies, with heand and intestines removed
  • 6 x 8 inch dried kelp
  • 1/3 cup hot pepper paste
  • 1 tbs hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 3 green onions, cut into 3 inch long pieces
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, shelled (optional)
  • 1/2 pound fish cakes (optional)

  1. Add the water, dried anchovies, and dried kelp to a shallow pot or pan.
  2. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes over medium high heat wihout the lid.
  3. Combine hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, and sugar in a small bowl. Remove the anchovies and kelp from the pot and add the rice cake, the mixture in the bowl, the green onion, and the optional fish cakes and hard boiled eggs.
  4. Stir gently with a wooden spoon when it starts to boil. Keep stirring until the rice cake turns soft and the sauce thickens and looks shiny, which should take about 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and serve hot.

Source: Wikipedia, Maangchi

Selasa, 13 Agustus 2013

Cheonggye Plaza - 청계광장

Cheonggye Plaza in Sejong-ro is situated at the fountainhead of Cheonggyecheon Stream. From Dong-A Ilbo Building, the starting point of Cheonggyecheon Stream, Cheonggye Plaza stretches all the way to Sindapcheolgyo Bridge. The Plaza is roughly 160m long and 50m wide and ha a beautiful fountain, an artificial waterfall, and a miniature replica of Cheonggyecheon Stream, as well as a walking path. The area commemorates the Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project, and also symbolizes gathering, harmony, peace and unity.
Cheonggye Plaza is roughly 2,500 square meters and is located at the starting point of Cheonggyecheon Stream. The square, created based on the design of Korean traditional bojagi (a colorful wrapping cloth), features the elegant beauty of traditional stonework that is colorful, yet tasteful. The Plaza also includes a model of Cheonggyecheon that provides visitors with a bird's-eye view of the formerly restored Cheonggyecheon Stream. At the Plaza, there are plaques that provide detailed commentaries on the 22 bridges that span the stream as well as a number of graceful fountains that add to the ambience of the area.
After completing Cheonggye Plaza, Seoul Metropolitan Government designated the area as a vehicle-free zone on holidays, providing more leisure space for pedestrians. Since then, the waterfront areas of Cheonggyecheon Stream, and the surrounding streets have become popular places for those seeking refreshment and a variety of cultural experiences. A favorite of many is Candle Fountain, which features the magnificent synchronicity of three different lighting fixtures and a 4 meter-high, two-tiered waterfall. Along the two sides of the waterfall are 'Palseokdam' (wishing wells) made of 8 different stones from each of the nation's 8 provinces.
Cheonggye Plaza never goes to sleep: visitors can enjoy the fantastic display of light and water even at night.

Tour Course Information
Course 1 (Distance: 2.9 km/Duration : 3 hours)
Cheonggyecheon Stream Plaza - Gwangtonggyo Bridge - Samilgyo Bridge (Jongno, Insadong) - Ogansugyo Bridge (Dongdaemun fashion town) - Saebyeokdari (Bridge of Dawn; Gwangjang Market, Bangsan Market) - Supyogyo Bridge

Course 2 (Distance: 2.6 km/ Duration 2.5 hours)
Cheonggyecheon Stream Culture Center - Gosanjagyo Bridge - Dumuldari Bridge - Malgeunnaedari Bridge
- Ogansugyo Bridge (Dongdaemun fashion town)

110, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul/ 서울특별시 중구 태평로1가 ~성동구 신답철교
1. Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5.
2. City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 4.

Cheong Gye Cheon
(Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)


Source: Visit Korea, Visit Seoul

Selasa, 06 Agustus 2013

Braised Pan-fried Tofu - 두부조림

Tofu jorim is a Korean side dish primarily made with tofu. In Korean, dubu translates into tofu and jorim literally means braised. However, tofu is not slowly cooked but rather pan fried for few minutes and then re-fried once more with a mixture of soy sauce, gochugaru, minced garlic, green onions along with other ingredients. Tofu jorim is very easy to make and also doesn't require a lot of time to prepare either.
This side dish is considered very nutrious and healthy as tofu, soy bean curd, is cholesterol free, low in saturated fat and rich in minerals and vitamins such as iron and calcium. Tofu is also a great source of protein with low calories and known to help lower bad cholesterol levels when compared with other types of protein foods.

Main Ingredients
  • 1 pack firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup corn starch or flour
  • 1/4 cup onion (1/4 onion)
  • 1/4 cup carrot
  • 1/4 cup green onion (2 green onions)
  • Some oil for frying
  • Salt & black pepper
Sauce Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 pinch black pepper

  1. Rinse 1 pack of firm tofu in water once, and then wipe off the water with a paper towel.
  2. Divide the tofu an half and then slice it into half inch pieces.
  3. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper on both side of the sliced tofu. Set it aside while you are preparing the other ingredients. This process helps pull the water out of the tofu and gives it flavour.
  4. Finely chop the onion, carrot and green onion to make 1/4 cup of each.
  5. Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 3 tbsp of water, 2 1/2 tsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of minced garlic, 1 tbsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp of sesame seeds, 1 pinch of black pepper, and the chopped vegetables in a small bowl. Mix them all together to make the sauce.
  6. Prepare 1/3 cup of cornstarch or flour. cover the tofu with some cornstarch.
  7. In a heated non-stick pan, add 1 or 2 tbsp of oil, and then place the tofu in the pan.
  8. Fry both sides of the tofu until they become golden brown on medium-high.
  9. In a heated pan or wok, add the fried tofu and the sauce.
  10. Fry for 5 minutes on high
  11. Occasionally stir gently..Be careful not to break the tofu. 5 minutes later, the sauce will thicken.

Source: Trifood, Aeri's Kitchen

Jumat, 02 Agustus 2013

Changdeokgung Palace - 창덕궁

Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeokbukgung Palace in 1405. It was the principal palace for many of the Joseon kings and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palace. The palace grounds are comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old, a small pond, and a pavilion.
The palace gained in importance starting from the time of 9th king of Joseon, Seongjong, when a number of kings began using it as a place of residence. Unfortunately, the palace was burned down by angry citizens in 1592 when the royal family fled their abode during the Japanese Invasion of Korea. Thanks to Gwanghaegun, the palace was restored in 1611. Even today, it holds a number of cultural treasures such as Injeongjeon Hall, Daejojeon Hall, Seonjeongjeon Hall, and Nakseonjae.
Changdeokgung's rear garden was constructed during the reign of King Taejong and served as a resting place for the royal family members. The garden had formerly been called 'Bukwon' and 'Geumwon' but was renamed 'Biwon' after King Kojong came into power. The garden was kept as natural as possible and was touched by human hands only when absolutely necessary. Buyongjeong, Buyongji, Juhabru, Eosumun, Yeonghwadang, Bullomun, Aeryeonjeong, and Yeongyeongdang are some of the many pavilions and fountains that occupy the garden. The most beautiful time to see the garden is during the fall when the autumn foliage is at its peak and the leaves have just started to fall.
Though it has been treasured by Koreans for centuries, the Changdeokgung Palace was not designated a World Cultural Heritage by the World Cultural Heritage Committee until December of 1997, at the committee meeting in Napoli, Italy.

Changdeokgung was the second palace after Gyeongbokgung which had been established in 1395 as a primary palace. In the midst of strife for the throne between princes and vassals, authority of Gyeongbokgung was deteriorated. King Jeongjong enthroned by Prince Jeong-an (Yi Bang-Won, later became King Taejong) moved the capital to Gaegyeong, the one of Goryeo Dynasty, again in 1400 on the pretext of superior geographical features of it, in fact, in order to avert the power struggle. King Taejong (Yi Bang-Won) soon taking over the throne returned to Hanseong (present-day Seoul) had a new palace named Changdeokgung instead of Gyeongbokgung because he had killed his half brothers in Gyeongbokgung whose construction was led by Jeong Do-Jeon, the king's rival before. Construction of Changdeok Palace began in 1405, and was completed in 1412. King Seonjo expanded the palace grounds by about 500,000 square meters, including Huwon.
The Palace was burnt to the ground during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and reconstructed in 1609 by King Seonjo and King Gwanghaegun. The next arson was in 1623 because of King Injo Political Revolt against Gwanghaegun. The palace was also attacked by the Manchu Qing but throughout its history of reconstructionand repair has remainded faithful to its original design. Changdeokgung was the site of the royal court and the seat of government until 1868, when the neighboring Gyeongbokgung was rebuilt. Korea's last Emperor, Sunjong lived here until his death in 1926.
Today there are 13 buildings remaining on the palace grounds annd 28 pavilions in the gardens, occupying 110 acres, (45 hectares) in all and the area is designated as Historical Site No. 122. Buildings of note include Donhwamun (built in 1412, rebuilt in 1607, with a copper bell weighing 9 short tons or 8 metric tons), Injeongjeon (main hall), Seongjeongjeon (auxiliary office in the main hall), Huijeongdang (the king's private residence, later used as a conference hall), Daejojeon (living quarters), and Nakseon-jae (former residence of Korean imperial family including Princess Bangja).

The palace was built between Peak Maebong of Mt. Bugaksan in the back and Rivulte Geumcheon having flowing in the front influenced by the principle "baesanimsu" (배산임수) in Feng Shui theory. Contrary to Gyeongbokgung whose main buildings are arranged in accurate architecture principle, however, buildings in Changdeokgung are disposed more freely without a regular system. Though its structure seems chaotic at a glance, all buildings are in harmony with the environment surrounding them.
Changdeokgung consists of governmental area (치조, 治朝, chijo) centering on Injeongjeon and Seonjeongjeon, royal private area (침전, 寢殿, chimjeon, meaning 'a house of king's bedroom'), Nakseonjae area in the east, and Huwon beyond the north hill. Most of major official buildings such as Injeongjeon, main hall of Changdeokgung, Seonjeongjeon, king's office, and many of government offices (궐내각사, 闕內各司, gweollaegaksa) are placed in the front parts of the palace, beyond which there are royal private court for king and queen. King's houses like Seonjeongjeon, Huijeongdang, and Nakseonjae are surrounded in many folds of buildings and courts in case any outsider break through. The architectural style of Changdeokgung overall features simplicity and frugality because of Confucian ideology.
Structures of particular interest include:
Donhwamun Gate - The main palace gate. Built in 1412, Donhwamun has a two-story pavilion-type wooden structure, and is the largest of all palace gates. Donhwamun was burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592 and was restored in 1608.
Geumcheongyo Bridge - Oldest bridge still extant in Seoul. Built 1411.
InjeongJeon Hall (National Treasure) - the throne hall of Changdeokgung, it was used for major state affairs including the coronation of a new king and receiving foreign envoys. Originally built in 1405, it was rebuilt in 1610 after being burned down during the 1592 Japanese Invasion, and a third time in 1804 after being destroyed by a fire.
Seonjeongjeon Hall - An office for ruling officials, the king held daily meetings with ministers, reported on state affairs and seminars here.
Huijeongdang Hall - Originally the king's bed chamber, it became his workplace after Seonjeongjeon was deemed to small for conducting routine state affairs. The original Huijeongdang was destroyed by a fire in 1917. The reconstructed structure is completely different from the original due to recent Western influences. Wooden floorboards and carpets, glass windows, and chadeliers can be seen inside the building.
Daejojeon Hall - Official residence of the queen. Destroyed by fire in 1971, it was rebuilt with materials taken from Gyeongbokgung. Daejojeon was used as a residence for the last empress of Joseon, allowing us a glimpse into the final years of the royal household of the Joseon Dynasty.
Juhamnu Pavilion (Kyujanggak) - Royal libraries stood in this area. State exams were conducted in front of the pavilion on special occasions in presence of the king.
Yeon-gyeongdang Residence - Built in 1827, it was an audience hall modeled after a typical literati house.
Behind the palace lies the 78-acre (32 ha) Huwon (후원, 後苑, Rear garden) which was originally constructed for the use of the royal family and palace women. The garden incorporates a lotus pond, pavilions, and lanscaped lawns, trees and flowers. There are over 26,000 specimens of a hundred different species of trees in the garden and some of the trees behind the palace are over 300 years old. The garden for the private use of the king had been called 'Geumwon' (금원, 禁苑, Forbidden garden) because even high officials were not allowed to enter without the king's permission. It had also been called  ' Naewon' (내원, 內苑, Inner garden). Today Koreans often call it 'Biwon' (비원, 秘院, Secret garden) which derived from the office of same name in the late 19th century. Though the garden had many other names, the one most frequently used through Joseon dynasty period was 'Huwon'.
In September 2012, the Buyongjeong pavilion in the garden was re-open after a year long restoration project. The pavilion was restored based on the Donggwoldo from 1820, National Treasures of South Korea No. 249.
The Ongnyucheon (옥류천, 玉流川, Jade Stream) area is of particular interest. It contains a U-shaped water channel carved in 1636 for floating wine cups, with a small waterfall and an inscribed poem on the boulder above it. The area also contains five small pavilions.

99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul/서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99 (권농동)
Closed on Mondays

Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 3. Go straight for 5 min.
Jongno 3 (sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3 or 5), Exit 7. Go straight along Donhwamun-ro Street for 10min.

Tour Course Information
General Course
Donhwanmun Gate - Gemcheongyo Bridge - Injeongmun Gate & Injeongjeon Hall - Huijeongdang House - Daejojeon Hall - Nakseonjae (60 minutes)
Huwon (Secret Garden) Course
Hamyangmun Gate - Buyongji Pond area - Uiduhap Building - Bullomun Gate - Aeryeonji Pond area - Yeonggyeongdang House - Jondeokjeong area - Ongnyucheon - Donhwamun Gate (90 minutes)

ChangDeokGung (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)


The Four Seasons of Changdeokgung Palace

Source: Visit Korea, Wikipedia