Tag: "Korea"

If you’re not drinking mojito lattes from a toilet cup, why not?

We found this place in Insa-dong, Seoul. Sadly we had already eaten by the time we saw this toilet and poop themed restaurant / cafe.
Notice the cute little poop swirls next to the toilet cup lattes. And of course, your spaghetti and fried rice also come in appetizing toilet bowls. I thought the question, “Can you try?” (third pic) was fair.

Mojito and rose lattes in toilet cups
Fried rice in a toilet bowl
Can you try white toilet bowl spaghetti?

Alternative ski destinations and culture shock on the slopes

So the other day Sharon wrote about some ski chalets, including catered ski chalets in la Rosiere. I’ve only been to ski resorts in Korea, but I hear they can be pretty different from ski resorts in Europe or North America.

First, artificial snow is the norm in Korea. It’s normal to go to a ski resort and find only artificial snow. Many skiers prefer natural powder snow to crunchy and damp man-made snow. I’m not sure if that’s because skiers are used to natural powder or if there really is a significant difference.

Second, the mountains in South Korea are relatively low. The four resorts hosting events for the 2018 Winter Olympics are 700-1500 meters above sea level. The terrain is not as steep as many Americans would expect.

Third, even though the terrain is not above the tree line, tree skiing is not an option. Chain fences line all the slopes

Fourth, much attention was paid to entertaining non-skiers. Typical attractions include water parks and shopping centers. The government owned High 1 Resort has a casino (the only casino in Korea in which Koreans are allowed to play – all other casinos are for foreigners only).

I’m not sure these cultural differences will last forever. Korea may try to westernize in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics to Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang and three other resorts all within half an hour (including the High 1 Resort mentioned above). Although I don’t think they’ll be importing natural snow or changing the incline of their mountains.

So given the many possible cultural differences, I searched the web for ski culture shock and similar terms. I found a few interesting things I’d like to share with you now.

Japan

Unlike Korea, Japan is known for natural powder. Also, if you check out the video below around 2:30, you’ll see trees, which would be off limits in Korea.

Kashmir India

This video seems to show untouched snow, white and powdery. Skiing through forest looks amazing. Then around 2 minutes in, very close to the end of the video, there’s a shot where the skiers are on a road. They pass a truck going the other way. Maybe that’s where the culture shock mentioned in the video title comes from. I can’t imagine skiers and vehicles sharing the road.

China

Long slopes and slow lifts. They interview tourists who say the skiing in this Chinese resort is comparable to America, Canada, and Swedish skiing.

And I believe the Atlai Mountains are also in China. If someone wanted a really different ski experience, they might try skiing uphill (or down) with a single pole.

In conclusion, it seems there are a lot of different ski experiences to be had in Asia. From resorts to country skiing, lots of culture awaits skiers willing to travel. Where would you go for a ski holiday?

Book Review: Lonely Planet’s Food Lover’s Guide to the World

Food Lover’s Guide to the World is the most impressive book I own. I didn’t bring too many hardcover books from Korea anyway, and I haven’t unpacked any of them. Even if I had, I don’t think they’d be this nice. This is a beautifully done book with great photography (including some full-page photos), 50 recipes, and an overview of some of the quintessential dishes in 14 countries and 9 regions.

Countries that get their own chapter: China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, USA. Regions include: Australia & New Zealand, The British isles, The Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Latin America, The Middle East, Northern Europe (Olde Hansa in Tallinn for example), Southeast Asia, & the subcontinent (Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tibet). Then there are sections on global food: Jewish dishes, coffee, cheese, Africa, best food markets, and a few more. So you’ll get read descriptions of some representative dishes from much of the world.

This book is no travel guide though – I’d say it’s best on your coffee table impressing company and there for you to flip through once in a while when you feel like reading about Kobe beef or looking at the sweet pictures. It might give you a travel idea here and there, especially the “where to eat” sections that recommend (sometimes) specific restaurants. I consider myself an expert on South Korea for example, and the restaurant recommendations they make there are really good. So you might decide to make a trip to one of the suggested restaurants a part or even a focal point of a travel itinerary.

But you won’t find and sort of travel plans – this book is mostly here to introduce you to some of the word’s cuisines; it will only be somewhat helpful if you’re actually going to travel and experience the food.

So for example, the book mentions Seoul’s Tosokchon Samgyetang (samgyetang is rice, chicken, and ginseng soup though you score points by using the Korean insam instead of the Japanese ginseng). They give you the area but no address or directions. They tell you the line can get pretty long but not that groups of 12 or more can make reservations. But the impressive thing to me is that they really did find the best restaurant to recommend for samgyetang. Makes me miss living in Korea actually.

So the content is strong; the pictures are stronger and you’ll get some ideas for good food on your travels.

With a recommended price of 39.99, getting it for around $23 seems like a pretty good value to me. I haven’t shopped around so I don’t know if this is the best price you’ll find though.