As I had the privilege of the window seat, I had the chance at an amazing view that overlooked the vast oceans, cityscapes, and paddy hills. I almost forgotten how beautiful our world really is, how it’s filled with opportunities for us to take, places waiting to be explored. It’s 10:00am and while most of my friends are still in dreamland, I’m wide awake. All because I love mornings and how productive it makes me feel when I get out there and do something. Although I’ve already been to Korea thrice, there are several new things/places/feelings/flavours that I have come to discover.
But first, coffee. Korea has tons of coffee places, and because starbucks and coffee bean are so prevalent in every country, I’ve promised myself that I’ll only drink coffee from places that are exclusive to korea. The one thing that’s bothering me is how vegan unfriendly they are because they don’t have soymilk/almond milk. On my previous visit, I actually did recall Holly’s having soymilk. Hence, I was a little disappointed when I found out that it’s no longer as common and resorted to drinking iced Americano. My favourite has to be Holly’s coffee. It isn’t as acidic as Starbucks and it was well balanced. Typically, I wouldn’t drink black coffee, but I wouldn’t mind drinking this everyday. And over here, their Holly’s, Starbucks and Coffee Bean have multiple storyes (3 or 4). The first thought that flashed across my mind was how conducive it would be to study here. Plus, it’s all pretty cosy and not crowded at all. I’ve also tried S.A coffee and some other random coffee places. I gotta say that I’m really quite impressed. I used to wonder why Koreans loved Iced Americano. Now I get it.
On the first day, I brought my lovely friends to Plant café where they served amazing non-korean vegan food.
The interior of the café was super homely. I recalled the last time I visited there last year, their curry rice was amazing. However, this time they’ve expanded their menu and their other food items were absolutely out of this world. I was pleasantly surprised at how their salad dressing could resemble so much like a non-vegan Caesar salad dressing. My favoutite would be their Caesar salad and chickpea mash sandwich. OMG heavenly. Also, they have a bakery down the corner where I ordered a chocolate banana walnut muffin and a slice of ginger bread cake. Never did I believe in love at first sight, but it was definitely love at first bite. It just reminded me of how everything can be veganised.
Lunch yesterday was at Osegyehyang where they served vegan Korean cuisine. We ordered bibimpap, black bean noodles, spicy tofu stew and fried dumplings. I thought boneless kitchen was good, but Osegyehyang really took it to the next level especially with their dumplings and black bean noodles. The bibimpap came with a generous array of side dishes. If there’s a place that I’d recommend for vegans to bring their non-vegan friends to eat, it would definitely be this place. The best part of it was how affordable it was. The bill amounted to 31,500won for such a feast for 4 of us to share.
ADVENTURE AND PEOPLE
Two new friendships have been forged while I’m on this trip so far. The first is JJ, a hall mate of faias and gang. The next is Hailey, Ming’s beautiful Korean friend. So far, we’ve been to Bukchon Hanok Village, Gyeongbok Palace (just the outside of it cos it was just nice closed on Tuesdays), and Ewha University. Although I’ve been to these places before, I’ve learnt more about the history behind all these famous landmarks. Especially about the Joseon Dynasty. How the language Korean was created by some guy and how before Korean existed, everything was in Chinese. And there are actually local residents living in Bukchon Hanok Village. I’ve always wondered why Koreans have such flawless skin and what products they use. Apparently what I’ve heard from Hailey is that Koreans use non-korean foundation and instead use American products like nars, estee lauder etc. She said it’s because most Koreans don’t think the ingredients in Korean products are good for their skin. I was honestly quite surprised to hear this. After she mentioned this, I asked her to recommend me some products that Koreans typically use. The number one would be face masks, and runner-up would be mists.
I’ve also come to realise how the city only comes to life at night. During the day, it would be like a ghost town. Plus, Koreans love chicken and beer. The drinking culture there is insane. Koreans can definitely hold their liquor well. Soju is disgusting on it’s own and tasted pretty much like vodka. But once mixed with beer, it was, least to say, not bad. It was really an eye opening experience especially seeing my friends getting high on alcohol. It’s always the company that matters and I truly enjoyed their company.
There are still tons of places I’ve yet to see, tons of street food I’ve yet to taste. I can’t believe I still haven’t been to myeongdong yet when it’s only 1 stop away from where we live. I really want to make the last 3 days here memorable before I leave, and visit all the places that I wanna go. Throughout this trip so far, I’ve learnt how to be flexible. How it’s okay to have things not going according to plan. Usually, I’d be really affected if something doesn’t go my way. But I’ve come to accept and see the beauty of impromptu impulses.
I almost fallen in love with not knowing, with this different kind of thrill, that feeds the wild child in me. I’ve come to realise that my young mind, with much learning and growing to do, does not benefit from strings tying it down fed the same old everyday. It seeks new adventures, flavours, textures, and feelings. What’s best is I share these beautiful memories with those who I’ve come to love. I thank the universe that has blessed me with such amazing people