Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sanchon Restaurant - Temple Food

Sanchon is a quaint, very-hard-to-find Temple food restaurant in Insadong, Seoul. Brain-child of Kim Yon Shik, who learned the art of creating Temple Food when he was a Buddhist monk for 18 years.
Temple food in Korea, Sanchon Restaurant
The myriad tasty and healthy veggie accompaniments to the rice

Temple Food is primarily the cuisine of the Buddhist monks Korea. Since they only prepare food with fresh, healthy vegetables without the stimulants- onions, green onions, garlic, green chilli- Temple Food has become very popular in Korea due to their unique taste and a refuge for vegetarians. Interestingly, the royalty in Korea were also primarily vegetarian and the royal court cuisine also has a lot of influence in the Temple cuisine. Maybe thats why Temple food is so expensive! 

Directions to Sanchon
You miss this sign to the Sanchon restaurant, no way you are going to find that place!
Sanchon is located in a tiny alley from the Insadong main road. The restaurant itself is an ambience to enjoy and immerse in.
Sanchon- Sitting on the floor  and eating
Its all about Ambience- Eating sitting down on the floor was also a nice experience. The place is lit by lotus lanterns and decorated with antiques. Carved chests, painted shelves, huge bronze bells. I was transported to a different century!
Sanchon Restaurant tables in Seoul- Temple food
You could choose to sit on chairs too!

The lunch is a 20-dish experience starting with a soup and watery kimchi to fried kelp, seasoned wild roots. There was also pajeon and other kinds of seasonal vegetable pancakes. The rice and the accompanying veggies stole the show with the different tastes and presentation.

glass noodles and veggies at Sanchon
Glass noodles with jelly and veggies- looks awesome, tastes even more!

Dishes at sanchon
Watery Kimchi

different kinds of veggie pancakes in Sanchon
Veggie pancakes with seasoned salad
The first course- soup and starters at Sanchon
The first course- soup and starters at Sanchon
Mushroom and tofu stew to be eated with rice
The hot tofu-mushroom with soy bean paste stew to be eaten with rice
Veggies to top the rice at Sanchon temple food
Veggies to top the rice
Veggie fritters- Temple food
With veggie fritters to crunch on the side!
dessert, with syrup
Sticky rice pastry was a yummy dessert with the not-so-sweet syrup

 With tea and a sweet drink to keep us company, the 33,000 won lunch was a filling affair. The dinner is more expensive has a longer course with more seasonal veggies and also includes a Korean dance show. The menu varies depending on the seasons. Reservations are recommended especially on weekends.
lotus lantern
I never get tired of these lotus lanterns!

Entrance and the shoe boxes to store the shoes

Entrance of Sanchon
Dead end alley where the restaurant is located.

About sanchon

ABC Wednesday- T for Temple Food
Thursday Challenge- Containers, bottles

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2 Very Addicting cellphone games

If Evolution is believed to be, "the gradual process in which something changes to different and usually more complex or better form", our fingers will probably be the first ones to change. They'd probably evolve into more independent, snake-like entities each acquiring the ability to be able extend and reach out more with minimum movement from the arms while having more nerve-endings for sensitivity. All because of their boundless usage on the touch screen of the cellphone.

The touch screens have made our lives so much easier. Just touching, dragging and swiping the fingers and voila! the call is made! Game is won! Minimum movement of the arms and the ball and socket joint. But i have to concede that the games have never been more interesting or addictive. These are the few games that i see people play in the subway, while standing on the bus, waiting in line, waiting for lunch! If you have not played them, download them now.

The games are on the Kakao portal which is very famous here in Korea as it offers free calls and free messages, free games and chat rooms. aka. if you have a phone number, you can make calls and sms for free! The moment you download Kakao on a phone (on apple or android) and authenticate, Kakao happily connects you with all the people on your address book. They might be your best friend. But they are your competitor now.

Anipang was the hot free game which was played by almost everybody- both young and old. It is just another Bejeweled game with a animals replacing the jewels. Get three or more of the same characters in a row/column and you score. More faster the match, more bonus received. It is very common to have the person next to you on the subway or on the bus, here in Seoul to swipe a few critters to give your score a push up! The catch is that the game ends in a minute and all your friends will be able to see your score! The 1-minute deadline is very convenient (one more stop to the destination? Two more games of Anipang), though insufficient during the game itself.
Anipang game
Anipang on Kakao

Matching the animals on anipang- Korean android game app on Kakao
Bonus after the minute of gaming

Anipang score card
Sharing the score :)

Dragon Flight is the latest of the addicting games from Kakao. The aim of the game is to navigate your dragon through the maze of enemy dragons by shooting. Grey dragons take some shots to disappear, gold ones more, pink ones even more and so on. The final score takes into account the distance navigated, dragons destroyed, gold collected, crystals amassed on the way.
Dragon flight from Kakao
The latest of the addictive games

Dragon Flight game with dragons from Kakao
It is pretty easy to navigate through the dragons by fingerpower!

The best way to get more gold to upgrade to a higher level is by writing a review. It is worth 3000 gold coins which gets you up to the 8th level atleast!

Hatching an egg takes 4000 gold but also gives you a baby dragon that flies with you and helps by shooting with you. Aww, so cute!

How to get these games:

Both Anipang and Dragon Flight are in English and available in Google play.

ABC Wednesday- A for Addicting cellphone games: Anipang from Korea
Thursday Challenge- Games: Cellphone games from Korea

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Samsung shirts?

Samsung TVs, Samsung Washing machines, Samsung cellphones, this one is new to me! This picture was taken in Gangnam, very close to the Kyobo book store in Seoul.

Samsung fashion house

ABC Wednesday- S for Samsung Fashion :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The War Memorial of Korea in Seoul

The War Memorial in Seoul is a grim reminder of the atrocities and trauma of the war and the looming fact that the countries are just under an armistice (An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, since it might be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace) and not protected by a peace treaty.
I remember signing off documents after documents that incase of a force majeure, (which literally means superior force, but in South Korea, i think they refer to war) we shall not hold the house owner, school or the company responsible for any damages!

1910- 1945                 Japanese Rule in Korea
1945-1950                  Civil unrest due to opposing ideologies of the powers controlling in the country
June 25th 1950 (Sunday)- North Korea attacks South Korea
June 28th 1950          Seoul is captured by the North Koreans
Sept / Oct 1950         US and S Korean  soldiers push back the North Korean attack behind the 38th parallel and take over Seoul
Oct/ Nov 1950           China enters the war as it feels threatened by the advancing S Korean, US forces into N Korea
Jan 4th 1951              North Korean and Chinese forces recapture Seoul
April 1951                 S Korean forces recapture Seoul
July 1951- July 1953 war goes on but not major cities captured on both sides.
July 1953                   Armistice instituted and a Demilitarized zone established between North and South Korea.

Though i was accompanied by 100 happy kids, i couldnot help being perturbed by the somber nature of the place. There were life-size models of markets, homes made out of cardboard, handicapped people and even a 3 minute automated show of shootouts- all about life of suffering during the war. Details, short movies, re-enactments which leave an indelible mark on you.

The War Memorial of Korea in Seoul is free can be reached by a short walk from exit 12 from the Samkagji Station.
Entrance of the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul
Entrance to the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul on a gloomy Autumn day
The statute of the long lost brothers in the War memorial of Korea in Seoul
This statue is based on the true story of two long lost brothers, fighting for the opposite sides in the Korean war, finally meeting each other on the battle field. Their bodies are buried side by side in Seoul.
Entrance inside the Korea war memorial, Seoul
Entrance of the War Memorial

Memorial Hall in the War memorial of Korea in Seoul where the soldiers are revered
Memorial room in the Memorial where the soldiers who laid their lives for the country are revered
Names of US soldiers in war memorial
Names of the US soldiers from Minnesota, Mississippi and Wisconsin who laid their lives to protect the lives of those in a different country. 
sending messages to soldiers from the war memorial
There are many computers on which kids can send messages to the soldiers.

Life -size ships at the memorial
Kids had a great time exploring the replica of the ship used during the war which even had bullet holes marked in red.

Tanks from the war memorial
A replica of the US tank that helped during the war

Anti-aircraft weaponry
Anti-aircraft weaponry on display at the war memorial at Seoul

Weaponry used during the war
Some of the weaponry used during the war

Parachutes on display

Korean soldiers at the Memorial
Korean soldiers paying respects at the memorial

Manless Future weaponry
Future of weapons : without men

Future Soldier
Future soldier

Monday, November 5, 2012

Colors of the Season

Fall is a new season for me. I was so looking forward to the beautiful colors of the leaves and the nip in the weather. Seoul did not disappoint. Though there are specific places in Seoul to enjoy the true colors of the season, i could see the colors at every signal!
yellow and red leaves at Seoul
Red and Yellow

Fall leaves at Seoul National University, Seoul
Orange, Yellow and Green in between :)

Red leaves at Seoul
Shades of red

Fallen yellow leaves
Fall(en) leaves!

Yellow trees at Seoul
Yellow is my favorite!

Red, yellow and green leaves at Seoul National University, Seoul
One tree, many colors

Yellow leaves
Yellow leaves in movement

Colorful fall Leaves in movement
Colors at speed

Orange leaves at Seoul National University, Seoul
Orange has been promoted as the new favorite!

Beautiful colors of leves
What a lovely shade!

Leaves and color
Fifty shades of red.
Skywatch Friday
Thursday Challenge: Orange
Color Connection 
ABC Wednesday- R for Red Leaves

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweet and Orange- Persimmon

Persimmon is an orange fruit locally grown in Korea. The fruit bursts with sweet flavor but looks like an orange tomato. The fruit laden trees are all found all along the sides of the streets in Seoul and Gyeongju too! The fruit is eaten after removing the thin outer covering of the fruit. It has two big seeds inside.

Persimmon trees on the road

November 1st was persimmon day in Seoul and was celebrated with much pomp and show at the Yongsan Subway Station Plaza. Stalls of persimmon fruit salad, fresh fruits and dry persimmon were available for free! (Long lines, though) There was also a dance show by the local talent to all the latest music videos including the Gangnam Style!

Persimmon Festival dance
It was 6 deg C at this time. Pretty cold!
Persimmon Festival dance in Seoul
Gangnam style at Yongsan Station for the Persimmon Festival on 1st November, 2012 at Seoul
There were also some fun games for everyone around! Unfortunately all in Korean. But everyone seemed to be having fun, though!

hula hoop actions of seniors in Seoul for the persimmon festival
Lots of fun at the Persimmon Festival at Seoul at Yongsan station.

Kids at the persimmon festival at Seoul
Kids having a photo session at the Persimmon Festival

Persimmon at the Persimmon festival in Seoul
Persimmons Galore! Dont they look like mini pumpkins?

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