Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Vacation Day 3: Happy New Year from Suwon, Gyeonggi-do

Added after the original post:

The three events of New Year's Eve:
Buying Dr. Martens at the bustling ABC-Mart inside the ever more bustling COEX mall
Traveling to Suwon
Eating at Hwaseong Sutbul Galbi
Seeing students leaving their hagwons at 9pm.

Hwaseong Galbi: Good but expensive

Rochelle and I ate our most expensive meal to date at during our short stay in the city. We had followed an enthusiastic recommendation from Groove magazine and went there because our barbecue-loving selves were eager to try the dish Suwon's famous for. Indeed, the restaurant does what looks like a thriving business in its multistory location. Hwaseong Sutbul Galbi certainly disappoint us: we got loaded with quality side dishes and the beef tasted excellent. This softened the blow of the 68,000won bill, though we thought we'd had as good or better meat elsewhere and at a better price. (Beef galbi runs around 20-25,000 in Wasu, for example)

The big cost came because we'd thought we'd put in one order at 32,000 each when the restaurant had given us two orders. 500g of meat for 32,000won sounded like plenty for two people in our minds, but things work a bit differently over here: When two people order barbecue, they get two servings. I'd known this fact for a long time, but I didn't think it applied here because no restaurant prior to Hwaseong Sutbul Galbi had had portions bigger than 250g.

I got annoyed with the high price until these things came to mind:

  • A good friend's oft-repeated saying of "You've got a job, you can afford it." Thanks, Mike. 
  • It's a special occasion. It isn't New Year's every day and we certainly don't go for beef galbi every day when pork galbi costs less and tastes about the same.
  • The side dishes: The fresh kimchi and the potato pancake rocked. Bonus points for the liberal helping of gochujang pepper sauce.
Altogether, a good if expensive meal.

As a side note, Suwon does have an excellent (and cheap) makgeolli going for it. We enjoyed a 1.2l bottle for only 1,200won. 

Students leaving hagwons at 9pm on New Year's Eve

There's just no rest for the students here. We passed by dozens of students leaving their hagwons when we were walking back to the hotel. I couldn't help but wonder about why they would need to attend school at that hour on a day like New Year's Eve, but that's what happens here. A day off here and there might actually help the students by giving them time to process what they've studied in school, but it doesn't seem to go like that.

The original post:

The Doc Martens

Rochelle and I bought matching pairs of Dr Martens today, [Monday, 31 Dec] and in doing so, we're joining the ranks of all the other Korean couples with matching shoes. I once said I'd never do this. My, how times have changed ^_^
We took the pictures of the station and our shoes on the street on New Year's Day before we got on the train.

Coming posts: New Year's Eve, galbi, and more pictures

In front of Seryu Station in Suwon.

Below: pictures of our room at the Bel-Amie hotel. It's the best place either of us have stayed in yet. Dig that tub!

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