- Complicated in a beautiful package. Full of contradictions in a single space – it’s both the land of the morning calm and land of the midnight rush. I don’t think I really got to know its soul after a short 3 days. I’m still figuring it out.
- I got giddy shopping in Seoul. The alleys and alleys of endless shops in Myeong-Dong and floors and floors of merchandise in Dongdaemun markets (I love Doota Tower). But the funny thing about shopping in Seoul is that all shops tend to sell similar-styled clothes. It’s all about pastel blouses and floaty dreamy skirts this season. They look so beautiful that I spent at least half of my total budget for Seoul within the first 2 hours of setting foot in the city. Maybe that’s the thing about Seoul, it makes you want to conform. I’m not sure if I’m going to actually wear those pretty blouses and cute skirts in Singapore. They now stand in stark contrast to the rest of my wardrobe.
- My vocabulary for Korean food has expanded beyond pacheon (Korean pancakes), sundubu jjigae (soft tofu stew), doenjiang jjigae (soy bean paste stew) to include juk (porridge) and naeng myun (cold buckwheat noodles). The naeng myun is a god-send for warm summer nights. I also discovered a love for Makgeolli (Korean rice wine), served in a brass kettle and drunk from a brass bowl. Best enjoyed with kimchi and blanched tofu, in a smoky cigarette-smoked filled alley bar playing soppy ballards.
- It’s almost mandatory to wear the hanbok, pose and take a photo. Yes, I have one. No, not showing it. I think the hanbok-wearing craze was perpetuated by the bevy of Korean beauties parading around the streets. So artfully made up and tastefully dressed. I feel gauche walking around in my jeans and tank-tops, complete with sneakers and a backpack.
- The first question that most people ask me is, “Oh, you watch Korean dramas? Who is your favorite actor?”. I have a ready answer. He is Lee Sun Gyun – that guy in the coffee-shop prince drama show. Not the main lead though nor a teeny-bopper star (hey, I’m trying to maintain a semblance of credibility by going for character actors than young men who look like women). I tried looking for that coffee-shop in Hongdae, but the addresses are so difficult to decipher and navigate that I gave up.