Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Korea Times Greatness

There is an article in the Korea times about American police departments wanting to use Jindo dogs as police dogs.

Jindos are pretty cool dogs. They are well mannered, smart, and the puppies are cute.

A family that owned a monk fish restaurant across the street from my apartment building had a Jindo puppy for for a while. It was a super cute puppy. My wife nicknamed it 아구 (ahgoo - monkfish)

Somebody stole that dog.

Anyway it would be interesting to see how well the dogs can do. But this sentence at the end of the article summed everything up nicely:

“If the Jindo becomes one of the official American police dogs, it will be a great opportunity to promote it and Korea simultaneously to the world,” a group spokesman said.

WTF? Nobody said anything about the breed becoming the official American police dog. There isn't such a title for any breed? The police don't really care about where the dog came from, they just care about finding drugs.

What about Korean police? What kind of dogs to Korean police use? It wouldn't be surprising that Korean police already use Jindos, but why does something have to be exported to America before it becomes special. (Side note: Koreans do highly revere Jindo dogs) And why do dogs even have to become international ambassadors of good will? Why does everything from Korea have to represent Korea?

There might be two or three people who might be moved to come to Korea because of the Jindo dogs, but there are already too many people who associate Korea with dog soup.

Any way, I wish the best to the dogs who get selected. I hope that they can help to fight crime. I also hope that they don't get too stressed out by having to represent Korea, in addition to storming meth labs. Maybe Kim Yeon Ah can drop by the dog training place to offer some moral support.

Another NY Times link

I really enjoyed this article by Maureen Dowd last Wednesday. It's about how there is a segment of America that basks in being ignorant. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hell Yeah!

Just googled "Ring Pang Donuts"

Fun Times in South East Korea has the third hit for "Ring Pang Donuts."

Thank you google for once again proving that "Fun Times in South East Korea" is the most important food blog in the Korean expat bloggosphere about fine dining in Jinju's Geumsan Myun.

An Americano For the Ages

Fun Times in South East Korea, the Korean expat bloggosphere's #1 authority on fine dining in Jinju's Geumsan Myun.

Thursday, lunchtime.

I made my way over to Ring Pang Donuts. They seemed to be in the process of opening. I asked the guy if they were doing business. He said that they weren't selling doughnuts yet, but I could get a coffee.


I tried to get a double espresso but the lady talked me into a strong Americano. They had a tray of doughnuts sitting out and they offered me one for free.

Double score!!

They gave me the coffee and I left.

I ate the doughnut on my way back to school. It was just a soft chocolate ring doughnut. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't impressive either.

The Americano had a nice strong coffee smell, and it tasted a lot like a fairly strong brewed coffee. It was by far the best Americano that I had had in a long time. At 2,900 won I think I can use Ring Pang as a good substitute for Cafe Bene (Cafe Bene, good coffee, but you gotta take out a loan to go there.)

I'll be interested to see if the Geumsan branch starts to carry sandwiches as well. The website has info on their doughnuts. They have a fritter looking thing that they call a sweet cinnamon.

As they say in Korea. Ring Pang doughnuts, I expect.

Han Il Restaurant

Fun Times in South East Korea. The Korea Blogosphere's most important blog about fine dining in Jinju's Geumsan Myun

I took a vacation to the lake lands back in August. When I came back all I wanted to do was eat Kimchi Jjigae. My wife told me about a place that her dad goes to called Han deul restaurant. We went there a few times and I loved it. Eventually the the Kimchi Jjigae jones died off.

Last Monday, I checked out a Jjigae place in Geumsan called the Han Il shick dang.

It was okay. They were a bit heavy on the black pepper but the Jjigae was decent.

I really like how old Kimchi can make good pork really sing. The best part of the Jjigae at both Han-deul, and Han-Il restaurants was the tender and buttery bits of pork. I'd take that over 3gyupsal any day.

Han-Il restaurant, an alright place for Jjigae, Han-deul restaurant a freaking awesome place. Long live Jjigae.

Milyang Dweji Gook Bab

Fun Times in South East Korea. The Korea Blogosphere's most important blog about fine dining in Jinju's Geumsan Myun.

A few weeks ago I was walking around Geumsan Myun. It seemed that Geumsan Elementary school was having some kind of festival. I wanted to go to Lotteria, but the place was packed with kids and their parents. I tried to go to Mom's touch, but that was full too. I walked down the road to Jin Oodong, but alas my luck was running out.

I got all of the way down the street to Geumsan Gook Soo, but even that place seemed infested with townies. I was really hungry. While I was standing across the street from Geumsan Gook Soo, I happened to look up and notice Milyang Dweji Gook Bab.

All I can say is, holy shit that was good.

The pork in the soup was super tender. The side dishes were plentiful, and the soup was yummy.

A week later I stopped by again and had Soo Yook Baek Ban. 8,000 won bought me a bowl of rice, a big plate full of Kimchi, a smaller dish with moo kimchi, some Korean chives, a bowl of rice, a bowl of soup broth and a big ass plate of boiled pork. Again the pork met the tooth like a goddamn piece of sponge cake. Good stuff.

If you ever make it over to Geumsan for some mountain climbing or for stalking famous actors or popstars doing their military service over at the air force base; Milyang Dweji Gook Bab puts the heart in hearty.

Ring Pang Donuts

Has anyone been to Ring Pang Donuts? Jinju's Geumsan Myun is getting a Ring Pang Doughnuts, and I am super stoked. I have never had a Ring Pang doughnut, but I'm excited because this will be a place for me to go and have coffee during lunches. These days I get my day coffee fix from Lotteria.

I love the ladies at the Lotteria in Geumsan. Some real boisterous ajumas who seem to get their jollies from seeing me everyday. The problem is that the only good coffee that you can get there is the Lotteria cappuccino.

I'm not a cappuccino man, but the Lotteria cappuccinos are far superior to the Lotteria Americanos. I hate Americanos. I much prefer brewed coffee.

Although this Ring Pang place seems to be only an espresso drink joint, they seem to have straight espresso on the menu. In a pinch, two or three shots of straight espresso is a good enough replacement for proper coffee.

I'm also hoping that this Ring Pang place has fresh doughnuts. I love Dunkin, because the coffee is good. If a Dunkin came to Geumsan, that'd be my dream come true, but Dunkin Donuts aren't that fresh, they get shipped in from a factory on the outside of town. It'd be an innapropriate dream if a Misdo came to Geumsan. Krispe Kreme would be okay too, but their coffee is shit.

I'll keep you all posted for updates on this Ring Pang place.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Salt Water!!!

I read this New York Times piece about gargling salt water to help with cold symptoms in the winter.

So low and behold, after a night of beer and wine, Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat. It was about 4:00 in the morning. I stumbled in to the kitchen to fix myself a saline high ball and gargled it.

I had never done this before, and the salt made me gag, but holy shit it worked well. It is by far the best thing I had ever done for a sore throat.

Give it a try.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was a book by Daniel Pinkwater, called Lizard Music. Lizard Music was about a boy who went on a journey to some strange land where giant lizards played instruments and had a kind of band.

Last week was exam week at the school where I work. I had to make a few lesson plans during that time, but I also had a lot of free time. I spent some of that time by filming a few of the many lizards that live on the mountain where our school is.

Also last week, I found this totally awesome Korean indie band called "Gukkasten." I put their music in the back ground. I figured it made for some good lizard music.

Lizard in Korean is 도마뱀.

Here is the video:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Last Night of the Jinju Namgang Lantern, Drama, Arts, and Sports Festival

So I was riding my bike to go pick up a Paris Baguette brownie, and a coffee from Dunkin.

Then I heard some awesome wailing from across the river. I looked over the bridge and saw some fire.

The music sounded a bit like the now split up group "At the Drive in."

When I got to the show I was treated to about ten minutes of kick ass.

It was a four piece band, guitar/vocalist, back up guitar, bass, and drums. It was kick ass.

The band had a small group of teenagers and college students hand-banging (I know that sounds dirty, they had their right hands up and were pointing in a swaying motion as if they were head banging.)

A mother and two toddlers were off to the right. The lead singer took a moment from rocking his balls off to let one of the toddlers take a few riffs on his axe. He then shared with the big kids.

A serendipitous moment where I couldn't stop grinning the whole time. I only got to see about three songs before their set ended, so I asked the sound guys the name of the band.

국카스탠, Guckasten. Here's a sample:

Some college girls passed me and said, "너무 멋지서." (That fucking rocked...well it means "that was cool," but I knew what they meant.)

I learned that Guckkasten is German for Zograscope, according to "Last F.M." A Zograscope is a device that you use to gain depth perception on paintings. Fucking baddass. A band with a German name for something that heightens perception.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Degree Debacle

About 3 years ago, when I first took my job at my current school. I had a small debacle with my degree.

Like I had before when I was working at a university I sent my degree out. This time it wasn't to the direct place of employment, but rather to some recruiter.

My degree is pretty large so I stuffed it in a large plastic folder and shipped it in a package with a small book that housed my TESOL certificates.

About a month later when I finally got all my papers back, some idiot had taken my degree out of the original large folder, folded it, and stuffed it into the small TESOL book.

I was pretty pissed to get my degree back with a giant crease down the middle and I complained about it. I got an apology, but I didn't know who did it.

Three years later, I got back to my home town for the second time. I went back to my university and ordered a new diploma. It was only about $35 or something like that.

Just yesterday the new diploma came.

Now this makes me think. Why the fudge do does Korean immigration need to see the actual diploma? They already ask for the sealed transcript, that should be proof enough. In my case my diploma was only important enough to the somebody so that that they could take a quick look and then deface the damn thing.

I wanted to get a new one because the next idiot would probably take a look at the original and think the thing fake, because it was folded. But once again though, the only thing that I did to replace the original was fill out a form and pay a fee, the University said that they don't even print the degrees, they ship them out to a third party - probably something like the Herf Jones company - and the third party prints them. So really, why is showing the diploma so important here?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Drum Performance at Jinju's Art's Festival

Took a bike ride down to the riverside last night to look at lanterns. The arts festival happens at the same time as the lantern festival in the same place. Anyway, there was this traditional drum performance with some break dancing towards the end. I was lucky enough to have my video camera with me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why Chickens are Awesome

Last Wednesday I went to the Geumsan "Hanaro Mart," and bought a whole chicken. The chicken wasn't very big, but at around 6000 a head I thought the thing expensive. No matter.

I brought the thing home an threw it in my "Dong Yang Magic," oven - setting number 17. I threw some salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme on the outside. 45 minutes later I had a beautifully cooked chicken.

These days the wife isn't eating meat. I think the baby inside of her is some kind of vegetarian or something. Anyway, we had that with some salad and some garlic cheese mashed potatoes.

After dinner I threw the carcass into a pot and boiled the thing for a while. I went to Kumdo, while the wife made Jook.
I'm no photographer, and i realize that this picture looks a bit like vomit, but it tastes really good. This was the third night of eating jook.

To make chicken jook all you need to do is cook rice and vegetables in chicken broth. Season with Joseon Gan Jjang (The stuff mothers in law make) wait until it gets squishy and then eat.

Anyway from Wednesday until Sunday 4 meals involved the chicken that I threw in the old "Dong Yang Magic." (Actually 5 I had a chicken sandwich for lunch one day.) That's how chicken can be awesome.

Tonight I had some Jook with a glass of Kiwi wine. It was good. I don't know if the things "matched," or not, but the Jook tasted goo, and the wine tasted good, and that's good enough for me.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Korean Kiwi Wine

It's festival season in Jinju. From Yesterday until the 12th of this month, Jinju will be saturated with people looking at floating lanterns, or people competing in sporting events.

The wife an I took a stroll down to the Drama/Lantern festival today. It was raining so we didn't cover the full distance. We stopped at a booth that was promoting local products.

Part of my wife's job is that she helps train Korean kiwi farmers. Her company takes people down to New Zealand to learn all about Kiwis.

In the past she told me about this Kiwi wine product. I had never tried it before, but it is for sale in the Jinju Galleria department store.

This product is called "Da Lrae." 다래, is the Korean name for the species of Kiwi that is used in this wine. This particular wine comes from the city just south of Jinju called Sacheon.

Most of the time when you think of Korean wines, you think of rice wines like makeoli, dong dong ju, or bub joo. I like all of those things. Korea also produces bok boon ja, and maeshil. I enjoy maeshil, because it is nice and tangy. Bok boon ja is a bit too sweet.

Then there is the disaster known as Jinro house wine. I'm pretty sure that stuff is just soju with grape drink poured into it.

Anyway back to the Kiwi stuff. This stuff is pretty good. It has a real dry wine essence. It actually tastes like wine, but it kind of leaves you wanting to taste some grape in the flavor. It doesn't matter though because it is satisfying without the grape.

It has a really fresh and clean taste to it, and the color is like any chardonnay.

Long story short. If you want to send something home to the folks, friends, or if you live in Seoul and you have some Korean co-workers who you want to impress after you take a visit down to the south coast, get them this stuff. It's pretty delicious. This is a myung poom item to the max.

I don't know if you can get it in other parts of Korea, but it is for sale at Jinju's Galleria department store. They also have a booth with the Bio 21 center at Jinju's drama fest. It was 20,000 per bottle.

All the more reason to get ur asses down here for the Jinju festivals.

Jinju Festivals Re-post

First there is the Jinju floating lantern Festival. Or the 진주남강유등축제. It will be from October first and will conclude on October tenth. It is always fun to go down by the river to look at the lanterns, and to play the games that they have. The lantern festival commemorates the first battle of Jinju during the Imjin war. Citizens put lanterns in the river to confuse the Japanese. It would look as though they were approaching the city, and then blam, they weren't approaching the city, it would just be a bunch of lanterns in the water.

Then there is the 91st sports festival. 제 91회 전국체육대회 I'll be interested in watching some of these events. I may have said before that in a past life I was quite the Taekwondo aficionado. Anyway the city of Jinju built a big stadium and a swimming facility just for this event. It will be from October 6th until the 12th.

My first brush with Korea was at the second international Hwarangdo festival in Jin Cheon county. The town went all ape shit to host us. I liked being a part of a large raffle where the prize ranged from bicycles to body wash. The organizers of the raffle yelled out the raffle ticket numbers in Korean, and when nobody would claim any prizes they would just say: Aw hell just give it to a foreigner. People from many different countries took place in that event.

Gacheon arts festival: They usually run this at the same time as the floating lantern festival. It can be hard to tell where the lantern festival ends and the art festival begins. But from the website it looks like there are some performing arts. It might be a good chance to see the "Jinju Sword Dance," which is something that I have never seen but have always wanted to.

The silk exhibition: 진주 실크 박람 회. I'll have to find out more info on this one. Usually it is at the same time as all of the other festivals. Jinju silk vendors set up shop in the city hall and then sell their silk products. Two years ago they set up a tent next to the river, near by where all of the other festival stuff was going on.

The Jinju Drama Festival: Also goes from October first to the twelfth. It looks like there will be an awards banquet. A famous Korean orchestra and famous Korean singers and actors will take part in an original sound track concert from Korean dramas. This will be at the Gyeongnam arts center on Sunday October 3rd at 2:00 P.M. On October 4th, it looks like there will be some talent scouts at the Gyeongnam arts festival. It looks like they will do a kind of American Idol type thing. That will be from 7:00-9:00 P.M. There are other events that seem to be going on here too. If you are into K-pop or K-dramas, this might be a good place to go. On the 2nd there will be a red carpet event at six in the evening. In years past, the late Andre Kim, has used the Drama festival as a platform to show off his new Hanbok collections. He always make a point to buy Jinju silk for his hanbok.

I hope you all can make it out to Jinju to see the festivals

So get ur asses out to Jinju.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Vegetable Soup

I don't think that I have ever posted this video of my making vegetable soup. It has been a while since I have done a cooking post. I'm also giving a link to my most famous video on this blog "Taco Loco."

This particular soup was made last year around this time. After I got married my wife and I bought a cow rib fro making Galbi Jjim. Some meat was left so I made vegetable soup with it.

I edited this video using adobe premier which is why the video quality is a little bit better than normal. But Adobe premier is pretty difficult to use so I've been sticking with window's movie maker recently. Kind of a bummer because I can't edit anything that is HD.

Movie Time

I decided to post this over here too, because....well I was bored. Here is "Dorkin on a Mountain."