Food La La: Hello from Korea!
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Hello from Korea! I am writing this at 5 a.m. from my hotel room because I am too excited to sleep.
Kelly and I were chosen as part of the top five finalists for the “Delicious Seoul Story” cooking contest on Youtube. I mentioned it in a previous blog post. The prize was a four day trip to Korea for a culinary adventure sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan government and Seoul tourism organization. We will also be cooking our dish this week for a chance to win the grand prize (they didn’t tell us what the prize is yet)! Thank you everyone who watched our video and supported us! It’s been my dream to come to Korea, so to have this opportunity is amazing beyond words.
The flight to Korea was ten hours long, but quite enjoyable since we flew on Korean Air.
All seats have personal TVs to watch movies, play games, or listen to music. I spent my time playing “Street Fighter,” and listening to K-pop while drinking wine.
Lunch on the plane was bibimbap! It was fun to mix everything together. The gochujang came in a little tube so I made sure to squeeze out every last drop.
Finally, we arrived in Incheon and met with our tour guide and some of the other finalists. The sponsors are very generous and flew us in a day earlier so we would have time to settle in. It also gave an extra night and day to have free time before the official program starts this evening. We took a hour long bus ride and arrived at our hotel around 8 pm. The hotel we are staying at is The Shilla Hotel. It’s beautiful. There’s a long driveway through a gate up a hill with trees lighted up with Christmas lights to get to the actual hotel.
Our tour guide told us this is a five-star hotel and celebrities often get married here. I can tell it’s a great hotel because there are only Mercedes, Ferrari’s, and other nice cars parked around the hotel.
Part of the beautiful chandelier in the lobby.
We are staying in the executive section, so it comes with complimentary breakfast and happy hour. I thought I would have to share a room with Kelly, but they gave us separate rooms! The rooms are spacious and nice. Even the key to the room is fancy.
Part of the view from my room.
Since we had a free night, Kelly and I went to explore a nearby neighborhood and find a place to eat and drink soju. We were overwhelmed and in awe of all the bright lights, restaurants, and bars.
We ended up choosing this place called Two Two Fried Chicken. Kelly and I make a perfect team because she is able to speak some Korean and I am able to read Korean. It was fun having to read the whole menu to her so that she could translate and figure out what to order.
Soju is only $3 a bottle here! In Hawaii it’s around $10-15 for a bottle like this at a bar. Those puffy popcorns snacks were light and fluffy.
Kelly was so happy to drink because she was freezing cold. It’s 45 degrees here! But I am very happy and loving the chilly weather. I wish it got this cold in Hawaii.
We ordered a plate of spicy chicken. It was sweet, sour, and spicy. Very tasty! The cabbage on the side was a little strange though. The dressing was sweet and tasted like a melted Melona bar. Kelly called it “nuclear cabbage”.
It also came with two fried eggs.
I’m not very interested in watching sports, but there was a Korean volleyball game playing on TV and Kelly and I couldn’t stop staring at the screen. Maybe she was actually watching the game, but I confess I was just staring at all the good looking guys.
I’ve never been so happy in my life just eating chicken and drinking soju. We finished it all!
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and I made Kelly climb up all these stairs so she wouldn’t be cold anymore and burn off what we ate.
Today Kelly and I going to dongdaemun for shopping and then the official Delicious Seoul Story program starts tonight with a welcoming reception dinner! I’m so happy to be in Korea!
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.