This week I was asked to evaluate some delicious Korean foods that are being exported to the Australian market. One of the items in the package was ‘Bibim Noodles’, aka Korean cold instant noodles that are perfect for summer. I thought it would be a good idea to make a video on how to make Korean ‘Bibim’ cold noodles. I have a sneaky feeling that western people don’t know a lot about making cold noodles. So here it is! The people asked, and I delivered.
I have to admit, when I first tried these ‘Bibimmyeon’ or ‘Bibim Noodles’ back in 2017, I was not a huge fan. I am happy to report that after being reintroduced to them for this project, and I am already a huge fan. We only have one packet left!
In Korean ‘Bibim’ means mixed and ‘Myeon’ means Noodles. So they are literally mixed noodles. They can be served either warm or cold, but because of this sweltering Seoul heat, I decided to show you how to make them cold.
This video contains the simple steps needed to make the cold noodles. All you need to do is boil some water, cook the noodles, drain the water, mix the noodles in some cold water (and ice!), add the sauce and mix! I added some colourful peeled cucumber, seaweed and chilli flakes for the fun of it. I really enjoyed making this video and I decided to edit it with a really chilled, ASMR type, in the cafe listening to jazz piano vibe. Enjoy! Let me know if you have tried Bibimmyeon in the comments!
Watch the full video on YouTube here and subscribe to my channel!
This week I got to sample a bunch of yummy Korean products that are entering the Australian market. It is part of the KFoodies program! I am not usually a fan of Aloe drinks but these Hola Aloe flavoured drinks are delish! The whole household has been enjoying them this week so the bottles are looking a bit sparse in my post (oops).
I have been loving the Mango flavour with a handful of ice, some soda water and lemon. I’m hoping this will make the bottles last longer 🤞🏼. The pomegranate is also SO yum with the same combo. I’m not going to lie, I always judge books by their covers and the packaging wouldn’t grab my attention in the supermarket, but the colours of the drinks would be enough to pique my curiosity.
This sweltering heat wave has me craving sugar, icy poles and fresh and juicy fruits. The Hola Aloe drinks are a great alternative to those sugary drinks your dentist tells you not to drink! Perfect for an Aussie BBQ and is something everyone can enjoy in punch or on its own!
Let me know if you’ve seen these guys in stores or if you love aloe drinks!
Note to self: next time I have to review a product, take pics BEFORE posting so they don’t look half full!
Planning a trip to Jeju Island and not sure what food to put in your belly or which restaurants to check out? Well, nor was I until I created this detailed list of some of the places we visited in Jeju back in April. Wait, that makes no sense. Oh well, here’s some amazing food we ate in Jeju and I thought my readers would enjoy seeing it!
Dodu Fresh Burgers – 도두후레쉬
Dodu Fresh is located conveniently near Jeju airport. It is the perfect lunch spot if you are waiting for your hotel in Jeju City to open up for a 3pm check-in. We enjoyed our burgers a 5-minute drive away by the water and had to compete with the wind while eating. I would definitely recommend the cheesy fries. I chose to eat the Shrimp burger and it was GOOD! I could honestly go for one right now.
Store Hours: Opens Daily from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
We found out about Noraba Seafood Ramyeon by looking at a restaurant brochure from our hotel. My husband knew immediately that it was his destiny to drive there and eat ramyeon. I’m glad we did because it was such a great experience.
We ordered two of the classic Noraba Seafood Ramyeon dishes (mild) and a Lunch box set or ‘Doshirak’ with rice and other goodies. My husband regretting getting the mild version because there was no spice at all. I enjoyed it but also would have liked a bit more bang.. in my mouth?
Pro Tip: We went to Noraba on a Monday and had to wait at least 45 minutes to eat. It is a very efficient system with sign ups and number calls etc. I would suggest you prepare for a waiting time. Outdoor and indoor seating is available!
Store Hours: Opens every day from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Galchi Jorim is a staple Jeju Island food specialty and is a ‘Hairtail fish Soup’. It is sometimes a sweet dish full of delicious fish, tofu and plenty of vegetables. For me, this place was a little too spicy, but having the Nurungji (scorched rice) dish really helped!
One thing you should also try in Jeju is an ogyeopsal BBQ! Unlike Korea’s regular, boring meat, samgyeopsal, this pork has 5 layers of meats and fats instead of 3! I’m not saying you need to go to this specific restaurant, but if you head to this general area in Jeju City, you are bound to find a great restaurant to eat Ogyeopsal. This was so delicious… but my memory of the food was somewhat clouded by the soju we drank with it.
There you have it, all the foods we ate on our Jeju honeymoon back in May. For more food related content, be sure to follow along with my Instagram page. Also, check out our YouTube videos about Jeju Island to see the food in action!
Is it the water? Is it the clean(er?) air? Is it the… people? I am not sure what it is, but each time we go to Yeosu to visit my husband’s family, we eat the best food in the world. I am always too full to fully enjoy it. It just tastes so good? So, if you are in Korea and you don’t know what to do on your summer break this year, go down to Yeosu. I would recommend staying at the Amort Hotel on the beach. Enjoy it and thank me later.
Good morning, Korean Picnic fan(s)! For today’s post, I thought I would post pictures from our family trip to Busan this past August. Looking at these photos is bringing me a bit of warmth on this cold winter’s day!
This was a special trip for us despite it being a quick weekend getaway (we declared that we were getting married to my now in-laws). The weather was incredible, the food was fresh and I loved driving around Busan. Well, I loved being a passenger, I don’t think I would have liked being the one behind the wheel in Busan. The roads there are more like slippery waterslides without rules.
I was a happy passenger looking at the amazing bridges from the back seat!
I fell in love with this house that was next to our accommodation. Although I think it’s just because I love emerald green!
This was a great cafe and I highly recommend it if you’re a chill traveller like us and just want to sit down for a few hours by the ocean. The coffee was delish and we were able to take our orders into our own little hut and isolate ourselves from the other chill travellers. There was also a hammock which smelled rather sweaty but I wasn’t about to say no to a hammock party in the sun. Oh, and isn’t my husband so cute? He was my boyfriend when we took these pictures!
After lazing in the sun, we ended up at a beach (of course I don’t remember the name). It was so weird being restricted to such a small swimming section. As an Australian, it was kind of a novelty.
Let’s look at some foooood!
This was my second visit to Busan and it was great to see even more of such a beautiful city. I hope next time we can spend more than a weekend there. If you have written a post about Busan, let me know so I can bookmark ideas for our next trip!
This is my eighth day of posting a daily blog and I am loving it. I feel like I finally have the creative juice to write the things I wanted to when I was working full time!
Have a great day and come back tomorrow for another post!
Yesterday morning, we popped open our umbrellas and hopped through puddles to get to Seoul’s ‘Jewelry City’. Yes, that is a real place in Seoul, and yes, we finally bought wedding rings as a proclamation of our love. We hadn’t planned on it, but Gwangjang Market was located right next to the city of jewels. We had really been wanting to go there for a long time, what a cowinky dink. My husband is particularly keen on street food and was in heaven at the market.
I’m not sure why I thought otherwise, but shopping for wedding rings is so difficult. Why do western men have to shop alone for engagement rings? What a terrible culture. We went to four different sellers, touched a lot of hands and saw a lot of fake diamonds (they don’t put the real diamonds on display for some reason??). Because of this difficult shopping decision, we had to take a time out and feast on street food. We decided to eat some 족발 (Jokbal – pig’s feet), 잡채 (Japchae – sweet potato noodles) and 떡볶이 (Tteokbokki – spicy rice cakes). We then went in for a second sitting and ate 빈대떡 (mung bean pancakes). What’s was even better was the stall seats were heated. You definitely need a warm bottom to consume things like pig’s feet and mung bean pancake.
It was a happy accident that I had my camera in my bag yesterday. I just woke up with that feeling that a good snap was waiting for me, you know? Despite the cold, the rain and the difficult decision making, we ended our day with full bellies, three wedding rings and the realisation that my husband and I have the same ring size! Enjoy some of the pictures I took, but just remember that I was really hangry whilst taking them. Let me know if you’ve been to the market, I’d love to hear about what you ate!
I recently wrote about a hip, hop, happnin’ area of Seoul called Sharosugil. In said post, I wrotethat while we were there we needed to ‘take mental notes for future date plans so we can come back every single week for the foreseeable future’. Sure enough, we went back exactly one week later for another too-adorable-for-words date. I was in a pizza/pasta or hardcore Korean set meal mood after work. I guess that’s a very vague hunger mood to be in, isn’t it? I was too afraid to rule out any tasty possibilities we may have stumbled upon so I came prepared with back-up hunger cravings.
Wandering down a small street in the university town, we saw this gorgeous little restaurant that we could have almost mistaken for an indoor plant shop and walked right past. When we sat down, we realised that it was, in fact, a risoteria and not a pasta restaurant. Never fear, according to the waitress, the chef can whip you up just about any pasta dish your hunger mood can concoct. The name of this place is Marcus and you can click the link to find out where it is and what they sell because this Jo So Ko blog isn’t intended to be very informative or useful, it’s a hobby. I must add, the service was amazing and if Korea were a tipping country and I had a job that afforded me the luxury to be able to tip, I would have probably considered tipping them. Enjoy the pictures, the food, the neighbourhood, your life, the vibe etc.
So, you’ve got yourself a hole in the wall? No worries, shove some corks in it! What hole?
They should probably rename their restaurant ‘al dente AF’ because that’s exactly what this carbonara was. So good.
Seafoody, tomatoey risotto!
Meanwhile, on the (narrow) streets of Sharosugil:
Have you been to this area of Seoul? Which restaurants should we try next? Have the best day!
Over the weekend, we decided to go on a lavish date and live our lives as though we had all the time and money in the world. By that, I mean we ate three different meals within the space of about 3.5 hours with a heartfelt session of karaoke in between meals one and two to settle our appetites. The date location: Sharosugil (샤로수길) which is located near Seoul National University Entrance station on line 2. I just googled this neighbourhood to see how it was spelled in English and found out how trendy and new this it is. I am NEVER a cool and trendy person. I’m always miles behind the times but secretly think I am super trendy in my middle-age-woman-inside-a-twenty-two-year-old state of mind. This time, it’s no secret.
First order of date business: wandering the ‘hood to take mental notes for future date plans so we can come back here every single week for the foreseeable future. This is an important step when in Seoul because most eating establishments you visit are ones you only find out about from walking by and sneakily trying to see what people have on their plates through the window.
The name of this cafe we walked past translates to ‘Your small table’. How sweet is that? I love that they are so up front about the small table size. Don’t worry, I wasn’t expecting a large table, I’d barely fit through the door.
We were on the hunt for a burger restaurant named ‘9 Ounces’ only to find they had stopped selling burgers by the time we reached the restaurant. We weren’t about to sit in a burger restaurant and sip on cokes while our tummies grumbled, so we walked back to another ‘Burger Joint’ that we passed along the way. It was literally called ‘Burger Joint’ which was a weird name to read in a non-English speaking country. We ordered 2 cheese burgers and a side of tasty fries. The result… well, see for yourself below. I really enjoyed eating a burger that didn’t taste like it was made 4 weeks ago (*Lotteria*). Burger Joint Review: Good burgers, good vibes, good times. My feet were slightly cold but that was not the burger’s fault.
Second order of business: Karoke. There’s no better way to clear space in your stomach for two post-lunch meals than singing a round of songs in a Korean coin karaoke room. My personal favourite noraebang tune for clearing space is Disney’s ‘Let it Go’. That wasn’t a pun, by the way, I just love Frozen. We then went to a dessert cafe which had a crucial typo in its name and ate strawberry cake and coffees. Be warned, instagram influencers and opportunistic photographers, cafes in Seoul are hella cute and serve up tasty spreads but they’re also hella expensive. Why I regularly pay 5,000 won for a latte is BEYOND me. Here is that cafe now.
After gorging on a whole cake (which wasn’t really Ju’s style so he had extra room in his stomach) we stumbled upon possibly the best street food ‘pajeon’ ever. Pajeon or ‘Jeon’ are Korean pancakes and they’re often served with ‘Makkeoli’ which is Korean rice wine. We ordered the squid pancake and OH MA G it was hella tasty. We’re already planning to go back there this week for round 2. Lastly, to put into perspective just how expensive coffee is in Korea, this giant plate of squid pancake cost the same amount as my latte from the previous cafe. I’m still a young spring chicken so I should probably stop complaining about the cost of everyday, mundane things. I’ve got my golden years to do that.
Korean squid pancake and pickled radish
What do you do for dates in Seoul? Let me know! Let’s Skype about it or get our nails done.
Yesterday, as a gust of clean Seoul air swam its way through the dusty cocktail Saturday left behind, I meandered through the back streets of my neighbourhood to go to the local fruit and veg market. To set the scene, let me just say that the back streets near my house would be the perfect place to film an (on-foot) small scale burglary chase or, I don’t know, shoot a catalogue for an elderly women’s fashion movement. It just has that kind of edgy but practical kind of feel to it. Anyway. So, off I trot to the market feeling all empowered and not at all anxious about being the only western person within a 200km radius. I wander up to the bright fruit stall opposite the equally bright fruit stall I usually go to because I thought it would be nice to shake things up a bit. I point to what looks like a basket of juicy mandarins and say (in my best Korean) ‘please give me these mandarins’. The vendor did not correct my attempt to order what was in fact not a basket of mandarins. As she piled the unfamiliar looking mandarins into a black plastic bag, I knew that I had made a terrible mistake. Much to my not at all surprise, I did not protest the above average ($10) price tag for so few “mandarins” (for that matter, I would never protest anything in a second language unless encouraged by alcohol). Instead, I held my head high, faking the aura a person who just purchased exactly what they wanted might possess. I strolled on home, back through the narrow grandma/gangster back streets, past the old men smoking in their pyjama pants outside their homes and into the safety of my home that does not speak to me in Korean. The way I feel when attempting to do anything in a foreign language by myself is crippling and liberating, making any situation where speaking is required quite awkward. My brain wants to shout out random phrases I’ve memorised like ‘happy new year’ or ‘thank you for the food’, but my body just wants to pretend I’m travelling on business and therefore far too important to learn the local language. The result of these conflicting feelings is me just kind of making weird grunting noises with robot arms while I somehow simultaneously nod and shake my head when given any opportunity to speak another language. It’s very sexy.
After one month of living in Seoul, I’m hoping that from here it will get easier. I hope to come home with the right fruit next weekend feeling accomplished and slightly less like an alien. To be fair to myself, the fruits did all look the same, hence this illustration that I decided to draw and share with you all. I hope you enjoyed this anecdote. If you didn’t enjoy it, that’s okay too. It wasn’t meant to change your life or challenge your understanding of fruit and the earth. Have a great day and don’t forget to ‘eat your fruits and juice your vegetables’ according to that annoying guy in the movie ‘Her’. Does anybody know what I’m talking about? I guess I lost you long before that reference and needn’t worry. Annyeong!
Illustration and words by Johanna Quinn. All rights reserved. Image must not be distributed or used without artist’s consent. 2019.
I wanted to use this powerful blogging platform to share with you one of my favourite tourist attractions in South Korea: the humble highway rest stop. Perhaps it’s because of the relief from getting out of a car during a long trip to stretch your legs. Or maybe it’s the delicious offerings that they have? In Korean, these little pockets of road trip heaven are called a ‘Hyugeso’ or 휴게소 in Korean!
You can only really access these stops if you’re heading out of town. Most bus trips that are long enough will take a 15 minute rest at one of these places. My face literally lit up when I heard the announcement that we were about to pull into a Hyugeso over the weekend. We travelled from Yeosu to Seoul which is about a four hour drive so a stop for hotdogs and walnut cakes was a necessity! However, the short allotted time period will make you feel like you’re on a reality game show where you have to see how much street food you can consume in 15 minutes with a toilet break thrown in somewhere. Continue reading to see the rest stops in all of their glory.
It is widely known that when the sun starts to set in the mountains, it is time to stop at a ‘Hyugeso’ and eat until your heart’s content. It’s a very famous proverb first used during the Goreyo dynasty. That’s a ‘chicken or egg’, ‘car or rest stop’ question we don’t have time to answer here today and I am obviosly joking.
Korean Walnut Cakes
So, let me introduce you to the main reason I love Hyugeso’s: walnut cakes. In Korean they’re called ‘hodu gwaja’ which translates to walnut snacks. (The word ‘cracker’ really undersells the soft pockets of heaven that you will find in your $3 bag that you will inevitably buy after reading such an influential blog post as this). The walnut cakes are filled with sweet and silky red bean paste and are best served hot, fresh from the Ajumma selling them to you. These are tricky to find beyond the confines of a Korean highway rest area but, in my not so humble opinion, it’s worth organising a quick bus/car getaway to try them out. Or even worth an impromptu South Korea trip you didn’t know you needed. Not really. But really.
Have you tried anything at a Korean highway rest stop? Let me know what your favourite snacks are and I’ll be sure to give them a try! Leave a comment below!