Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Asian city tour - Stop 2: Seoul

As I mentioned in a previous post, I took a weekend trip from Taipei to Seoul. The flight was just over 1 1/2 hours.
Once on the ground, I was pleasantly surprised. I first took a “limousine bus” offered by Korean Airlines. It cost me $13 for a 70 minute bus ride on an enormous leather seat. It dropped me off at my hotel. I checked in at the front desk where I was greeted with fluent English.

Seoul is so different from the other cities I have been to in Asia. There is a distinctly American feel to it. People drive SUVs (Hyundai and Kia of course,) wear clothes without huge brand names on them, there were actually tree-lined streets, and people line up for the elevator instead of just push. I didn’t have much time to explore the city, but I did get to see a few really cool things: Dongdaemun market, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Namsam Tower. Unfortuntely, I had to skip a bus tour up to the DMZ due to work.

The best part about Seoul was the food. Taiwan has some great food, but Korean food is uniquely tasty and savory. If you can eat kimchi, you can pretty much eat anything there. I saw lots of meat on the menu, including Kangaroo and Ostrich, but I stuck to the basic bibimbap. At Dongdaemun, I grabbed a stick that held what I thought was just a lump of french fries, but it turned out to be even better. It was actually a corn dog with fries mixed into the batter. If only Katie could have been there to help me finish it. The market also had some delicious red bean crepe-like things served in a paper cup. I skipped the Mado goat ice cream being sold at the Namsam Tower, but I was definitely intrigued.

The worst thing about my trip was that I only had 24 hours to be there. I would definitely plan a trip to go back sometime. It may not be worth a 14 hour trip from the US just to go to Seoul, but it would be a perfect 3-4 day side trip from Tokyo.


Phyllis said...

I love that you go to Seoul and write about the food. Everyone I know who has travelled to Seoul would probably write about all the high-end fake handbags! Then, again, they have all worked for the Gap. ;) I have always thought that Seoul was remarkably more green and a friendlier place to visit than it gets credit for. More people should definitely check it out!

Next time, check out Pusan as well. It's truly like the Gilroy of Korea. Garlic, garlic, garlic...

Katie said...

I really do love corn dogs. Life is not fair.