In Seoul, they say that the best place to view the Cherry Blossom trees is in Yeouido. I’d have to disagree. Every year, the soft petals of 1,400 trees bloom open to a pearlescent white, some with the faintest pink tinge, along the avenue and people flock from everywhere. We wanted to skip the crowds so we went before the festival started… Many people had the same idea as us. It was a cloudy day and windy, which to its credit, blew the delicate petals around like the leaves straight out of Disney’s Pocahontas movie. If you do go, try to go when the sky is blue (cause you have complete control over that :p ).
To the food! We thought we’d stick with the Japanese theme for the day and tried out the chain, Hakoya. They have large ramen and rice dishes that range in price from 6,000 – 11,000 won. We ordered the fried chicken bowl, 7,000 won and the fried pork and tempura prawns bowl 9,000 won. It was different to what I was expecting but it fed us. Side dishes included miso soup, yellow pickled radish and kimchi. The highlight would be the tempura prawns which had the best crunchy coating without the greasy feeling. Beneath the meat is sushi rice, soaking in a sweet vinegary broth with some sliced onions and a runny egg that slowly cooks from the heat. I mixed all mine up to cook the egg fully which made the chicken go soggy. Booo. The presentation of the dish also threw me. I thought it was taboo to have the chopsticks sticking up in the bowl that way and double checked online when I got back. The Japanese NEVER put their chopsticks in the bowl upright/ like that because it looks like the incense stick offerings/ rituals given to the dead. While we are in Korea and those rules might not apply, it is a “Japanese” restaurant so it felt weird. I’d rate it with a four out of ten and Bobby gives it a six. He liked the serving size. I’d recommend trying out a different shop.
Back to nature. Outside today had perfect weather – sunshine, blue skies, warm temperatures – which made the trees down the road look absolutely magnificent, hence why I disagree with Yeouido being the best spot. I got my nature hippy on, strolling down the street, patting the trees as I went. There are absolutely no crowds around so you have the trees all to yourself and can set the pace of your walk, not be swept along in Korea’s bali bali (quickly, quickly) fashion. If you don’t mind crowds then, by all means, head there, but it’s nice to just stop and stare.
*We’re headed back to Australia tomorrow so this might be the last post for a while* Thanks for coming along with us and we hope to share more soon, until then,
Happy eating – Chan and Bob