Monthly Archives: May 2011

Bulguk-dong Food & drink Gyeongju restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #19: Bomun Does Vegetarian Part 2- Ssukbu Jaengi (쑥부쟁이) Restaurant

Ssukbu Jaengi Vegetarian Restaurant, Gyeongju

Ssukbu Jaengi Vegetarian Restaurant, Gyeongju

If you’ve read any of my restaurant reviews on here on the blog, you’ve probably noticed  I don’t bother ratings restaurants with crap like forks, stars, or hearts.  I’m a busy guy.  I figure if a restaurant’s blasé or bad (and Gyeongju ‘s got its share of those) then it’s not worth writing about.  Also, everyone has different tastes, especially when it comes to cuisine as unique, flavorful (and sometimes challenging)  as Korean.   Giving a sundae (순대)restaurant four out of five stars (or toothpicks or whatever) doesn’t mean much if thought of blood sausage turns your stomache. All that said, for its combination of quality food, reasonable prices and tasteful traditional décor, I’d about give Ssukbu Jaengi (쑥부쟁이) five out of five stars.  It’s just that good, and it happens to be vegetarian. read more »

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Bomun Resort Food & drink Gyeongju restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #18: Bomun Does Vegetarian Part 1- Dayoo (다유) Restaurant

Da-yoo Vegetarian Restaurant, Bomun Resort

Da-yoo Vegetarian Restaurant, Bomun Resort

Although it’s not quite enough to call a trend, a couple vegetarian restaurants have sprung up around Bomun Resort (보문단지) in the last few years which, for a country that generally considers eating meat equal with common sense, is a pretty big deal.  Perhaps the frequent media scares over livestock-borne diseases, like mad cow, foot and mouth and avian flu, are beginning to turn some Koreans off from their gleefully carnivorous diets.  Whatever the case, it certainly helps the vegetarian cause that both Dayoo (다유) and Ssookboo Jaengi (쑥부쟁이) restaurants near Bomun serve excellent traditional Korean vegetarian food.  And, contrary to the popular belief among Korean school kids, this is not a contradiction in terms. read more »

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Buddhist culture Chunghyo-dong Events Festivals holidays photography Temples & shrines

Buddha’s Birthday (석가탄신일) at Yeongheungsa Temple (영흥사), May 2010

Buddha's Birthday at Yeongheungsa Temple, Gyeongju

Buddha's Birthday at Yeongheungsa Temple, Gyeongju

In case you missed it the last few dozen times I’ve said it, let me just say again:  Buddha’s Birthday is my favorite holiday in Korea.  On Buddha’s Birthday, or “Seokgatanshinil” (석가탄신일) as it’s called in Korean, the Buddhist faithful hang lanterns bearing prayers and wishes all around the temples, which serve free vegetarian Bibimbap for lunch or dinner.   The larger temples often host free concerts and cultural performances in the afternoon, but what really makes Buddha’s Birthday special for me is the Lantern Parade held after sundown at historical temples like Bulguksa and Tongdosa. read more »

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Arts & crafts Events Festivals Hwangseong-dong photography shopping tips for tourists

2011 Gyeongju Ceramics Festival Photos

Gyeongju Ceramics Festival

Gyeongju Ceramics Festival

Somehow I always forget about the annual Gyeongju Shilla Ceramics Festival. It’s not that I hate Korean pottery or anything. (In fact, I’m a proud owner of several Korean tea sets). Rather, the fine folks over at Gyeongju’s City Hall always double book the Ceramics Festival along side other big events (which actually isn’t as daft as it might seem since it helps draw in the crowds). In years past it ran literally next to the Liquor and Rice Cake Festival in Hwanseong Park. This year however it’s providing a nice cultural courter point to the adrenaline fueled Taekwondo Championships next door in Hwangseong Gymnasium. There seem to be a lot more artists at the Ceramics Festival then in years past and they’ve got a few hands on activities for the youngsters, as well as other types of traditional crafts for sale. The Ceramics Festival runs through this weekend and finishes up on Sunday the May 8th, a few days longer then the WTF Championships. If your around, check it out as it’s a great opportunity for some early Christmas (or belated Mother’s Day) shopping. read more »

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Events Festivals Gyeongju Hwangseong-dong photography

2011 WTF Taekwondo Championship Photos

2011 WTF Taekwondo Championships, Gyeongju

2011 WTF Taekwondo Championships, Gyeongju

Last Sunday we decided to brave the yellow sand and head down to Hwangseong Park to check out the first day of the World Teakwondo Championships.  The atmosphere was festive and park was packed with  locals and visiting athletes.  There were hundreds of tents strewn about hawking everything from teakwondo gear, sports jerseys and Nike trainers to regional cultural products like dried fish and amethyst jewelry. Traditional Korean concerts ran along side arts and craft demo.  Plus at the soju tents down by the river a troupe cross dressing clowns were gearing up to perform as we strolled by.  Even the annual Gyeongju Pottery Festival was running literally next to the Gymnasium (but more on that later) which provided a nice break for a bit window shopping. read more »

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