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Restaurant Review #22: Handmade Kalguksu (손칼국수) at Kim Yu-shin’s Shrine

Son Kalguksu Restaurant Kim Yu-sin's Tomb, Gyeongju

Son Kalguksu Restaurant Kim Yu-sin's Tomb, Gyeongju

The kalguksu (칼국수) restaurant at General Kim Yu-shin’s memorial shrine is one of those hidden gems of Gyeongju; the operative word here being hidden.  It’s actually located in one of the side buildings of Sungmujeon (숭무전), the Confucian Shrine venerating the spirit tablet of the famed Silla general Kim Yu-shin (595~673 C.E.). The shrine itself is a bit hard to find as it’s tucked in a little horseshoe valley down from Kim Yu-sin’s Tomb hidden by the train tracks.  The restaurant is in a nondescript farm house to the side with just a small placard advertising 손칼국수,  or  ”hand-cut wheat noodles.”  If you didn’t know where it was, you’d probably never find it.  For as hidden as it is, it’s usually busy, which is a good sign. 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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