After a dismal rainy day in 수원 (Suwon) on April 20th, the very next day was a beautiful sunny day in 서울 (Seoul). I dolled myself up in a flowery dress and was off to 여의나루 역 (yeouinaru yeok – Yeouinaru Station) to meet my friend 현정 (Hyeon-jeong) to walk around the island for the 봄꽃축제 (Spring Flower Festival).
한강공원 (Hangang Park) covers the entire little island, just south of the 한강 (hangang – Han River). It includes both bike/running/walking paths the entire way and a few little ecological reserves.
During the festival though the entire park was packed with people enjoying the nice weather and vendors selling their tasty wares. I took this opportunity to try a few traditional Korean treats.
Such as엿 (yeot) and 뽑기 (bbopgi). Bbopgi is a sweet made of melted sugar and a touch of baking soda. If you’re lucky you can get a fresh one right after they finish making it! They will imprint a design into it as well. I liked the bbopgi better when it’s still hot. The edges are nice and chewy while the centre is crispy ^^
yeot was a similar taste, but a softer texture. Kind of like a stiffer marshmallow.
Hyeon-jeong also bought a bag of 땅콩과자 (ddangkonggwaja) for us to share.
It was a perfect day for walking around, granted a bit windy since we were so close to the water. The entire path was simply packed with people! The festival was only supposed to run from the 12th until the 18th, but they extended the date due to the poor weather last week.
This meant that there were people and food carts galore ^^
We stopped for a snack lunch at a booth that was selling 김밥 (kimbap) and 라명 (ramyeon – Korean ramen) for charity. I was happy because it was actually crab kimbap instead of the normal ham version! For anyone who doesn’t know, kimbap is kind of like Japanese maki rolls…but also not at the same time. They are similar that they contain rice and goodies wrapped in dried seaweed, but that is where the similarities end.
You will see many people chowing down on kimbap all over Seoul at any given point. they are common in 식당 (shikdang – restaurants), 포장마차 (pojangmacha – street food tents), and pretty much anywhere where there are people selling food ^^
There was also plenty to see! There were strips of the road that were filled with musicians, as well as this group of 사물놀이패 (samulnolipae) playing a traditional Korean instruments called 사물놀이 (samulnoli)
Hyeon-jeong and I were on the watch for falling cherry blossom petals the entire time. Evidently it is good luck to be able to catch some of the petals in your hand as they are falling. We were both successful! ^^
We ended up walking the entire way around the Yeouinaru island that afternoon, though by 5pm it was starting to get on the chilly side.
Thankfully there was a small pop-up 시장 (shijang – market) promoting 평창 (Pyeongchang – the upcoming location for the 2018 Winter Olympics) where I got to try a cup of 타타리 차 (tatari cha – Tartary buckwheat tea).
After we finished the loop (for a grand total of exactly 7km! – Hyeon-jeong did the walk in heels! Such a trooper!) we were both famished! Between the two of us, the vast majority of what we ate consisted of sweet foods ^^ So we caught the 지하철 (jihacheol – subway) from Yeouinaru to 합정역 (hapjeong yeok – Hapjeong Station) where we went out in search of food.
Hyeon-jeong recommended a restaurant called ‘5ton’. She had been to a different branch of the restaurant in 강남 (Gangnam). Now, I’m not fussy when it comes to food and was excited to be trying something new! It turns out that 5ton is actually a theme restaurant! I’ve never been to one of these before. It served predominately Italian style food (i.e. Korean-style pastas/pizzas), but all of the staff and the interior was decorated like we were in a pitstop at a race track.
We ordered something called spaghetti salad and spoon pizza. Spaghetti Salad was essentially cold pasta underneath a salad. It had a very nice balsamic dressing on it. The Spoon Pizza was a very, very thin crust pizza served in a cast iron pan that you ate with a spoon ^^ We ordered the chicken version of the salad and the garlic shrimp version of the pizza. Both were very tasty, but way too much to eat for two people!
All in all, we had a great time despite the sore feet as the day moved along. I had a fantastic tour guide in Hyeon-jeong! She also gifted me with some freshly roasted chestnuts and a small bag of her home-made biscotti! I’m definitely going to miss her when I leave.
Till next time!~
P.S. I have a few more pretty flower pics to share, so they’re going to go here! ^^ Enjoy~!