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South Korea

Bi-Weekly Top Trazy Contributors (Sep10~23)

Congratulations Mini EFat Girl, newcomer Ellie P and Jennie S. There were a lot of new participants this week although they couldn’t make it to the top 3. :)



Bombay Brau • Busan, South Korea

Despite my often futile attempts to research restaurants in advance before visiting a new city in South Korea, it seems like the best places that I find I stumble into by accident once there. Before a recent trip to Busan I trolled the web looking for places to scout out for dinner. However, as often happens in Korea, most of my pre-selected establishments turned out to be out of business or nonexistent. One evening, after failing to track down a few places I found online, I took a cab from Haeundae to Gwangan to check out Galmegi Brewing Co. and afterwards, wandered along the beach hoping to grab a late night bite. With my expectations relatively low, my curiosity piqued when I spotted Bombay Brau, a very tiny beachfront joint boasting the odd but surprisingly exciting combination of craft beer and Indian food.

Jagalchi Fish Market • Busan, South Korea


On a recent trip to Busan, I found myself fixated on the idea of visiting Jagalchi Fish Market. I knew absolutely nothing about the market but a few weeks earlier had spotted it as a tiny dot on a map and ever since, had an intense desire to explore it. I learned, once visiting the market and subsequently reading its history, that Jagalchi is the largest seafood market in all of Korea and was established as the Korean War ended.

The market proved fascinating, with one booth after another offering squirming varieties of every kind of live seafood imaginable, tables of dried squid and fish carcasses, bowls of live sea urchins, and hot griddles with today’s catch fried and ready to eat. After winding my way through the outdoor bazaar, I assumed my exploration was at an end and almost called it quits when I spotted an official looking sign hanging outside a large two-story building that read “Jagalchi Fish Market.” Inside were impressive stalls, much cleaner and larger than their outdoor counterparts, showcasing a wide selection of live seafood. After working through some language barriers, I learned from a vendor that any live seafood I picked out and paid for downstairs would be cleaned and prepared as I waited and then brought with me upstairs to be cooked and eaten.

America’s Roll & Sushi • Jeju Island, South Korea

Very simply put, if while on Jeju Island in South Korea you are craving “American” style sushi, i.e. steamed edamame, simple miso soup and familiar rolls like California, Philadelphia, and Alaska, America’s Roll & Sushi is about as fresh and delicious as you can get. Besides those previously mentioned staples, America’s serves some of the freshest, largest portions of sushi and sashimi and other interesting roll combinations I’ve seen in similar establishments. They restaurant is a bit small with 6-8 tables but is a perfect option near the Jungmun Beach area to get away from the exorbitantly expensive resorts nearby And if you go more than once you may just end up with your photo plastered on the wall.

Percent Craft Beer Pub • Daegu, South Korea

The vast majority of cities I’ve visited in South Korea have a notoriously crowded, neon and flashing light laden, sensory overloading, heavily concentrated nightlife, dining and shopping district where local students, expats and tourists converge. Although these areas are a sure guarantee for a lively night on the town, sometimes you just want a night that’s a little less…extreme. Cue Daebong-ro in Daegu, a relatively quiet, unobtrusive street lined with craft beer bars, open air BBQ restaurants and small, intimate eateries. On this road sits Percent Craft Beer Pub, an oasis of sorts in a city as “colorful” as Daegu. Although they do not brew their own, Percent features an oft-changing variety of draft beers from local and international breweries as well as a significant list of bottled craft selections.

HaHa HoHo Cafe • Jeju Island, South Korea

I have a habit of doing something I refer to as “unicorning.” Unicorning is the act of ascribing superior qualities to an object or experience you’ve yet to attain due to the elusiveness of said object or experience. This fantastical practice often results in an inevitably disappointing return to earth when that once glorified and enigmatic object proves to be just eh, average, basic and not so unicorn-like after all. Yet once in a rare while, that unicorn confirms its exalted existence in the form of a meal or experience that actually meets or even exceeds my once lofty expectations. One such proven unicorn is HaHa HoHo Cafe on Udo Island in South Korea.

Johnny’s Pub • Daejeon, South Korea

Any of you who have spent a reasonable amount of time in NYC can agree that the phrase “New York Style Pizza” used anywhere but New York is more often than not, synonymous with “huge disappoint, walk away.” However, when you’ve spent a year in a foreign country inundated with fermented soy beans and kimchi, the desire for a good old New York slice begins to grow increasingly towards desperate. I found myself in this particularly vulnerable state when I encountered “Johnny’s Pub” a self-described New York style pizza establishment in Daejeon, South Korea.

House Grill • Daejeon, South Korea

You know that overwhelming sense of excitement you get when you discover a gem of a restaurant or bar and can’t decide whether to hoard the knowledge of your new found secret outpost for your own selfish indulgence or to blab about the place to every single person you encounter? Well I found myself in that very predicament when I unknowingly stumbled into Willala Fish & Chips in Seongsan on Jeju Island in South Korea. In a quiet town otherwise populated by dingy seafood restaurants and black pork BBQ joints, a trendy Western-style fish and chips establishment seemed like a possible mirage.

Willala Fish & Chips • Jeju Island, South Korea

You know that overwhelming sense of excitement you get when you discover a gem of a restaurant or bar and can’t decide whether to hoard the knowledge of your new found secret outpost for your own selfish indulgence or to blab about the place to every single person you encounter? Well I found myself in that very predicament when I unknowingly stumbled into Willala Fish & Chips in Seongsan on Jeju Island in South Korea. In a quiet town otherwise populated by dingy seafood restaurants and black pork BBQ joints, a trendy Western-style fish and chips establishment seemed like a possible mirage.

Liquibean • Daejeon, South Korea

Daejeon, the so-called “Silicon Valley” of South Korea, is not exactly the first place you might pick for a weekend getaway. However, after spending several weekends exploring what this tech and transportation hub has to offer, I did discover a few gem-like finds tucked away in this less-than-illustrious city. One such discovery was Liquidbean, a perfect spot for the health conscious or fresh juice lovers in the Daejeon area. Liquibean describes itself as “The Organic Detox Juice Bar” and sells made-to-order pressed juices. You can order 13 different options in 2 sizes – 250mL (average price ₩7,500) and 500mL (average price ₩13,500). Although a bit pricey, each juice is pressed while you wait and incredibly fresh.

Farmer’s BBQ • Cheonan, South Korea

If eating Texas style BBQ in South Korea in a little neighborhood mocked up to look like Santorini, Greece sounds like a trippy travel/food dream gone awry then this post is sure to disappoint. However, if this strange mashup sounds curiously appealing to you, I recommend you find your way to Farmer’s BBQ in Cheonan, South Korea. Farmer’s is situated in a quaint neighborhood about an hour and a half drive from Seoul that in a strangely enjoyable way, is modeled after the whitewashed blue roofed homes of Greece’s Santorini. Farmer’s smokes their meats in-house and serves them up with a pleasant combination of American favorites (mac ‘n cheese, french fries, baked beans) and Korean staples (pickles, kimchi). They offer platters with combinations of brisket, pork belly, and pork ribs, (₩32,000, ₩49,000 or ₩54,000) or you can opt for the crowd pleasing beer can chicken (₩18,000). Snag a bottle of Kona Brewing Co.

3 Things you need to know about Gwangbokjeol (Aug 15), the National Liberation Day of Korea


August 15 is one of the most meaningful days to Koreans. It is Gwangbokjeol, the National Liberation Day of Korea . You can see many Korean national flags “Taegeukgi” hung in the street or on the windows of the houses.

1. Why is Gwangbokjeol so special?


It’s not “goodbye.” It’s “안녕히 계세요.”

2-3 students

Goodbyes are always tough. But yesterday, during my last day as an English teacher at Ulsan Sports Science School, I experienced a whole new level of emotional farewells. Over the past year, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful coworkers and enthusiastic students, all of whom consistently went above and beyond with their generosity, kindness and sincerity to make me feel welcomed and cared for.

10 EPIK Haikus

As my year with EPIK comes to a close, I find myself thinking a lot about the experience. Below are 10 haikus that reflect what I’ve learned while living, teaching and traveling in South Korea (though really they’re applicable to anyone teaching or living abroad anywhere!).


15 Korean Expressions That I’ve Learned

Having been married to a Korean for 4 years gives me the opportunity to develop my understanding about the Korean culture. Learning how to speak Korean fluently can be challenging and frustrating at the same time. I don’t know why I find it difficult to master the Korean language. When I decided to move to Korea with my husband and our 2-year-old son, I have accepted the fact that whether I like it or not, I have to learn the language in order for me to communicate well with other Koreans especially with my in-laws who couldn’t speak and understand English. When we arrived in South Korea on April 2, 2015, we stayed at my parents-in-law’s residence in Uiryeong County, Gyeongsangnamdo for 3 months. I’ve learned some Korean phrases/expressions just by listening to their daily conversation.

Here are the Top 15 Korean Daily Expressions that I’ve learned so far…

1.) Annyeonghaseyo!

Community Supported Agriculture Part 2: More Fun with Fresh Veggies

By Taryn Assaf

Summer can be a difficult time for farmers. Weather can be unpredictable, with high temperatures, too much or too little rainfall; crop eating pests are at their peak. That hasn’t stopped the gorgeous leafy greens and fragrant herbs from growing on Gachi farms. Most people would be weary of buying greens with little holes in them, bruised fruits, or yellowing herbs. We prefer perfection: our greens rich in colour, glistening in the supermarket spotlights; our fruits shining and vibrant; and our veggies without a spot of dirt. You’d be hard pressed to find any evidence that most produce ever existed in an ecosystem. How much food goes to waste simply because its appearance is deemed less than perfect?

Vlog Entry #19: The Countdown Begins

In just 34 days, my time in Korea will have officially come to a close! As part of the countdown, you’re invited to submit any and all questions you have about my experience this year! It can be related to teaching, traveling, living in Korea or anything else…within reason. Write in the comments section below and each day I’ll answer one question!

My last 72 hours in Korea: Exploring the outskirts of Incheon

You know what’s complicated? Personal finances abroad. I discovered the other day that my Korean Exchange Bank check card cannot buy international plane tickets unless they’re from a domestic Korean airline, such as Asiana or Korean Air. So instead of flying out to Vietnam on Wednesday as planned I am now flying tomorrow morning.

I’ve been staying at a really the Globetrotter’s Lounge, which is conveniently located in the middle of nowhere Incheon.

ISC’s Open Lecture Series July Event: “War, Peace, Reunification”

We can easily forget as foreigners living in Korea that we are living in a forcibly divided country still at war. Join the ISC in a reunification tour to explore regions of significance to the inter-Korean conflict. You can sign up at 

How CDI-Cheonan (ChungDahm International) Screwed Me Over

This is a really difficult post for me to write, because I am so enraged and sad about what happened to me at the company I work(ed?) for, ChungDahm International. (Shame on the name!)

Please know that every hagwon and every teaching job in Korea is different. Just because I’ve had a nightmarish experience doesn’t mean that everybody does, and it certainly doesn’t mean that South Korea is a bad place to live and work in. This post is about my personal experience with a specific branch of one company.

A little backstory…

I had been planning on working with ChungDahm for over a year. I heard they pay well and on time, and seemed to be a reputable company. Before I came here, I’d been in contact for months with my recruiter. I should have known by the sounds of her ominous name, Misty Crooks, that something was up with ChungDahm.

All the Coffee in Korea (An Evolving List)

Would you like a little T'aegukki with your coffee?

Would you like a little T’aegukki with your coffee?

How much is “All the Coffee in Korea” anyway? That answer, to anyone who has walked this country’s occasionally wide, but often narrow streets, is about as obvious as a large, hairy, broad-shouldered waygookin is in a sea of small, curious hangookin children.

A lot (just in case the comment above didn’t make a lot of sense).

Making irresponsible decisions one hangover at a time!

You know what sucks? Not getting paid for eight weeks. Know what extra sucks? Funding an international move and not getting paid for eight weeks. Know what extra extra sucks? Being really bad at budgeting. Like me.

I came here with about $1,200. That, plus my plane ticket reimbursement, is all gone now.  Basically, I am terrible at budgeting. I feel really dumb and irresponsible for spending all my money and now I have to make it till July 5th without so much as a cent. WHY, NICOOOOLLEEEE, WHYYYYY? (Don’t worry, though, I have enough ramen and banana chips to make it through.)

To my defense, eight weeks is a fucking long time to go without a paycheck. Probably anyone would have a tough time. But I do have a weakness for expensive coffee and creature comforts that I need to exterminate ASAP.

How To: Prepare for and Pass the Epik Interview

Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I'm not just going to tell you exactly what happened in my interview, because that doesn't seem fair. What I can do is tell you all the dumb things I wish I hadn't done and the useful things I wish I had done, in hopes that you will have a better time of it than I did.

First off, make sure Skype works on whatever computer you plan to be in front of during the interview. I know this seems obvious, but trust me on this one: check and double check so there won't be any unforeseen technical difficulties. You know what they say about people who assume.

It’s been a month!

I’ve been in South Korea for a little over a month now.

Here are my thoughts.

Teaching at Company X in Cheonan is just okay.

Positives: I love the autonomy I have in front of the classroom. No supervisors are there to look over my shoulder. No one’s yelling at me and telling me what to do. Inside the classroom, I’m da boss, and it’s pretty great. I take pride in the work, and feel really good when things go smoothly in the classroom. It’s actually really fun experimenting with what works and what does not work with each group of students. There’s a lot to learn and it’s pretty much all on me to figure it out. In that sense, I like teaching.

New book is out! How to Thrive in South Korea: 97 Tips from Expats

Stop answering all those newbie questions! Just send 'em to this book.

Chef Bob Burger


Chef Bob Burger is a tasty place to eat in Cheonan and you should go there.

It’s located near the Starbucks, but unfortunately I can’t give you exact directions because I don’t really know how to do that in South Korea yet.

They serve “burgers” with rice “buns” instead of bread buns. The meat of the burger is a mystery to me, but so far I’d be willing to bet the meat I’ve eaten inside them is from a cow and occasionally a tuna fish that ran into a lot of mayo.

You can order for here or to go, and it’s really cheap. Anywhere from 2,000 3,500 won for a burger. You can also order a side of ddeokbokki, which is a mixture of really squishy rice and fish cake in a hot sauce. Ddeokbokki is good in small amounts and bad in large amounts. Chef Burger Bob has nice ddeokbokki.


MERScation Continues: Sunday on Daecheon Beach

As I mentioned in the previous post, the MERS scare has caused a beautiful rarity for us teachers in Cheonan: SCHOOL HAS BEEN CANCELED! Most of us are experiencing a glorious four to five day weekend.

In celebration of this vacation, I went to Daecheon Beach with a group of twelve foreign teachers and one native Korean. Daecheon Beach is about an hour away from Cheonan via Korail. Korail is basically like America’s Amtrak, but with nicer, velvety seats. I spent the short trip gazing out the window at rice paddies, which was a relaxing and fun activity in and of itself.

Once we got to Daecheon, a new friend introduced me to the best goddamn food on the planet: dakgangjeong. Dakgangjeong is wonderful chicken with a peanutty flavor. 




Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome is alive in South Korea! Looks like this lurking deadly virus and I decided to arrive in Korea around the same time. MERS has a 40% fatality rate, which isn’t at all comforting, and some of the confirmed cases are in Cheonan where I live.

Consequently, very few students showed up to school yesterday and those that did all had on little masks with little cats or rabbits printed on them. My last class yesterday had three students, and the four of us were all slaphappy and giggly about the upcoming four day weekend. Felt like the day before Christmas break.

For today (Friday) and Monday, classes at the academy I teach at are CANCELLED. If you know what company I work for or know anything about South Korean hagwons, you will realize how rare and special the gem of a four day weekend is.  So far, it’s been great! Shopping! Potential Beach trips! And let’s not forget the deluge of hand sanitizer!

Culture Shock in South Korea

The first time I went abroad was to Argentina. I was fifteen years old, and absolutely fascinated by the concept of culture shock. I thought culture shock would be like a disease: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment. I thought that it would be easy to recognize and consequently easy to overcome.

I soon realized, though, that culture shock isn’t easy to deal with at all. That realization lead me to have really negative attitudes towards Argentina. At the time, I hated the country and couldn’t wait to go back home. A similar thing happened to me at sixteen when I went to China. I was way too overwhelmed with the differences to handle myself.

Now as a pseudomature pseudoadult, I am way more capable of living and thriving in an Eastern culture. Most of my time so far in Korea has been so busy and stressful (work, studying for the LSAT) that I’ve barely had a moment to breathe and look around at my surroundings. Nonetheless, some things have shocked me. In both pleasant and unpleasant ways…

1. Pleasant: Ice cream on top of a salad, served with fried chicken. Exactly what it sounds like. Not half bad, either.


Samgwangsa on Buddha’s Birthday

Every year it comes. On the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, Korea celebrates Buddha’s Birthday. Among all of the holidays and festivals in South Korea, Buddha’s Birthday may be my favorite!

In Korean, they call it 석가탄신일 – seokga tansinil – or 부처님 오신 날 – bucheonim osin nal. In a literal sense, that means something like “the day when Buddha came.” A few weeks before the holiday itself, Buddhist temples all over the country begin preparing. They hang lanterns all over the temple and the grounds nearby. Sometimes the displays are modest, like at the small hermitages up in the remote mountains. Other times, the displays are large, lavish, and immensely colorful. There is one temple, however, which is simply breathtaking in it’s lantern display: 삼광사 – Samgwangsa.

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