Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 3: Abalone Porridge in Jeju City

There are basically two cities in Jeju, one in the northern part of the island (near the airport) called Jeju City, for lack of a better name, & the other in the southern part called Seogwipo. Obviously the northern part seemed like the better place to stay in as its closer to the airport, & it makes a good base to travel down to the other parts of the island.

But during our 4-day stay at Jeju, we had to put up at Pyeosong Beach (south east coast) because the conference was there. Travelling by taxi from the airport down to the south takes about 50 minutes to an hour (although the guy behind the airport counter will tell you it's 15 minutes). So you can imagine how big this little island actually is.

On our 2nd day in Jeju, we hoped onto the free hotel shuttle to Jeju City. It was a wild ride as the driver accelerated up & dived down the hilly winding roads. When we got to Jeju City, we swore never to take a bus again.

Our intention was to hit the streets of Yeon Dong. The Frommer's Travel Guide foretold of good food there. But in the end, it was just a waste of time cos the street address given was as vague as a Malaysian politician's comment. After completing a full circle, we gave up and hailed a taxi.

The taxi driver turned out to be a woman who couldn't speak a word of English, but was extremely sincere in wanting to help us. All we could muster was the sign language for food (hand in mouth) as we pointed to Jeju City on the map. We hoped that translated into Where food? We go! but it didn't work out as well as we thought.

The taxi driver drove us to her husband instead who actually owned the taxi. Don't ask me why she was the one driving it. Maybe it's got something to do with the iron lunged Jeju women being the breadwinner & all that. My first thought was that she was going to sell us to the Korean underground, but of course that didn't happen.

Anyway, as soon as the hubby got into the taxi with us, he tried Japanese. When that didn't work, he called someone who knew some half-past twelve English (whom we believed to be their son probably working in Seoul), but not enough to know what we wanted. At that point, I felt like getting off & telling them to forget the whole thing. I wouldn't know who else they'd be bringing us to & we really didn't want to involve more people & meet their relatives. We just wanted to be dropped off somewhere where there's food.

Then at the end, out of desperation, we simply pointed to some place on the map that seemed like a good stretch of coastal road which could have food. We stopped at Ramada Hotel for no particular reason other than that it had a recognisable English name which the taxi couple knew as well.

And when we got off what seemed to be the longest taxi ride ever, we saw the abalone porridge place & it was just across the road from Ramada Hotel.

Two things that you'd have to know about Korea. The shops do not have English signboards & the addresses suck.

This was Nee looking very tired. Even so, we were glad to have found this little authentic place.

As usual, the side dishes were compulsory & bottomless.

We noticed that Koreans liked to serve this cold cucumber soup with hot porridge. It has a vinegar-like sour edge to it.

The seafood kimchi soup came with a very generous portion of seafood with four number of abalones on top of other seafood.

Look at the size of the thing.

This was the abalone porridge that we had. It may not look as appetising but it was superbly excellent with slices of abalone fresh somemore.

This was definitely worth the wild goose chase for.


dt said...

wild goose chase to find abalone hmm...mebe need to travel with picture dictionary while in Jeju...

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