I guess even G-Dragon loves Jeju

http://www.koreaboo.com/photo/g-dragons-soon-open-cafe-jeju-island-stuns-fans/

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몽상 카페
제주특별자치도 제주시 애월읍 애월리 2542-3번지

Mosant Cafe
2542-3 Aewol-eup, Aewol-ri
Jeju-si

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Matjibs (맛집) in Jeju

On travels, nothing beats a good serving of something delicious to reward your belly.  7 visits to Jeju and counting… Heres my 5 favourite restaurants in the island. (No order of preference).

1. Bob Bar (밥빠)

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Discovered this place solely because my favorite abalone restaurant has over an hour waiting list and we drove on and on to find any restaurant that can feed 5 hungry and cold people. Viola! We decided to try this place and the date made history.

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Its a simple menu consisting only of 5 to 6 dishes. Their specialty is Seafood Tteokbokki ( 해물 떡볶이) -₩12000.  For someone who doesnt even like tteok i was surprised by the way they cooked it and the generous helping of seafood that complemented the dish making it simply delectable. But it was the best tasting seafood pancake (해물 파전) – ₩10000 I ever had that sealed the deal for me. Fried to crispy perfection with an abundance of seafood and chives, the taste lingers in my thoughts even till today. If you are visiting the Ichubong Sunrise Peak, this nearby restaurant is a can’t-miss!

Location: Jeju-si
Address: Handong-ri 1367, Gujwa-eup
Gps it via phone number! – 782-0007

2. Myeong Jin Abalone Restaurant (명진 천복)

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Not a looker from the outside but this is THE restaurant that had over an hour waiting list. Even on weekdays, dinner time is packed to the brim. It is one of the most famous restaurants in the whole of Jeju and a hit especially with local koreans.

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I have tried several other abalone porridge and hotpot restaurants in Jeju and there’s a reason why Myeong Jin is on top of the list. The flavoring of their abalone alone sets it apart from the competition. Everything is pretty much done to perfection and the cherry to top it off? Grilled makeral as a complimentary side dish. Prices from ₩13000- 30000.

Location: Jeju-si
Address: 1282 Haemajihaean-ro
Gps it via phone number! – 782-9944

3. Kkotbab (꽃밥)

This is a quaint little restaurant located at the aewol-eup area. I found it when I went into some naver blogs that were introducing famous restaurants in Jeju loved by the locals.

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This is their version of a mini hanjeongshik (table of different side dishes) and the mains on this version is duck fried with cabbage and stirfried pork. What makes this restaurant so special is their healthy purple rice and wide selection of greens for wrapping the meat in. At ₩11000 per person, its a fulfilling meal with an asssortment of side dishes guaranteed to find favor with the taster.

Location: Jeju-si
Address: Gwakji-ri Aewol-eup
Gps it via phone number! – 799 4939

*** Restaurant closes on Tuesdays

4. Innisfree Cafe

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Yes its overhyped! Yes its flooded with tourists! But doesn’t change the fact they have organic dishes that is too delicious not to give it a mention. I especially like their homemade sausage meal set and their desserts.

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Open for business next to O’Sulloc Museum, you can first shop for your favourite innisfree skincare products or make your own organic soap before heading to the attached cafe.

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The tranquil ambience with lush greenery outside, clean glass paneling and wood for its interior is definitely the next most enticing factor and it does come with a price.  Be prepared to pay ₩15000 and above for meals and ₩10000 onwards for desserts. Food portions are pretty small so sharing not advised.ㅋㅋㅋ

Location: Seogwipo-si
Address: 425 Sinhawyeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon.
Gps it via phone number! – 794-5351

5. Samyang Momaejon Garden Restaurant (모메존가든)

The main offering here from the signboard seems to be black pig bbq but what they are truly well known for is their succulent pumpkin duck.

I must admit my rude shock seeing the restaurant for the first time as its a tad run down and old and frankly first impressions will probably have it as hygiene challenged. Mustering my innate gung-ho I told my family we need to try it since its a well reviewed restaurant and koreans and foreigners alike seems to have only high praise for it.

Our bravado was duly rewarded.

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Tada! Heres presenting you the goodness of a perfectly grilled pumpkin duck flavoured with an assortment of veggies and nuts. Its DELICIOUS!!! The smoked duck meat is succulent retaining maximun juicy moisture and the pumpkin mixed in with it together with a lettuce wrap… divine!

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We devoured the whole duck in minutes and just when we thought the adventure was over after slurping down the last of the side dishes that came with it… this came…

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The peppery duck soup after the course is not for the weak hearted or those who simply don’t eat spicy. Walaaaaaa… it was hot hot hot… if I wasn’t so stuffed I could have drank a full proper bowl but full + super spicy, after two spoonfuls i gave up.

It might seem expensive on paper but they do feed you well.  At the restaurant, you need to tell the person taking orders that you are here for the Hobak-hoon-jori (호박훈저리). The ₩40,000 portion will be sufficient for 2-3 people and ₩58,000 portion is good for 4-5 pax.

Location: Jeju-si
Address: 2140-11 Samyang 2-dong, Jeju City
Gps it via phone number! – 756-0332

Special Mention:

Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market – Mandu bao

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Many people come here for the restaurants that allow them to choose live seafood to be cooked on spot to their liking. I come to this market specifically for the kimchi mandu bao.

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This bao features chopped up kimchi stirfried with japchae noodles and minced pork stuffed into it. At ₩1000 its addictive, cheap and filling. Sometimes i just drive down,  buy two of these for lunch and it keeps me going all the way till dinner. Love love love it!

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The plus to buying them is the very nice store owner who seems to recognize this big fan of her mandu baos. If you happen to drop by these markets, do try it out 🙂

Location: Seogwipo-si
Address:  Jungjeong-ro 73 beon-gil, 22
Gps it via phone number! – 762-1949

Jeju and it’s immense potential

3 years and counting. Now with a house purchase on this incredible island.  Many people have said to me “why Jeju?” And my answer constantly is why not?

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There’s nothing not to like about this island. It’s one of the new 7 wonders of the world (2011), offers life amongst pristine nature surroundings yet has a city area that allows you to taste civilisation when you decide on a change of environment.

If your life’s goal is to stay in Asia, find a place that offers you 4 seasons, island lifestyle meaning fresh food, good air and water, picturesque trekking sites i cant think of a better choice than here.

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And its only going to get better. The city of Jeju has an open trading policy and welcomes external investments. They are trying to build a global education city and have big property players like Berjaya already in here with their award winning Airest City and Resorts World Jeju integrated resort opening in 2017.

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Tourist arrivals already make 12 million visitors to the island in 2014. 85% of these tourists are domestic, 10% Chinese and the other 5% others. It is already the most travelled air route in the world accounting for some 10mil passengers.

The potential is limitless ^^

Warm & Cozy – 맨드롱 또똣

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The new Wed-Thurs MBC drama Warm and Cozy is giving me all kinds of feels about moving to Jeju.  Mainly the huge inspiration to get there quickly and start life on the island. The backdrop is absolutely gorgeous and it is further enhanced by the simple love story between the leads that is as idyllic as the feel of the island.

I am so glad there is finally a series that will showcase the beauty of Jeju – in all 16 glorious episodes of it.  All thats left to sweeten tourism in this beautiful island is travel packages that can help tourists better enjoy the real Jeju – not manufactured museums and lackluster amusement parks or lousy shopping places that pay the guides each time a batch of tourists arrive (These are the places I detest most in every tour package I’ve signed up for) but a real glimpse into the lives of the people there and why they have such a fierce loyalty to it.

Here’s more screenshots.  If you haven’t seen it yet… I highly recommend it 🙂

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Watch the official drama MV:

Can’t wait for my next visit up there in June.  More pics to come :))

Life in Jeju – preparations

I never thought that I actually reserved this blog page from as long as two years ago… which is when I started dreaming of a life on an idyllic island, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.  Then I was still living in Singapore and now I’m actually living in Seoul, so I guess its one step closer to the dream of the move.

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This one year which I’ve spent in Seoul National University trying to get proficiency in the Korean language has both been challenging yet rewarding.  Challenging in that learning a foreign language is never easy, learning one with the sentence structuring the complete opposite of English – suicidal. Yet it is in this time away – one I call my work sabbatical that I’ve met so many interesting people of different nationalities, formed friendships that are kind and loving in nature and having carefree time to take long walks in parks, checking out new nooks and hooks of Seoul and enjoy having seasons – a luxury to some, bane to others.

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Best of all now I can actually argue over some small injustice I face in the subway, bargain down clothes and things I find in an interesting marketplace, hold conversations with foreigners from different parts of the world – ALL IN KOREAN. Hah!

P:S – This year I celebrated my birthday in style with all 11 of us representing a different nationality each from Ukraine, Barbados, Indonesia, Pakistan, Japan, Hong Kong, France, Kazakhstan,  Russia, Korea and Singapore.  The global footprint, the stories I’ve come to know, fills life with the most interesting perspectives 🙂

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This sabbatical has also given me the geographical advantage to visit more often, children from an orphanage in Gimcheon – a 3 hour train ride from Seoul.  Happy faces, chuckling from the background, incessant crying, playground happiness, all part of a good weekend adventure.

They have so much love to give, eagerness to interact person to person, juxtapose this to a growing social interaction-less world we live in is definitely quite a change,  If I ever get to adopt one of these kids, I hope he will have a life outside of an iPad/computer, one dominated by the great outdoors, hiking, fishing, running through the green fields without a care in the world just appreciating the wonders that God has made… that will be my biggest wish for him and for myself…

20140514_123434 Jeju… to be continued…