Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Gorgeous Mountain Hikes in Korea| Palgongsan Mt. Sutaegol Valley

ATTENTION ALL HIKER!  You have hiked Apsan Mountain and Mount Biseulsan, but have you ever thought of Mount Palgongsan as the new hiking hotspot? Mount Palogongsan is very famous for its temples and giant Buddha statue, however tucked away in a lush forest is Sutaegol Valley. Though this area is not too well known to Daegu’s foreign community, Sutaegol Valley is quite popular with native Daegu citizens for its beautiful scenery filled with shady trees and streams flowing with clear water.

The scenery alone provides enough reason to visit. Not far from the entrance of the hiking trail, there are beautiful crystal clear streams in the valley. Gentle waterfalls and gigantic moss covered boulders decorate the valley making almost every corner pleasing to the eye. The plentiful trees in the forest provide an escape from the sun, so feel free to visit here even during Daegu’s hot summer months!

Sutaegol Valley is the perfect hiking trail for beginners and experienced hikers alike. There is only one main path to follow so you do not have to worry about getting lost or taking a wrong turn.  Be prepared for some high inclines with big steps. For experienced hikers, this trail shouldn’t be too difficult, but for beginners or people who have never been hiking before, it can be a little challenging sometimes, but definitely not impossible to hike.

Hiking all day can make anyone hungry. Check out one of the many restaurants and cafés in the area. Most of them are located near the main entrance to Mount Palgongsan, but there is a row of cafes and restaurants closer to Sutaegol Valley as well.

While you are free to spend as much time as you want hiking the trail, please keep in mind that camping, picnicking, and getting in the water here is not allowed. I know it will be tempting to get into the beautiful fresh water, but remember that in order to keep this area as beautiful as it currently is, we sometimes have to just simply enjoy viewing certain places instead of interfering with them.

In conclusion, we may live in Daefrica, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the summer months. So don’t just lay around in your house and raise your electricity bill by leaving your   A/C all day, get outside, enjoy nature, and embrace all four seasons of the year.

It is very easy to get to Sutaegol Valley whether you are driving or taking public transportation. If you are driving, you can park at the parking lot right in front of the entrance to Sutaegol Valley. Take the Palgong 3 and depart at Bunisa Geonneo. From here you will be directly in front of the parking lot.

Monday, July 30, 2018

5 Meals for Less Than 5,000won Around Keimyung University!

When I first came to Korea, I was surprised because eating out was MUCH cheaper than back in Spain (and I think, most European countries!). Even when you are eating more expensive than average, it will usually be just around 10-11000 won. However, being a student, having to pay rent and other utilities, it can be difficult to always eat outside. Being an expert myself in the area of Keimyung, I look around and searched 5 delicious meals for less than 5000 won (less than 5 dollars or not even 4 euros!). Who said you cannot eat delicious and CHEAP?

Gyundae Cupbap 경대컵밥
My first my go-to option when I want some Korean style deopbap (덮밥), which is simple rice with toppings, is 경대컵밥! (Gyundae Cupbap). I cannot say how many times this place has saved me from nights when I didn’t have anything in my fridge to eat! It consists of 6 different kinds of deopbap, all of them for less than 4000 won! All of them have a base of fried kimchi, fried egg, sausages, kim, and Flying Fish Roe, then depending of what you chose, you can have spicy pork, tuna, duck, cheese, bacon or tteokgalbi! Also,you can add more toppings or get the big size for less than 1000 won :)

Location: 대구 달서구 서당로7 56 1 Seodangro 7, 56
(It is just in front of the East Gate, impossible to miss it!)

The red tteokbokki and kimbap 더빨간떡볶이 & 김밥
The next option is specially thought for my spicy flavor lovers!! You know that perfect combo of tteokbokki and tuna kimbap, right? You can get both for 4500 won in 더빨간떡볶이 & 김밥! (The red tteokbokki and kimbap). I have to say, the sauce of this tteokbokki is one of the best I’ve tried! If you like a bit of curry flavor, you’ll definitely love this! They also have a very good take-out package and they are fast making it!

Location: 대구 달서구 서당로 72 (신당동) Seodangro 72
(Crossing the street in front of Keimyung Art center).

88Sikdang 88식당
Third option it’s the donkatsu from 88식당! Their small size is 4900 won, but don’t be fooled! Even if it’s the small size, it is enough for one person! They even include a small cream soup as an entree for free, so you’ll have a full meal for less than 5000! :D It includes the rice, a small salad, pasta and a curry sauce that goes very well with the fried donkatsu!

Location: 대구 달서구 서당로9 32 Seodangro 9, 32
(In Rodeo Street, just after Masi Gray!)

Samsam kalguksu 삼삼칼국수
Our fourth cheap dish is the perfect meal for this terrible heat: Naengmyeon! (냉면). This refreshing noodle soup cost 4500 won and it goes perfect with kimchi! The restaurant is called 삼삼칼국수 (Samsam kalguksu), and it is in the south gate of the university! This menu is only available in summer, so don’t miss it!

Location: 대구 달서구 호산동로35북길 54
(Cross the street in the main gate and then go to the right!)

Waryong Banjeom 와룡반점
The last, but not less important, it’s a classic! Jjamppong! (짬뽕), this dish in 와룡반점 cost 5000 won and it will cover your cravings for spicy food, soups and seafood! Other options such as jjajjangmyeon cost also less than 5000 won! They even have take out where they include some banchan! Good for people living alone :)

Location: 대구 달서구 서당로 9 54 1
(Just at the entry of Rodeo street!)

Friday, July 27, 2018

Summer Adventure in Korea | Trip to Hamokjeong Pavilion in Dalseong-gun, Daegu

Hamokjeong Pavilion, located in Dalseong-gun, is one of the most beautiful traditional places in Korea during the summer. The view of beautiful hanok and crape myrtles are a thing you should not miss while you stay in Korea.

It was built in 1604 during Joseon Dynasty by Loyal Patriotic Commander, Jong-mun Lee. The place was named “Hamokjeong” by King Injo before he came to a throne. The place is lay out in T-shape and has many famous poems hung on the walls..

From here, you will be able to see the view of Nakdonggang river peacefully flowing.

Crape myrtle is a summer flower that boasts pretty deep pink. You have probably seen at least one while you were traveling around Daegu recently! That is crape myrtle! Crape myrtle has two Korean names: baekilhong 백일홍 and baerongnamu 배롱나무. The name “baekilhong” derived from the fact that the blossoms only last for 100 days. As poetic as its Korean name suggests, the flower and hanok architecture makes uniquely beautiful vibe.

The peak blossoms last until early August. After that, the blossoms start to drop and, in fact, the fallen pink petals look very beautiful on dark brown earth and green grass.  

Hamokjeong Pavillion 하목정
■ Crape myrtles(baekilhong 백일홍): blossom from July to August. Best before late August
■ Address 56-10, Hamokjeong-gil, Habin-myeon, Dalseong-gun, Daegu, Korea
■ KR Address 대구 달성군 하빈면 하목정길 56-10

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Korea's Summer Destination: Dalseong Park in Daegu

Dalseong Park: A haven from the Summer heat

With Daegu city experiencing intense heat, the weather has become. One of the good ways to stay safe is to hang out in a cool environment away from the heat and a good place to do this is the Daegu Dalseong Park.
Situated in the heart of the city, covering a total land area of 129,700 square meters, with historic sites and a zoo, the park is used as an educational field for children and youth.

Near the entrance

Brief history of the Park
Dalseong park has been in existence since the early part of the 20th century (1905) under the then Korean empire but it was not until the late 1960’s (1969) that the park was officially opened even though it had been designated as a historical site in 1963. The zoo section of the park was later established in 1970 and from the year 2000 to date, the park has been opened to the public for free.

The Zoo
The park has a total of 691 animals of 77 species as of the end of June. There are 22 species of mammals, 54 species of birds and 1 species of fish. There are a total of 93 mammals, 298 birds and 300 fishes. This provides a diversity of animals for the viewing pleasure of visitors.
Let me briefly introduce you to some of the animals on display in the zoo.

The Fallow deer
Known scientifically as Dama dama, it has light gray fur with white spots and mostly found in southern Europe and Asia. It has a life expectancy of about 15 years.

The Ezo brown bear
This type of bear is found mostly in Europe and northern part of Asia. The biggest carnivore on land it mostly resides in the forest areas with streams. Not surprising to see it bathing in the water.

The South American Fur seal
As the name suggests, it is mostly found along the South American coast. Its main delicacy is fish and other sea foods and can live up to 30 years.

The Bengal Tiger
Panther Tigris is how it is known scientifically. It is mostly found in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. They belong to the same family as cats (consider tigers as big cats) and can live up to 20 years.

The Asian Elephant
With a maximum weight of 5 tons, it is obviously the biggest land animal on the planet. This type of elephant is mostly found in the Indis, Indonesia and Malaysia. This particular elephant is 44 years and have a life expectancy of 60 years.

The Grant’s Zebra
Known for its distinct black and white striped body, the Grant’s zebra is mostly found in the southern part of Africa and Somalia. Mostly lives in plain land or the savannah and has a life expectancy of 20 years.
Other animals present in the zoo are the ostrich, different species of birds, monkeys, lion and wolves.

Apart from the zoo section, the park has other facilities that will make your visit more comfortable and worthwhile. With about 67,769 trees from 124 species, coupled with numerous well placed benches, provide a cool cozy atmosphere for relaxation and comfort. Could also be an ideal place to gather as a family, friends or couple to spend time together.

In addition to this, the park has water fountains, restrooms and other monuments including that of the famous poet Lee Sang-hwa.

The Daegu Dalseong park is an ideal place to visit this summer and I entreat you all to do so.

Address of park:35, Dalseonggongwon-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu, Korea

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

10 Awesome Date Nights with a Beer Snob

10 AWESOME Date Nights with a Beer Snob

Beer Snobs get a lot of bad press. I personally think it’s OKAY to have preferences other than simply drinking the most economical beer offered on Tap or in cans. It’s still okay to not. It just happens to be my hubby’s hobby to try different varieties of craft beers whenever he gets the chance. So, when date night rolls around, we sometimes look for places that have more than the typical mass-produced lagers and ales (local or international). I don’t even drink beer! The extra challenge then becomes to find a spot with both UNIQUE beers for him, and TASTY non-beer choices for me (because my sweet tooth might be a little picky too).
Note: There are many Anniversary or Special Occasion restaurants in Daegu where couples can go to celebrate their love with a fine meal $$$, and excellent beverages. The search for craft beer Date Nights though tends to lead to “other” venues.

Here’s the top 10 list after a year of Date Nights in Daegu:
1. Godo Retro – Overall Best spot for all categories of FOOD, DESSERT (S’Mores), BOTTLED 
BEER, non-beer alcohol options & balcony ATMOSPHERE
2. Zione (downtown location) – Best intimate ATMOSPHERE, CALZONE & small SANGRIA; limited BEER selection
3. Relax 053 – Best bar/lounge ATMOSPHERE, BEER on TAP Variety, PIZZA, Upbeat MUSIC & NOVELTY DOOR (It’s a lit-up Pizza & Beer Vending Machine); no non-beer alcohol…but the handmade Grapefruit Ade is EXCELLENT
4. Brewer’s Brothers – Best Pub ATMOSPHERE, FISH N CHIPS (bring your own Malt Vinegar), Jazz MUSIC & Irish Coffee; Good BEER variety
5. Etoh’s – Best English-Speaking Crowd, BOARD GAME selection & customer selected MUSIC; Good BEER variety, PIZZA & cocktail selection
6. The Harbor – Best hole-in-the-wall (literally) ATMOSPHERE, 2nd Best Novelty DOOR (It’s a CONNEX door) & large SANGRIA; MOVIE projected on cement wall; limited BEER selection
7. Monsters – Best Open Space Brewery ATMOSPHERE & BEER brewed on site; no non-beer alcohol
8. Harry Pocha – Best Theme ATMOSPHERE; Good FOOD & white wine; limited BEER selection
9. D First Sports Pub (Daegu Samsung Lions Park location) – Best BEER option while going to BASEBALL (located outside of stadium); Good FOOD; no non-beer alcohol
10. Banana Pub – Best ODD spot & 2nd Best DESSERT (grilled banana brûlée); Good BEER variety & one non-beer alcohol option (Monkey Punch…which is just a massive Gin & Tonic)

1. Godo Retro, 2F, 2-32, Dongseong-ro 2-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu (closed Mondays)/053-282-9500

Caste Iron Skillet S’Mores. That was the only reason I insisted on trying this place out. Mayyybe they would have beer? They did! An impressive variety of bottled beer that immediately woo’d and wow’d my husband. And Great Food! The chef speaks perfect English by the way. What is Poutine? A Canadian way to eat steak fries…with cheese curds and brown gravy on top. Other than the obvious shortage of Graham Crackers, the S’Mores were divine. Note: The bar is hard to spot at street level since it is on 2F. Just look up for the top half of a wine bottle logo.

2. Zione (downtown location), 72-1 Dongseong-ro 5-gil, Samdeong-dong, Jung-gu, Daegu/053-424-9122

The Calzone covers half a large plate (basically a full pizza folded in half and filled with many yummy things), and the Salad fits the other half. My hubby gets the Calzone, and I get the Salad. I do still steal some Calzone crust, but it’s so big – it can be spared! This place is “Lady and The Tramp” cozy & romantic (the Apsan Coffee Row location is better suited for families) whether you sit inside or outside under the stars! Tucked in at the end of a skinny alley downtown, it is worth looking for the free-standing A-board marking the way. The restaurant Godam 2015 also shares space in this alley, so you can look for their sign as well.

3. Relax 053, 210 Gyeongsanggamnyeong-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu/010-4485-0411

The actual DOOR is a lit-up Pizza & Beer Vending Machine. Not a functioning vending machine, but a functioning door. It is basement party fun if you can convince the wait staff to not seat you outside in the back-patio. Inside is where you will catch the full vibe of this place! Pizza is sold by the slice (a big slice cut in half – so sharing is totally possible). The young adult crowd seems to really go gaga over the Potato-topped pizza and the Corn-topped pizza; it goes quick! We got the Pesto and it was delicious! This spot would’ve rated #1 in my husband’s Beer Snob assessment for Beer on Tap, but there were no non-beer alcohol options for me. I will say that the handmade Grapefruit Ade was EXCELLENT and highly recommended as a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage!!

4. Brewer’s Brothers, 29, Jong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu /010-3268-4269

Need a Fish N Chips fix? Don’t go anywhere else! But bring your own Malt Vinegar (not offered at BB). Even after a year, I am still not used to the New Orleans style jazz music that gets played here when everything I see tells me I am in a quaint European Pub. Excellent BEER variety. Yummy Irish Coffee. It does get audibly rowdy in such close quarters when a few locals give the Jameson whisky a go.  The outdoor seating will be perfect for these times!

5. Etoh’s, 12-3 Dongseong-ro 3-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu (closed Tuesdays)/053-211-9385

A favorite among English-speaking circles, we always run in to people we know here. Which is why Date Night at this location can evolve into Hangout with Friends Night if you are not careful! Which is great for playing board games like Apples to Apples, helping to eat an entire PIE of PIZZA, or coming up with enough songs to keep Classic Rock on the customer selected MUSIC playlist through to midnight.

6. The Harbor 247 Daebong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu /053-253-3003

This place was a SECRET…until now. It was not listed anywhere, and we NEVER invited anyone to join us whenever we went. It was “OUR PLACE.” #1 on the Date Night list last year. The door is an actual CONNEX DOOR. So cool!! They project movies onto the cement wall and serve the best Sangria in Daegu. No audio, but with trendy flicks like THE PROFESSIONAL, AMELIE, TITANIC, and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL – who needs words?!?
But then they got rid of our favorite couch!! Okay, it’s now #6 on the list and we can disclose its existence to the world! You’re welcome…and Enjoy.

7. Monsters Craft Beer, 45-4, Jong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu/010-7793-0422

Another hidden-in-an-alley location, this multi-level Brewery is the closest we’ve seen in Daegu to the traditional open space floorplan typical of USA breweries. For Atmosphere, this is actually my husband’s favorite. There are no non-beer alcohol options though. That means the next Date Night probably won’t be here again until my Husband celebrates his 40th Birthday in September! The Platinum Craft Beer brewed onsite is the cheapest we’ve seen between 4,900 – 5,400 won per pint.

8. Harry Pocha, 209-5 Daebong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu/053-255-3303
Harry Pocha does a GREAT JOB with its theme. A MUST VISIT for fans. I did enjoy a small glass of sweet white wine. The food menu is expanded from last year, but we still couldn’t find anything special on the beverage menu for the hubby. Great for Double Dates (when 2 couples go out at the same time)!

9. D First Sports Pub (Daegu Samsung Lions Park location), 1 Yagujeonseol-ro, Suseong-gu, Daegu/053-793-1414

This place is actually really nice and my hubby enjoyed their beers very much. The food is GREAT. But buying a bottle of wine is not my preference, so it might as well be no non-beer alcohol option. We LOVE going to Samsung Lions’ Baseball Games! Although…watching actual Samsung Lions games on the TV screens while taking refuge in the Air-Conditioned Brewery might become more popular as Daegu summer temperatures continue to climb! Note: This Brewery Pub is attached to the OUTSIDE of the Stadium so get your Beer take-out prior to going in for the game; or visit anytime as this Pub is open daily for business.

10. Banana Pub, 19, Munugwan-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu (closed SUNDAYS)/070-8801-9872

The address listed for Banana Pub online is incorrect – it stops short of where this quirky watering hole is actually hidden. Hopefully, the address listed above gets you there! Banana Pub is a curious little place that offers a surprising variety of unique beers, and a dessert I never had before: grilled banana brûlée. It was SOOO good! The non-beer alcohol option is MONKEY PUNCH (a pint glass of gin & tonic).
Sure, why not?
Our Top 10 might not be your Top 10! Every couple is different - as individuals are different. Have fun trying to find a place that can be “YOUR PLACE” for Date Night. Daegu offers a lot of options and it doesn’t have to center around alcohol. Have an AWESOME Date Night! Never drink and drive, mind your curfew if you have one, and enjoy each other!

Honorable Mentions:
11. Baqus – Good Food; Street view of Lake, 16 Suseongmot-gil, Suseong-gu, Daegu
12. Percent – Street view to people watch, 206, Daebong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu
13. Black Taco – Popular for groups, 5, Gongpyeong-ro 8-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu
14. Ggul Bbang Laundromat Pub – Unique theme, 96, Dongseong-ro 4-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu

15. Shoreditch – Trendy outdoor courtyard, 219-5, Daebong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu