Monday, April 17, 2017

Seoul Survivial Tips: Hammock Cafe

Going to Seoul is filled with wonderful delights, beautiful memories, and - for me - exhaustion. All the new things, the walking, the planning, and general busy pace of city life makes me want to curl up and die... I mean take an afternoon nap. Thankful, in Korea I have the option of just taking a rest. It's one of my favorite parts of life here. 

This weekend I decided to try a new place that I've not visited before. It happens to be located in one of my favorite areas of the city not far from the palaces, in the middle of adorable coffee shops, galleries, and artisan shops.

Located on the third floor, the Nazzzam hammock cafe is a soothing escape. The owner (who speaks near perfect English) maintains a quiet and relaxed atmosphere where all you have to do is sit your butt in a hammock and fall asleep. She even brings a blanket and covers you up, adds privacy curtains if needed, and makes you a nice cup of tea when it's time to go. It was the PERFECT amount of rest to help me get the most out of my trip. I can't wait to go back.

Pro Tips: 
When you arrive be sure to take your shoes off, put on some slippers, and then tuck your shoes in one of the bags hanging by the door. 
Closes earlyish, between 5-7pm This is best for grabbing a nap before or after lunch.

General Information:
Cost: 6,000 won cash for an hour of rest, includes a cup of tea.
Address Korean: 서울시 종로구 계동 115-1 3층 
Address Romanized: (3rd floor, 115-1 Gye-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul)

For those who are unfamiliar with Seoul, you can easily get to the hammock cafe from Pyeongtaek:
  1. Take the bus from Songtan or Pyeongtaek to Nambu
  2. Catch the Orange Line going north 
  3. Exit at Anguk station and walk from there. 
  4. Use a maps app on your phone for walking directions.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Now Booking: Bus to the Daejeon Barefoot Festival

TICKETS: 18,000 won roundtrip
Sunday May 14th, 2017 

Let's get our feet dirty and celebrate the coming summer. South of Seoul;s and Bundang Social Club are teaming up to sponsor a bus to the Daejeon Barefoot Festival leaving from Jeongja Station at 7:50 AM and the back side of Pyeongtaek Station at 8:50AM. This is one of South of Seoul's favorite spring events. The path is stunning and the mud delightful. 

The festival has a great variety of fun activities, including traditional music, dancing, walking barefoot through tranquil mountains, fun performances, hand crafts, a 7km walk, and even a 13km "marathon!"

This trip is not a tightly planned affair. You will be on your own during your time at the Festival. No one is telling you what to do or where to go. Just freely enjoy yourself and your time in the forest. 

First Annual Earth Day Pyeongtaek

Our stretch of road.
We are excited to announce that we are supporting the wonderful blogger Sig Flips the Table in presenting Pyeongtaek's First Annual Earth Day on Saturday April 22nd. The City of Pyeongtaek has been fabulously supportive of this event and will be providing free trash bags to all participants. They can be collected at Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation in Paengseong or Songtan. Read Sig's the full article HERE: to learn the details and then join a local Earth Day team or sponsor a team of your own.

Team SOS will spend the afternoon cleaning a section of country road that runs between Songtan and Paengseong. This stretch of road is rural but also heavily trafficked by US military personnel and local fisherman. It's a beautiful area with excellent pick-nick locations so it should be a lovely day. If you would like to join us we would love to have you. We will start from the public parking lot located across from the large power plant. Just send us a message at southofseoul(at) so we know how much stuff to bring.

Video blogger On Your Mark World will also be there to document this very cool event and make sure everyone knows that they missed. Looking forward to seeing all the photos and hashtags on the 22nd. Let's get out there and clean!!

When: 10am
Where: 평택시 오성면 안화리 47-3 
Lunch Plan: Let's have a picnic together. Everyone bring something to share.
What you need to bring:
  • Work gloves
  • Water
  • Clothes that can get dirty
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • A snack to share
  • A food item to share for lunch
What SOS will bring:
  • We will pickup the bags from PIEF for the group
  • We will bring extra water
  • Items need for setting up the picnic (eating utensils, cups, plates, etc)

Please share the posters below and the Sig Flips the Table's Blog with as many people as you can. This is our chance to show Pyeongtaek residents "Thank you" for their warm and understanding hospitality by pitching in and helping make the area shine.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Useful Phrases for Pet Owners

Always remember, if you don't feel comfortable speaking, you can simply show the server your phone and point the the phrase you need. You can also save these images to your phone for emergencies.

Although ideally we recommend visiting a vet with strong English skills, we also understand that this is often impossible. We also understand that even when a vet speaks English or an expat speaks Korean, misunderstandings still occur. We have compiled this list to empower pet owners to do their best for their fur babies in a stressful situation.

Korean Translation provided by Pyeongtaek Korean Tutors. One-on-one Korean language tutoring with a Certified Korean as a Foreign Language teacher.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Jjajangmyeon / Black Sauce Noodles

Korean Chinese food is similar to American Chinese food in the fact that neither are Chinese food. They are booth abstract interpretations on a theme. There is nothing traditionally "authentic" about either style, but both are beautiful creations if you just let them be who they are and don't try to understand them as Chinese food.

One of the most popular Korean Chinese dishes is called jjajangmyeon (짜장면) and it's like the hamburger in the US - it's essentially fast food, it's everywhere and comes in varying levels of quality. Personally, I don't often eat this dish because - when made poorly - it gives me a stomach ache. However, when it's done right it darn taste. Once again, it mirrors the hamburger.

Recently, by sheer luck, I found - arguably - the best jjajangmyeon (짜장면) joint in town. Not just because the black sauce noodles are top-notch, but because the dumplings and shrimp friend rice are addictive as well. For weeks now I've been craving this place and fighting the urge to stop everyday on the way home from work. The only thing that has kept me away is that I already had plans or my fridge was full of food.

The jjajang was smooth, not bitter and not sweet. They also didn't go too crazy with the onions and cut up the other vegetables perfectly. Often the way the vegetables are cut is one of my biggest complaints, but here it's done right. They also treat the noodles very well: cooked perfectly, not too oily, and no clumping.

However, if you don't want noodles - the item we most highly recommend is the shrimp fried rice (새우볶음밤)which comes with a side of jjajang sauce. It's the best of all worlds. This fried rice isn't oily, the shrimp is cooked like a dream, and it tastes bright.

Also, if you go hungry you can get some of the best homemade dumplings in the area. Since most jjajang joints are focused on the fast food nature of the business, their dumplings are straight from the freezer. Great for the bottom line but not particularly delicious. These dumplings are handmade and filled with flavor.

Despite the fact this place isn't particularly beautiful and it's located in a factory that's awkward to get to - it's still totally worth it.

You can find this restaurant in the South of Seoul App.

(We chose to keep the address information and WAZE information in the app. This is done in order to make sure that information is current and only needs updated in one place when it changes. The South of Seoul App can be downloaded from Google Play and Apple App Store. We do not do this to be annoying. We do this for accuracy.)