Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gringos Burritos: Delivery Across Korea


For years, before all the fancy new restaurants, Gringo Burritos has taken care of expats across Korea. They ship fresh, tasty, homemade burritos and sides right to our doors. They are delicious, reliable, and a blessing to have around.

If you find yourself wishing your freezer was filled with magical prepared food, I highly recommend keeping your freezer full of Gringos.  They are the perfect solution for those pesky, late night burrito cravings. 

Order your own: 
www.gringoskorea.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

UnWined


Tucked away on a back street in Songtan, near the AF base, UnWined is my favorite drinking establishment. They have a small, but nice selection of wine that please nearly everyone. They also speak English and have English menus.  

The food is Italian inspired with things like pizza and cheese plates. A favorite aspect for me is that they will make me delicious cheese-less Pizza smothered in tomato and basil and pepperoni.  Since cheese is a no-go for me, I really value their willingness willingness to cater to my dietary restricts. Something many eateries won't do, especially pizza shops. 

Each month the Songtan and Seojeongri Teachers group meets here to share battle stories and get a little tipsy. I've also heard there is a wine tasting group that meets there once a month or so, ask the bar about it.  

Name: UnWined
Address: 경기도 평택시 신장동 317-29




Monday, November 23, 2015

Hiking Next to Pyeongtaek Lake


Recently our lives have calmed down and we have more time to explore. Our first lazy Sunday found us wandering through the woods in one of the pretties hike in the area. It's also a great area for walking your puppies. Not a lot of people, but plenty with little puppies of their own. (As always, remember to pick up after you puppies.)

The trail is a nice challenged, but not difficult. Simply a pleasant, meandering walk in the woods. There are plenty of benches and even a napping platform if you get knackered... or I guess I need to say tired.

Although there are many enterences to this little trail system, I've given the address to the area with the most parking if you drive.  There is also a bus that will take you here, although I don't know the number, or you can ride your bike.

Address: 경기도 평택시 현덕면 신왕리 산66
Naver Map: http://me2.do/xpx7saS6














Sunday, November 22, 2015

4 Fab Shabu Shabu Restaurants


Shabu Shabu (샤브샤브) is one of the most delicious things you can eat. Originally from China, but also famous in Japan, it is often called "hot pot". In Korea it has many delightful variations that involve a fusion of different cultures. 

In the Pyeongtaek area we have eaten almost as much Shabu Shabu as we have eaten Budaejjigae so we've done our research. These are our favorite styles thus far, as well as our favorite place to eat each one. This list is in no particular order and summarizes our favorite places and styles.  Click through to the full blog for additional information and addresses. We are too lazy to put it all here.

1.Vietnamese Shabu Shabu
with fresh rolls.

This is what we eat when we are craving crazy amounts of veggies. At this particular restaurant, you not only get veggie but you also have unlimited meat. So come hungry.

2. Pork Shabu Shabu
with Duck Roasted in Pumpkin.

Go here hungry because the side dishes are a meal in themselves. You will be feasting on shaved pork and duck cooked in pumpkin. Then you will be left wondering how you lived before eating this meal.

3. Seafood Shabu Shabu
with Udon

Sometimes we aren't feeling like a lot of meat, so we choose seafood shabu shabu which is lighter... well, it would be lighter if we didn't our body weight in side dishes. This particular restaurant is nice because the pot is split in half. So you can actually order pork and seafood at the same time and cook them separately.


4. Beef Shabu Shabu 
with Homemade Noodles


The full blog for this restaurant will come along in a few weeks, but it needed to be on this list. This restaurant does not serve side dishes with their shabu shabu, instead they rely on one of the most delicious broths I've ever tasted. This particular restaurant is a chain, but they are not all created equal. The one in Anjung-eup is one of the best meals I've ever had and non of the other versions of this chain come close. Since there isn't a bigger blog for this yet. Here is the name and address.

Name: 등촌칼국수
Address.안중로18번길 - 경기도 평택시 안중읍



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review it Forward

This blog was created because I love living my expat life in Pyeongtaek. Love eating the food, doing the things, and going to the places. It's also delightful to support my community and stay involved with the world around me.

However, while typing away on my next novel I realized there is something you can do to support the blog. If you find South of Seoul enjoyable or useful in anyway, you can buy my novel Chasing Tales on Amazon.  It just happens to be all about living the expat life, eating the food, drinking the drinks, making the friends, and doing the stuff. So it should be right up your ally. It's also available for kindle for $2.99. I promise it's not as bad as you might think, a few folks have even told me it's changed their lives. Which seems a bit intense, but also makes me happy.
 

 
Wait, you're not done yet! When you finish the book, and this is actually the most important part, can you pretty PLEASE review it on Amazon and Goodreads?  
 
In the next year (ish) I will be releasing the second book in the series and I need to get back on the requesting reviews wagon. Most people don't even know I write books at all so any amount of promotion is better than I've done in the past. So if you have been to a restaurant or people have been to your restaurant because of South of Seoul, consider reading the book and posting a review. I'd be over the moon and back. 
 
Thank you all and happy eating.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Oishi


When I want sushi rolls I go to Oishi in Songtan, full stop. I'm not talking sashimi, I'm talking rolls. Since college, I've been a sushi roll addict so I'm glad I can still get my fix in my neighborhood. Sometimes I'm there two or three times a week, and at this point it's like my Cheers. My absolute favorite things to order are the Spicy Tuna and Spicy Salmon Rolls (although I have loved every other one that I have tried) and Shrimp Tempura Udon.

There are three primary reasons this place is my go too:
1) They don't use too much rice
2) Their sauces don't ruin the roll
3) The fish is quality every time

In addition to the food, the staff is simply lovely and I enjoy my time there. It's relaxed, they know me. When I'm eating alone I can pull up a spot at the sushi bar and chat or just chill by myself if I'm tired. I like that fact, I can talk or not talk.  It's my choice.

If you are looking for you sushi hangout, consider getting your butts over to Oishi.  No one I've met has ever regretted it.

Name: Oishi 
Address: Shinjangdong 298-70, Pyeongtaek







Monday, November 16, 2015

How to Use the Subway and Where to Go


While living in Pyeongtaek you are going need to become one with the Seoul Subway. However, it's not just a way to get to Itaewon. It also takes you to an amazing treasure trove of interesting stops hidden across our province. We encourage you to watch these videos, read the blog listed, and create a plan to tour Gyeonggi-do via the Seoul Subway.

1: How To Use The Subway

If you aren't familiar with using the Seoul Subway System, here is a great video tutorial from YouTube.  The subway system is very easy to use and if you use the app mentioned below, it's almost fool proof... almost. The first few times can feel overwhelming, but stick with it.  You will become a pro.


2: The Best Subway App

Be warned, there are multiple apps for the Seoul Subway System but only one that matters - this one. Erase all the others and forget you ever saw them. Also, you want to download this app when you have access to wifi so prepare before you leave home. This app will give you options such as fastest route and easiest route. It also estimates time and cost. Although, for longer trips, the timing is often not accurate so allow some extra time if you are going over an hours ride.


3: Where to Go

Now that you are ready to travel, it's time to figure out where to go. Without the right help, it can feel like an impossible choice.  The Seoul Subway System is huge and a dot on the map doesn't tell you much. Thankfully there is both a blog and a series of YouTube videos that can help you.

First the blog, The folks at Seoul Suburban have created an incredibly comprehensive set of blogs over the last 5 years that tell you everything you need to know about touring the Seoul Subway.  We recommend visiting them at seoulsuburban.com and building your dream travel list. It's a phenomenal resource. 

Next, you can also watch Subway Saturdays on YouTube.  They give excellent directions to some very cool places and you can also get an idea about what it's like to just walk around the areas. The downside is that they only have five episodes, so after you have watched them all, refer to Seoul Suburban.


BONUS VIDEOS:

For a little extra motivation, check out the Seoul Subway Song. It's catchy and makes me want to run out and go some place random on the Seoul Subway System every time I watch it.


How to take the subway to the airport.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

3 Best Budaejjigae Restaurants


If you enjoy spicy, garlic-y, comfort food this is your jam. Budaejjigae (부대찌개), often translated into Soldier Stew, is a spicy meat stew originally made from base scraps during the Korean War. It is now a very popular, hearty meal very popular on cold or rainy days. In our house, it's a huge favorite and we have tried it across Korea.

In the five years that we have searched for the perfect Budaejjigae, we have never found anything better than these three versions in Songtan.  Our top three choices are each uniquely delicious, but all share a richness in flavor that is hard to match.

김네집 (KimNaeJeep) - Walking distance from Osan Main Gate

The most popular place in Songtan is 김네집 located in a back ally just off the main shopping strip in Songtan. Just before the train tracks you go right and then take another right into an alley that looks like it couldn't possibly be a delicious restaurant.

However, there is often a long line of people waiting to get it during lunch and dinner so go early if you want to be seated quickly. There are two floors, so just because downstairs is full doesn't mean there is no seating.

Check out additional imagines on this Korean blog.

Address: 경기도 평택시 중앙시장로25번길 15
Street Address: 경기도 평택시 신장동 322-38
Phone Number: 031-666-3648

숯고개부대찌개 - Walking distance from Osan Main Gate

This is actually our favorite location because it has more garlic than most.  Its located on the main shopping strip in Songtan past the train tracks on the left across from the auction house. Once again, this restaurant has two floors so check upstairs for seats as well.


Street Address: 경기도 평택시 신장동 325-12
Driving Address: 경기도 평택시 쇼핑로 39-1
Telephone: 031-666-2768 

송탄최네집 부대찌개 - Walking distance from City Hall / Lotte Cinema

We love this version because it's a little lighter than the first two and tastes very fresh. It's nice in the summer when we feel like a little less garlic. The onions are also just delicious and a highlight. We have eaten a lot of Korean food so things like the quality of the onions stands out to us. They also have Dr. Pepper which is usual and a plus. You can see more photos on this Korean blog. This is a good location if you aren't sure you are ready to go full garlic.

Address: 경기도 평택시 경기대로 1401 
Street Address: 서정동 779-3

Monday, November 9, 2015

5 Ways To Stay Warm at Home


Complaining about the cold when you aren't wearing the proper hat and gloves is as silly as complaining about the heat because you wore a snowsuit to the beach in Hawaii. Korean winters are easily managed with preparation and consideration for what is to come. You will find plenty of affordable cold weather gear being sold in street stalls, dollar stores, etc. So start preparing. Either that or you can continue to dress like it's fall for the rest of the year and complain about it endlessly as if there is nothing you can do about it. Personally, I prefer to be warm rather than whinging.

Here are the tricks we use to stay warm in the winter while also keeping utilities low.

1. Bubble Wrap your windows.

This is an incredible inexpensive (20,000 \ for our three bedroom apartment) and easy thing to do to save a few bucks.  They will be selling bubble wrap at Emart and Homeplus pretty soon, or us Ask Adjumma to order it for you online. We go through and cover every window in the house and it keeps us at least 5 degrees warmer.  Since I don't like to heat my house, this a huge difference for us. It can save you between 50-100,000 \ a month.  Here is quick explanation and tutorial. We do this every year and keep us warm and our bills much lower.


2. Door Guard

A nice way to keep a bit of extra heat in the house is to use a front door guard during the winter. We actually have used tub socks and rice, but here is an option for using an old pair of blue jeans for a DIY door guard.  You can also use tape instead of sewing if you don't feel fancy.  You can also buy a body pillow for about 20,000 \ and use that just as easily.


3. Bed Heaters

We use an electric heated bed mat. There are also electric couch, chair and floor mats. They come in all price ranges and really make winter more enjoyable.  A nice one runs between 75,000 - 125,000 depending on size.  We like them better than blankets. The one warning is that they will dehydrate you so be sure to drink a lot of water before bed and when you wake up. Also, be sure to turn them off when you aren't home.

4. Using your heated floor the local way

In order to stay warm and not spend all your money, it's important to understand your floor heating system. Here is a relatively not boring summary on this from EYK


5. Fuzzy Slippers (and everything else)

This sounds silly, but winter is a lot more enjoyable if you have a good pair of fuzzy slippers. Keep your feet warm and the rest of you follows. We dress this way at home all winter and kind of love it.  Here is EYK once again, showing you a few more tricks.



Sunday, November 8, 2015

2 Best Eggs Benedicts (I mean brunches)

Thank you Kamila for the photo.  She said Louis' benny was, "Frickin' delicous"
Brunch has started to become quite vogue in Korea, however, many of the "brunch" options are rather strange.  And by strange and I mean Eggs Benedict is not on the menu.  I can forgive calling it brunch and not have Mimosas (ok not really), but no Egg Benny?

Thankfully, in Anjeong-ri, they are swimming in Hollandaise sauce. On Saturday (late morning, don't expect anything before 10am) you can stuff your beautiful face until you feel fat, content, and indulged - like any good brunch should make you feel. The only thing missing are the Mimosas, but I've said that so I should let it go (except I hear my heart crying inside so it's hard).

Brunch Monday - Saturdays from 11:30

A fast favorite. The Stoop has now become everyone's addiction.  Not only do they crank out killer New York style Italian food, but they also make TWO kinds of Eggs Benedict your mother warned you about.  If the restaurant was your date, I'd say marry them now. Plus, Mimosas are on the menu. These are the things that brunch dreams are made of.

Brunch Saturday & Sunday from 10am - 2pm

The new kid in town came out swinging last weekend with a brunch menu to make you weep.  The Eggs Benedict even has an awesome twist using homemade chorizo and fresh biscuits (thanks to Kamila for the picture above). It's sassy and classically fresh. They also serve Bloody Marys which are an excellent substitute for a Mimosa during the winter (but come summer, that's a different story). *edit* rumor has it they have Mimosas on request.

See you all at brunch. 

(As always, if you have a great place to recommend.  Please leave a comment so we can check it out.)

In Memoriam: Alice's Brunch Cafe - Songtan has closed for business. This was one of the only places for brunch for years. It will be missed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

6 Best Places for Lamb


For all the lamb lovers out there, we actually have quite a few nice options in the area. I'm a huge fan of almost all of them. If you know of a great place for lamb in your area, please leave the address or phone number in the comments so that we can add it to the list.

South African
Braii Republic - Anjeong-ri
Main Shopping Street Out Camp Humpherys Walking Gate

Italian
Del Vino - Pyeongtaek
Located near KB Bank Intersection.

Middle Eastern
Moroccan Restaurant - Songtan
Located on the main shopping street, second floor near Cafe CF across from the bank.

Indian
Moti Mahal - Pyeongtaek, Anjeong-ri
Swoyambhu - Pyeongtaek

Korean 
비전양꼬치 (Grilled Lamb Skewers)  - Pyeongtaek
Address: 경기도 평택시 비전3로 32 강일프라자1
Phone: 031-692-9292

Anjung / Pyeongtaek Chili Cook Off



After a busy weekend of tests, Halloween, jjimjilbangs and friends we topped it off by attending the Chili Cook Off being held near Anjung-eup. Despite not actually attending the church, the BBQ's, birthdays, Cook Offs and other intercultural events hosted by Deakwang Church of the Nazarene are a big part of our lives here in Pyeongtaek. We really enjoy the congregation and staff, many of whom have been close personal friends the entire time we have lived here.  It's a stable, supportive, and inclusive community.  

This particular Cook Off was both a potluck and a cooking challenge, so in addition to sampling five delicious posts of chili, we also chowed down on Indian, Filipino, Korean and American dishes.  

Sadly, this year we only contributed to the potluck and not the Cook Off due to our poor planning and lack of beans. That said, we would like to congratulate Ronnie for his wins as best overall chili and spiciest.  They were well deserved. Hoping that this will be annual event and next year we can give you a run for your money.

If you are interested in being part of these events, you can join their group on Facebook at Daekwang Church of the Nazarene,

Monday, November 2, 2015

Japanese Ramen: 소노야


With all the talk of Japanese ramen lately, I felt compelled to try the new place I noticed behind Starbucks.  It's cute, affordable, and self services.  That means, even though the place is quite small, you will be going to the country to pick-up and return your meal.  You will also get your own water and drinks. Just an FYI for those that aren't use to this style of service.  I chose the miso ramen which was warm and soothing.  This wasn't ramen that changed my life, but it was a nice lunch at a nice price.  Not entirely Japanese in flavor, but also not entirely Korean, it walked the line between countries with relative grace.  If you aren't a ramen enthusiast this is going to taste delightful to you, however, if you are specifically craving Japanese ramen then it could feel like a disappointment since it's not spot on.  Personally, I will chose this over other Korean ramen shops because of the noodles. Even though I often crave ramen like crack, it's not that kind to my stomach so I don't often eat it.  However, this dish treated me right and I left feeling light and warm.  It's certainly a place I will go again when I'm downtown Pyeongtaek eating again.Of course, there are also many other options on the menu that looked great so it's also a good place to take the kids.Location:Behind the (New) Starbucks in PyeongtaekAddress: 경기도 평택시 평택동 293-1







Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mandu Restaurant: 엄정 자신있는 만두


If you are in downtown Pyeongtaek near the KB Bank intersection and need something fast, I heartily recommend this little "fast food" joint. It's one of my favorite spots to grab something cheap and fast, usually the galbi mandu or the fried mandu - or both. The food tastes fresh, and if you are really busy to can just grab it to go and eat it on the road.  A wonderful thing when you are feeling hangry.

Sorry that I don't have a photo of my actual meal as I was in a hurry and almost forgot to take any photos at all this time.

Pyeongtaek City Center about 5 minutes from Ak Plaza
Located near the KB Bank Intersection across from It Plate.
Address: 경기도 평택시 평택동 48-1








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