Indian Music (FM Radio), Movies, TV, Newspaper and Books (Fiction)

28 04 2010

Since I am an avid reader let me start first with books. Most of the bookshops I have visited in Korea have a section on Foreign books. The foreign book section would have English, French, Japanese and books in other languages.  So in a bigger bookstore like Kyobo 70-80% of the bookstore would be dedicated to just Books in Korean Language and the rest to books in foreign language. So that way one would have a very limited choice when it comes to English Language books in Korea. The only Indian (NRI) writer books I saw in Korea were – Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul. Surprisingly the booker winners like Kiran Desai and Aravind Adiga were not to be seen. Most of the popular firang writers are available. And sorry no pirated copies of books are available like the way they are available back home. So all you Chetan Bhagat, Shobha De, Karan Bajaj, Manju Kapoor and other Indian writer fans out there please get your copies of favorite writers when you are moving to Korea.

Hindi Movies DVD’s are available (sorry not in a bookstore) but in the Foreign Mart at Itaewon. Otherwise you can also watch your share of hindi movies here.

You can watch popular Hindi TV channels like zee, sony, star, zoom, sab n others here.

And for online FM radios you can listen to them here and here. Just coz of some legal issues you will not be able to hear any Indian FM channels online. The one that are available are international Hindi FM radio channels which plays latest hindi music.

And for reading Times of India, Economic Times, Mirror, Crest (ditto) click here.





Indian Restaurants in Seoul

28 04 2010

It has been more than 8 months now ever since I moved to Seoul. And as every foodie would do I started exploring the Indian Restaurants in Seoul. Koreans and people from other countries are extremely fond of Indian food and to serve them and us you will find many a Indian Restaurants in Seoul. There are many Indian restaurants in Seoul and most of them serve good food and some also have vegetarian dishes on their menu.

Most of the Indian restaurants are run either by a Nepali or a Pakistani capitalizing on the brand name India. Some are run by Indians. Some serve buffet on weekends whereas others are à la carte where you can order by the menu.  Below is the rundown of restaurants I have visited personally.

Foreign Restaurant at Itaewon – serves buffet on weekends for lunch and dinner and thali set on weekdays. On weekdays the price for a thali would be around 6000 KRW but  on weekend (Fri / Sat / Sun) the price of buffet per plate goes up to 16000 KRW approx. But still it is value for money as after having an elaborate lunch you can easily skip all your other meals.

Chakra at Itaewon – serves buffet (approx 15000 KRW) on weekends and you also have the option to order food by menu. Chakra (at Hannam) is famous amongst South Indian community as they serve South Indian delicacies on many a occasion. Chakra has branches in Seoul, Suwon and many other places. http://www.chakraa.co.kr/kor/index.html

Durga – has many a branches in Seoul. The one I had been to was in the Jongno area, where we had to order our food by the menu. We found it reasonably priced and the food was good. I liked the biryani they served here as compared to Shanti. http://www.durga.co.kr/

Potala – serves Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian food. Very courteous staff and frequently visited by Vegetarians, Vegans and Monks. The hotel serves both veg and non-veg cuisines but they would attend to your vegetarian needs personally and will cook without onion, garlic etc. to suit your palate. The food is yummy and we kept on ordering more and more. The one I visited is located in Myeongdong. http://cafe.naver.com/potala

Shanti – has branches in Sinchon and Hongdae. It has a good decor but the prices are in line with other restaurants. I did not like the biryani they served me, but the nepali staff here is very helpful. http://www.shantifood.com/

Namaste – has many branches across Seoul. We visited the Sinsa branch and found the decor to be awesome. But it is priced slightly towards the higher side. One set meal would cost you around 19000 KRW. The food is good but what I did not like is that for rice they serve korean sticky rice with Indian gravy. For the price they charge they better serve Basmati or Jasmine rice. http://namasterestaurant.co.kr/

Utsav – at Hongdae (close to Sangsu Station) has an awesome decor. The moment you enter this restaurant it seems you have entered some kinda fort in India.. What I like best is that they serve Sizzlers here. Not as good as Yokos, Kobes or Pop Tates but still its good. The Buffet is okay and I feel it is bit highly priced for the items in the menu they serve. But it could be a good place to visit for a romantic dinner and mostly in the evenings. http://www.utsav.co.kr/

Om – is in Samcheon Dong. I have not tried this yet. But my friends who have tried it find this place ok. ttp://www.omfood.kr/

Everest – in Dongdaemun is so famous that if you go there on a weekend you will have to stand in a queue amongst Koreans to order your food. The food is delicious and is well priced. Everest is also one of the oldest restaurant and is managed by a Nepali Family. There are two Everest in Dongdaemun. The one on the main road and the one inside. This one which I am talking about is inside. You can find the details to get there by visiting their website – http://www.everestfood.com/

Yamuna – again in Dongdaemun serves food just like ghar ka khaana. A nepali restaurant which serves awesome momos and nepali thali. They also cook vegetarian food on demand using separate utensils catering both to Jain as well the ones who dont eat onion and garlic. http://indofood.cyworld.com/

Persian Palace – is in Hyewa. I visited this place with my Korean office colleagues and I must say I did like the food. The menu is not Indian, it is Persian. But to me it tastes all the same. If you like Indian Food then you must try this food too.  http://www.persianpalace.co.kr/

There are many other restaurants too – Raja Rani in Hoegi, Taj mahal in Hongdae, Amma in Sinchon and many others. Some are priced well and some are exorbitantly priced. Most serve North Indian or Punjabi delicacies. But nothing beats the prasadam served for free  at the Krishna Korea Temple every Sunday at Haebangchon, Noksapyeong (close to Itaewon).

Other websites:

http://www.ganga.co.kr/new/en/en_main.html
http://www.indiagate.co.kr/
http://www.pooja.co.kr/
http://www.indianfood.kr/
http://www.moghulkorea.com/

You can also read the reviews of a few restaurants at KMK’s blog.





Serendipity

27 04 2010
Brujas Bolar

Brujas Bolar (Witches Ready to Fly)...

This definitely has to be one of the best coincidences in my life.

A Painting that coincides with my name Brijesh Bolar:

Brujas Bolar (Witches Ready to Fly) by Francico Goya. 1796-1797 – genuine hand painted oil painting on canvas. Drawing from the Madrid Album (B.56); Chinese ink, wash. 23.7 x 15 cm





Weekly Winner – Korean Herald – 20th April 2010

22 04 2010

Carlos Steiner Yeosu.., originally uploaded by breeze-O.

This one of mine won the photo challenge and got published in Korean Herald under the Expat Living section on 20th April.

I clicked this on our trip to Mt. Youngchisan, Yeosu with Seoul Hiking Group just after sunrise. After reaching the sunrise point, Handsome n Suave Carlos Steiner started posing on the edge of the cliff for our shutter bugs. A perfect moment for us to capture him on our lenses.

I went ahead and submitted this photo to Seoul Photo Club on Flickr and the rest as you know it by now…

Thanks to Seoul Photo Club for giving us the platform to share and learn and for making me the weekly winner.
Thanks to Warren for organizing such a wonderful trip.
Thanks to Carlos for giving such a killer pose.





India Temple in Korea – Krishna Korea

16 04 2010
Hare Rama Hare Krishna

Krishna Korea Temple in Haebangchon, Seoul

Located in the heart of Seoul, at Haebangchon is the only worship place for Hindus – Krishna Korea Temple.  There is one more at Ujjengbu which is in the outskirts of Seoul.

This temple was opened 2 yrs back, to spread spiritual awareness amongst people in Seoul and give knowledge about Hinduism in general. Everyday after the daily pooja (worship) the temple reads verses from Bhagavad Gita. Anyone who wants to attain liberation from this materialistic world must attend these sessions regularly.  The temple reads Chapters from Gita to helps us understand ourselves better and to offer a medium to help us connect with our God.

I came to Seoul almost a 4 months back but started attending temple regularly only a month back and that is my biggest regret. I should have followed this temple immediately. This temple for me is a home away from home. And it has really helped me to meet many a good people here from all parts of the world – Indian, Korean, Foreigners alike.

What I best like about this temple is that apart from the festivals they conduct regular workshops, games, puzzles, quizzes for kids to make them aware about Hindu Culture and Hinduism. And this according to me is the best practice to reach the tender minds of kids rather than boring them with long lectures. There are even workshops conducted for adults like yoga, korean classes, cooking classes, etc.

The temple offers prasadam on Sundays and on various festivals in the evenings. And it also accepts donations for the same.  Devotees please understand that the temple is run by donations and it is in our hands to ensure that the temple operations runs continuous and smooth. The temple has gone through a lot of hardships and tough times in the past but as per the blessings of Lord Krishna it is still standing and will continue doing so in the future. The temple is a platform for all of us to come together, make new friends, and most importantly remain attached to our roots.  The temple is a door to spread the wisdom about our Hindu culture to the world, embrace the lost souls and give them a purpose in life. So please come and take the blessings from Dear Lord.

If you are coming for the first time then you can visit this link for directions.

Alternatively you can mail on: krishnakorea@gmail.com for any of your queries / suggestions.  Or, visit the temple website. Or, join on facebook for future updates on events and festivals.

|| Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare ||

|| Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare ||





Seoul Allergy Clinic

2 04 2010

While in India, I tried many a doctors – from ayurvedic to homeopathic to dermatologist for diagonising and treating my skin. I used to get this itching sensation once in a while all over my body. It was more like unconscious scratch and if I ignored it for a while then it used to get a bit untolerable. Most of the doctors I visited gave me some anti-allergen pills and some lotion/cream for applying. These were temporary treatments and the doctors somehow could never put a finger on my problem and tell me as to what could have triggered this itching.

After coming to Korea I visited Teng Teng Skin Clinic at Sinsa. The most hopeless  and unfriendly doctor I have ever met. He too like others gave me some anti-allergen pills and some lotion and never had answers to my questions. But he never told me about the side effects the pills would have on me. After 2 weeks I got constipated, thanks to his pills. And when I asked him about the same he told me to have more fruits and drink plenty of water. Which on my behalf I was very punctual about. I drank almost 1.5 litres of water and had healthy food. Had oats n cereals for breakfast, so there was no reason for me to get constipated and no reason for me to visit him again.

The saving grace for me was Seoul Allergy Clinic, close to Apgujeong and just about 5 mins walk from my office at Sinsa. For a change, this doctor did not give me any pills or lotion. They dioganise patients for food allergy and they did the same for me. After the first round of blood and allergy test he put me on an elimination diet. For the first week he told me to have only limited food and completely cut down on meat, diary products, certain vegetables, alcohol and packaged food. On my part I followed his plan and it worked for me.

The second week he told me to have meat, diary products but not the packaged food. This too worked for me. One day when I was not carrying my lunch I had some packaged (flavoured) bread and it triggered my itching again. So that really helped me to nail down the cause of my allergy (pseudo allergy as my doctor would say) – food additives, preservatives, packaged food with chemicals, artificial colors, flavors, essence, MSG (mono sodium glutamate used in Chinese food) etc.

Now I have completely stopped eating food from packets and cans, and this has helped me get rid of my itching for ever. In case if you are suffering from the same you can try the option above – eliminate packaged food,  chips and crackers, flavored breads, alcohol, sugar (replace it with honey), vitamin supplements, beverages, canned food, ready to cook food, coffee sticks (expresso or americano would do), pizza, burger, pasta and you will notice the difference.

If no, then please visit Seoul Allergy Clinic. You can also visit this this link.

For details you can contact – Kim Seol Ran 272ran@naver.com / +82-2-540-4905

P. S. – The doctors speaks good English, has a very helpful staff and is very friendly.