Paad Bing Su.. 팥빙수

16 08 2010

Come summer and Korea offers a lot of delicacies to beat off the heat. Most of you might have had the variants of Noodles served with crushed ice. But what really took me by my heart is Paad Bing Su..

Picture Credit: Manji..

You can have Paad Bing Su like a meal or a dessert. It is basically made of crushed / sliced ice topped with sweet Red Bean paste, fruits like kiwi, pineapple, banana, strawberry and others. Normally the sliced ice is mixed with condensed milk and small pieces of tokk (rice cakes). Finally is topped with yogurt. Baskin Robbins or the various other cafes serving Paad-Bing-Su would top it with Ice Cream.

This one is not to be missed before the Summer gives it way to fall..





Jjajangmyeon with Nuna

25 05 2010

For my lunch I visit a small sandwich shop very close to my office where this lady makes nice toast with egg n pickles. The first time when I went to her shop she asked me few things in Korean, like where I am from, how long I have been here etc. As such I did not expect her to speak English so I started chatting with her in broken Korean.

I continued visiting her place everyday during lunch time and we started chatting in her broken English and my broken Korean about places, weather, my family, her family, Indian food, my marital status etc. We kinda developed a bond and I was liking it coz it gave me an opportunity to improvise on my Korean Speaking skills.

At times, she would introduce me to her other customer and they would talk to me in English. She felt sorry at times that she could talk to me in English and there was so much to talk about. But she did manage to tell me that she was very happy to see me.  I started calling her Nuna, which means elder sister in Korean. And she spoke to me like her younger brother. She would ask what I do on weekends and if I knew cooking. When am I planning to get married etc.

Finally one day she invited me for dinner. She asked if I like Jjajangmyeon and I said yes. She told me that we can go together. But I kind of bounced as I was too busy with work. The next day when I went to her shop as usual she said she waited for me long and was disappointed. So we went out for lunch and had Jjajangmyeon in a Chinese Siktang (Restaurant). And it was really yummy. Jjajangmyeon is Chinese noodles with black sauce. It is very famous in Korea and Koreans eat it with great appetite. And now I am a big fan of it too. I seriously love Jjajangmyeon.

So when I was about to pay the bill, Nuna did not allow me to. She said next time, next time. That was so very sweet of her. I mean I am just her customer not even her employee or colleague and she treats me for lunch with her own money. I was truly touched by her affection and hospitality. Truly for me Korea is home away from home. The people here are so warm and friendly that it gives me one more reason to fall in love with Korea. I LOVE KOREA.

Cheers to more Lunch with my Nuna 🙂





Cost of living in Seoul, Korea

25 02 2010

Indians who are coming to  Korea for the very first time can find the information below very helpful. I have written this article keeping Seoul in mind but if you are visiting some other city or province this information would still be helpful to you in giving you a fair idea about living in Korea.

The Cost of Living in Seoul Korea can broadly be divided into:

Accommodation

  • Deposit – Rs. 2 lacs / 5 Million Won approx ($5000)
  • Monthly Rent – Rs. 20,000 / 500,000 Won per month approx ($500)

Maintenance

  • Winter – Heater / Gas / Electricity / Water – Rs. 2,000 / 50,000 Won per month approx ($50)

Food and Grocery

  • If you cook at home – Rs. 8000 / 200,000 Won per month approx ($200)
  • If you eat outside – Rs 16000 / 400,000 Won per month approx ($400)

Travelling using public transport

  • If you travel by subway or bus – Rs. 3600 / 90,000 per month (including weekend travelling) ($90)

Communication

  • Local calls using Mobile – Rs. 900 / 23,000 Won per month ($23)
  • International Calling cards – Rs. 600 / 15,000 won per month ($15)
  • PC to Phone – Rs. 800 / 20,000 won for 3 – 4 months.
  • Internet – Rs. 500 / 13,000 Won per month

So per month you would be spending approx – Rs. 36000 / 900,000 Won per month. ($900)

Accommodation (and maintenance): The cost of accommodation depends upon many a factors – whether you are staying alone or with family, location of the house, room sharing etc.

If you are staying alone in an officetel or a studio apartment then your monthly rent can come to – 300,000 – 350,000 won per month ($300 – $350). For certain officetel you need not pay any maintenance like electricity, water, gas, heater separately. It is all inclusive (including dinner). But since it is occupied mostly by Korean students for studying you would not be allowed to invite your friends over or talk inside the room.

If you are sharing your room then your monthly rent as well as maintenance can come down to – 300,000 – 350,000 won per month. You are likely to share your room with a Korean family, Korean students or some other foreigner. Maintenance and food is separate but it will be shared between the room-mates.

If you are staying with your family then your monthly rent will be minimum 500,000 won per month ($500). Maintenance separate.

Alternatively you can post your requirements for an apt/room sharing on Craigslist and you will have people contacting you directly.

The cost of accommodation may vary as per location. Places which are 40-50 minutes distance via Subway trains in Seoul would charge you lesser rent as compared to places in the proximity of Seoul Metropolitan area. For more detailed information you can read this article at KMK’s blog here.

Deposit (Key Money) – Except for officetel, for other apartment or studio you would be required to pay Key Money or deposit before you sign the lease. The key money / deposit could range anywhere between 2 Million won to 5 Million won ($5000).

Furniture – Most of the studio or apartment are sometimes furnished, but you can check for the following things before you accept the offer

  • Bed with blankets
  • Refrigerator
  • Washing machine
  • Microwave
  • Gas stove for cooking
  • Chair and desk
  • Room heater facility

Officetel are normally furnished with a bed, chair and desk, refrigerator. They may share a common kitchen, bathroom and washing machine.

Water – Water is a bit hard in Korea so some Indians may not find it suitable for drinking. You may chose to boil it before drinking or use mineral water which is approx. 600 – 800 won (Rs. 25 – 35 per bottle in a department store) for a 2 litre bottle.

Food – Certain food items like milk, bread, butter, jam, yoghurt, corn flakes, ketchup, tea, coffee, noodles, egg, raw chicken, Korean rice, onion, potato, fruits and vegetables are easily available in Korean department store. If you need to do shopping for Indian Grocery items then you need to visit the Foreign Shop and Marhaba at Itaewon. You might not get everything but you would get many Indian spices, pulses and food items for cooking. These shops does not cater only to Indian but also Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, Nepalis, Mangolians and others. There is also a Nepal Street in Dongdaemun. Dongdaemun is considered as mini Nepal as it has many Nepali shops and restaurants.

There are many Indian Restaurants in Korea but they are a bit expensive. Other eateries like Mc Donalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza hut, Paris Baguette, Papa Jones, TGI Friday, Subway, Quiznoss, Sunshine Kababs and many other burger, pizza, hotdog and kabab joints are commonly found in Korea. Eating in any of these eateries can set you back by approx 4000 – 5000 won per head. And sorry no vegetarian food available. Most of the food items would contain beef or pork but you will get chicken items too in any of these outlets easily.

Travelling – Public Transport is highly efficient in Korea. From Subway lines to buses you can chose anything for your daily mode of transportation. All you need is a T-Money card to travel. T-Money Card is widely accepted in buses, subway trains, taxi, Seven Eleven shops, Public telephone booths and many other places. T-Money card is available in any Seven Eleven shop for 3000 Won which you can reload with money from time to time as per your requirement.

Communication – For calling India you can get an International Calling Card from the foreign shop as mentioned above or any other roadside or subway shop which displays the following board – International Calling Cards. This card is like a scratch card. It has a Card No. which you will have to use for making International Calls from a public phone or your cell phone. The card has around 110 calling minutes and are available from various companies for various denominations. Sky and Very Good are amongst the commonly used cards. Other economical option is to use pc to phone services – for Rs. 800 or 20$ you can get 1000 minutes of talk time to India. For calling other countries you can check their website.

Doctors – You will find English speaking doctors mostly at Haebangchon and Itaewon, but you will find English Speaking doctors in other areas too. Look for International clinic when you visit Korea. And it is important to have a health insurance else a visit to a doctor could be very expensive.

E commerce – Internet is the fastest in Korea as compared to any other country in the world. And Korea is very tech or net savvy. Ecommerce is a big business in Korea and you can shop most of your items from G Market – http://www.gmarket.co.kr/index_eng.asp. But to use this website you need to have your Alien Registration Card and a cell phone.

Alien Registration Card – Every foreigner after landing in Korea is required to apply for Alien Registration Card. This card enables you to open a bank account, procure a phone and do other important activities in Korea. You need to visit the Korean Immigration office with your passport, employment agreement, passport size photo, and 10,000 won for stamping.

You can visit the site below for additional information:

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto

Please note: 1000 won is considered equivalent to $1 for easy computing

___________________________________________________________________

If you want to meet more Indians living, working or studying in Korea then you must visit Indians in Korea website and register with their yahoo group.

To Subscribe in IIK group, mail to
indianscommunityinKorea-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Group Link:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/indianscommunityinKorea

Here in this group you will find more than 10,000 Indians working or studying in Korea. So if you are not able to find answers to your query you must register on their yahoo group and post you queries on the group to get it answered by Indians living in Korea.





Korean Food

14 01 2010
Korean Food is very healthy as it is mostly made of tofu, veggies, sprouts n meat. For an Indian who eats non vegeterian food I guess it would be easier to adapt to korean food, as most of the korean dishes are accompanied with a bowl of rice. Plus every dish you order is accompanied with many a side dishes – around 7-8 at a time. Most of these side dishes are either sprouts, marinated veggies, tofu dishes, seafood, omlette and kimchi. Kimchi is famous throughout Korea, more like their national dish and you get kimchi served with every dish. Kimchi is basically cabbage or radish pickled (fermented) in Korean Spices. It is supposed to be spicy but not as spicy as Indian food.
 
For main course they serve various stews (jjigae) – like they have kimchi-jjigae, stew made from kimchi and pork or seafood, sundubu-jjigae, stew made from soft tofu and veggies, mandu-jjigae, stew with dumplings (mandoo), stew with noodles or sprouts etc. Then they have Kimbap (Gimbap) which is a Korean variant of Japanese Sushi Rolls – meat and veggies covered in sticky rice – rolled in dried seaweed. And Bibimbap, which is Korean Rice served or eaten with various mixed vegetables, sprouts and omlette.
 
Some Korean Restaurants have barbeque on every table, where they serve raw meat (pork) and u can grill them on ur table and eat the pieces wrapped in lettuce leaves and green onion salad. Koreans eat this on special occasions.
Well these are the korean food I have tried so far. There are many others available and some are seasonal. Like ice noodle soup (noodles served with ice) for summer. And many other beef variants for beef lovers like bulgogi and gabli (which I personally dont prefer coz Hindus dont eat beef). Then there are a variety of street food served in Korea too for snacks (which I have yet to taste).
It might seem that Korean food has been influenced a lot by Japan and China (sushi, dumplings, noodles, green tea etc.) but then Koreans get offended when you tell them about this. Well its actually the other way round. It is Japan and China to a very great extent have borrowed the culinary habits from Korean and have taken the credit for it as if it was originated from their own country. Well I am sure this might give rise to a lot of debate. But on my part I prefer to keep mum and savour the taste of the food served on my table.
Mashikke Tusseyo!
(enjoy your meal)