We hopped a bus yesterday morning to meet up with a group of vegetarians and vegans in Seoul. There are all sorts of people in the club, teachers, military, students etc. They have meals together a couple of times a month at places that either have veg options or are completely vegetarian.
Yesterday's place was called Dubai Restaurant. They served pan-Middle Eastern food. The only real vegetarian options were on the appetizer menu, so Ian and I were a little disappointed. Ian and I shared falafel, flat bread and a spread plate that included hummus, baba ganoush and yogurt. In reality, we could have went downstairs and got a falafel wrap including many of the same components for less money (Itaewon is full of foreign food options), but the company was good, so it didn't really matter.
The falafel was very good.
Mazza. The spread plate.
The group. There were about 30 of us and for most people it was either their first meal with the group or their first in a long time. We spent most of the time talking to Mirika (Ian's right) from New Zealand. She's here doing research for her Master's (I think) thesis on the DMZ Peace Park (the natural area up there). There is supposed to be another event next Sunday. It'll be at a vegan place (the club always does one strictly vegan event a month), so there should be lots of food options. I think Steve wanted to do it at the Loving Hut buffet. We've been to Loving Hut before, but never the buffet (which is it's claim to fame). So, I think we'll be heading up there again. It's nice to meet new people who have something so fundamental in common with you. Though, this event did make us realize how different our experience would be if we lived in or near Seoul. We finished our food around 1:30, but we were there talking until 3 and we weren't the last to leave.
After our unexpectedly small lunch we went to the foreign food market. We bought chickpeas and couscous, so there should be some photograph worthy dinners to come. Then we headed to What the Book?. It's an all English new and used bookstore. We've ordered online from them once, but we decided to stop in. I didn't know how much I had missed browsing books. Ian got a Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan and I got A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time). A stranger randomly recommended Empire of the Ants to Ian, so we got it. We'd heard positive things about it. I'm excited to start my new book. I'm currently two thirds through Gaiman's American Gods, but I think I'm going to give it up. I'm simply not into it and I've been pushing through it forever. I'll try a different Gaiman some other time.
After doing our shopping we were already hungry, so we decided on an early dinner. We chose Kraze Burger, remembering that they had a couple vegetarian burger/ sandwich options. We shared a side of fries and each got the "Veg and Bean" burger, a tofu patty with mushrooms, lettuce and tomato on a wheat bun.
The pickles were sweet, but homemade and delicious. The burger was great. I even ate some of the mushrooms. The sauce on the plate is bulgogi sauce (a Korean specialty made from soy, vinegar, sugar and other spices). It was our first time trying this ubiquitous Korean invention. It's a very good barbecue sauce, actually. I hope to make some at home.
After dinner we went to Costco to pick up some necessities: Tums, socks, tortillas, Cheerios, JellyBelly's, Reese's Whopper eggs. Easter is coming up and Costco was full of enough holiday candy to make anyone homesick. But, the samples were fabulous.
Naturally, we stopped for ice cream before we went home.
Mine is on the left. I'm trying to be very conscious about portions these days. Not that Ian doesn't watch his. His ice cream was simply large and in charge last night.
We had a minor fiasco getting home. We wanted to take the train, but we accidentally directed the taxi driver to the wrong station. Then we made the mistake of asking a station worker for help. He enlisted four others to help him and after ten minutes of waiting for them to figure out what we needed, they called us into the back room where he showed us a map (to tell us where Jecheon is) and gave us all the train times for Seoul to Jecheon. It was all very nice, and had we actually been lost, his info would have been a life saver (I hope he can help some confused tourist some day). But, we simply did not need the level help as he wanted to give. We decided to go back to the bus terminal. Buses are a little faster and we'd already wasted time at the wrong station.
It was a very good day. This afternoon we will be heading to the park to play basketball with the other Jecheon teachers. A very social weekend, indeed.