Beondegi – Korean silkworm pupa

canned food

I got this can of mystery food in Busan and had it last night for supper. I call it mystery food coz I still don’t know what it is. I don’t read Korean and since I bought this in Korea, there are no English translations anywhere.

Update: I have found out what this is! =D It’s Beondegi Korean silkworm pupa. It’s a very popular snack in Korea and can be found in convenience stores in cans, where I got mine.

korean canned food

It looks remarkably similar to cockroach larvae right?

cockroach larvae

Exhibit A

Update: I emailed the photo below to the Korea Air flight crew that I met and she translated it for it – it is Beondegi (Silkworm). Mmm…I’m so glad I accidentally purchased this! =D

Beondegi Korean silkworm pupa

I would have dedicated a longer post if I knew it was silkworm pupa though, but worry not, I have ANOTHER CAN (had the foresight to get two – haha) so I’ll do a cooking post with that one. :) 

It’s crunchy too, just like how cockroach egg casings sound when you step on it. I found it quite delicious actually.

McDonald's Coca-Cola Contour Glass

mcdonalds

I love McDonald’s and I’ve been writing about their promotions for ages. Don’t
stare me, just look at my archives.

korea 

I even rushed to the nearest McDonald’s in Korea during my recent trip to Busan to grab a Big Bulgogi Burger (their localized specialty).

mcdonalds prawn wrappers

I started my passion for the Golden Arches with the McDonald’s promotions in Australia – a particularly memorable one is a cross-promo with Scrabble. I remember trying to eat their entire menu (one of each burger) during an astoundingly stupid dare when I was in university. It didn’t work out too well. Chronically ravenous *cough*, I started with the McOz burger, and proceeded to eat three more burgers before slowing down and grinding to a complete halt, stomach near bursting.

mcdonalds mcoz aussie burger

The next time I tried to eat everything was done in a more appropriate (read: controlled) setting – the Salads Plus menu, over the course of a couple of days.

mcdonalds sega2

My love for McDonald’s collectibles is not unknown either – I rushed off during my lunch break in 2004 to get my grubby paws on the McDonald’s and Sega 2 mini video games. One horrific day, the handheld game sold out BEFORE lunch hour and I had to scour the entire town for places that still has it. Since then, I’ve taken to going in the morning before work. I stood outside the outlet as it opened, and it got to a point where the people working there recognize me and waves.

Some other memorable McDonald’s promotions:

McDonald’s Crispy Prawn Burger and Prawn Wrappers
McDonald’s Fish McDippers
McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Foldover
McDonald’s Prosperity Burger Chicken and Prosperity Desserts
McDonald’s Spicy FIFA World Cup Soccer Star promotion
Mega Mac and Big Mac Chant
McDonald’s Gold Medal Meal Beijing 2008

I loved the Crispy Prawn Burger and I really wish they’ll bring it back. It’s awesome stuff. The Olympics 2008 glass is the predecessor to the 2009 Coke Glass promo which is the point of this post. I’ll better get to the gist of it before this turns into a full blown PhD dissertation. ;)

Coke Contour Glass Meal poster

Well, if you’re into collectibles McDonald’s is coming out with a series of limited edition Coca-Cola glasses. Yes the iconic Coke glasses are back! =D There are 7 Coke glasses in all and you can get it FREE just by buying any Large McValue Meal with a Sundae.

Coke Contour Glass color of the day

Just point at the Coke Contour Glass Meal place card conveniently located at the counter, choose your burger and the flavor of your sundae to get the current Coke glass FOC!

Coke Contour Glass Meal

I managed to get the Cool Blue glass but what I’m really waiting for it the Iconic Grey (called Charcoal in other countries) coz the personality description for that is “You might just be the wildcard!”

coke contour glass camwhore

Heh! That describes me down to a T (or *.* rather – dash of geek humor here).

coke contour glass tray liner

Another one to look out for is the 7th Coke glass. It’s called Sparkly Clear and it’s exclusive to Malaysia! The other countries only get 6, so the final one will definitely be one hell of a collector’s item!

I’ve got the Perky Pink and Cool Blue.  This time around, there’s no set release dates for new Coke glasses…which can lead to some, well, problems:

fighting over coke glass

You’ll just have to keep checking the McDonald’s website to get the inside scoop when a new one comes out. Perky Pink, Cool Blue, Fortune Green, Iconic Grey and Royal Purple are out, and some colors have already sold out. Don’t let the Coke glass ruin workplace relationships. Grab your favorite color today, they’re going fast!  Go go go! =D

Bungeoppang – Korean fish shaped cake

bungeoppang

I was at 1U just now and came across this stall selling “Korean fish shaped bread” filled with red bean paste. I didn’t bring my dSLR since I had a data disaster to manage but I remembered having the same thing in Busan.

Korean fish shaped cake

Bungeoppang is a fish shaped cake of sorts sold by street vendors in Korea. It’s 1,000 Won (about RM 3) for 4 pieces. It has a red bean filling and it’s quite tasty when you eat it hot during the chilly autumn weather.

Korean fish red bean

We didn’t have a translator with us that day since we’re just exploring the streets and the kind stall owner gave us one with a smile and said “Service”.

Service means “complimentary” in Korea. The stall owner guessed we were not locals (probably due to our complete inability to speak Korean) and gave us one for free! It’s these little things that I love about Korea…and the fact that you can leave stuff lying around and it won’t get stolen the moment you turn your back. =D

Curveball

xberry party registration

I was supposed to attend the Xberry party last Saturday but couldn’t coz I had a business trip to Korea. The date changed at the last minute, so that threw me a Curveball (pun here) of sorts since the means to be in two geographical locations at one time is not generally known to the average man. However, the wonders of modern technology managed to bring you these pictures:

xberry party

dj

cheesie

…which Cheesie took for me.

I was there in spirit, if not in flesh. ;)

carol

Xpax was kind enough to allow me to pick it up at a later date. Carol just passed it to me and I’m going to activate the SIM card now. Review of the Blackberry Curve 8520 soon cheers to Xpax!

McDonald’s in Korea

*adds a notch on my belt*

mcdonalds

I like eating McDonald’s in different countries to check out their localized offerings. I suspect this has a lot to do with the New Tastes menu in Australia where 2-3 new items are introduced for a week, and a week only. I was in university then and most university students eat a lot of fast food. *shrugs* I digress.

mcdonalds korea

McDonald’s in Korea has several different items:

Big Bulgogi Burger (3400 Won or RM 10)
Bulgogi Burger (2800 Won or RM 8)
Bacon Tomato Deluxe (3800 Won or RM 12)
Shanghai Spice Chicken Burger (3700 Won or RM 12)
Shrimp Burger (3300 Won or RM 10)

korea mcdonalds

The Bacon Tomato Deluxe is like the Big N’ Tasty we get over here except with real bacon from pigs. The Shanghai Spice Chicken Burger is their version of the Spicy Chicken McDeluxe. The Shrimp Burger is similar to the Crispy Prawn Burger we had over here a while back. I ate the one in Lotteria (the fast food arm of the giant Lotte) instead. Lotteria is the #1 fast food chain in South Korea – I’ll post about it later.

Thus, the only truly localized menu item is the Big Bulgogi Burger.

bulgogi burger

I had the Big Bulgogi Burger set (4900 Won or RM 15) and one interesting thing about Korea is that they’re very big on the environment. You pay 100 Won extra for the cup, which is refunded when you return it for recycling.

big bulgogi burger bite

Bulgogi is a Korean dish which means marinated barbecued beef and we had the same thing for dinner the night before. Bulgogi done right (and the Koreans always do it right) is tender, succulent and delectable! The Big Bulgogi Burger is essentially a double Bulgogi Burger – the Korean version of Big Mac, if you will.

big bulgogi burger

Oh, how do I even begin to describe the pure awesomeness of the Big Bulgogi Burger? Imagine a huge burger made with soft buns and tender, melt-in-your mouth bulgogi beef sandwiched in the middle. Visualize the juices practically squirting out of the bulgogi beef when you bite into it, coating your tongue with the delicious barbecue marinate.

big bulgogi burger me

Now, multiply that thought by a factor of 10 and you might just get a hint of how breathtaking the Big Bulgogi Burger is. One of my friends took a bite and promptly decided that he needed to have one too so we ate the same thing again at the airport McDonalds!

The Big Bulgogi Burger is awe-inspiring – it’s so delicious that the superlative to describe it hasn’t even been coined yet.

I have experienced the divine and I’ll never be able to settle for a lesser burger. :(

Eating dog meat in Korea

dog meat

I managed to get gastronomically acquainted with man’s best friend during my trip to Korea. I have made it a personal jihad/crusade to sample their wonderful canine products. It was harder than I thought, despite the English – Korean word translator because: 

dog meat translate

Contrary to popular belief, selling dog meat is illegal in Korea

eating dog meat korea

We had to ask a lot of street vendors, who all shook their heads and looked away. Just as we were about to give up, one kindly old lady overheard us, proclaimed gae jang guk (dog meat soup) and made the appropriate “woof woof” sounds. She led us down this really dodgy and narrow side street and we half expected to be mugged in the cobbled alley. 

dog meat shop korea

…but lo and behold – there it was, an eating establishment in the middle of nowhere, out of the sight of casual tourists and probably accessible only to locals. 

dog meat korea

We entered the establishment and I asked for gae jang guk. The female proprietor eyed us and our entourage of cameras with some suspicion and I improvised a combination of sign language and enthused “I eat”. She finally nodded and let us into the seating area. 

dan gogi tang

I present to you dan gogi tang (dog meat soup) made with 100% authentic dog meat! It’s served with the usual Korean condiments and steamed rice. 

dog meat soup

It should be noted that the dog meat in Korea is not from your pet Labrador but a specially bred dog made for eating. 

gae jang guk

I find the dog meat excessively gamey and there is a lot of fat in this breed of dog. It tastes like nothing I’ve ever sampled before – the best I can describe it is a cross between lamb and pork but with a VERY strong smell and aftertaste. The odor was quite overwhelming despite the hot peppers and what not used to flavor the soup.

I would love to try it again though. I’m thinking back to the fatty-lean texture and pungent odor infusing the meat, and I’m drooling at the thought of chewing that in my mouth right now, allowing my palate to savor the taste of dog meat.

Bon appétit!

Oh, and the first dog I met barked at me. I’m serious. Does he know I ate his brethren?

I met Yunjin Kim from Lost!

Yunjin Kim

I met Yunjin Kim in Korea during the PIFF 2009 red carpet event! =D

Well not really la, I was standing 5 meters away from her since I had a press pass and the only communication that happened was me shouting “you gi oh” which means a combination of “over here/hey/excuse me” in Korean.

I didn’t manage to get a good shot of her coz she didn’t linger at the red carpet unlike the other Korean celebrities. Yunjin Kim is the actress who plays Sun in the TV series Lost.

I do have photos of other hot Korean actresses wearing more titillating dresses who got much more attention from the other photographers but I still love Yunjin!

Sa rang hae yo Yunjin! =D

Anyway, if you missed the XBerry party, you can still get the BlackBerry Curve 8520 for RM 998 with a RM 50 reload (you gotta reload anyway right?) at any Blue Cube outlets. The RM 998 promo is only valid till 15 November, more about the Xpax deal here.

Skinny dipping in Gwangalli Beach

skinny dipping

…one cold night, it was decided that a trip to Korea would not be complete without a dip in the famous Gwangalli Beach in front of our hotel in Busan.

Thus, I went in and did it!

The interesting thing was that two other people in our group were also rendezvousing on the beach (they were not aware we were there) and I was told this conversation happened:

Farez: Where are you? I’m at the beach.
Farez: Jun Jye…is that you? Running towards me? Naked?
(It wasn’t – that was me)
Jun Jye: What?
Farez: You’re running towards me. On the beach. Naked.

It’s funnier when you hear it, I’ve got other videos in this series. Heh!

…and OMG, the water is freezing. Autumn in Korea combined with a killer wind chill factor nearly gave me hypothermia.

Korean Airlines KAL stewardess

Korean Airlines KAL stewerdess

I am back in KL after a grueling 6 hour plus flight from Seoul! We took a KAL (Korean Airlines) flight from Busan to Seoul too so that took the better part of the day. I’m going to crash now so here’s an XX Chromosome post (been neglecting this) with the Korean Air flight crew/cabin attendants. I’ve given them a crash course on how to mix proper Bloody Mary drinks. ;)

Regular sixthseal.com programming will resume tomorrow! =D

P/S – I’ve returned the +82 010 688 1579 Korea cell phone rental so call me at my usual number if you want to get in touch with me.

I kena whack by an auntie in Korea

fireworks auntie

I was bargaining with this aunty who approached me on the beach to sell me fireworks and managed to get her to sell me one which costs 5,000 won for 3,000 won. I bumped into her again when I was getting it from the street vendor and told her I’m gonna buy it for 2,000 won this time.

She whacked me with her fireworks. T_T

It was pretty funny though…and I might have inadvertently triggered off a turf war between the beach vendor and the street vendor. Heh!

Posted: 4:27 am Korean time

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