#ThrowBackThursday – Day 14 in Korea, 2018

Here’s a #ThrowBackThursday post about a trip to Korea in September 2018.

On Day 14 of my 15-day trip, N.H. came to meet me at my hotel lobby in early afternoon, and we hung out for the rest of the day.

We went to this chicken restaurant called BHC Chicken (Better & Happier Choice?) and enjoyed great fried chicken.



Then, N.H. took me to Hollys Coffee, a nearby cafe. As I recall, there were multiple floors and we went to a quieter floor to enjoy warm beverages and a dessert.



For dinner, we went to a busy market and found a restaurant there and had a feast. 🙂





At the end, it was sad to say goodbye, but at least N.H. and I had a chance to hang out. The next day, Day 15, was time to head to the airport and return home.

Sushi Royal House Japanese Restaurant (Re-Visit)


On a Friday evening recently, I stopped by the nearby Sushi Royal House Japanese Restaurant on Grandview Hwy and Renfrew Street in East Vancouver.

I specifically wanted the Gamja Tang (pork back bone with vegetable hot pot), and ordered that, along with the Ika Karaage. The Gamja Tang was from their “Korean Dinner Special” menu, which was available from 3pm.

The waitress took the order, but came back a few minutes later to tell me that the Gamja Tang wasn’t available. Apparently, according to her, the restaurant was busy and didnt’ have that dish available; the wait would be an hour and she recommended that I ordered something else. (It was 5pm at the time and there were two other tables occupied at that moment, but I presume she meant it was busy earlier.)

So, I ordered the Jeyuk Bokkeum (spicy stir fried pork with rice) instead. As mentioned, I’d specifically wanted the pork bone hot pot soup, but the waitress was friendly and, hey, it wasn’t her fault, so it was all right.

But, you know, at other places, the servers/staff are snobbish and rude at times, so I certainly appreciate friendly service whenever I encounter it.


The spicy pork was indeed spicy, and, overall, it was a delicious meal. It came with a bowl of Miso soup (which I didn’t take a picture of) and a side of kimchi.

And the restaurant wasn’t too busy either – but hopefully, the next time I want the pork bone soup, it’ll be available. Or I wouldn’t have to wait an hour for it.


Korea Trip 2018: Day 14 – Seoul

This was from my second-last day in Korea in September 2018. Yes, as of the time of this post, that trip took place seven months earlier, but I’d been swamped with so much work that I hadn’t had the time to post all these photos. …

This also happened to be the Korean Thanksgiving weekend, my final two days in Korea during my two-week stay. There was obviously mixed feelings on my part… knowing that it was nice to return home soon – but also sad to be leaving.


Just like my trip to Los Angeles back in August, I enjoyed the carefree “lifestyle” where I didn’t have to rush anywhere (other than to make sure I got to the airport early and also to not miss the tour bus every morning during the four-day tour at the beginning of this Korean trip).

On this final Saturday in Korea, N.H. took me out to enjoy the city of Seoul. It didn’t matter where we went; the important thing is we had a chance to hang out.


We stopped by this booth which had a book of proverbs and customers could choose one from that book and have it written out in Korean. N.H. told the lady my name and they tried to figure out how to write my name in Korean too!

If I was asked what that proverb said and meant, haha, during that time and the week I returned home, I could recite it. But now, seven months later, it’s a blur. All I can remember is there was reference of the obstacle of snow in the path and how the successful person clears the path instead of waiting for it to be cleared.

Anyway, it’s something about being proactive instead of being passive – as far as I can remember.


N.H. wanted to take me to a street food place but it was closed because of the holiday weekend. So, we had a change in plans… we also stopped by a bookstore near the subway station nearby.


And then dinner time… unfortunately, I don’t usually eat a lot, and there was plenty of food…. My regret was that I didn’t eat more. This was really delicious. I hope I didn’t come across as not liking the food… because I really did. I just don’t usually eat that much.


I don’t normally drink either… but this time, I gladly drank and I enjoyed every minute of it. This was, up to that point, the best part about my trip.


But all good things must come to an end… this photo was taken near my hotel. This wrapped up the second and final Saturday of my time in Korea. And the next day – late afternoon on Sunday – would be the time to say goodbye and return home…

Korea Trip 2018: The Tale of the Two Ginsengs


It was the best of times… it was the worst of times…

Well, not quite the best of times but a good one nonetheless. During the first day of a four-day tour I had with HanaTour, where I was on a Eastern tour of South Korea, the first stop was at a ginseng tea/coffee shop called Mieene Coffee – located in a small shopping area – for a short break.


The tour guide highly recommended this coffee shop, which was manned by a young woman on this particular morning. She didn’t seem to understand – or speak – English, so the guide was the one who spoke to her.

According to the tour guide, this shop was opened within the last couple of years and the owner was the woman’s brother.


I had never tried “Ginseng and Juice” (or, ginseng juice) before, so I ordered a cup.


It wasn’t as bitter as I thought it would be. There was some honey available for customers, but I didn’t need any.


The worst of times – or one of them anyway – came in the second week of my stay in Korea. I was part of a half-day tour with another company, and at the end of the tour we came to a high-end ginseng store, which was located in an office tower.

There were many photo opportunities on the ground floor in the lobby area…

…until we were summoned to enter the elevator.

I initially had no idea what this part of the tour was – as it wasn’t on the itinerary. So, we entered the elevator and were guided to the second or third floor – I can’t remember – and a Filipino woman started explaining ginseng information to us.

I took a picture of a display (the red sign below) but she told me, “No video or photos, sir.” Well, I guess I didn’t know.


As we all walked in – this was some kind of hallway with charts and stats and info and history about Korean ginseng on the walls – she was explaining different facts about Korean ginseng. She tried to be funny but I really didn’t think her jokes were that good. I guess I found her to be “corporate,” so to speak. Hey, that’s her job, so good for her.

Anyway, we soon came into a room which was essentially a store room, with all kinds of ginseng products in display cases. There was a group of us, and the Filipino woman asked us all to come close as she continued explaining the benefits of Korean ginseng.

I was standing near the counter… and as soon as the presentation was over, one female sales rep began doing her sales pitch on me (and others on some of the other members of the tour group).

I found her to be pushy. She kept going on and on, trying to make me buy something. I didn’t appreciate it. Finally, I thanked her (out of courtesy, of course) and walked away from the counter to join two other members of the tour group, both of whom were not badgered by any of the salespeople as they were smart enough to stand away from the counter.

I’m simply not a fan of this sort of tactic by the salesperson; it’s like she didn’t care about you as a person but she looked only at you like you were going to make her extra commissions.

So, the story of two ginsengs… one positive, one not so positive…

Center Mark Hotel Breakfast (Incheon)

This is Day 2 of my Korea Trip 2018.

Okay, so I’ll skip the ride from the airport to the hotel and just jump right into the breakfast the following morning. But I did recap a bit about the bus ride here. (Yes, that’s a different site that I write on, and I didn’t want to repeat too much of the same information here.)

Anyway, for part of my stay in Korea, I was at the Center Mark Hotel, and its breakfast room (as can be seen in the photo below) is called The Kitchen Restaurant.


I was given vouchers for breakfast when I checked in the night before (there is a fee for breakfast, but the price in my reservation for the hotel already included breakfast), so in the morning all I had to do was show up with one of those vouchers and then grab whatever I wanted in this buffet breakfast.

For my first round, I went with the salad stuff, plus egg, fries, and sausages. In the second round, I went with the traditional Korean dishes – specifically pork bulgogi and the traditional Korean side dishes that are served in Korean restaurants.