Open air Filipino market in Hyehwa (혜화)
I hardly ever venture to look for foreign food that is scarce in Korea, such as cheese/certain kinds of bread/Doritos. Honestly, the only time I ever realize I miss a certain food is when I go to the foreign food market and I come across it. I haven’t missed much of any food except Mexican taco trucks, a really good deli sandwich, and Arizona green tea.
When I went home to visit my family in August, I realized I also missed homecooked meals way more than I thought. In Korea, I sometimes make a variant of my dad’s corn soup, lentil soup, or egg drop soup… (What? I do soups well, okay?). Even adobo chicken. I tried to make lumpia (egg rolls) for Thanksgiving last year, but it was kind of a fail and I altered the ingredients to use in a kind of tomato pasta sauce (don’t ask). My cousin and other Filipino-American/Canadian expats told me the minute I got here about the different places to get Filipino food around Seoul…
But that just isn’t the same as coming down with a cold and your dad making you lugaw (congee porridge similar to 죽) to feel better. Or going to a family party and stuffing your face with miki bihon pancit (my favorite type of noodles). Which is why I never really bothered to seek out Filipino food here, apart from the occasional purchase of dried mangoes and bay leaves.
Despite associating all these tastes and smells with being at home, though, I couldn’t leave Korea without visiting the Filipino market near Hyehwa station. Each Sunday, Filipinos living/working in Korea open up shop in front of Hyehwa Catholic Church to peddle their wares, so to speak. The market was even featured on CNN Go’s website. So off I went, early on a Sunday morning with Dapto to see what all the tsismis was about…
I was not disappointed.
Breakfast of champions?
Guava juice, kutsinta (type of rice-based dessert that doesn’t taste at all like 떡), and chicharon (pork cracklings). Actually, that isn’t my bag of chicharon because I don’t eat that, I just thought they’d look funny as a triumvirate.
We indulged in pork barbecue skewers and some turon (banana/plaintains fried in a lumpia wrapper and sugar). I had hoped there’d be langka, or jackfruit, inside, but I was informed that would make them susceptible to spoiling in the sun.
On top of all that, I also came away with a bag of bay leaves and longanisa sausages— I didn’t even bother bargaining because I was so excited just to have these items in my possession, though it wasn’t too expensive anyway. Dapto bought some buko (young coconut) juice as well as a can of Red Horse beer.
The market was just as it was described: Filipinos selling everything from Mama Sita’s spice mixes and cooked food, to soap and magic karaoke mics (of course). If you’re at all familiar with Filipino products, you’ll be really impressed with the selection. And for those of you wondering… yes, there’s balut and durian.
Looks like a box of sleeping Pokemon.
I’m actually kind of glad I didn’t visit before, I would almost surely blow all my cash buying stuff there— plus it made me a bit homesick.
I’d definitely recommend paying the market a visit for a nice change of pace and fair prices on all kinds of Pinoystuffs.
Directions to the Sunday Filipino Food Market in Seoul:
I forgot to jot down the “directions” but it’s easy to find— straight out of Hyehwa Station on Line 4, Exit 1 until you see the church… they’ll be set up in front. Bring cash monies.
*This is also the part where I admit I found it mostly by following a couple of Filipino guys coming out of the station… ><
For some reason I have more free time today than I thought (I thought I was going to be busy but some lessons were cancelled). In the midst of preparing for English camp (week-long English lessons during the students’ summer vacation), I guess I’ll take a break and share some links…
Noynoy Aquino is sworn into the Philippine presidency. He promises to crack down on corruption, end insurgencies, and modernize the system… it sounds very hopeful but we shall see.
How did Gen. McChrystal lose his careful touch? I wrote some long post about this whole situation but for some reason it disappeared and I’m too lazy to rewrite it. In any case, some BBC correspondent considers the general’s slip-up in light of a previous encounter. I’m including it because I think it was kind of a crap news feature, and we should all be reminded of the crap that’s out there.
Yet another South Korean entertainer (Park Yong-Ha) found dead from suicide. I remember when we kept hearing about these when I was interning at AsiaPacificArts and having to do news bites on Korean entertainers offing themselves way too often. Either there’s some weird conspiracy going on, or (more likely) the pressure really is just too much. Suicide culture in Asia (especially East Asia) is ridiculously layered.
Nigerian president suspends the national team after a poor showing at the World Cup. Um yeah… a bit harsh. Anyway, the headline was kind of deceiving, when you read the article it’s not as ridiculous. I guess he’s just reorganizing the entire system. Or maybe it is as ridiculous as it sounds— aren’t there other things that need reorganizing? Like um, government-related things?
Meanwhile, back home… “The US House of Representatives has approved a landmark bill designed to overhaul the US financial system.” Here we go again… very necessary steps, but we’ll see if it passes the Senate AND if anything comes of it. When things pass either nothing happens or the bureaucracy makes the process as slow as molasses and our grandkids see the results.