We arrived on a Monday morning, took the airport bus (I love the airport shuttle service. It's cheap, reliable and comfortable ) to Insadong to meet our friends, dumped our baggage at Pine Suites, a traditional Hanok that overlooks the Changdeok Palace in Bukchon, before heading out the door.
This is my fourth trip to Seoul yet I always find new things that impress me. This time, it is the underfloor hydronic heating system. Assumed to be invented in the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C.-A.D. 668), the "ondol" heating system originally worked by heating a stone under the floor from the smoke of a fire built at one end of the room. These days, hot water pipes are used instead.
I think it is a safe and fantastic way to stay comfortably warm. I used to dread taking showers during winter but in Korea, the ondol keeps the entire house so cosy that you don't step out of the bathroom shivering.
Korea is famous for their cold winters, so we came prepared with lots of warm clothes. The temperature dropped to -14 degree C on our first day, so it was nice to start the trip with a home cooked meal. EY's sister had kindly invited us for lunch at her house. She's such a fabulous cook, we were thoroughly spoiled by her hospitality.
|The mashed potato balls were the best I've ever had.
|Kimchi made by EY's mother.
|The beef stew had chestnuts, almond and cashew nuts in it. Perfect for a cold winter day.
|An interesting kimchi made using cucumber and dried fish.
|This calamari dish was really yummy. The stuffing is a mixture of glutinous rice and vegetables.
|It is a tradition to serve soup with rice cakes and dumplings during the new year and we had the privilege to enjoy a bowl each. We were supposed to eat up everything in the bowl but I was too stuffed to eat up all the rice cakes.
To be continued....