Thursday, 18 June 2009

Le petit France

Le petit France is a resort village themed on Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince. Visitors to Petit France can see the signatures of the entire cast of Beethoven Virus. A 150-year-old residence has been brought here all the way from France and there is a gallery showing the works of Saint Exupery, as well as the Orgel House, which features beautiful antique music boxes. A variety of exhibitions and hands-on activities are available all year-round and there is also accommodation facilities. This is one of the only places in Korea you can experience French culture. A trip here can also be combined with a visit to Namiseom Island and Homyeong Lake nearby.

Address: 616 Goseong-ri Cheongpyeong-myeon Gapyeong-gun region, Gyeonggi-do province
Tel: +82-31-584-8200
Admission: 8,000 won

How to Get There: From Dong Seoul bus terminal or Sangbong bus terminal, take an intercity bus heading for Cheongpyeong -> Get off at Cheongpyeong station and take a shuttle bus for Petit France From Cheongnyangni station take a train heading to Chuncheon -> Get off at Cheongpyeong station and take a shuttle bus for Petit France.

*Shuttle Bus Hours:

From Petit France
Weekdays 09:30, 10:30, 11:30, 14:00, 16:00, 17:00
Weekends 09:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00(Sat)

From Cheongpyeong station
Weekdays 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:30, 16:30, 17:30
Weekends 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:30, 15:30, 16:30, 17:30, 18:30(Sat)

There do appear to be some other attractions at Le petit France but you have to go to the bottom of the page for the 'extras'. Have a look at the photos if you can't see it.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Korean curry

Jeonju might be the spiritual home of Korean food but options are strictly limited when it comes to international cuisines unless you count Pizza Hut and Outback Steakhouse, which I don't.

In the major cities and metropolitan areas all kinds of cuisines are available but unless they are run by natives they tend to have a Korean twist. Italian restaurants like 'Team' are perfect examples of flawed and faux international cuisine. Their risotto looks and tastes like bibimbap with a bit of cheese.

In my experience as an expat with expat friends, we like nothing more than a good curry, often having to travel to another city. Unfortunately Jeonju is yet to indulge in an authentic Indian restaurant but we do have a quirky, Korean run curry house that does a very nice plate of curry and rice.

Sang Dok is not exactly hidden in the Hanok village but it is on a side street that seems to get little foot traffic. Facing the east wall of Gyeonggijeon, Sang Dok is a small, cosy place that doesn't have what you would call an extensive menu. In fact it has 2 dishes on the menu, curry and hot curry.

The restaurant is vegetarian friendly and the curries come served with a small naan type bread and rice. This is not authentic Indian curry however, more like the Japanese/Ottogi boil in the bag curry but at 5,000 won with a small yoghurt drink to calm the taste buds delivered when you have finished, it is not only a bargain but a very pleasant place to spend an hour or so eating and chatting.

The place can probably only accommodate 15 people but it has a very relaxing vibe, nice earthy crockery and the price is great too, all adding up to a very nice eating experience.

Korean toast

Joey from Friends holds the humble sandwich in high regard as his favourite food and he may well be onto something. Bread has an infinite number of recipes which can include all kinds of strange and wonderful additions and comes in all kinds of colours, textures, shapes and sizes. The fillings for the sandwich are also near limitless, although I am yet to hear of a kimchi sandwich, not sure I would care to try it either.

Every country and culture has sandwiches of one kind or another, each with their own unique take on the aristocratic inspired masterpiece. Sandwiches are not considered a meal in themselves, more fast food, especially in Korea. Yet it would seem it was a member of the aristocracy who came up with the snack, or at least perpetuated and popularised it. 

The Earl of Sandwich was a keen poker player and enjoyed sandwiches because they helped prevent his hands from getting greasy whilst playing cards.

Sandwiches have 'evolved' since those days with meatballs, processed cheese and even peanut butter and jelly [For Brits read Jam]becoming popular fillings. Surely they have to be considered the ultimate convenience food and the single most popular genre of food in the entire world.

On any day, in any town or city, office workers, children, Presidents, Royalty and Manchester United fans (prawn I believe they favour) can been seen tucking into a sandwich as a quick but often healthy snack.

Korea has not escaped the sandwich wave. 

The words sandwich and toast seem to be interchangeable in Korea and whist the sandwiches I talk of are often toasted in Korea, they are sandwiches. Anything between 2 pieces of bread can and should be called a sandwich, however unorthodox. Cabbage seems to find its way into every sandwich in the country, much like lettuce in other countries, as do sweet sauces of alarmingly varying colours. Character toast is something recently discovered by me in Korea and is as simple as burning a face onto the bread before assembly, which is nice, if not a little infantile. 

Various combinations of ham (well it looks like ham), cheese (well it looks like cheese), cabbage, bacon and egg seem to form the core of the Korean sandwich experience but other, stranger ingredients are prevalent although I have heard of the bulgogi sandwich which I am very, very keen to try. In true Korean style they have taken something from the western world and Koreafied it. Sandwiches have followed the same fate as the pizza but don't let these comments fool you into thinking I don't like sandwiches or Korean toast, I do, but they are not the versatile, healthy snack food I have come to know and love. McDonald's and Burger King get much the same review.

Whether it's called a submarine, a BLT, a Philly cheese steak , a hamburger, a hoagie, a Po' Boy, a panini, Korean character toast or the great sounding hero, sandwiches are the food of Kings and should be revered for the versatile, delicious and ingenious creation they are. In fact go out and buy a sandwich right now. The one with the green sauce and the hello Kitty burned into the bread, you know you want to.

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