Sunday, 12 February 2012

Lunar New Year Bite

On Lunar New Year's Day, Tom and I took a little trip into downtown Masan- Hapseongdong. It had been ages since we went to the movies and I realised how much I have been missing it. No cinema will ever beat Scunthorpe Vue cinema for comfort, but I can hold out hope. It is a funny thing in Korea, at any time there must be at least 75% Korean movies playing in any theatre at any one time. This means that usually there are only one or two English movies on at once. It can be slim pickings, but good old Tom Cruise did pull through with some all out action in Mission Impossible 4 (are they still making those movies? Turns out, yes. Not too shoddy)!

Before the film, we went for a quick lunch as we had nothing in the fridge and the supermarket was closed due to the holiday. We picked this tiny and very basic cafe style noodle restaurant. There was one young girl working and she seemed happy enough to be there despite the national holiday- true Korean work ethics.

It is traditional in Korea to eat a rice cake soup or ttokk-guk, on New Year's Day. The Koreans believe that eating this clear soup symbolises the start of the new year. It seemed fitting then, that although this was a ramen restaurant, we should order the spicy rice cake ramen. You can see the rice cake slices or 'ttokk' sitting proudly on top of my noodles. I felt rather auspicious eating this spicy soup. It also made my nose run!

Ttokk ramen - rice cake spicy noodles - Korea

In addition to the ramen, we ordered these cool heart shaped rice balls. Mixed into the sticky rice were some seaweed and mixed vegetables. The sticky texture allows the rice to be moulded into heart shapes. They were delicious with the wasabi and soy dip. This was served with the usual kimchi and yellow radish (daan moo ji) preserves which I love! I actually found one of the moulds in the shop today which is what made me think of writing about them. I am sure I will have some fun experimenting with these!

Rice ball shapers

Heart-shaped rice balls

The other funny thing about this restaurant was the decor. The walls were absolutely covered from top to bottom in post it notes from patrons. There were Korean, English, Konglish, doodle and love themed notes. It was hard to pick out any in particular because of the sheer volume of them!
I also noticed, and I love this about Korea, that they had cleverly installed some cheap as chips decor in the form of instant noodle sheets. The light box behind made an interesting feature amongst the post it chaos.

Post it mad and kooky ramen wall art!

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