Monday, November 28, 2005


Sanchon restaurant in Insadong

Friday night was uneventful but I didn't want to use up all my energy and waste the rest of my weekend so I decided to stay in. Saturday I made my way to Insadong once again to browse around amidst the art galleries, antique shops, ceramic shops and traditional tea shops. My first stop was a tea shop called Dalsaeneun Dalman Saeng Gakhanda (translated to English as 'moon bird thinks only of moon'). It's small and rustically decorated with plants everywhere, birds chirping and relaxing music playing. I ordered the ginger tea which was served with rice cakes. (I made my own ginger tea a few weeks ago and was impressed with my first attempt, but my tea is nothing compared to the tea shops in Insadong) After leaving the tea shop I strolled around the alleys in Insadong, went to a tea museum and finally made my way to the 'Buddha street' where Jogyesa Temple is located. I was standing by the 500 year old tree (National Treasure #9) in front of the main hall when a Korean man, whose English name was Carlos, asked if I wanted to go in the temple with him. I went in and ended up listening to a dharma talk in Korean for 30 minutes given by a famous monk, but left before it was over because I couldn't understand it. Afterwards, I walked to Seoul's first park, Tapgol (Pagoda) Park, which includes National Treasure #2, a 10-story pagoda built in the 15th century during the Joseon dynasty. This park is also the site where the independence movement in 1919 began.
I stayed in Insadong Saturday night for dinner with a friend at Sanchon restaurant, which is owned by a man who was a monk for 30 years. Sanchon has a set menu of 16 vegetarian courses cooked in the Buddhist-temple style. The meal was really good and included a performance of Seungmu (Buddhist dance) and Bara dancing at the end. Unfortunately though, I was pulled on stage at the end and forced into dancing in front of everyone without so much as a shot of soju to help me along. It wasn't so bad I guess, especially since I'm sure everyone was looking at the middle aged white man going crazy with a Korean woman...I'm sure there must have had some soju at his table.

Moonbird thinks Only of Moon Teashop in Insadong

Fortune teller outside of Tapgol Park near Insadong