Adventures of 나쁜남자 and Kancheong Girl

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

How to make 계란찜 Steamed Egg

I don't really like steamed egg but my boyfriend and sister do. It's certainly a healthy and simple dish. The Japanese call it Chawanmushi. You can alter the recipe by adding in pre-cooked seafood or chicken into the egg mixture. The recipe below is good for 2.

Ingredients required:

Main dish (A)
2 Eggs

Seasoning (B)
0.5 (100ml) cup of water
Few strands of dried kelp

Seasoning (C)
1 tbsp prawn stock
0.5 tbsp rice wine
Some pepper and salt (approximately 2 pinches)

Place the kelp in the water and let it sit for a few minutes.

Add 2 eggs to a bowl and beat till the texture is constant.

Add in seasoning (C), continue beating and then add in seasoning (B) and mix.
Place a steaming rack in a pot filled with boiling water and place the bowl on top of the rack.

Steam for about 18 minutes. I added in some spring onion and chilli at about 8 minutes when the egg starts to harden a little. I am not really a fan of steamed eggs, you can try different variation of the recipe (adjusting the steaming duration, the texture of the egg etc).

Have fun.

How to make 콩나물국 Beansprout Soup

I have a craving for this refreshing soup. When I drink it in Korea, it doesn't come piping hot, it's usually room temperature. Glad to have found this authentic recipe. This recipe is good for 2 servings.

Ingredients required:

Main dish (A)
100g Beansprout (big head ones)

Seasoning (B)
0.3 tbsp soya sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1 pinch of salt

Soak the beansprouts in water and remove the tail.

Boil 2.5 cups (500ml) of water and add in 0.5 cube of ikan bilis stock (or use 5 ikan bilis but be sure to remove it after boiling for 10 minutes).

Add in the beansprouts and boil for a further 7 minutes. Then add in seasoning (B) and some spring onion. Boil for 1 more minute and turn off the fire.

Affordable Accommodation (Toyoko Inn) in Seoul, Japan and Busan

It's easy to find good accommodation if price is not so much of a concern to you (just go to Agoda or any of the hotel booking web and they will recommend one to you). But when money comes into play, it's hard to find a balance between cost and quality.

There is this one hotel that I have recommended to so many of my friends. It's called Toyoko Inn (more chains in Japan) and it really offers convenience at an affordable rate (always less than S$100 per night for two). I will always book this hotel if I am in Japan for a holiday.

I will tell you what's so good about this hotel:
1. The hotel is always located within walking distance to the subway station.
2. It offers complimentary breakfast, bottled water and wifi.
3. It has got it's own membership programme (can be applied on the spot) that allows you to redeem one free night (single room, top up if you are getting double) after every 10 nights booked (points can be accumulated at any branch). Furthermore, membership comes with perks like 5% discount on weekday + Saturday and 20% discount on Sunday and public holidays.
4. Free cancellation policy (cancellation can be done online) up till 4pm on the day of check-in.
5. Book now (online with instant confirmation) and pay only when you check-in at the hotel.
6. You can get map of the surrounding area from the lobby.

What is not so good about this hotel is that like most Japanese hotels (applies to the ones in Seoul and Busan), the room is quite small and you hardly have any walking space after you open up your luggage on the floor.

If you are looking for a convenient location to stay for your next trip to Seoul, I recommend checking the Dongdaemun branch out. It's located within walking distance to Migilore and the whole lot of midnight shopping malls in Dongdaemun (meaning you can shop to late night without having to worry about transport).

There is an airport shuttle that will bring you right to the doorstep of the hotel (usually we only get this for the premium hotels). Getting back to the airport is simple too, just board at where you alight (it's the first and the last stop so no worries about missing the stop or not being able to get up the bus). Afterall, we are looking for simplicity when we are travelling abroad right?

If you exit the hotel and turn to your right, it will bring you to exit 4 of Dongdaemun History & Culture Park where you can ride line 4 (Myeongdong) and 5 (GwangHwaMun, Yeouido). If you turn left, you will find exit 3 where you can ride line 2 (Ewha, Hongik, Jamsil).

There are computer stations located at the lobby and you can also print for free. The lobby provides information on the shuttle timing (to the airport) and you can wait at the lobby for the airport shuttle to come.

By the way, the service and offering of each branch is quite standard no matter where you are in.

You can find Toyoko inn chains (sometimes not one but two at the same station) all around Japan. If I travel to Tokyo, I will stay in Ikebukuro Kita-Guchi No. 2. The reason is because Ikebukuro is a major station where NEX (Narita express) stops thus I can avoid the hassle of lugging my luggage and changing to another subway line (it will be a challenge locating subway lines if it's your first visit). However, Ikebukuro can get quite complicated at night (lots of alley and is known as one of the more complicated areas).

Thus, on my recent trip, I stayed in the Shinagawa-eki Takanawa-guchi (eki means Station). NEX will stop at Shinagawa too. In addition, it's easier to get to Tokyo Disneyland/Disneysea (50 minutes away) from this stop.

If you are travelling to Osaka, you can try out the Namba branch. It is located within walking distance to Dotonbori (where the Glico Man is standing) and Shinsaibashi (lots of shopping street in this area). Most importantly, there is direct subway line linking Namba Station to the airport. Getting to Kyoto from Namba Station (approximately 1 hour with 1 transfer) is easy as well.

If you are travelling to Kyoto, you can try out Shijio Karasuma branch (within walking distance to many of the shopping arcade including Teramachi Dori). You can even talk a walk down to Gion to catch Geisha/Maiko (if you are lucky). We even walked all the way from Kiyomizu-dera, via Yasaka Shrine, back to the hotel (if you have the stamina and the weather is nice).

There are two branches in Busan, one near Busan station and one near Haeundae beach. I have stayed in both and I think the one near Busan Station is more convenient if you are into shopping and visiting the attractions (nearer to subway). However, if you are a beach person then you should stay in Haeundae.

How to make 떡볶이 Korean Rice Cake (Simplified Version)

I have don't have much pictures for this dish because I made it before I decided to re-start this blog. Nevertheless, trust me, I have cooked this upteempth time and I know what I am doing. I have tried so many methods and this is the one I will stick to. This is my favourite Korean dish, fell in love with it since I first visited Korea in 2006. I have enough experience to know which are the authentic ones.

The best Korean rice cake I have tasted thus far is in Busan, I will leave this story for another post.

Ingredients required:

Main dish (A):
300g korean rice cake (comes refrigerated, can get it at NTUC or Korean supermarket)
Fish Cake (optional)
Boiled Egg (Optional)
Instant Noodles (optional)

Sauce (B):
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp gochujang (refer to fried squid post for more information)
0.5 tbsp chilli powder (you can add up to 2 tbsp if you can take the spiciness)

1. Boil 2 cups (300ml) of water and place the rice cake in. When the water starts to bubble, add in 2 tbsp sugar.

2. Bring the content to a boil and add in soya sauce, gochujang and chilli powder. Stir and cook till you get the sauce consistency as per picture below. Once the stock thickens (shouldn't be watery, it should cling onto the rice cake) and turn bright red, add in the spring onion (along with your cooked fish cake, boiled egg etc), stir for awhile more and off the fire. If you are adding instant noodles, try to slightly cook the noodles in another pot first then add to the rice cake, bring it to a boil before adding in the spring onion.

Nice and chewy Tteokbokki. You can sprinkle some sesame seed on top. Korean usually have mandu (fried dumpling) to go with the rice cake sauce.

How to make 시금치 Spinach Ban Chan

The spinach you get in Singapore (from China) will be a little different from what you get in Korea. Nonetheless, you still can use the ones bought in NTUC (local supermarket). The taste will be the same but texture slightly different.

Ingredients required:

Main dish (A):
300g Spinach (remove the roots and separate the stalks)

Sauce (B):
0.5 tbsp soya sauce
0.5 tbsp minced garlic
0.2 tbsp salt
1 spring onion
1 tbsp sesame oil
Sesame seeds

Boil a pot of water (half a pot) and add 0.5 tbsp of salt into the boiling water. Cook the spinach for about 1.5 minutes. Remove the spinach and soak in cold water. Squeeze dry the water from the spinach (it would have formed a ball shape after you have squeezed it dry) and cut the bunch into quarter.

Mix the soya sauce, salt, spring onion and garlic into a bowl then put the spinach in and mix with your hands.

Then, add in the sesame oil and sprinkle some sesame seeds. This is a fairly simple and healthy dish. The Koreans will keep this in the refrigerator and dish out some to go with each meal.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

How to make 두부조림 Tofu Ban Chan

I love ban chan (korean side dish). You can request them free of charge in most Korean restaurants (except those in Singapore? Lol). It goes well with everything and best of all, it can be stored.

Ingredients required:

Main dish (A):
400g of tofu (buy the hard ones, it's called dou gan in chinese)

Sauce (B):
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)
1.5 tbsp gochujang (refer to fried squid post for more information)
1.5 tbsp corn syrup (refer to fried squid post for more information)
0.5 tbsp sesame oil (can get at korean supermarket)
Sprinkle of black pepper
100ml of water

First, cut the tofu into long strips then sprinkle two pinches of salt and some pepper.

Then, mix the sauce (B).

Cut 5 cloves of garlic into thin slices and dice half an onion.

Fill the pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil and fry the tofu until they turn golden brown.

Then, fill a clean pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and fry the garlic and onion until the garlic is starts to brown.

Pour in the sauce (B) and wait for it to boil. Then, put in the tofu and mix well. Wait for the sauce to bubble a little and off the fire.

This goes well with rice, pour the extra sauce on top of your rice. You can refrigerate these as well.

How to make 오징어채볶음 Fried Squid Ban Chan ~ 鱿鱼小菜

I recently got hooked with cooking because it somewhat gives me a sense of satisfaction. More importantly, I love Korean food but I can't get them in Singapore. Well, actually I can if I am willing to pay twice the price of what I pay in Korea. So, I began making stuff myself. It's hard to find authentic recipe in English so my job here is to fill this gap.


The ingredients that you need:

Main ingredient (A)
Dried Shredded squid (100g) - you can get it in NTUC at $3.60
鱿鱼丝 100克

Sauce (B)
2 tbsp gochu-jang (korean chilli paste, bottom middle, can get at korean supermarket)
0.3 tbsp sugar (the standard portion is 0.5 for 150g of squid)
0.5 tbsp chilli powder
0.7 tbsp soya sauce
0.3 tbsp rice wine
0.3 tbsp minced garlic

2汤匙 韩国辣椒酱
0.3汤匙 糖

Sauce (C)
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1.5 tbsp corn syrup (top left, can get at korean supermarket as well)


Get the dried squid out of the pack and cut the long ones into bite size. Try to separate it a little.

把鱿鱼丝切成较小条。然后准备Sauce (B)。

Then, make the sauce (B).

Add 1.5 tbsp of olive oil into a pan and stir fry the sauce until it starts to bubble.

用1.5汤匙的橄榄油来炒拌好的浆料 (Sauce B)。

Then throw in the dried squid and mix them well. Once done (should be only for a short while), off the fire.


Mix sauce C and pour it into the pan, mix well. Sprinkle some sesame seed and you can refrigerate it. This dish goes well with rice. What Koreans do is they keep it refrigerated and take a little out to accompany each meal. Try to keep it for less than a week to ensure freshness. Hope you like it.

加入拌好的浆料 (Sauce C)然后搅拌均匀。可以撒上一些芝麻并且冷冻。

Studying Korean in Yonsei University ~ 在延世读韩文

Although my boyfriend understands English, I thought learning Korean will help me to understand his culture better. Furthermore, studying there will mean that I can spend more time with him, learn more about his country and iron out all of our differences. The decision was made at a time when we were having lots of disputes thus I thought it was timely.


I was considering between Sogang, Ewha and Yonsei. Yonsei was slightly more reputable and also the most expensive of all 3. I had a few considerations and one of it was timing. I initially wanted to quit my job (applied for no-pay-leave instead) to embark on this study thus I can only make it for Yonsei's course given that I have to give 3 months notice. In addition, I prefer to stay in hostel, if I am not wrong, it is easier to get an on campus housing in Yonsei (not a smart option if you intend to stay for more than a semester). Thirdly, I love Yonsei's campus. I was awed by that greenery hugged building when I first shopped at Ewha University street. I was there during autumn so the greens turned red.


So it was decided that I will be going to Yonsei and staying in International House, sharing a room with my NTU friend. They do provide pillow (made of straws and I am serious), bedsheet and blankets.

最后选择了延世并且申请住宿在International House。因为是和南大大学友人一起留学,所以申请住在同一间房。如果打算留学超过一个学期,建议找附近的民宿租房。宿舍会提供枕头(用吸管制成的),床单和毯子。

The loving boyfriend brought me comfortable blankets. There is a mini fridge in the room (you can use the big one in the pantry for storage of bigger items).


This is the pantry. There is no wifi in the rooms but only in the pantry area so people tend to skype here.


The application procedure was quite simple. You apply for the course (regular, summer or 3 week prog), apply for the hostel and then wait for them to inform you that you are successful. Regular course made more sense for me because the duration for the other 2 are too short. They sort of informed me quite late about the course acceptance and I was worried because it was quite close to the registration period for the hostel. I ended up emailing them to enquire. They assured me that I will be accepted and asked me to apply for my hostel direct.


The payment part was more tricky. Sending money from Singapore incurs lots of bank admin charges so I asked my boyfriend to help instead.

在开学之前,必须把学费汇款到韩国的指定户口。通过新加坡银行汇款的话,必须得付昂贵的银行费。所以只好找男友帮忙 ^^

If you have learnt some Korean language on your own (like me), need not worry, there will be a placement test to determine the right level for you. I got into level 2. I did some basic Korean language class in Singapore (ezSAM in far east shopping centre). Nothing beats learning in Korea. It is so much more efficient and effective to learn in Korea because you are placed in the right environment.


Studying Korean in Yonsei is a good experience for me. They really drill you into learning (or should I say memorise) the conversations. The teachers are great (at least I got good ones, total 4, throughout my semester). The lessons each day are split into 3 categories. The first category is textbook learning where you learn new verbs, grammar and phrases. The second one focuses on speaking. The third one is on activities and workbook.

在延世学韩文是一个很不错的经验。为了让学生加深对词汇的认识,他们注重于对话练习 (上课时必须把刚学会的课本对话背下来)。学校老师也非常的亲切和专业 (1个学期就碰到了4个老师)。一天的课程分为三大部分:学习新词汇和词句,阅读和发音,对话和作业。

Throughout the semester, there were lots of other activities organised (cooking class, poem writing, sing and dance performance). Because you only have 4 hours of lessons a day, you have lots of time to spend. You can take part in their student clubs (be prepared for lots of drinking) or hang out with friends (time to make international friends). If you are there for a motive (to meet Koreans), then be sure to join their student clubs or buddy programme (but they only pair up students of the same sex). You will get to see lots of idols, we had two filming of Running Man outside our school and one filming of The Heirs near the school, not to mention running into a few others elsewhere.

单单一个学期里,我就参加了好几个课外活动 (料理,写诗比赛,表演大会)。因为一天只上四小时的课,课外自由活动时间非常充足。你可以参加延世的课外活动团(必须很会喝酒)或则是认识认识一下来自不同国家的学生。如果想结识异性韩国友人,建议参加他们的学生团队。在延世也有不少机会能看到偶像。跑跑人就在学校门口举行两次摄影,继承者也在学校附近开拍过。

There were lots of students from China and Japan (majority) and they stay close to their community. So, if you are a minority, try to stick with the other minority or you can try penetrating into the other communities.


You don't need to worry about starving to death in school because the canteen serves great food (if you can manage to find a seat). It's cheap too, I think the one below costs less than S$5. There is a convenience store in the building (connected to SK global house but not international house so going out in winter can be quite a challenge). There are several other restaurants in the building as well, one of them selling doshirak (bento).

在学校用餐也很方便和经济(豆腐汤只需5千韩币以下)。学校里也有24小时的便利店连接SK Global House。学校里和小校附近友好几间餐厅可选择。

I think autumn is the best season to study in Korea because you get to see the first snow (첫눈) and the fireworks festival. When the semester ends, it will be winter and you can get ready to head to the ski-jang (ski parks) or do some ice fishing (Hwacheon Sancheono Ice Festival). Ok, I know it sounds more like having fun than studying. Oh, don't forget to watch the yon-ko jon (competition between Yonsei Uni and Korea Uni) that will be featured on TV (Mu Han Do Jon).


What you need to prepare:
Visa - I was only there for 4 months and Singaporeans get waiver for up to 3 months, I travelled to Japan for holiday prior to that deadline and re-entered Korea after about a week.
Sim card - getting a sim card with a data plan is useful
Bank Account - I didn't get one though and still survive the 4 months
International driving license - if you intend to drive, like in Jeju
Install some software on your computer to allow your phone to tether wifi from your laptop because there is no wifi in the room.
Bring some SGD, if you need to change, you can change to KRW at Myeong-dong (near SPAO) with quite good rates.
Large luggage and if you intend to bring your textbook (5 books at least) back, make sure you travel SQ (30kg baggage allowance). If you have friends coming to visit, try to get them to bring some back for you.


That's all for now, will update if I can think of anything else. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.


Singaporean Having a Korean Boyfriend

I have decided to set up this blog because our story has gathered much interest from our own friends. Hopefully, this blog will help to answer some of the queries you have about dating a Korean, moving to Korea or even about long distance relationship.

I have got to admit that long distance relationship is not easy. You might have read alot about those motivational quotes saying that distance is not a problem. Sure, those are comforting words we use when we initially started this relationship but 2 years on, we know better.

There are differences in the way we were brought up, our culture and values. Thus, misunderstandings arise, so frequent that sometimes we don't even know what is going on. None of us are wrong but because of a difference in culture and values, we perceive the words used differently. For example, in Singapore, the social drinking culture is not as bad as that in Korea. Most of us are not avid drinkers so we usually talk and drink over one cup of alcohol. We will still be as sober at the end of the day as when we started drinking. Going back home late night is really considered comparatively safe here. However, in Korea, it involves more than that. Every social event, whether you are student or an employee, involves heavy drinking. Whether you are a guy or girl, you can drink till you drop dead. I only know about this much later. So, initially when I told him I am having a drink with friends, he got quite upset. I couldn't really understand what is wrong when so many of my friends are doing the same things and no one needs to worry about our safety. So, Singaporeans are really a well protected bunch of people.

How do we resolve all these differences? Well, we got to fight through it. There is no other way out than to undergo it and sort it out among ourselves. As time passes by, it will get easier but the journey is not easy. We have been through it all the hard way. So, I tend to believe that those who survive through long distance relationship have a established a bond that is so much stronger than that of a normal relationship.

My boyfriend is a militant and that sort of make things more complicated. It's hard for him to travel out of his country so I have to travel there. Every date we have is a long awaited one and every separation is emotional. It always starts and ends at the airport thus we have developed a love hate relationship with the airport. Also, we have to struggle with citizenship issues. Nonetheless, we managed to talk through it. I always believe that no problems can be solved if both of you are sincerely committed to turn it into a win win situation for both.

If you are in the initial stages of a long distance relationship, press on. Time will resolve all problems that you are facing now. Always believe that the disputes are not because anyone has done anything wrong and you will be fine. If you really love each other and are meant for each other, you will get through it. If it is just more than personal differences, then please practise judgement.

All the best to all the long distance lovers out there.

I am Back!!

It's been a long hiatus and my last post was in 2010. It was done half heartedly back then but I am not going to delete those posts. 5 years on and many things have changed in my life. You might be wondering who am I and why would you even want to read my blog. I am not here to flaunt my personal life but rather, hoping that my life experience will be of help to you.

A little about myself. I started dating my boyfriend in 2013 and since then, my life has changed. Initially it was all about travel and music, thus the name of the blog "Travelody" which meant Travel + Melody. Now, it has evolved into cooking and alot more focus on Korea Travel.

I have been travelling to Korea alot and when I say alot, I meant almost once a month. I realised that Korean blogs have so much information about Korea but the major obstacle is of course language. So, my intention is to help break the language barrier and bring those useful information to this blog. Of course, I would have tried and tested it before bringing it here thus you can have 100% trust in the information.

I don't really know what the future holds for me (that's life) but I welcome you on this journey with me.

Have fun reading on...