So Far, Seoul Good Day 1 – Hotel ShinShin, Myeong Dong & Nanta Cookin’ Show

The Seoul I remember wasn’t this cold.

What I did remember, though, was the long, meandering journey from the airport into town. This time round I have wised up and took the airport express. Being “express” is relative; it still took us close to an hour to reach the humongous Seoul station.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

And then it was another adventure finding our way to the City Hall station. I had my first dunkin’ donut (side note about this creation of awesomeness: did you know they have it almost at every corner of Seoul? It’s like 7-11, only far more delicious). I was happily devouring my choice while waiting for the better half to return from the toilet… to be entertained with his tale of being peeped at the urinals.

Less than one day in, and we already have our first pervert attack!

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

After that it was off to Hotel Shinshin, our accommodation of choice (or rather, his). I admit that I was not a fan of thundering up and down the cobbled walkway, wondering from one lane to another backlane looking for the hotel. It was during moments like that I wish I remembered the old travelers’ advice – to trust your instinct. Had we followed our gut, we would have reached the hotel in lesser time.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

Hotel Shinshin was a swanky, classy looking hunk of a hotel which looked downright sexy. Our room has floor-to-ceiling view of Bukchang-Dong, which was gorgeous had it not been for the construction site next door (clearly, the craze for property is not only a Hong Kong-thing). The room was business-like and small, though the hotel designer should be commended for being able to creatively fit everything a traveler might need in the somewhat limited space.

More to the point to the delight of this traveler is the toilet system, which I can only describe as being “sophisticated”. One would think answering the call of nature is as simple as as your camera – you point, and you shoot – but the Koreans took it to the next level. Not wanting to sound like a prude but I would let your imagination wonder with this photo.

After a brief spell of rest, it was time to hit the street on our way to Myeong-dong, our destination for the night. From the word go I was enarmoured by the brightly-lit town of shopping. Myeong-dong literally means “bright town”, and I can’t think of a better name.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

It was street after street of gorgeous-looking stalls and of course… street food! I had to ration myself and try to have only a little bit of everything, but by the time we were done for the night I swear to God that I needed a new (and bigger) pair of jeans. But hell, what good a foodie I would be if I don’t tell you about the food I had.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

With a mind bent on being adventurous, we went looking for a spot of dinner. A forlorn-looking alley with bright looking signs beckoned, so we ventured in.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

This place – with no English name, nor English menu, nor English-speaking staff – is definitely a joint for the locals. Nary a word of English was uttered anywhere else but at our table, and I was delighted. I am always at my happiest mingling with the locals, especially when it comes to their food.

And so we looked at their menu and pointed at a few of the more promising looking items, and then we waited in anticipation. A bit of a kerfuffle when it comes to ordering our drink – we wanted plain water but not knowing how to say that in Korean, we pointed at the next table… only to have the waitress misunderstood us that we wanted Seju (indeed, it was what every table was having). It was only after a few tries they understood what we wanted.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

The first dish was a simple plate of boiled cockles. In Singapore and Hong Kong cockles are usually eaten raw – as in bloody looking – dipped in some spicy sauce. Here in Korea they are more refined with their gastronomical taste.. and so our plate of cockles were thoroughly boiled and the shells, cleaned. It was a taste that I had never experienced before, and I quite liked it.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

Our main dish of a seafood pot came with our very first love octopus! We had two of them, very much alive and cooked right in front of us. I read so much about having live octopus, and how they wriggle in your mouth as you chew them, but I never imagined we would get to witness it so early in our trip.

Granted, by the time we devoured the extremely chewy and tough octopus, it was long dead, but that didn’t happen before we recorded this clip. It was like something out of science fiction.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

After our dinner, it was on to the main agenda of the night, a Nanta Cookin’ Show. They say you can’t say you have been to Seoul if you have not seen the show, and I had to say those reviewers were right.

Nanta was a thigh-slapping, hands-clapping hilarious show of talents collectively so breath-taking, it was easy to understand why Nanta is the longest running show in Korea. The cast not only has to be talented in dancing, singing and comedy-ing, they also had to be good in cooking (yes, they do cook live on stage) as well as playing with various kitchen appliances, including some very sharp knives which they used as percussion throughout the show.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

And yes, it was the perfect foodie show!

After the show, I was so tired out from all the laughing and cheering I had to do, that it wasn’t long before I was on the street again looking for food. Not that I had to have any excuse to stuff my face with food, but you get what you get. By then the cold of the night took a biting chill to the worst, but I was delighted. Being much of a daredevil we even had ice cream on our way back to hotel after a successful night of eating out with a little bit of shopping thrown in.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 1

A first night couldn’t be any better than this.

See more of my So Far, Seoul Good posts:

Staying In & Accommodation
Hotel ShinShin
Seoul Jungu Namdaemunro 5Gil 17-5
Tel: +822 2139 1000
Email: shinshin@hotel-shinshin.com

Exploring Around & Attractions

Incheon-Seoul Airport Express
Estimated Time: 43 mins for Express Train, 53 mins for Commuter Train between Incheon International Airport and Seoul Station.

Nanta Cookin’ Show
Myeong Dong NANTA Theatre
Unesco Building 3F, 50-14, Myeong Dong 2 Ga, Jung Gu, Seoul
Mon~Fri, Sun & Holiday 17:00,20:00
Sat 14:00,17:00,20:00

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