I’ve been wanting to go to South Korea ever since I met Na Young, a Korean punk girl that attended Varning from Montreal festival last year. I actually started talking to her at the Loud House after-party, after the set of SKULL AND BONE (INEPSY’s Chany’s side project). She told me that she came directly from Seoul (South Korea capital) after having traveled 16 hours, and had to return to work in two days. I asked her how was life in South Korea, and she told me that it was all about eating and drinking. I was instantly sold!
And oooooh man, she wasn’t lying.
The first day we arrived, Na Young invited us to some beers and then to feast at a Korean BBQ. We ate and drank for 6 hours!!!! And then the next day, I had another Korean BBQ… and two more the next day! We ended up eating four BBQ’s in three days! It was insane. I don’t think I’ve eaten that much meat in my life!
Here is a totally drunken video of us cooking the meat (fatty pork). Everything was cooked on charcoal, giving the meat an absolutely amazing taste:
And we had some taste of local alcoholic drinks:
Next day, we went out with Jae-Ho, a local real headbanger. He brought us to another BBQ restaurant, which served us beef as well as… pork skin and cow intestines. Both were quite good, but the pork skin was absolute pure fat and kind of got nasty after a while haha
After the meal, we went to witness quite a rare thing in South Korea; a real underground gig! We went to see DARGE (Japanese metal/punk), as well as some other local bands:
First band was a grindcore band, who’s singer started playing with some giant white transparent jump suit and corpse paint… he then took it off, all sweaty, and kept on growling the whole time. It was obviously a joke band, but they were still pretty entertaining haha
Then was a Black Metal band called SKALD. They looked like cute little guys, but their music was digestible. I was expecting much worse.
After this was DOKKAEBI ASSAULT, a pretty good d-beat band, but I was too busy to take photos haha. Then came DARGE, who totally ripped live!!!!!! They played for a good 40 minutes and even did an encore!
Next day, we met up with Na Young and the DARGE guys again, and went to Na Young’s brother’s restaurant, who treated us like emperors. It was unlimited meat, and we ate until we exploded.
And then, when we were already bursting up, Na Young’s brother brought us some thinly sliced beef brisket called Chadolbagi. It’s a very expensive cut of meat, and it’s very very Korean.
All of us together then headed to the second and last DARGE gig at Badabie club. We could bring our own drinks, cool! First band was SCUMRAID, which was really fast and violent hardcore with a female drummer! They were really good.
Then was TERRORMIGHT, a bad power metal band – which I didn’t take photos of. FIND THE SPOT was next – and played kind of generic hardcore, which was followed by GUKDO and SAD LEGEND.
I was playing songs in between bands to help out Na Young. It was cool to do some DJ to a Korean crowd! But actually, half the crowd was “foreigners” – guys from North America or Europe haha
Finally came DARGE, who played even better than the night before… fuelled by the crowd, they played a truly intense set that totally snapped my neck!
We then went for ANOTHER BBQ with everyone from the show! Yes, the after party was MORE MEAT!
We had to take a break for the next few days, and pretty much ate veggie meals at our hostel. Never in my life had I had such intense meat experiences hahaha!! Anyway, we spent the next few days exploring the city. Seoul is a beautiful and modern city. It’s considered a UNESCO city of design – and the downtown area is definitely one of the most “design” I’ve ever seen. Just check out that sky scraper!
We saw some pretty interesting sights during our 10-day stay, including this beautiful gift set:
We went out for tons of food of course, including the infamous BIBIMPAP – rice, raw egg, veggies and meat served in a dangerously hot stone bowl. The rice and egg cooks directly in the bowl – and becomes crunchy. Oh man, that stuff is SO good!
Every meal is paired with kimchi; fermented ultra-spicy Chinese cabbage. It’s one of my favourite Korean things ever, but doesn’t agree with my stomach at all. After eating that for a week, I got an intense ring of fire hahaha!
We also had some Korean “sushi”, which is basically marinated veggies and ham wrapped in rice and sea weed. Not very good unfortunately, but ok for a quick meal:
We also spent time with Craig, a Canadian metalhead from Prince Edward Island, whom we met at the second DARGE gig. He brought us to eat Ginseng Boiled Chicken soup (ABSOLUTELY KILLER!) at a traditional restaurant, and then we went listening to metal at his place:
Seoul is surrounded by gigantic mountains and beautiful natural parks. We decided to go hiking to discover Korean nature. We didn’t really know what we were doing, so we just took the subway, got off, and followed two Korean guys who were also going hiking at the Bukhansan National park. They hike every Tuesday, so they knew some really good trails. We thus hiked the tallest mountain in Seoul, Baegundae, at 836 meters! I didn’t even know I was able to do that!! Haha! It was quite abrupt and took about two hours to climb, thanks to nice windy weather.
My legs were killing me for two days after that, but it was totally worth it. There were tons more hiking trails, I wish I stayed there longer to explore more the area!
On Thursday 22nd, we visited Seoul’s biggest imperial palace, Gyeongbokgung, which has been constructed in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867 (it was almost destroyed by Japanese military and later by the government). The whole area was huge! They were tons of colourful smaller buildings, and a nice big park.
The interior of the palace was what impressed me the most. I’ve never seen such details and colors in a building before! Check out those ceilings, man!!
You could see inside some of the imperial rooms:
And around the palace were some relocated traditional Korean-style houses:
We then had our “last” restaurant meal, at a place nearby. I shouldn’t have eaten more spicy stuff, but it was there, and I couldn’t resist… haha, so I got stomach burns all day, but it was worth it!:
Anyway, we had one hell of a killer time in Seoul, and it was mainly because of our friends. So, thanks to everyone we met – Na Young, Jae-Ho, Raf, Oze, Sun and others… you guys were AWESOME!!!!!! See you one day in Montreal!
We still have a day left in Seoul, which we will use for relaxing before we head out to Beijing, China – and we will be staying in China for a month. Now, this will be quite a challenge because they control the Internet there and I’m not sure how I will be able to update the blog, but I think I’ll manage. Anyway, if you don’t hear from us for a while, you’ll know why!