Train to Busan

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DAY 7

(Reading time: 3 minutes)

The train ride from Gyeongju to Busan was fast and safe. No zombies anywhere…

…Alright, I’ll have to explain this comment.

Are you familiar with the movie “Train to Busan”? It’s one of my all-time favorite films, plus it’s about zombies, a theme that Mark and I really enjoy. In my opinion, Koreans are masters at making zombie movies and series (“Kingdom of the Dead”, “All Of Us Are Dead”, “#Alive”, “Sweet Home”…). Generally, we consider Korean cinema to be of a high standard.

So, “Train to Busan” was devoid of any bloodthirsty monsters, and after a few hours, we disembarked in the beautiful seaside resort and second-largest city in South Korea.

But it was raining. Really intensely.

For lunch, we went to the Lotte shopping center, which was accessible via the metro underpass.

In the evening, the weather cleared up a bit, so we headed to the night markets at BIFF Square.

There weren’t many people there, but there was still a queue at one stall – for hotteok. We have an interesting experience from Asia that repeats across various night food markets. Some stalls are much more popular than others even though they all prepare the same thing. Why is that? Did a YouTuber make it famous? Better marketing? Locals talk about it because it offers the top version of the same food? We don’t know, but the described situation also occurred at BIFF Square. Two hotteok stalls side by side, one crowded, the other looked like it was slowly closing. Since we don’t like standing in line (especially when we have a choice), the second stall owner could have easily ramped up business.

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The hotteok tasted excellent, and we didn’t feel the need to compare it to the competing version. And what exactly is it? Pancake dough fried into a small round cake shape, usually filled with brown sugar and nuts. A popular street food in South Korea, but we also found it in Taiwan.

After a sweet dinner, we craved another dose of sugar, so we stopped by the Kakao Friends café (the characters are mascots of the Korean internet company Kakao Corp.).

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Despite the girly impression of the interior, don’t be fooled. Cuteness is popular in Korea, one might say almost mandatory. The frequent customers are men as well as women. That’s why Mark also chose this café. The local trend quickly caught on.

-endy-

DONKEY’S SPECIAL:

  • Andy listed a few selected Korean zombie gems, but Koreans can also squeeze successful brands and kill them with terrible sequels, as happened to “Train to Busan 2/Peninsula” and recently “Sweet Home 2”.
  • The Lotte shopping center is no small fry, although it’s mostly underground (South Korea has a comparable area to the Czech Republic but has 5 times more inhabitants, which naturally leads to the need to utilize space more efficiently).
  • Depending on the stall owner, hotteok fillings can be anything that even slightly “fits” with the pancake dough.
  • The green drink is flavored with matcha (green tea), another typical Asian thing.

-mj-

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