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Asia eats, korea eats

july 29: adventure in icheon

Yesterday morning, my family drove to Icheon for a mini-vacation. Although definitely more rural than Seoul (there are green fields and farmland everywhere, and not a skyscraper to be seen) there are certain parts of it that make it worth going to.

Our first stop was Teremeden, which is a sauna/water park kind of place. I didn’t take any pictures because 1) I didn’t want to get my camera wet and 2) because I didn’t want to seem like a pervert by taking pictures of people in swimsuits. Legitimate reasons, don’t you think? So you’ll all just have to imagine in your heads a huge outdoor pool with slides and columns spraying water that leads to an indoor pool with hot tubs and people either frolicking around or relaxing everywhere.

Once you can imagine that in your heads, we can all move forward to real pictures of the lunch I ate!

the king's table rice restaurant

low wooden tables with mats for sitting on and rice paper walls

The region of Icheon is famous for its rice, so the restaurant we ate at focused on using the rice as the center of meal, with millions of banchan to accompany each spoonful of plump, carbalicious chewiness.

beef, kimchi, tofu platter with an amuse bouche of radish wraps and vegs

japchae and kimchi pancakes

unlike most kimchi jun, the kimchi's sandwiched between the batter in this one. crispy, spicy goodness

just some of the dozens of side dishes that were served

rice in a hot stone bowl

I actually thought that the Icheon rice was a hype – I mean, how can rice taste that much better? Rice is rice is rice. BUT IT’S ACTUALLY NOT. This rice was actually distinctly different – it was light and perfectly cooked, but still sticky and chewy with just the right amount of resistance. The stone bowl also gave it a certain smokiness that I really liked. When you get rice in a bowl like this you also get water served along with it; what you’re supposed to do is scoop the rice out and pour the water into the bowl that still has rice stuck to it. Then you cover the bowl and let it sit so the rice softens and becomes noorengjee, a nutty, savory-tasting jook. But I like the crispy bits so I left the water out and pickaxed the rice out later with my spoon.

the rice is really stuck on to the bowl, so you practically have to wrestle it out. BUT THE CRISPINESS MAKES IT ALL WORTH IT.

After lunch my family went to a ceramic museum; Icheon is also known for its pottery, so various sculptors and curators have amassed tons of ceramic sculptures for the viewing pleasures of tourists.

tree sculpture with ceramic bell-leaves

more sculptures, all made from fire-hardened clay

this is toya. he is icheon's mascot.

and this is the front of the toyaseum. how clever of them.

this is the bathroom in the toyaseum. everything's a ceramic masterpiece; it's kind of surreal..

The museum was amazing; these artists did some things with clay that I didn’t believe was possible. After our thorough tour of a museum and half, my family went to a nearby street that sold ceramic plateware for wandering tourists and decorating restaurateurs alike.

a myriad of clay pots

the street lamps here are decorated with ceramic bells. so purtiful.

a store displays a row of hand-made plant pots

a set table showcasing some of store's tableware

more modernistic pottery - some of these look more like plastic than clay

a few of the many teacups for sale

more pots, a little more decorative than the other ones

tread with caution; can you imagine the snowball effect if you knocked over just one of these columns?

dozens of tiny ceramic fishermen, catching their tiny ceramic fish

None of us ended up buy anything (except for my little cousin and my sister who bought tiny pigs) but we had a fun time looking at all the pottery. All in all it was a fun day, with quality family time. But seriously, who knew clay could be so beautiful?



One thought on “july 29: adventure in icheon

  1. Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I loved this blog post.
    It was practical. Keep on posting!

    Posted by Sussex fireworks | April 21, 2013, 12:16 am

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