Beesket, Korea

Just a quick blurb about one of my new(ish) favorite things in Korea.  I have never been much of a juice bar girl.  And though I do love a good smoothie, my aversion to bananas usually severely limits my fruity drink choices.  Enter Beesket.  A new juice bar that opened in the mall near my city.  I love it.

At Beesket, you start out with a little honeycomb type thing.

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You can choose three flavors for your drink from the huge selection of choices.  Just pick your three flavor pieces and stick them in your honeycomb and give it to the barista. (Are they still barista’s if it’s a juice bar?)  Pictured above are strawberry, raspberry, grape and apple, lemon, blueberry.  There were many fruits and vegetables available, from apple and orange to kale or carrot.

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Watching them make your juice, you can see them grabbing fruit, cutting it up, and throwing it in a blender.  It was wonderfully fresh and natural.

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When you finally receive your juice, it comes with a little tag, telling you not only the calorie and vitamin content of your specific drink, but also giving you a space to rate it, so the next time you come you can remember how much you loved that one, or maybe try a different flavor.  I had double-pear raspberry and it was delicious.

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My friend had a blueberry, kale, mango juice.  She said it was good.  I said it was green, and therefore I was skeptical.  They sure did shove a lot of kale in that blender.  So I suppose, at least, it was healthy.

Update!  So, I’ve just been back to Beesket, and they have changed their fruit selections, I assume seasonally-

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With all these new delicious options I changed it up and had a peach cherry pineapple drink.  It was delicious, but I thought it would be pink-er.

 

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As I started drinking it, though, I fell in love.  And the fact that it wasn’t artificially colored made me feel super healthy.

Honey Butter, Korea

To say that honey butter chips are popular in Korea is a gross understatement.  Honey Butter chips have been around for a while now, nearly a year.  But it is still almost impossible to buy them.  At one point there was a black market for the chips, and you can still find them on Ebay for at least 5 times the original price.  The “honey butter chip” has become the unicorn of Korean snacks.  Luckily for honey butter fans, the chips have created a multitude of honey butter (or just honey) flavored snacks.  Seriously, everyone better start protecting the bees, because I’m not sure what will happen to Korean snacks if there is a serious honey shortage.

Honey butter snacks range from the expected to, what I consider, the bizarre.  You can get many things honey/butter flavored; honey lattes, honey butter fried pork, honey everything.  Here are a selection of options from my town.

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Honey Butter bagel chips?  Probably delicious!

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Honey Butter dried squid?  Maybe not so delicious.  (I’m not a fan of dried squid in general, however.) And in case you thought that was a one off- wpid-20150626_203538.jpg

There are, in fact, multiple brands of honey butter squid available.  Yumm.

Here’s a selection of three different kinds of honey snack.  All of them varying degrees of deliciousness.  None of which come close to the actual honey butter chips (in my opinion)  I mistakenly bought both the honey tong tong and the honey butter potato snack, thinking they were honey butter chips. Sorely disappointed.  But that’s what you get for not paying attention to what you’re buying.

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Honey churro popcorn is one of my new favorite things in life.  Honey shower popcorn- also good.  But lacks the cinnamon-y delicious flavor of the honey churro.

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An assortment of honey butter nuts.  Not sure if it’s just me- but honey butter macadamia nuts sound amazing.  Unfortunately, at almost ten dollars a bag, I wasn’t about to find out.

 

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Honey egg bread.  (Not to be confused with the British Eggy Bread) (This is a picture of the plastic display food… but it pretty much looked like that.  Kind of a grilled cheese egg sandwich made with honey butter on the outside for the grilling.)

 

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My personal favorite: honey cheese ramen noodles.  Caution: when opened, the noodle bowl contains a foil packet of powder and a clear plastic packet of (what I thought was) honey.  Again, with the not paying attention!  So I decided to use half of the cheese powder packet, and all of the honey packet… (you know me: healthy healthy- trying to cut the sodium.)  Now, the ‘honey’ packet was CLEARLY labeled “Jalapeno Oil”  and the front of the package also clearly says 할라피뇨 (jalapeno) But me with the paying attention- I dumped it in.  Holy cow!  It’s really intense if you use all the oil and very little of the honey cheese.  So now I use the honey cheese packet, and forego the jalapeno oil all together.  They’re pretty good noodles though.

 

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If all the snacks are making you thirsty, but you don’t want to give up your honey taste- don’t fear! There are honey based drinks as well, more than just the honey lattes.  These juices are delicious. The iced honey tastes like… well, cold honey.  I thought the honey orange pineapple was WAY too sweet.  But I mixed it with some sparkling water, and it was pretty good!

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And this would be where I would post a photo of the honey butter chips that started it all.  But seriously, they are no where to be found.  I’ve only ever been able to buy one bag of them, and it was months ago.  In bribing a student to study, one of my coteachers offered a student honey butter chips if he got a good grade on his mid term test.  She had to go several hours away to find a bag.  There is a high end import shop on the first floor of my school building.  They had honey butter chips once- but there was a waiting list for them, so you couldn’t just rock up and buy a bag.

I will, however, leave you with what I consider the best honey butter chip incarnation that I have seen in Korea- honey butter chip socks!

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Suseong Land, Korea

Just behind the snow factory we saw Suseong Land.  A small amusement park of sorts, it was also nearly empty.  Now, there was an entrance with a ticket booth, and just next to it a gap in the fence.  Through the gap we went.  Not sure if it actually costs money to enter for real.  Look for the gap in the fence.

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This is not the fence you had to sneak through… but I really liked it.  Each post is painted to be a different person.  Some of them are famous cartoon characters, and some are just anonymous.  Now pretty quickly after entering Suseong Land, we saw what might be the strangest thing I’ve seen in awhile.  From a distance, we both said, “Wait.  What? Are those kids?”  Because it really did look like there were small children hooked up to carts, pulling other small children and their parents/grandparents around.

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There were many characters, hello kitty, angry birds, a bear… and they were all dressed in outfits, complete with sneakers.  They shuffled around in a way that reminded me of E.T.  It was truly bizarre, but thankfully, they were not real children.  The mechanical characters were controlled by the handlebar, and one pedal.  Even after knowing they weren’t kids though, it felt weird.  Why did people want to ride in a cart that looked like it was being pulled by a child wearing a hello kitty head?  It just seems kind of perverse.

From strange to sad, after that “ride” we saw what might be the saddest little ride I’ve ever seen. (And this coming from someone that went to an abandoned soviet amusement park.)

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These characters could be ridden if you deposited about one dollar.  Someone, however, rode this one into a ditch and then left him there.  It didn’t look happy to be there.  Other characters were missing eyes or ears.  At least this one had all its pieces.  But at this point, I was thinking that nothing could be worse.  Except maybe a creepy clown.  Cue the creepy clown.

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Nothing like going up and down with a clown.  But at least the clown had equally endearing (or creepy) friends:

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On the upside, there were lots of actual rides, a viking ship, carousel, spinny-roundy thing…

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Does this ride have a name?  There were also several booths to win prizes at.  We chose to try out the balloon popping darts.  And after two tries and five dollars, I won this Rilakkuma plush!

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Which I then used as a pillow on the train ride home, and it was glorious. All in all, I really enjoyed the amusement park.  It was amusing.  I think for a kid, it would be great.  Everything was painted really bright colors.  There were lots of things to do.  Lots of places to take photos. Even as (basically) adults we ended up spending more time there than we had planned.  We used up all the duck boat time… and were even a bit late to dinner.  So definitely worth it.

Dessert Plane, Korea

While on my trip to Jeju and U-do I met some lovely people that live in Daegu, a town about 3 hours from where I live.  They were very nice, and I was keen to go and visit.  And then, I saw a post she made about eating in a cafe in a plane.  That sealed the deal, and I was on my way to Daegu.  Turns out Daegu is a really interesting place, with lots to see.  My favorite place that we went to was Suseong Lake.

I was only going to go for a day trip, so I got an early start.  We explored a bit of Daegu, had lunch, and went to a cat cafe, and then it was time for dessert.  We headed to Suseong Lake.  On the monorail!

wpid-20150704_093534.jpgThis was not my first time on a monorail, but it is still eye opening how much better this system is than the standard train.  Quiet, smooth, easy.  Now, like most big Korean cities, Daegu has a subway system that you can use to get around most of the city.  The monorail links up to the subway (by, at one point, the longest escalator in Korea*) Easily what I thought was the most interesting thing about the monorail were the windows.  They were regular windows most of the time, but when passing an apartment building, the windows went opaque, to preserve the privacy of the residents.  At first, I didn’t know what was happening.  The windows just turned white, I thought it must be fog or something… and then they snapped back to transparent.  I was floored.  Living in Chicago, I rode the red line frequently.  It’s silly how close it goes to people’s windows.  I thought this was such an interesting thing that they thought of.

Ok, enough about the monorail. (But I really liked it.)

We got to the lake and the first thing you notice are the duck boats.

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We wanted to ride one, and planned on it, but ended up running out of time.  More pressing (for me) was the plane.  We rounded the lake and then BAM! airplane.

DSC_0301The Snow Factory, waffle and bingsu cafe. The interior is everything you would expect from a cafe in a plane.

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The one thing I thought was really strange: the lack of people.  I feel like this should be a tourist draw just for the kitschy “plane cafe” (that was, after all, why I was there.)  But there were hardly any people there.  And this was about 4pm on a Saturday afternoon.  Even at my normal cafe, on Saturday afternoon I often have to wait for a table.  Not so with this spot, we had our pick of tables.

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You could choose to sit in the cabin area, or a seating area that was built off to the side. It was decorated with palm trees, because naturally.  We decided to sit inside the plane.  Because, plane.

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And we ordered a waffle.  Now, the waffle was both surprisingly good, and a disappointment at the same time.  Which, I think, is actually quite difficult. The waffle itself was perfect.  Not dried out as I have had so many times in Korea, and the ice cream was delicious.  But the lack of berries on the vanilla berry waffle was a little sad.  Also, for the price I think they could have splurged on more than 5 blueberries.

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Had maple syrup though, so it’s all good.  🙂  They also had blood orange sanpelegrino.  So, win win. And to be fair, they had a pretty good selection of waffles, including savory waffles that sounded really interesting.  Perhaps I just picked a not so great one.

And then it was out to go explore some more.  And what do we see out the window?  Why, it looks like a children’s play area.  It is!  In fact, it’s SUSEONG LAND!  I’ll cover our time there in the next blog.

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*This may or may not be true, but I read it online…