Korean BBQ for Dummies

What would you order from this menu? Seems confusing?

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YIIIIIIKKESSSSS. Well read on for some clarity.

You’ve either heard of Korean BBQ and can’t wait to try or you have been going every Friday for the past 16 weeks, getting tired of the same old pork belly and now find yourself wondering: is this the best it can get? The answer is always no and you have done yourself the biggest service by coming to this page and finding out the real tea: What to order at Korean BBQ.

1.) The Best Meat You’ve Never Heard Of (Gal Maegi Sal-갈매기살)

I’m not gonna lie, I actually have to Google right now what this meat in fact is, because all I know is that: IT IS GOOD. Such an underwhelming description for such an amazing cut of some animal that I’m not sure of yet, but promise I will give a better run-down after the Googling.

OMG no wonder I love it so much, it’s:

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If the restaurant you’re at has this, that’s a 10/10 would eat again Yelp review. (PS: why do I need to download the app to see Yelp pictures on my phone? Infuriating.)

To be exact.. it is skirt steak, so probably not a good choice if you like your meat well done because it’s not always super tender. With this option, the grill usually gets a ring put around it, in which the staff will pour a scrambled egg mix with ham and other good stuff (see below). Such a good combo. Best thing is: It’s CHEAP!

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2.) CHICKEN WHAT???? (Dak Galbi-닭갈비)

21752515_10155629923723638_205693443425837735_oHaha, It’s actually not weird at all… but it’s one of the best things you can order at K-BBQ: Chicken Ribs!!

It’s just sooooo yummy and it never fails. You can usually get these marinated or not, both are genius tbh. The only piece of advice: when you’re taking the lettuce and making the little wraps, keep it simple with the chicken ribs. If you don’t know what I’m talking about… keep reading.

BONUS: There are also a lot of restaurants that do chicken rib stir fry, with lots of cheese and rice cakes, etc. That’s a really indulgent alternative to K BBQ too.

3.) The Cutest Meat to Say Out Loud (JOOK!KOO!MI!-쭈꾸미)

Okay, if you’re not a seafood lover I think this may be out for you. BUT if you are a seafood hater and still kinda dig calamari, stayed tuned.

🚨WARNING! WARNING!🚨 This dish is SUPERRR SPICY!!! Best to ask for light sauce if you can’t handle too much spice.

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So it’s small octopus. Not baby octopus and not live octopus, so when they bring it out to you it’s usually drowned in this sauce and not at all moving or anything.

Yummy to eat with grilled mixed rice balls that have seaweed and other veggies and packed in together. It’s amazing! #TRUST

 

4. Are You For EEL? (Jang Eo-장어)

14963121_10154632976173638_548589432998599819_nSo the Korean word for aweome is Jjang, and the word for eel is Jang-eoh (eoh meaning fish) so it’s basically awesome-fish, right? Maybe I lost you there, but I was super skeptical at first about eating eel. Totally thought it was gonna be gross and was totally wrong.

🚨WARNING! WARNING!🚨 This dish is expensive!!! Where you might spend an average of $15 on pork belly per person, eel is about $40 per person average. It tastes super luxurious too though. You get what you pay for? PS there are no bones usually when you order and this does NOT have a fishy taste at all. Tastes like chicken?

5. Cheeky, Cheeky – Pork Cheek (aka Pork Jowl-Gaburi Sal-가브리살)

We always go to the same barbecue spot in Gangnam, Seoul and one time we had a big group so we decided to try some different cuts of meat instead of just the classic pork belly. One of them was the pork cheek and we started ordering it every time from then on in.

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The cheek is usually more tender and oily (in a good way!) and a nice meat to offset the fattiness and crispiness of the belly. Great with a bottle of soju!! Although the bottle might be done before the meat gets cooked… ah the joys of trusting yourself to cook pork right. I’ve definitely ate some raw pork in my days. Don’t be like me, be patient.

4. Not Your Average K-BBQ Ribs (Pork Back Ribs-Deung Galbi-등갈비)

Pork back ribs>LA galbi: HANDS DOWN

What is up with LA galbi? It’s super hard to eat, usually has some weird, sweet marinade on it. It’s yuck, like, let’s move on.

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So these ribs are kinda like a short rib. So picture tender, fall off the bone meat and most likely with a spicy barbecue sauce smeared all over it. Really good with beer and I’m not even a beer drinker, but it’s such a perfect combo. The best part is: they’ll give you cute little finger gloves so you don’t get all messy when you eat them, but that’s never guaranteed with saucy meats now is it?

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Ready, Set, Eat! Good to go now with the gloves thank you very much.

3. You Thought I’d Leave Out Pork Belly? Dae-Pae Style (대패삼겹살)

33311329_211391386325954_4140700686432075776_nSo this is pork belly, with a twist:        It’s THIN.

I feel like I may have lost you there, but trust me thinner can be better!! Hear me out.

So they will usually give you this marinade that the super thin slices of meat just soak right up like a sponge, then the meat sizzles and cooks within a few SECONDS on the grill. And Isn’t the worst part of Korean BBQ just staring at the meat and waiting and waiting and waiting for it to finally be ready?

I have totally been too impatient and paid for it later when it comes to the classic pork belly and that’s why this version is awesome!! The slices are sooo crispy when you leave them on for a few extra seconds too.

2. Korean Kebabs??? (Lamb Skewers-Yang Gochi-양꼬치)

This is originally a Chinese delicacy, but they are all over Korea and most likely you have one or two spots in your own city’s K-town. The cool part is that it comes over a different type of grill than you’re used to. It Spins!!! Weeeee. You will feel like a kid again watching the seasoned little skewers twirl around and around to get the perfect cook.

sdfsdIf you’re looking for speed, look elsewhere, cause this is another one that takes a bit long to cook, unless you’re cool with medium rare lamb. The good part is that I’ve never had an overcooked lamb skewer taste dry or unappetizing, so you can’t mess this one up!! The meat is already really well seasoned, but the trick is to dip your meat in MORE seasoning. There’s a red powder that always comes with lamb skewers, and while I have no clue what it is, I do know that it is BOMB. I literally coat that stuff like a layer of fur all over the lamb. Obviously a great pair with Tsingtao beer. #notsponsored #obviously

1. Rings of Death – (Small intestines-Gop Chang-곱창)

By the title, I know you’re probably already turned off, but this is my favourite of all time food at K-BBQ. If my parents can do it, you can! They are super crispy on the outside and super oily and soft on the inside. After 2 or 3 bottles of soju, just try it! You won’t remember anyways, unless you’re like me and it’s the best thing you’ve ever tried.

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The one we ate here is a big combination platter of heart, large intestine and small intestine. Sounds different to say the least, but #TRUST.

 

Thanks for reading + here are some extra little tips, cause I love you so much xx

PRO K-BBQ TIP: Take the kimchi and pour the whole thing over the grill. Warm kimchi = happy tastebuds. Eat as is or put it into your wrap. If you don’t know about the wrap part, you can ask the restaurant staff for lettuce or perilla leaves to make mini wraps. You can add roasted garlic, bean sprouts, rice, whatever you want and then of course the meat! This should be free or like a dollar.

BONUS: Get cold noodles at the end of your barbecue. Naeng-myeon (냉면) at the end of barbecue is one of the most traditional Korean things you can do! Feeling guilty? You already did all you can eat K-BBQ, so don’t worry about it and go a bit more over the edge. You deserve it!!

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AVOID: PIG SKIN AT ALL COSTS!! It’s disgusting… I can’t stress this enough.

 

Thanks again for reading & happy eating!!!

10 KILLER Restaurants in Itaewon

In no particular order. Cheers darling. xo

 

10. Geolgune (걸구네)

Woah. Starting the list off right is a Korean restaurant?? In Itaewon?? Unheard of. This place has some of the crispiest and yummiest Gopchang (곱창) EVER. If you’re not down to eat cow intestines, fear not. They have consistently amazing pork belly and ribs. The spicy ribs are out of this world. Like, so so so amazing. The best part is, the staff cooks everything for you.  They’ve got three floors, so don’t worry if there’s a bit of a line.

9. Nekkid Wings (네키드윙)

I can’t stop eating their jerk wings. They are crazy good. And look at this platter like… hello? Made for IG. This gem is tucked away behind Linus BBQ down in the alleyways. A little hard to find, but totally worth your search. Also, the wings are HUGE. Not like the little two-bite wings everywhere else in Seoul. Great place to go with a big group of coworkers too. I always set up my office parties here. We come for the wings but the giant onion ring is always somehow the star though.

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8. Kiki Chanting

One of the newer places on the list, don’t be afraid to try Seoul’s answer to Hong Kong fast food, unfortunately not on Hong Kong prices, but better than paying for a flight. The menu is authentic and concise. Don’t be afraid to be boring either, the classic roast pork was by far the best!! Look at that skin. BABYYYYY

7. Trench Town (트렌치타운)

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Back to the jerk flavours… I want to be buried with the jerk ribs along with my headstone reading: “I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK.” Surprisingly wasn’t crazy about the jerk chicken, but the jerk ribs were deathy. & the corn too. Woot!!

The vibe is really cool here too like loving the Bob Marley music and the staff is super chill too, probably cause they have to listen to the same 10 songs all day, but the moral of the story is: they never complain about it.

6. Nori Table (노리 테이블)

Soooo not gonna lie this place is pretty expensive, but when you live in Seoul and are sick and tired of peasant-standard Hwe. You need the real thing. The real thing being, the spicy mayo. Nori table has got the goods. It’s the same owner as Coreanos and stuff too. If that makes a difference. The Seoul Bae roll is life.

5. The Fountain

Sundays = $1 Pasta

Mondays = $2 Pizza

Tuesdays = Ladies all you can drink free

Need I say more? Well, I will anyways: The place is definitely better known for its drinks and free arcade games (Sailor Moon arcade game from Japan? Say Whattttt!), but the food is actually super yuummmy. I love the pastas. The best thing is that each of your friends can get a different flavour so you can try all five.

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4. Linus BBQ

Okay, I may have made my parents wait 2.5 hours for this one time when they were in Seoul only five days, but~~ Dad was so impressed… in the end. The owner lived in the American South for over 20 years and he slkdfjhas brought the goods with him!! Picnic style seating and the most glorious platters of brisket, pulled pork and my favourite thing in the whole world, bread. The spicy bbq sauce is better than the original imo. AND don’t sleep on the beans as your side, cause even that has pulled pork in it. Important side note: this restaurant also changed my mind about coleslaw, for the better.

3. Taco Amigo

dfdfsfThere was one week of my life, aka the first week I discovered Taco Amigo, that I took a taxi THREE separate times to Itaewon just to eat SOMETHING/ANYTHING from this place. Shout out to my Irish friend (of all people) Chris for showing me this place, cause it was sort of life changing. The menu is pretty long, but don’t go too crazy cause the portions are insanely huge. If you are craving tamales order them before even looking at the menu cause they can take forever. I have been here over ten times and never have had anything that didn’t melt in my mouth.

2. Pizza Revolution

Let’s be honest, we’re all going to Itaewon to party and what do you need at 2 am while waiting an hour for a taxi to actually pick you up? PIZZA (DUH)!! I’m in heaven cause it’s pizza by the slice and they have all the parm and spicy chili flakes right at your finger tips. Sure it’s $5.00 a slice but that’s chump change when you’ve had a couple bottles of soju already.

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1. Canucks

What a typical Canadian #1 pick (even though it’s “not in order.”) Seoul has been needing poutine in its life like 10 years ago, but only recently did someone finally bring it. Mmm cheese + gravy on fries. Could it get any better? Well Canucks somehow did it, by adding bacon + maple syrup. Literally SO CANADIAN I could jump off my igloo. Please God support this place cause I do NOT wanna see it go. I need my bacon maple poutine available to me when Canada loses a hockey game and I need a pick me up.

& Look how cute their website is. http://canuckskorea.com/

 

Thanks for reading + happy eating.

Where All Your Dreams Come True

Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

It was day break and every twist of the road was taking us farther and farther from the city. From the mountainside you could see the fisherman lugging their boats towards the water and from what we could gather, the beach belonged to none other than them. Behind us stood a tall, crisp white statue of an effigy of Buddha peeping its head over the trees only giving way to its full glory in a clearing or two.  It was a statue not quite like any I’ve ever seen as the Buddha-like figure was adorned with ladylike garb. The road onward was empty and our driver was as quiet as our surroundings.

We took in all that Monkey Mountain had to offer before approaching the gate to its secret bay. As we stepped out of our car we were so taken by its entryway. we headed straight for the balcony and the overflow of greetings going right over our heads.

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The entry to Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. 

We came back to reality once the mention of welcome drinks was overheard. The welcome drinks were pink and heavenly. It really is in the details.

Our flight to Da Nang was super early in the morning and the hotel was nothing more than completely accommodating of the fact. It was, hands down, the best service I have ever had in my life. We weren’t made to feel that our early arrival was at all an inconvenience and just felt a genuine warmth from everyone we interacted with. (And might I add, the placed just SMELLED of pure luxury, ugh.. loved it!)

The check-in process was smooth as butter and after one last look at the vision through the balcony, we tread down the road to meet the driver to take us to our room.

The resort is sprawling on so many different levels of land that in order to get anywhere you pretty much need to call the driver to take you around and at times you have no other option but to take the tram down to ocean level where the drivers can’t get to.

Our room was the most basic one you could get, but basic was the last word you would use to describe it. We had a beautiful view of the ocean and our bathroom was huge, just like I like it (in my dream house the master bedroom to make room for a master bathroom instead ^^) The best part was the bathtub (duh) and the Vietnamese hats on our beds gave the place a needed touch of playfulness.

I went straight for the bath and waited for the sun to peek back out before doing more exploring. We were given the option of taking a tour of the grounds, provided by the resort of course, which would take over one and a half hours, but decided to surprise ourselves along the way.

As I mentioned in my Da Nang Travel guide post two days ago, we weren’t super impressed with the beaches on the main strip in Da Nang, not because of anything it was lacking in terms of beauty or size, but the fact that we didn’t see any people on it. When we took the tram down to the beach, we were pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t the case at Sun Peninsula.  The sand was a bit darker in colour, but completely wrapped in mountain and lush forest. It was the most luxurious setting in which you felt privy to an untouched paradise.

The strip of beach came equipped with a cocktail bar and luscious lounge chairs that are just begging for you to curl up in them. Our first course of action: cocktails! And in the wise words of Betty & Wilma: CHARGEEEEE IT! (to the room hehe)

After thoroughly enjoying ourselves, and one outfit change later, the strangest thing happened. The weather turned extremely quickly and the water became a little too rough to safely swim in. As the waves increased in size, so did the amount of debris that collected on the shore with each crash. It looked like a tsunami had hit somewhere nearby, because it wasn’t the expected bits of trash or plastic that sadly line our oceans. What the sea was spewing out that day were piles of furniture, broken wood, tricycles even! The other guests and ourselves decided to return to our rooms after being assured by the staff that there was nothing to worry about. I don’t think this is a common occurrence by any means, but the staff were quick to deal with it.

Before coming to Da Nang, the area had been hit with heavy storms and severe rainfalls that even partially flooded the resort. The staff and us were convinced that the strange debris must be a result of those storms and we quickly went inside.

As the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up, we headed inside and braced for the worst. 

We headed to the Long Bar for some lunch to wait out the rain, which thankfully never came. We had a Bahn Mi sandwich and kept the cocktails rolling, opting for some of their house-designed “Monkey Mountain” classics, which paired extraordinarily with the tangy zip of the Vietnamese staple.

Not a bad place to wait for the sun to come up…

 

After lunch, we went one level up to the infinity pool that sits atop Long Bar. The beach was definitely less crowded than the pool, but we were able to comfortably find a set of lounge chairs to relax on. There were plenty of staff ready to take our orders as well. We liked the lively atmosphere of the pool, which definitely had a more family vibe.

We settled in just in time for sunset and it was unforgettable. Is there any other way to end a day in Da Nang?

Once we snapped as many Instagram shots as we could, we headed back up a few levels to our suite. The weather had cooled down enough that our beds were a warm idea.

We sunk into the sea of feathers and cotton and the beds were just as wonderful as everything else in this magical place, but the thing we couldn’t wait for was breakfast the next morning.

Breakfast is held in one of the resort’s five restaurants called Citron. The views are breathtaking as you munch of one of the largest buffet spreads I’ve ever laid eyes on. The most spectacular thing about the restaurant are its hanging tables that are just Instagram heaven. I have absolutely zero complaints, but we weren’t actually allowed to sit on one of the tables because we were a party of two and they were made to hold much more than that. They were kind enough, however, to let us take some pictures sitting at one though, so we could pretend like we did, but I would never lie to you. If you must dine here, however, the staff did say that they could be reserved for lunch of dinner service.

After breakfast we decided to take that tour we had meant to do the day before and had the perfect weather for it, once again! (Thank you Gods of Da Nang!) It was a short stay, but we had to move forward and on to Hoi An! A big thank you to all of the staff at this enchanting resort. Can’t wait to go back, and sincerely hope you all get the chance to experience all its wonder. xo

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Da Nang Travel Guide

The weather called for rain every single day of our trip and the real-time instagram updates were just as glum. Torrential dounpours, flooding, high winds; you name it. Somehow the heavens opened just in time and apart from a bit of fog in the mornings, it was nonstop sunshine. The weather can be pretty unpredictable in these parts, so here’s hoping your forecast will be just as bright. xo

What To Expect: The Good, The Bad, The Heavenly

There was so much hype about Da Nang in Korea that we had high expectations to say the least. Supposedly it was such a “hot place” that even K-celebrities couldn’t get flights. I needed to go. There was no question.

My first thought when I saw the sprawling beaches of Da Nang was that no one was on them. The beach stretched on for as long as the eye could see and the main strip was packed with hotel after hotel, but only the rare person could be sunbathing or taking a stroll. This is where I found Da Nang to be the most deceiving. I thought we were going on a beach vacation, but the beach was more or less deserted and the only people I saw using it were the fisherman in the morning on those cool coconut looking boats.

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That being said, Da Nang, for me, turned out to be a more cultural experience rather than a relaxing beach trip. As you can see, the city is not lacking in its beaches, but I wanted to be around the hustle and bustle and expect there to be LOTS.

Like most cities, Da Nang really livens up at night and the best part was leaving the hotel and watching the THOUSANDS and I mean THOUSANDS of motor bikes weaving in and out of traffic. It was the most satisfying people watching of my life.

I never felt unsafe being out at night in Da Nang. People were friendly and helpful, but sometimes their offer of help was a bit overwhelming. One thing you can expect when walking around at night (day time too, but not as much) is that every empty cab driver will beep at you, asking if you need a ride. It’s a nice gesture if we had happened to be looking for a cab, but when you’re trying to just take a walk and you’re getting beeped at literally every 20 seconds, it can put a damper on your experience. I have no tips to give whatsoever with this, no matter what we did we would just have to keep telling every stopped cab driver that, no, we actually wanted to walk.

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One of the most popular day trips to do from Da Nang is a visit to the ancient city of Hoi An. This is one of the most special places I have ever been to and requires more than the “quick visit” every website tells you to do. Expect that when you get to Hoi An and the sun goes down, you will want to stay longer than the time your shuttle bus is scheduled to return to your hotel. The whole charm of Hoi An is to see all the lanterns light up at night and surprisingly the nightlife seemed way better than downtown Da Nang. I was so surprised to see lots of English and Australian guys promoting different bars and handing us free drink tickets. I really wanted to stay, but our shuttle was at 9 pm. Lesson learned!

Remember, too, that depending on where your hotel in Da Nang is, Hoi An is not as close as it seems. From Intercontinental it would take over an hour and half one way. That is if traffic is okay too. Most resorts will take you via shuttle bus for free to Hoi An or charge a very small fee.

The last things to expect in Da Nang is to pay next to nothing for the best food of your life, have the beaches to yourself and expect the partying and the beeping to never stop.

Where To Stay

No matter how long your stay in Da Nang I do STRONGLY recommend two things: stay at least one night in Hoi An and bite the bullet and spend at least one night at the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. (WORTH EVERY PENNY!!)  Won the award for the world’s best luxury resort for three years in a row!

The one thing to keep in mind is that the resort is really far from everything else in the city (at least 20 minute drive.) So if you’re looking for seclusion, this place is for you! Or, if you’re like us, you just want a taste of the resort and a few good instagram pics. Beware that the food is pricey here and unless you don’t mind taking an hour cab ride there and back, getting to the city isn’t an easy option.

The resort, however, was a dream come true. Sure you’ll pay $9 for a Bahn Mi that you would pay $1 for down at the street markets, but it is so worth it.

You can take your pick of hotel in Hoi An really, but I think staying somewhere close to the river would be breathtaking.

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Da Nang is kind of split off into three areas of where I would recommend staying.

  1. If you’re looking for nightlife and a bit of glam – Novotel Danang Premier Han River
  2. If you’re looking to really get away from it all – Hyatt Regency Danang
  3. If you’re looking for a bit of both & some savings – A La Carte Da Nang Beach

Novotel is home to one of Da Nang’s most famous bars, SKY36. The name comes from the fact that it’s located on the 36th floor, Da Nang’s highest rooftop bar. The views are stunning and there were even fire and dancing shows to accompany the DJ. There are lots of Korean tourists here, so don’t be surprised if the DJ throws a bit of kpop in there. It really got the crowd going when he did, which was fun. All the bartenders are usually practising their flairing when they’re not making you another yummy cocktail. Expect to pay back home prices for this rooftop gem. The crowd is mixed in age and you won’t really find too many people dancing. The dance floor area is mostly packed with tables for bottle service and people bobbing around them.

Novotel is also down the street from many clubs, some of the best food spots and hands down Da Nang’s coolest attraction: The Dragon Bridge.  (It actually breathes fire, but only on Saturdays and Sundays!!)

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The Hyatt Regency is a little ways away from the heart of Da Nang and is situated on a pretty sweet strip of beach. The resort is gorgeous and still close enough to the city that it wouldn’t be a hassle to get to, if needed. There are tonnes of amazing IG photo opportunities at this resort (especially the palm-lined pool!!) and it’s under $300 USD per night, which is really reasonable for this level of facility. You’re far away enough from the action that you can really feel like your resort is on another planet. This resort is also very close to Hoi An and should take you only about 20 minutes to get there.

Be warned, however, that when you leave this resort to go out, you may be hit with a shocking view of the great disparity in Vietnam. The area outside the resort is rather underdeveloped, like many parts of Da Nang, which disappointed some people I know who went there.

The resort will have people in the pool and on the beach, but don’t expect it to be too crowded, your rest and relaxation is the hotel’s primary concern. Do plan to visit their in-house spa, as it is renowned in the city, but with prices that match the notoriety. Head to town if you want spa services that don’t break the bank.

Finally, for those who want a fun resort without spending a fortune, I give you: A La Carte Da Nang Beach. I actually ended up staying here a few nights myself to save a bit of money so I can give you a good run down on the pros and cons. First of all, I would say that this is more of a family style resort cause of the kitchen in the room and the overall feel. The rooftop infinity pool is amazing! Fun atmosphere, good drinks, but maybe a little on the small side. The hotel is across the street from the beach, but, once again, no one is actually swimming on it so it feels a bit lacking. There are also tonnes of not yet completed beachfront restaurants and complexes, which makes you really feel like they are wasting the potential.

The resort is quite far from Hoi An (about an hour) and not within walking distance of anywhere touristy. You can get to Hoi An from the resort shuttle for a small fee. Otherwise taxis are a must from this resort to even get to any decent restaurants. We, however, really liked the food and drinks at the pool, so you don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t feel like it. Order the goat cheese cake — to die for!!

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Where To Eat

You really can’t go wrong eating at any food stalls in Da Nang. A lot of the places will look like a giant outdoor seating space with huge logos for Tiger beer covering the walls. Each of these massive stalls serve different types of food, but rely on locals to know what each place sells, since there isn’t much advertised in terms of menus. Take a risk, go in and order something that you have no idea how to pronounce.

I found probably the greatest meal I’ve ever had abroad in Da Nang. Now, be warned, this place is NO FRILLS. It is the epitomy of hole-in-the-wall, but the food is out of this world. When you walk in, no one speaks English, they will guide you to a seat at a table that you sometimes have to share with others. To order we just pointed to food that we saw people eating and our table neighbours were nice enough to show us how to eat the foods correctly.

The place mostly serves Banh Xeo, which is like a crispy yellow meat pancake that you wrap with rice paper and top with different greens then dip in a rich peanut sauce. They also sell pork skewers and some famous milk drink that we were too chicken to try.

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P.S. this whole feast cost us $6 USD

The next place is in Hoi An, which lived up to its hype and was surprisingly full of English people who would rather pass on the “coriander.” Tucked away on one of the many lantern-lit side streets of the ancient town is a foodie’s dream house called: Morning Glory. I wish we had more time to explore some more of Hoi An’s cuisine, but if, like us, you only have one night in this magical town, you will not be disappointed with the food at this place.

Finally, back in Da Nang’s center is a small breakfast place called PHO 75. Again, super no frills place, but has years of reputation behind it. We had a traditional pho breakfast which cost us maybe $2 USD and even got to chat a bit with the owner. We came a little after breakfast time cause we slept in, but we heard that this place gets crazy busy before 9 am.

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Honestly we did go try some more expensive places while we were there, but it was nothing to write home about. The local food from anywhere is pretty much always cheap and delicious, just don’t order any duck rice bowls from a place called — I forgot.. just don’t order any duck rice bowls from anywhere!!

What Not To Miss

Have I mentioned Hoi An? I have? Really? Okay, well don’t miss it!

I wouldn’t miss seeing the dragon bridge spit fire/water every Saturday and Sunday night. I believe it starts at 9pm, so after sundown. By the head of the dragon is a square where a lot of local kids play and a great place to catch the show. When it’s done take a walk along the river and maybe catch dinner on one of the many boat restaurants along the banks.

Even if you’re not into the nightlife scene, everyone really must go for a drink up at SKY 36 bar. The views are unreal and the atmosphere will kick start your vacation.

Finally I would say that you NEED to take advantage of the spa services in Da Nang. Some places can be sketch if you know what I mean… but we got a Swedish stone massage for under $20 and pedicures for $1.50. Yes, I repeat: $1.50. It’s awesome!!

What To Skip

We just happened to walk by the Han Market and decided to walk in, since it was on every travel guide for Da Nang. I found the place really disgusting to be honest. There were a lot of open bags of nuts, candies, etc. and you could very clearly see the cockroaches running through and across the open bags. I know this is a tropical climate and almost impossible to avoid, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t at least close the food up. On top of that, the rest of the products were not of any interest to me or to any of the other tourists that were there. We all had looks of disappointment in that place.

There was a tour we kept seeing for the white Buddha and we were thinking about paying the money and doing it. Then on the way to the Intercontinental. BAM! It was RIGHT THERE. No need to pay for a tour to go see it, just grab a cab and go on your own for free! It’s not that far out of the city, maybe a ten minute cab ride away.

I’m still on the fence of whether Bana Hills is worth it or not… I mean, if you have the time? Go for it!

Hope you have a great time planning your Da Nang vacation xx

If you need help, click above to see my 3-day Da Nang itinerary.

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Chicago>New York??? 😲😲

 

K, my best friend and I have been to NYC a combined 30+ times and we thought we found the greatest place on Earth, but one day she comes back from a trip with her family to Chicago and says this: “I liked Chicago more than New York tbh.” I was mortified… like, New York was our place and she broke it’s heart like that? Rude.

Fast forward like 4 years and this super famous k-pop group (NOT BTS) is having a show in Chicago and I can’t not go.. sooo here we be and I think I need to slap myself, because my best friend was kinda right (aka absolutely right.)

🚨HUGEST DIFFERENCE: The men 🚨

Toronto boys dress like kinda bad boys. Not in a bad way, like, it’s hot, we love it, but think skinny gray sweats with like that moto detailing across the knees. And think hair like that of a 15 year old musical.ly “star.” If you need visual representation, I got you.

 

So most Toronto guys are on this kinda vibe, but literally all the Chicago boys were so preppy.  Think salmon polo sweaters and those god-awful khaki, knee-length shorts, that scream dad vibes, so I’m kinda into it? Anyways, they love Ralph Lauren so much that they even opened a Ralph Lauren restaurant. I’m not kidding… here’s the proof:

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Crazy.

Someone said that it’s cause Chicago is considered to be in the mid-west and due to that fact the guys are all very preppy. I don’t know if that makes sense, but Bieber grew up near Toronto, so maybe that’s why all the guys here dress like him. #realizingthings

The River is EVERYTHING

Living in Seoul for so long, I must say, that the river in Chicago far exceeds any other (sorry Han River!) I could have my tourist vision on, but it seemed so clean and blue. Unlike other rivers (sorry Han River!) that are more brown and murky.

I didn’t get a chance to take the river cruise cause it was so crazy hot the weekend I went, therefore, outdoorsy things were a bit of a no no.

IMG_2577Maybe that was why the Willis Tower had a 2 hour wait time for the elevator? Nah, people can’t all have a great mind like mine. Must have been a coincidence.

The most interesting fact is that everyone in Chicago thought it necessary to tell me how much they disliked president Trump. But I think the jokes on Chicagonians???? (omg is that a thing? I’m too lazy to check hehee~!!!), because the Trump tower is by far the nicest building along the river bank. #unpopularopinion #speakthetruth

ONE Mid-way Complaint

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GIORDANO’S??? What was up with the hype of that place… I’m sorry but I had better deep dish in South Korea than in Chicago. People need to stop recommending that place. Like it’s not good. the crust in like not enjoyable to eat at all. It’s half raw on the inside and the outer part is almost too crunchy, if that’s even possible.

It’s only saving grace was giving me a few pictures to post later cause the cheese was extra pully. But then again, when we had our Bean picnic with it, EVERYONE was asking where we got the pizza.  Go figure.

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The picture isn’t even that good lol. Such a waste. Random fact they had a memorial for xxxtentacion at this exact spot on this night. You really can’t imagine just how many kids out there have face tattoos until you go to an x event. Anyways, RIP.

Other than that, everything else I tried was fantastic. Some recommendations:

  1. Aba – Fulton Market
  2. Parlor Pizza Bar – the ice cream tacos are TO DIE for
  3. Anywhere in Fulton Market area tbh
  4. Gus’ Fried Chicken
  5. RPM Steak (get the Chicago blue cook!)
  6. Garret Popcorn Shop – Chicago popcorn mix!!
  7. La Bodega – amazing churros + tacos
  8. Bongo Room – brunch ❤

 

Je Ne C’est Quoi?

I didn’t have the longest time in Chicago, but the memories will last a lifetime. Everytime I made eye contact with someone on the street, the smiled. The architecture was the most interesting of any other city I’ve been to. And, most importantly, the food was just spectacular.

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I’m trying to think specifically why I preferred it to New York, but it’s really hard to come up with one precise reason, so I gave you three.

Let me know which of the two cities you prefer.

PS. When I was a little girl I would always beg my dad to take me to O’Hare airport in Chicago and he could never figure out why I randomly wanted to go there. Well one day, I confessed it! There was the world’s largest Beanie Baby store in that airport and I wanted to go to no other place in the whole wide world. My dream finally came true, but no beanie baby store.

Recommended Things to Do in Chicago:

  1. Willis Tower
  2. Architecture River Cruise
  3. The Bean – Millenium Park
  4. See the Chicago Theatre sign
  5. Fulton Market
  6. Millennium Mile
  7. Chicago Pier

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xx

 

 

 

 

Top 10 SUMMER Parties in Seoul ♥

SUMMA SUMMA SUMMA TIIIIMEEE ♪♫

Okay guys, the best time of the entire year has finally graced our presence and basically if you don’t like summer, we can’t be friends. (too aggressive?)

PRO TIP: July, in Korea, is rainy season — so sometimes parties can get cancelled, even very suddenly!! However, do not fret my darlings, this list gives you great indoor options to replace that rained out venue.

10. BANYAN TREE POOL PARTY

PROS: Upscale, better looking crowd with a very sophisticated feel + pool is gorgeous         CONS: Expensive, hard to meet people and a little far from Seoul’s core  

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Kicking off the countdown is one of the sexiest pool parties the city has to offer. Rain or shine this place goes pretty much any Saturday and Friday night.

The Banyan Pool party is the party to see and be seen, so expect the HOTTEST people in town to be looking as fanxy as they can. This is definitely the most upscale pool party in Seoul, but it’s pretty chill because people are still trying to keep up appearances. Not the best or worst place to meet people, so try and go with your own group to be safe. If you’re more than four people, I would highly recommend a cabana! If you’re just going with one or two others then it’s not necessary, but always a PLUS.

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Entrance fee on Saturdays is 50,000 won ($45 USD) for general admission and Fridays it’s 33,000 won ($30 USD).

There are 23 cabanas that average about 600,000 ($560 USD) for four people. Packages include Moet, hard liquor bottle and food (pizza, fruit, meats, etc. Call for more details).

Check them out on instagram for more details or call: 02-2250-8000

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9. Hongdae Playground

PROS: Super duper cheap; Place to people watch and maybe meet a rapper or two?                  CONS: I don’t know if anyone can resuscitate this place; you can only go Fridays/Saturdays

Hongdae ♥ There’s just something in the air in Seoul’s trendiest university area. Behind the madness is a little park where residents have flocked to for years to have a little pre-game party.

Mostly famous amongst foreigners, cheap convenience store booze is the drink of choice here! Back in the day there used to be people that set up DJ booths and did rap battles or just played music for the crowd. Can I pay someone to start doing this again? Actually,  can the government pay someone to do this again? The energy at the park was soooo lit a few years ago, before they renovated it and removed the jungle gym. You’re probably going to want to party in Hongdae anyways, so just give it a try.

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Be warned, however, that this is a public area so sometimes it attracts the cooked folk. There used to be a mystery Makkeolli man here too.. If someone knows what happened to him lmk.

Entrance fee is ZERO DOLLARS. Woo!

8. CAKESHOP

PROS: Potential celeb sighting, trendiest music and people; 2-for-1 club entrance fee                CONS: Music can be hit or miss, line ups are sometimes crazyy if you get there too late

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There’s just something about a basement party in the summer. The red lighting + low ceilings make for cool IG posts too. The biggest draw is the fact that G-Dragon and Sooj Mooj have partied here. Of course the times I’ve been, only GD’s BFF was there, but honestly, even then I was a little starstruck.

Usually has a lot of underground music, but mostly hip hop or sketchy EDM, but in a good way. LOL that doesn’t make sense, but you feel me right?  The cool thing is that they expanded and made a second club that has almost an opposite feel with it’s white walls and blue lighting. Your entrance fee gets you in to both clubs – yay! + BONUS!!! Entrance fee also gets you a free drink too. Saucyyyy

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Best thing is: this place is still cool to check out on weekdays & you’re more likely to see a celeb or two during the week too. B A M

Entrance Fee is 20,000 won ($19 USD). Doors open at 10:00ISH? Get there early on weekends to grab your wristband. Place is empty at 10:00 pm? No worries! Just head out to a pre-game spot of your choice and come back later! Now you can slide past all those losers waiting in line. .

7. GSM YACHT PARTY

PROS: Great place to meet people, free yacht ride around the Han River                                             CONS: Sometimes could do without the performances and getting food took too long

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Alright, so this event happens about twice a year during the summer months. It’s cool because it’s run by foreigners, so you get a really good mix of people. This party is right along the Han river so you get a nice party backdrop. The venue keeps changing, but it is always guaranteed to be somewhere along the Han.

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Most of the parties include unlimited food and drinks in the ticket price, which is always a hugeeee yes for me 🙂  They also have performances, some better than others, but it is a nice way to rest those legs from dancing too much and a good time to be shady with all your friends and judge the performer’s capueda talent.

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Everyone is down to meet everyone since the party is run by a meetup group, so don’t be shy!!

yacht ride. It’s not guaranteed for everyone.

PRO TIP: Get there early enough to sign up for the free

Entrance fee depends party to party. Check out globalseoulmates.com and their event calendar to find out more.

6. Miss Yoon (미쓰윤)

PROS: Really cool 5 story venue. Nice views of the stream and less crowded than most spots CONS: I might be a bit too ahead of the game here… aka not sure how many ppl will be here

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I used to work down the street from this place in Gangnam and I was SO excited when it opened. There were palm trees…. in Seoul… on A ROOF??!! What was this magical place?? Well~ it’s a restaurant, bar, cafe, pool party, event space: all in one!!  The best part? The rooftop’s secret-door bar. It’s so cool. Try to find it!! 99% of people fail. I think I just started a new YouTube challenge.

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The roof has a pool and DJ booth ready for the weekends. I would suggest going during the day on a Saturday before going out somewhere else for the night.

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Entrance fee is unknown. I think you just have to order drinks or food at the bar. Lounge chairs and cabanas also available.

5. MUSIC FESTIVALS – flower crown ready ♥

PROS: CRAZY HUGE SELECTION OF FESTIVALS!!  Really safe & well organized                                CONS: Sometimes filled over capacity and sound systems were no bueno (at times)

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Seoul is ADDICTED to music festivals. It has ULTRA KOREA, HEINEKEN 5TARDIUM, WORLD DJ FEST, WORLD CLUB DOME… The list really goes on and on. There are also tonnes of hip hop festivals, some even at water parks just outside the city!  Koreans go ALLLL OUT at festivals, let me tell you. You’re gonna have so much fun dancing with strangers, taking pictures with all the crazy costumes and going crazy to the sets of the world’s best DJs.

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Literally pick a festival, any festival, and you’re going to have the time of your life!!! I also feel like I contradicted myself when I said above “really safe… but also filled over capacity.” Welcome to Korea. That makes sense here.

PRO TIP: I heard that the Seoul Jazz Festival is super good and the crowd has seen the likes of Zico jamming to some of the artists along with other famous Korean celebs as well. Winding next to Zico at some jazz festival in Seoul? Don’t mind if I do~~!

4. WATER BOMB FESTIVAL

PROS: WATER GUNS!!! Usually packed with performances from different K-pop artists          CONS: Water-proof makeup required, some people get way too into it/aggressive

PRO TIP: DO NOT WEAR NON-WATERPROOF MASCARA!!!

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The first time I went to a water gun festival in Korea I did not wear waterproof mascara cause I thought it was gonna be an innocent, flirty water gun fight. Splish, splash.: WRONG. Two blondes show up and the guys started doing target practice on us quicker than you can say HA-JI-MAAA (stop it! – in Korean.) We got drenched five seconds in.

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At this festival, the performances have included Korean rappers (LOCO, Gray, jay Park) along with some other big K pop stars (Hyolyn.) The music from the DJ was a good mix of hip hop and EDM. The venue is in the middle of a stadium and there are plenty of street food options, drinks and activities.

The best part is that you can pick your team and battle it out!!

PRO TIP: Never pick the red team!! Cause: “Red knight goin down… DOWN, DOWN DOWN!! Red knight goin down! DOWN, DOWN, DOWN”

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Tickets go for are 80,000 won ($75 USD) online only.  Happens in July.  You can find tickets in English on trazy.com if you don’t speak any Korean.

3. Burning Sun (Melia Hotel Gangnam)

PROS: The new hot spot; Everyone is gorg; It’s owned by Seungri, so surprise appearance? CONS: Maybe a little too popular… expect long lines if you don’t have a table

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Wow. Just WOW. After having a decently successful run with Apgujeong area’s Monkey Museum, Big Bang member Seungri has opened up the one and only club to take over the infamous Arena.  And guess why it’s even BETTER than Arena?? They even let foreigners through the front door~! Wow, what a progressive night club. Said no one ever, but I feel vindicated.

Underneath the brand new Le Meridien hotel in Gangnam, this club has TAKEN OVER!! Expect to see guys spending over $100,000 on champagne in one order!! It’s crazy fun. The club has two rooms, but only the EDM room has tables worth your while in my opinion.

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Entrance Fee is 20,000 won ($19 USD). Tables start from 1,000,000 won ($940 USD). Open 10 pm – past 4 am.

2. Walkerhill Pool Party ♥

 PROS: EVERYTHING    ♥   #1 #1 #1 #1 #1 #1 #1                                                                                                   CONS: NONE

OKAY NUMBER ONE PARTY OF MY LIFE. BETTER THAN IBIZA. BETTER THAN VEGAS. BETTER THAN MYKONOS AND I DIDN’T EVEN GO TO MYKONOS, BUT I KNOW… IT’S BETTER THAN MYKONOS. XO

I shall let the videos speak for themselves.

Why is it at number 2 you ask? Cause I think lots of people aren’t super comfortable with pool parties, but get yourself some therapy and a plane ticket and get to the pool party OF YOUR LIFE. So good, I don’t even remember the second time I went. What can I say? So much bliss, I blacked right out. ;-D

Okay fiiiiiiine, there is one con that I refuse to highlight cause it’s avoidable if you read my blog. For some reason, there is no hard liquor served at this party unless you get bottle service. There is a bar, but they only sell like 20 or 30 dollar champagne glasses. But guess what hunny?? There is a thing called pre drink!!! Other than that little detail, it’s my favourite place in the whole wide world, even if I did almost get arrested there once. Ahhhh memories.

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PRO TIP: If you can’t get a cabana BEWARE!! All of your stuff will be trampled on and drenched if you leave it on the edge of the pool. There are lockers to avoid this! Get one.

PRO PRO VVIP TIP: Just get a Cabana. Bite the bullet. Dare I say it? YODEL. (have fun figuring that one out)

1. Pute Deluxe x Corona Sunsets Rooftop Party

PROS: The place to meet models and celebs; the hottest variety of music; unique venue          CONS: Hard to get a cab to and from location; kids downstairs can ruin your vibe

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THE place to party in Seoul is on the Floating Islands on the Han River. (Sounds pretty doesn’t it?) This party only happens 3-5 times a year and you DO NOT want to miss even one of them. The venue is super cool and there are multiple stages and sounds on the two top floors of this extraordinary building.

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I don’t know what it is about this place that brings out the cool kids. Everyone is like a model or at least works in the entertainment industry or has some job that is way cooler than mine. Probably because the person who started it all is this French guy, who is constantly on popular Korean TV shows and a DJ on the side to boot. Friends helping friends? With the over 20 acts per event, it does seem that way. (& I volunteer to be part of the click)

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Not your scene if you’re looking for mainstream. The music caters to its oh so chic crowd, but the drinks are well priced and people are still super friendly. I think it’s a good place to meet people and pretty chill in terms of lines and wait times. Don’t worry about getting there too early and don’t worry about buying tickets in advance. I like to go when the sun is about to go down, but so do most people, so getting there a bit before is probably best aka don’t make it busy when I wanna make my grand entrance. Enjoy the views, photo ops & dance the night away not under, but with, the stars.

Entrance fee is 25,000 won ($23 USD), which includes a free Corona.

From 2 pm – 12 am (ish?) (dates are subject to management)

BONUS!! ☼  HANAM STARFIELD POOL PARTY

Woah. When I was researching for this blog post I ran into the randomest pool party in the city. It’s new and my tickle has been fancied. Am I saying that wrong?

Hanam Starfield is this super fancy mall in this kinda random area (aka middle of no where) on the outskirts of Seoul, but it attracts so many shoppers because it’s sooooo LUXE and we as human beings all need that IG story to show that we can afford to shop here. The roof had a pool from forever and I always wondered: Which cooked indivual would get in a shopping mall swimming pool? And I guess the answer is: me.

Shoppers = lovers of pool parties. It’s science, look it up. Anyways it looks pretty litty to me… so search the geo tag on Instagram for Hanam Starfield and see if it tickles your fancy. (There we go!)