Day Three: Trekking Kawah Ijen, Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall

*This is a guest blog entry. For more details on our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry!  

[This is part 4 of a series of 4 entries for my 4D3N trip to East Java, Indonesia. For my previous entries, click here, here and here.]

Itinerary for the day

Kawah Ijen Trekking -> Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall -> Dinner -> Hotel 88

We checked out from our accommodation and departed at 12.00am. After a 2 hour drive, we arrived at the starting point of our Kawah Ijen trek at Paltuding. The temperature felt colder than Mt. Bromo, but you won’t feel cold for long, once you begin your 3 km trek up to the rim of the crater, and the steep descent of 45 to 60 degrees down the crater.

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As we descended down the crater, there was a constant flow of sulfur miners passing us by. Our guide, Eko, explained that they were making their daily rounds carrying up to 90 kg of processed sulfur on the back of their shoulders up the crater. Each miner usually makes 2 trips daily. As the path to the crater is very steep and uneven, do try to get out of the way and provide them a clear path when you see the sulfur miners approaching! Some sulfur miners will try to sell mini sculptures (such as mini turtles, flowers etc.) carved from the sulfur stones – you may want to consider purchasing from them but if you decline, they will not persist.

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Finally, we see the blue flames burning brightly amidst the curtains of smoke arising from the active vent. The flames burn blue not because the lava is blue – when the sulfuric gases react with oxygen, they ignite and burn with a flame that is electric blue. You will notice miners working near the edge of the lake and the active vent of the volcano. These miners are breaking off the sulfur that has cooled and solidified, to haul it up the crater.

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As the sun began to rise, we made our way back to the crater rim, and we could finally take in the panoramic view of the world’s largest highly acidic lake! The lake is turquoise-blue as a result of its extreme acidity (with a pH of almost 0), with high concentration of hydrochloric acid. The hydrogen chloride gas emitted from the volcano reacted with water to form hydrochloric acid.  During the day, although the electric blue flames are obscured by sunlight, the views of the whole caldera and the acid lake with the sun rise as the back drop are stunning and the surroundings are worth exploring!

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The trees are all bare due to a fire some years back. As I walked past these tree skeletons and observed the unique landscape, I felt like I was entering an enchanted forest!

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Finally, we decided to head back to the parking area! The walk down is, as expected, much easier than the walk up. You will pass by the cafe where the nature toilet is, and where your guide obtained the gas masks! Do note that coffee and tea is sold at the cafe at a higher price, to account for the cost of transporting the ingredients AND transporting water up to the cafe! According to my guide, there is no electricity supplied to the cafe, and all hot water is prepared by boiling water over fire and storing them in thermos flasks! Then again, it is nice to take a well-deserved rest and listen to the cheerful conversations among the guides, while sipping a warm cup of coffee or tea :).

The usual itinerary which follows would be an 8 hour drive back to Surabaya, with an optional visit to the shopping centre – Tunjungan Plaza Surabaya.

However, my friends and I opted to go to Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall instead! On the way there, we stopped by for lunch and this was THE lunch where we had THE Ayam Soto :P.

Do note that opting for this would mean additional time and cost involved. The drive to the waterfall took approximately 6 hours, the trek itself took approximately 3 hours, and the drive back to Surabaya took approximately 3 and a half hours. Further, an additional cost of 250,000 IDR is payable to your driver and guide to cover petrol, local guide, and food cost. Nevertheless, we all agreed that it was well worth the time, energy and money spent!

Tip: You will have the opportunity to get wet and swim in waterfalls so do remember to wear wet attire. Sandals or shoes are highly recommended!

The descent down to the base of the waterfall included climbing down wooden steps, ‘belaying’ down tyre ropes’, walking across steel planks, installed by the locals to make the place a safer tourist attraction. As we reached the base of the waterfalls, we were surrounded by cascading waterfalls for 270 degrees of our view~ and this is just the beginning!!! 😀 Here, I shall let the pictures do the talking 🙂

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We managed to complete the trek and reach the parking area before sunset! (Hurrah!) The guide’s family prepared mee goreng for us which was really delicious~ and we were headed for our 3 hour drive back to Surabaya.

It was truly a fruitful day, and a perfect way to end our trip 🙂

For more information on our guides and travel tips, read our first entry here.

More about our guest blogger

Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂

< Previous: Day Two – Mount Bromo and about

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Day Two: Mount Bromo and about

*This is a guest blog entry. For more details on our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry!  

[This is part 3 of a series of 4 entries for my 4D3N trip to East Java, Indonesia. For my previous entries, click here and here.] 

Itinerary for the day

Bromo Sunrise -> Bromo crater -> Lunch -> Ijen View Resort Hotel -> Massage -> Dinner

Rise and shine as we begin our second day by setting out in our four wheel jeep drive to the view point at Mt Penanjakan on the rim of the Tengger caldera, in hopes of catching the sunrise and the mythological landscape of Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru coloured in orange hues by the first rays of the sun. Mount Bromo is named after the Hindu God of Creation, Brahma, and aptly so!

The drive up to the view point is in pitch black darkness and it is amazing how the drivers, armed with just their torchlights to survey the surroundings, can figure the right path to the view point. The only things we could see were the cars moving ahead of and trailing behind us.

We reached the viewpoint at approximately 4.00 am but the area was already bustling with tourists camping at the better spots waiting for the sunrise, and vendors renting out down jackets at 10,000 IDR for those who were inadequately dressed for the weather. For us, the sunrise was at 5.36 am – our guide presented us with 2 options: (1) warm ourselves with a cuppa coffee before heading over to the viewpoint; (2) head over to the viewpoint to secure a good spot. As I was planning to take good photographs with my tripod and DSLR, I decided to head over early to find a good spot to position my tripod.

For those who are avid photographers with tripods, I would suggest heading over early as the good spots are snapped up pretty quickly. As there is comparatively (to the city) less light pollution, you can gaze at the stars, attempt to take photographs of the milky way, eavesdrop on the conversations of strangers, and even catch a glimpse of a shooting star or two (as I did :D) while waiting for the sunrise!

As the sun began to rise, we witnessed the spectacular change in the colours of Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru – from greyish brown to bright orange. We were frantically alternating between taking photographs of the sunrise to our left, and of the active volcanos to our right. The mountains looked so surreal, as through they were amidst the clouds, but in actual fact, what seemed like clouds was merely a layer of fog above the ground (which was clearly visible to us the previous evening!)

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As our guide wanted to bring us to different viewpoints before the crowds started dispersing and heading towards these other viewpoints as well, we reluctantly left the first viewpoint, but the subsequent viewpoints did not disappoint, and allowed us to soak in the panoramic views of Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru basking in the morning sun rays from different angles.

Our guide then drove us to Love Hills (named as such as lovers frequented the place) for another photograph opportunity with Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru as the backdrop.

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Tip:  The temperature is cold (approximately 10-15 degrees) but not unbearable, as there is no wind chill.

Next, we were driven to the parking area (where the fog lies), where we would begin our trek to the base of Mt Bromo, and up 245 steps of stairs to the rim of the Mt Bromo crater.

You have the option of getting to the foot of the 245 steps of stairs by foot, or on the back of a horse. Personally, I would recommend walking but it is your choice to make.

The trek through the fog is approximately 10 minutes; the trek up the crater to the base of the staircase (where you would dismount your horse if you choose to ride one) takes approximately 15-20 mins; thereafter, the 245 steps of stairs is the last obstacle between you and your view of the volcano from the rim of the Mt Bromo crater.

Walking through the “Sea of Sand”, I felt like I was walking through a sand storm. Visibility was only approximately 5 metres!

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As we started trekking from the base of the crater, the ashes started to irritate our respiratory tracts and we had to wear our surgical masks.

Finally, we reached the base of the 245 steps standing between us and our destination. Tourists had to dismount their horses here. At the base of the 245 steps, there were locals selling snacks (to recharge) and selling offerings as well! Notice how one photo appears very foggy while the other is super clear – this is how fast the surroundings change!

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This is the first time I have seen the inside of an ACTIVE volcano and it was magical with endless streams of smoke billowing from its main vent.

Tip: Bring surgical masks to protect from the ashes.

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Finally, we were ready to head back to our accommodation for some breakfast, to check out, and begin our 6 hour drive to Kawah Ijen area. Now is the time for you to catch some sleep! (because your next day begins at 11.30 pm on the same day)

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We arrived at Ijen View Resort Hotel at 3.30 pm. As it was ‘free and easy’ time, we decided on treating ourselves to a javanese massage, to prepare our muscles for the strenuous day ahead. The massage room is a little old and musty, so it might be a better idea to request for the massage to be done in your hotel room.

Tip: Remember to have a hearty meal because it will have to last you while you are awake from 12.00am to 8.00am the next day. Bring snacks if you think you cannot withstand the hunger. Although i didn’t feel hungry until i reached the bottom of the Ijen crater because, as my friend described, it was my fight and flight response – my body was too tense and too busy concentrating on not falling off or slipping, it forgot it was hungry.

Stay tuned for my next entry, where I bring you to the legendary blue-flamed Ijen Crater! 🙂

More about our guest blogger

Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂

< Previous: Day One – Trekking the Madakaripura Waterfall

Next: Day Three – Trekking Kawah Ijen, Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall >

Day One: Trekking the Madakaripura Waterfall

*This is a guest blog entry. For more details of our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry!  

[This is part 2 of a series of 4 entries for my 4D3N trip to East Java, Indonesia. For my previous entry, click here.] 

Itinerary for the day

Airport -> Lunch -> Madakaripura Waterfall -> Cafe Lava Hotel at Bromo

Our first stop for the day was Madakaripura Waterfall. The waterfall is named after a great prime minister Gajah Mada, who was a vital character in unifying Indonesia. Legend has it that he eventually chose this place as his final place for meditation, before vanishing spiritually and physically. Also known as the eternal waterfall, it endlessly pours down rains of blessings on those fortunate enough to walk under it! Today, the tradition perseveres and locals visit this place to pay their respects and pray for their blessings.

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Getting to the site of the waterfall was a new experience for me! From where our driver parked the car, we had to pillion ride on 2 different motorbikes (as there are 2 gantries) before we reached the starting point of the actual trek. The rides are pretty short (not more than 5 minutes each) and exciting for someone who hadn’t ridden a motorbike before.

The trek can be split into two parts – the dry and wet sections.

For the first part, we walked on proper wooden walkways/ discernible gravel roads alongside the gentle stream that flows from the waterfall. This was a pretty easy walk, lasting about 30 minutes, with little/no elevation. Then, you will reach a point where used raincoats are strewn over a large rock (please dispose of your disposable raincoats responsibly). This is where you should gear up for the wet section – wear your raincoats, keep all valuable items, take out your waterproof action cameras etc.

For the second part, we had to trudge through the streams with water levels that are knee deep (with reference to the knees of a short person) to get to the site of the main waterfall. You will then pass through sections of the waterfall raining down on you, and after approximately 5 minutes, and bouldering over a cluster of rocks, you will be greeted with the spectacular sights of the Madakaripura Waterfall :D.

 

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Pictures will not do justice to portray the grandeur of the waterfalls (as they never do), but a video, or a vertical panoramic photo might come close 😀 Our guide was really enthusiastic in taking panoramic photos for us.

While some blogs and websites suggest that you can swim in the waterfalls (and I did wear my swim suit just in case), my guide advised against it as it is dangerous, and it would be difficult for them to help us if we do get into any life threatening situations. However, it is ultimately up to you to perform your own risk assessment and decide if you think it’s safe enough to swim! (although I would think it only right and courteous for you to consider the advice of your own guide, since he would feel responsible for your safety).

While it might seem the position where I am standing (behind the waterfall) is shallow, IT IS NOT. As my feet felt its way around in the water to get to where I was standing, other than the rocks I stood on, my feet could not find the ground in the water surrounding those rocks.

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If you do want to swim in a waterfall, please see our trip to the Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfalls on Day 3 :D.

Some useful tips!

  • Attire: You will need a poncho. (You can always buy a disposable poncho on site and contribute to their economy). You might want to wear knee length/three-quarter pants if you do not want your clothes getting wet. Please change into slippers or sandals (sandals are highly recommended) unless you don’t mind getting your shoes soaked on the first day of your trip.
  • Photography: At the main site of the waterfall, the cascading waterfalls will feel like fine rain and your phones might get a little wet, but you can still use your phones to take pictures (as we did). If you are not comfortable with your phones getting a little wet, either bring a waterproof camera (e.g. GoPro), a waterproof jacket for your phones, or you can purchase a waterproof jacket for your phones at the entrance to the trek. It is possible to bring your tripod and DSLR to the main waterfall if you are an avid photographer, as the trek there is not difficult. However, do remember to give adequate protection to your DSLR against moisture, and try not to fall into the streams on the way there – otherwise, it would be better not to bring it.

Next, we headed to our accommodation for the day at Cafe Lava Hotel at the Bromo area. Our guide was really hospitable and he offered to bring us around the village after we checked into our accommodation.

The village is a small village and there isn’t much to see (or eat), except for the view of the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park with the sunset as its backdrop. Notice that in this photo, the terrain is visible – KIV this as you will see later, the terrain is no longer visible at sunrise as it is hidden amongst the “clouds”!

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With the sun setting and the fog settling in fast, we decided to head back near our accommodation to fill our bellies, and get ready for an early start (3am) the next day.

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Stay tuned for my next entry, where I bring you to Mount Bromo! 🙂

More about our guest blogger

Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂

< Previous: 4D3N East Java, Indonesia Overview

Next: Day Two – Mount Bromo and about >

4D3N East Java, Indonesia Overview

*This is a guest blog entry. For more details of our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry! 

This time, we (me and 2 friends) headed to East Java of Indonesia, to see the famous Kawah Ijen, which flames burn electric blue every night. To give you an overview, here is a breakdown of the basic things you’d need to know before you embark on the trip 🙂

Cost
I spent a total of SGD650 this trip (all inclusive – air fare, tips and souvenirs). The breakdown is as follows (per pax):-

  • Basic Tour*: 2,500,000 IDR
  • Trip to Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes: 250,000 IDR
  • Flight: 150 SGD
  • Massage: 100,000 IDR
  • Additional Baggage on flight back to SG: 400,000 IDR (because i was forced to T.T)
  • Food and all other expenses, including sim card, tips to driver and guide: approx 480,000 IDR
  • Souvenirs: spend your remaining money

*Please note that as this is a private tour, the price of the tour per pax may vary depending on the no. of pax for your trip. The cost reflected would be a good estimate if you are travelling in a group of three, like I did. 

Is this trip for you?
The trip was amazing but it’s not for you if:

  • you are looking for a relaxing holiday;
  • you feel tired after climbing 1-2 flights of stairs;
  • you cannot get used to odd waking hours (you’ll be setting off in the wee hours of 12 am and 3 am each day 😮 and your sleep cycle will be thoroughly disrupted)

Mobile data connection
For those who cannot live without data connection, remember to inform your guide that you need to get a sim card and they will get it for you on the way to your first lunch destination! I got the SimPati card – 12 GB with no minutes or SMS, for 55000 IDR (approx S$6).

Food
Food was not the highlight of the trip, especially since we went during Ramadan (the Muslim Holy Fasting Month) and most of the shops were closed. However, the most memorable meal I had was the Ayam Soto, which is chicken soup on rice. The shop basically sells only that…and keropok, a simple but yummy flavoured cracker! it’s humble fare but the soup was so flavourful and unforgettable!

Other local foods you might want to try are:

  • Snake Fruit: i like it 🙂
  • Bebek Ijo: Green Chili Fried Duck with rice (similar to Ayam Penyet)
  • Avocado Milkshake, which is supposedly drizzled with chocolate, but I didn’t get to try it as it was sold out/not available everywhere I went

Pictorial overview
Below is a flow chart of our whole itinerary to give you a general overview:

overview

Tour guide details

I would strongly recommend my tour guides, who were nothing short of amazing. Their details are provided below:

Where we booked our tour DEHA TRANS TOUR SERVICE
Jl. Sebaung No. 157 Probolinggo East Java Indonesia
www.dehatrans.com
Guides Dosi and Jan (together with a local guide for each attraction)
Contact details Mobile/WhatsApp +62-822 344 535 60
Line ID: dosiy
Email: dehatrans_tour@yahoo.com
Phone Office (+62335)613953

Additional airport information and regulations

While the Surabaya airport is pretty new (and perhaps precisely because it is new) there is nothing to shop once you check in. Ideally, if the opportunity arises, I would recommend buying all your souvenirs during your trip. However, if the opportunity does not arise and you have pinned your hopes on settling your souvenir obligations at the airport, I would recommend buying any souvenirs in the shops at the public area first before checking in. The shops selling local souvenirs in the public area are larger with more variety as compared to the same shop in the departure lounge.

Also, if you are bringing a tripod, PLEASE note that if you are planning to hand carry your tripod, there is a possibility that you might be asked to check in your tripod for your flight out of Surabaya! I had planned to travel on a budget and had not purchased any check-in baggage, and was stopped at the security checkpoint and asked to check in my tripod.

Apparently, as explained to me by a very patient and helpful airport staff, this requirement is pursuant to Indonesian law, but notice is only given in Bahasa and tourists who do not understand Bahasa have no means of being made aware of such a legislative requirement. To err on the side of caution, it would be prudent to just check-in your tripod.

All right, it’s time to start on Day One! Stay tuned while I pen my next entry! 😉

More about our guest blogger

Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂

Next: Day One – Trekking the Madakaripura Waterfall >

Seoul Food Diaries: Paris Baguette

If you are a fan of bread, tarts and cakes, you will find that Seoul has a wide variety of cafes and bakeries that specialise in these. Some of the cafes have become so successful that they even have franchises abroad! One such cafe chain is the Paris Baguette cafe chain, which is owned by Seoul’s SPC Group and has found its way to the shores of Singapore, France, China and Vietnam.

While it was not at the top of our must-try list, Paris Baguette proved to be a convenient option for breakfast on Sunday morning, when many cafes/bakeries in Seoul were closed or only opened later in the afternoon.

The store that we visited was near our accommodation opposite Chungmuro Station. Although it had limited seating, there were many patrons who popped by to buy take-outs.

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What we liked was the variety of food that was available. Whether you are in the mood for sandwiches, salads, cakes, bread or even pasta, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Here’s the spread you can expect to see at most Paris Baguette stores:

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Eventually, we settled on leavened sandwich with cucumber, ham and egg, savoury cheese muffin and a sweet egg sandwich. We also had a cute bear brownie for dessert!

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The food was good and satisfying, but not that spectacular. Paris Baguette also has quite an extensive list of drink options, and we settled for the Iced Caffe Latte because the weather was rather warm. Look at the cute cup our drink came in!

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I don’t know about you, but sipping my drink from such a cute cup definitely makes me enjoy it even more 😛

So if you are in a hurry and can’t find a place to have breakfast on a Sunday morning in Seoul, do give Paris Baguette a visit! They are worth the try and pretty affordable too 🙂

*Since this cafe chain is relatively well-distributed across Seoul, find the one that’s most convenient for you here! 🙂 

Verdict:
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*This is a non-sponsored post. 

xoxo,
The Bears
cropped-cropped-three-wandering-bears

 

Seoul Food Diaries: Ginseng Chicken Soup at Tosokchon

A few years ago, Korean food took the world by storm partly due to the hit K-drama series, Daejanggum 대장금, or as many Asian Chinese call it – 大长今. Together with this K-Food craze, Ginseng Chicken Soup or Samgyetang 삼계탕 also rose in popularity and people were arriving in Seoul by the throngs to try this unique South Korean dish. Ask any local Korean where the best Samgyetang might be, the restaurant Tosokchon 토속촌 would undoubtedly surface. So, we decide to dive straight to the restaurant to find out just why this place was proving to be so popular with both locals and tourists.

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We arrived at Tosokchon on a Friday evening, at about 7pm. Strangely, there was no queue outside the restaurant and we managed to get a seat as soon as we walked in. The restaurant was also not that packed – quite different from what we’d imagined based on the reviews we had read. Perhaps this was due to the decrease in foreigners and tourists of late?

 

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The interior of Tosokchon is quite a feast for the eyes in itself. The restaurant is housed in a refurbished Hanok 한옥 or traditional Korean house. Its rooms, sliding doors, elevated wooden floors and traditional roofs are kept to its original, with few modifications made.

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We walked through the narrow alley before being greeted by large rooms with low tables for seating. We were quickly ushered to our places and efficiently handed the menus to place our order. We ordered two bowls of their legendary ginseng chicken soup – the only difference being one was the original and the other was black chicken. The former cost 15,000W and the latter 23,000W. There were also two cups of additional ginseng essence on the table – this was for adding to the meal if you prefer a stronger ginseng taste.

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Within ten minutes, our meals arrived, complete with appetisers/side dishes or banchan 반찬. In fact, we aren’t exaggerating when we say we smelt our food before we saw it! It was that good! We quickly proceeded to pour the entire cup of additional ginseng juice into our broths (you can slowly pour this to your desired amount, but we both LOVE ginseng so we didn’t hesitate!)

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The broths were rich and flavourful, and we could feel the endless goodness flowing into our stomachs with every mouthful. In fact, the broth was so rich that the soup was a milky white owing to hours of boiling. The chicken was tender and tasty, and the glutinous rice was piping hot, smooth and chewy. (Psst… pardon our pictures – our cameras kept getting ‘fogged up’ by all the steam from the hot soup!)

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Besides the delicious glutinous rice, there were two whole ginsengs in the broth, adding some sweetness and light bitterness to the soup, which we both loved. (The one in the picture was half bitten by me, fyi 🙂 ) However if you prefer your soup to be saltier, do remember to add some pepper and salt, which are available upon request.

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We gulped down every morsel of food, craving for more! Indeed, this was the best ginseng chicken we had ever tasted in our lives!

P.S. You don’t have to worry about language barriers here because menus are available in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese!

Verdict:
2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690.gif 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690.gif 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690.gif 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690.gif 2bd1ec238e4d5c5864d2a75bf086f07c_cubs-directory-archive-paw-clipart-bobcat-paws_703-690.gif

Tosokchon Samgyetang 토속촌 삼계탕
Address:  5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Sajik-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Subway: Gyeongbokgung Station, Exit 2 (Walk straight for 200m, and turn left at the first junction)
Phone: +82 2-737-7444

*This is a non-sponsored post. 

xoxo,
The Bears
cropped-cropped-three-wandering-bears

Seoul Food Diaries: Well-being Korean food at Hangaram 한가람

Sometimes, dining out can get a little tricky for the health conscious. Sure – food tastes good and look so appetising, but just how healthy is this yummy food we are feeding our bodies? Visitors to Korea are often awed by hansik 한식, the traditional Korean food centred around rice, with soup, side dishes and sometimes meat. If you are a fan of Korean food, you would realise that a proper meal involves quite a spread of dishes. Enter Hangaram 한가람, a locally owned restaurant that serves hansik with well-being ingredients specially sourced from the mountainous regions of Korea, with no added MSG or preservatives. Now we’re talking! 

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We visited this place on a Sunday, and managed to locate it easily owing to the many news and magazine articles displayed at its entrance (yes, it is quite popular amongst locals!) The interior was cosy and traditional, with a slight modern twist.

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We were quickly seated and served with Hangaram‘s special water, which is actually brewed using lingzhi mushroom영지버섯, mountain hawthorn 산사 and red sage단삼. Apparently, this water is good for lowering cholesterol, building immunity and weight management. The taste was mild and we could feel the natural goodness entering our tummies! 😀

We then proceeded to order our food. We ordered four set menus to share (this came with rice, soup and side dishes or banchan 반찬). *side dishes are refillable. 

Before we introduce you to them proper, here’s a snapshot of our meal table for 4 pax!

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Are you hungry yet? 😀 

  1. Barley Dried Yellow Corvina Set 보리굴비정식 (25,000W)

Yellow corvina is a type of fish that is native to the East Asian region. In Korea, these fishes are usually dried and salted, and then served as a delicacy. The fish was very appetizing, and a bowl of green tea was provided for us to dip the fish in before eating it, to reduce its saltiness.

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2. Set Menu with Rice Cooked with Lotus Leaves 약선연밥정식 (10,000W)

This was a smaller set with steamed multi-grained glutinous rice in lotus leaves, topped with lotus roots, ginko nuts, red dates and assorted beans.

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3. Set Menu with Seasoned Cirsium Bibimbap 곤드레나물밥정식 (7,000W)

Instead of the normal white rice served in many Asian restaurants, Hangaram serves seasoned cirsium rice (also known as Korean thistle). Korean thistle is a type of sanchae or mountain vegetable, that can only be found on mountains in Korea. It is low in fat and high in fibre, and considered a super food in Korea. The rice is also seasoned with perilla oil. This meal is served together with other mountain vegetables and a refillable bowl of seaweed soup or miyukguk 미역국.

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4. Set Menu with Special Korean Style Ribs LA갈비구이정식 (22,000W)

What’s a complete Korean meal without some meat? We ordered a portion of Special Korean Style Ribs to complete our experience at Hangaram. The specially seasoned ribs are served on a generous portion of yellow bean sprouts or kongnamul 콩나물 , and garnished with leek and sesame seeds. Totally on point. 😀

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It is true when people say that food does make a difference to our health. Our meal was immensely satisfying and we ate to our hearts’ content, but we felt strangely refreshed and recharged (definitely not the bloated feeling we usually get after feasting)!

For the quality and quantity of good food we got at Hangaram, we felt that every penny spent here was well worth it.

Verdict:
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Hangaram 한가람
Address: 188-3, Euljiro 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82 2-318-3088

*This is a non-sponsored post. 

xoxo,
The Bears
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