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Korean Bang at Seoul’s university area, Makgeolli & Pollalla

Korean Bang at Seoul’s university area, Makgeolli & Pollalla

After breaking typhoon news from Taipei, which we survived yesterday, I will resume where I left off. Our last weekend in Seoul:

Although we only new Mimi and Dan for a day, it felt like we had known them forever and thought it would be a fantastic idea to experience Korean style bang together. We are the open kind of traveler, looking for unique thrills.

However bang in Korea, is not just a group thing, although commonly practised as such. In fact everyone gets their own comfy spot in a ‘room‘, which is the literal translation of bang.

In reality the ‘room‘ is more of an advanced internet café for gamers showing a united fascination for interactive digital games, such as Starcraft.

Actually, Korea provides numerous ‘bangs‘ to get your entertainment fix. Sing your lungs out at the norae bang (karaoke lounge), watch a film at a DVD bang, play cards at a board game bang or slay all comers in Starcraft at a PC bang (internet café).

A DVD Bang.

Seoul Korea

 

Pick a movie and move along the dark corridor to get into movie mode.

Seoul Korea

 

It has a bit of an ambiguous atmosphere with those numbered cabin rooms.

Seoul Korea

 

Please do not disturb.

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

 

We also came across a Touch Self Room. No idea what this place was all about.

Seoul Korea

 

The PC Bang.

Seoul Korea

 

Another PC Bang and Karaoke Bang.

Seoul Korea

 

The best thing about bang is that if you have strict parents or no money for video games at home, you only pay the equivalent of about two US dollars for an hour of the best of gaming in an extra comfy boss-chair.

At the PC Bang, we went together with Mimi and Dan, we got a registration card to get started.

Seoul Korea

 

Warcraft. A very popular game.

Seoul Korea

 

But Starcraft is no 1 in Korea.

Seoul Korea

 

The best players of Starcraft enjoy star status, the average gamers come out of the bang after days, calling the line for gaming addictions, the worst have been reported to die of exhaustion.

All PC Bangs at least try to make sure their customers don’t die of hunger.

Seoul Korea

 

Drinks of true gamers.

Seoul Korea

 

The smokers are behind glass.

Seoul Korea

 

They did let us in… but it was impossible to start gaming due to a lengthy registration process. Why didn’t bang work for me. Is it age related? Definitely not.

Seoul Korea

 

The professional players show incredible reflexes, working the keyboard and mouse not taking their eyes of the screen.

Seoul Korea

 

The entertainment area in between Hongik University Station and Sangsu Station is a fantastic place not only to find bang, but also typical Korean ice deserts and restaurants serving traditional Korean liquor.

The university area is really one of my favourite places in Seoul. There is so much going on… you can let yourself entertain with live bands, student’s art activities, wall paintings, theatres, endless shops and restaurants.

After the bang, we conquered the outdoors! Dan is doing what a man does best when girls are around.

Seoul Korea

 

The look of winners. Mimi is the lucky girl.

Seoul Korea

 

Hongik University is famous for its College of Fine Arts and the streets are decorated with art.

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

 

One totally unique place in the area is the Pollalla Museum. It is actually a store for which you have to pay to get in and a bit of a chamber of curiosa, horror and fun, displaying old dolls and toys in glass cabinets. The entrance was  1,000 won.

Seoul Korea

 

A bit of my childhood was looking at me and I am seriously questioning the definition of ‘museum’! I used to play with displayed stuff as a kiddo and that wasn’t that long ago.

I got a doll like that from my Polish auntie from Szczecin and I swear I do not remember it being so spooky.

Seoul Korea

 

See, if you can spot some childhood memories:

Seoul Korea

 

Ehh, not in those pictures, I think.

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

 

The university area is the place to go out, eat and drink. The drink to try is makgeolli.

Seoul Korea

 

An evening with friends is celebrated with makgeolli (sometimes written makkoli) the traditional Korean rice liquor. Makgeolli is made from fermented wheat and rice, which gives it a milky colour and about 6–8% alcohol. It tastes like sweet yeast to me. It is served in neat old pots.

Seoul Korea

 

This is the right way to serve makgeolli, as we were taught by Mimi. Hold the dish with both hands while the liquor is poured. You drink it from a bowl.

Seoul Korea

 

Cheers! (I forgot the Koran word for it.)

Seoul Korea

 

To accompany the drink, these ladies were working hard in front of the restaurant to get the fried snacks ready.

Seoul Korea

Seoul Korea

 

And even though you see zucchini and green peppers, they are actually meat in disguise! Korean cuisine has no respect for greens.

Seoul Korea

 

As it was getting dark, the streets were filling with artists giving their best to the audience.

Korean hottie with excellent guitar and vocal skills.

Seoul Korea

 

In my high school times, we used to hold up lighters.

Seoul Korea

 

We ended up at another bar which served drinks but were required to spend a certain amount on one of their dishes. We opted for this fruit plate. Parsley and tomatoes were an interesting addition to the fruit. This is basically the fruit commonly available in Seoul. No bonus treats like mangoes, papayas or the endless juicy fruit variety I know from other Asian countries.

Well, we did come for a drink and had a lot of fun drinking sake!

Seoul Korea

 

Our table touch screen had died – Microsoft. Not even two IT pros could fix this.

Seoul Korea

 

Before we left university area, we learned about another popular Korean snack. Tteokbokki (Korean names are quite something!), spicy and chewy rice cakes in half-cigar form, usually drained in meat sauce. I tried the tteokbokki covered with seafood sauce and it tasted just like corn puff crunchies from Poland.

Seoul Korea

 

The best (read fatty and sweet) snack was fried pumpkin.

Seoul Korea

 

After a fun day full of treats,  it was time to go home and relax.

Seoul Korea

We shall return to Seoul’s university area!

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