Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Chuseok: Chinatown in pictures

As is my wont, I spent my Chuseok avoiding relatives in favor of doing something with friends. My outing was all too brief, as I had to get back to my place and work on syllabi and other curricular materials, but I did get the chance to go out to Incheon's little Chinatown and eat some atypical Chinese food with my buddy Tom, his wife, and Tom's friend Angelo, whom I had met last year during my job search.

Here are some pics from yesterday's outing. Chinatown, which I'd never been to before, turned out to be about as large as the tiny Chinatown in Washington, DC, near Gallery Place. Click on the "landscape" pictures to make them full size; no need to click on the "portrait"-style images. Hover your cursor over the images to see the captions.

Chinatown's main gate

main street

fancy manhole cover

a restaurant?

stairway to mystery

inward we go

Tom pushing son Thomson along; behind are friend Angelo and Tom's wife Sherny

fu dog having a stretch

Lunch was at a very large Chinese restaurant whose menu was disappointingly Sino-Korean. I tried the most unfamiliar-looking thing on the menu: hayan-jjajang, i.e., white jjajang-myeon. Normally, jjajang-myeon is chewy pasta in black-bean sauce (see here), but the "white" sauce (it was actually more clear than white), while bland, was pretty good. Here's a pic of some hayan-jjajang that's similar to what I ate. I liked it despite all the onions.

All too soon, I had to get back to my place, so I left Tom and the gang to go visit Weolmido without me. I don't think I missed much: I'd been to Weolmido before. If there's one thing I do want to try the next time I come back to Chinatown, however, it's the hwadeok-mandu: thick-skinned potstickers cooked in what looks to be a tandoor (hwadeok is Korean for "oven" or "hearth"; see here). That looked way more fascinating (not to mention tastier) than the food we eventually ate, and I wouldn't have minded engaging in a street-food walking tour of Chinatown, sampling the cheap goodies the district had to offer.

One last thing: Angelo has an impish sense of humor. An avid photographer, he took the following candid shot of me and Tom sitting together during the long subway ride from Seoul to Incheon. Using his smartphone's editing software, he, uh, accented the picture to make the Kirk/Spock man-love subtext more obvious. I look incredibly huge—and neckless—next to my compact buddy, but candid shots provide a sobering reality check that my own chin-hiding selfies tend to obscure. It's obvious I've still got a long, long way to go in terms of weight loss. Anyway, the result of Angelo's artistic efforts:

Ha ha. Mock away, Angelo. I think you're just jealous.

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