Chris Truter’s flirtation with charcuterie began in 2006. Back at home in South Africa he killed a kudu – a large antelope species with twisted horns. When he returned to Seoul, he did so with eight kilograms of kudu jerky – or “biltong” – in his luggage. It lasted a month. He wanted more. So he started making it himself, with beef. His recipe got pretty good, and the owner of Phillies in Haebangchon asked if he would start supplying the pub. He did, and so it began.
Istanbul, Thunder Burger, Namsan Kimchi Jjigae. RIP. You are missed. They were fixtures on Noksapyeong-daero for years, but they are no more. Anyone who ever had a bowl of Namsan Jjigae is probably still lamenting the loss of that Yongsan staple – that kimchi was just… something special. The good news is new and different restaurants have come along to take the places of those that left, and some of them are pretty good. Here’s a look at three newcomers to Noksapyeong-daero, the short street that connects Haebangchon and Gyeongnidan with Itaewon.
Haeundae Beach in Busan is where all the glitz is. It’s where you can pay hundreds of dollars a night to sleep at the Westin Chosun, water ski for equally exorbitant sums and eat overpriced Indian food. But down at the other end of the beach, down a little cracked-asphalt avenue that winds along the rocky shore, there’s a dirty side. Oh yes. Down there you can spy a booty cheek, eat flounder with the soju-reddened locals and wonder whether that heavily made up woman is a prostitute.
A man could grow dull drinking beer from Family Mart. Corona, Tsingtao, Carlsberg, Kirin. All in 330 ml cans. The foreign beer selection there is about as interesting as that pack of dduk you got for Chuseok. Most other convenience stores aren’t any different. You’re lucky if you find a tallboy Guinness with that ball inside.
Five years ago you’d have drunk that Guinness happily, maybe even remarked on how five years before that you couldn’t get Guinness in Korea.
But now there is something better, something so much better.
The name Kashmir is synonymous with conflict, but it boasts places of spectacular beauty. Dal Lake glimmers in the middle of Srinagar, the region’s most populous city. People live on the water, sell on the water, travel the water. In the morning, the lakes are glassy and mist-covered. In the afternoon, they are mirrors that reflect the sky and Himalayas. Every now and then a kingfisher’s dive will pierce the surface. The lake is a sanctuary for myriad birds, and a peaceful spot in a region plagued with conflict.