Korea Trip 2010, Part 9: The 63 Building

12.28.2010

Continued from Part 8: Apartments in Seoul
Or start from the beginning, Part 1: Flying to Tokyo

This is long, pic-heavy post :D So brace yourselves y'all!

It was raining :P Hence the crap picture.

While I was in Korea, I was very lucky to have the opportunity to visit the Korea Life Insurance/63 Building in Yeouido, Seoul, Korea.  The names come from the fact that the HQ of Korea Life Insurance and other major financial firms are there and how it's 63 stories tall!  It was the tallest building outside of North America till 1985 and though it isn't even in the Top 100 Tallest Buildings anymore, it's still a major tourist attraction.  There is an IMAX theater, an aquarium, a wax-doll museum, world-renowned restaurants, and an art gallery.  Read the wiki page if you're ever in Korea because this is a definite must-see.  Not to mention the sheen on the building is beautiful, it's a molten bronze-gold even on a rainy day~ Just look at the pic I got off Google:


Isn't it just beautiful ^_^? Anyway, some trivia: there is an elevator called the Love Elevator (for couples only!), a private 1 minute ride up ;) You should definitely do this if you're in Korea with your boyfriend...eheh imagine everything you can do in a minute in a private glass elevator (ok I have a dirty mind xD).  Also the Korean drama, My Girl, shot a lot of scenes here :D



The entrance had a bunch of these huge metal balls (ehehe) on the floor.   The windows inside are really reflective :)  When we got up to 57th floor, the door opened to this:


There are a lot of very famous restaurants on the 57th floor, they're all fusion or traditional Western, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese restaurants.  The restaurant we ate at was Paengni-hyang (백리향), a traditional Chinese restaurant.
PAENGNI-HYANG is the best place to enjoy Chinese food with the authentic taste and aroma of Cantonese cuisine. We offer Chinese delicacies of world-class quality that satisfy world's gourmands, all prepared with rare and precious ingredients and profound relish. The qualities are achieved by our Cantonese Chef, with careful preparation, using only the finest natural ingredients.
The website is very minimal :P but I took many pictures, so you guys can all see what it was like! Believe it or not, this is only a fraction of the pics I took at this restaurant ><


Supposedly, the chef is some amazing, award-winning chef that specializes in only traditional Cantonese food ^_^ 


There were traditional Chinese wedding outfits hung on the wall off to the right, but I forgot to take a picture of it.  We were escorted to a private room; I'm not sure if everyone gets a private room to eat but I didn't see any open dining areas.  It was just a long corridor of doors O_o


This was our room.  It didn't photograph very well because of the terrible weather outside :P


This is Seoul from 57 stories up!  The weather was SO bad, on a clear day you can see all the way to Incheon usually.  Anyway, remember what I said about Korea being covered with sky-rise apartment buildings? Well, here's proof ^_^  The bottom picture is the Han River - scene of many a breakup, secret rendezvous, make-out session, and killing sprees in K-dramas and movies ^_^  If there's a river with lights along a bridge in a k-drama, it's 99% certain that it's along the Han River.


The table arrangement was very elegant.  I particularly dig the polished wooden slats embossed with flowers ^^ We were served chrysanthemum tea while we were waiting and given cool, damp towels to wipe our hands.  Then came the food!  We ordered the "seafood" course so the meal was seven courses of various seafood-based dishes.  The waitresses were dressed in black qipaos and impeccably mannered. And I'm sorry, but I don't know the names of anything ><!   If I mis-named anything, please let me know~


The first course was some kind of broth.  Btw the 3 little dishes are peanuts, pickles and something I forgot.  It was the one thing about this restaurant I thought was oddly "cheap." I mean peanuts and pickles?  I'm not sure if this is because of Koreans just wanting something crunchy with a bit of tang to eat (since there was no kimchee ahah) or that these are things that Cantonese eat often?  Not sure, please let me know if you do!


The broth was super light and had a very "clean" taste - aka the mark of a well-made broth.  Absolutely no fat floating on the top at all.  In the broth were pieces of shiitake mushrooms, some sort fluffy fish-flavored rectangles (like fish cakes?), and black chicken.  I know black chicken is a rare delicacy in Asian culture, I believe it's called a Silkie chicken.  Koreans believe black chicken is very healthy and has curative properties for one reason or another.  The meat was very delicate and literally fell off the bones.  It tasted like a regular chicken ^_^ but the way it was cooked made it melt in your mouth.  I enjoyed this course immensely - it was a great little dish to pique my appetite.  I think this was my favorite dish.

The second course was probably my least favorite because of that unpleasant looking blob on the plate >< It's a sea slug and while it tasted pretty good, cinnamon-y, the texture made me want to barf >_<!  The outside/skin covered with a cinnamon-flavored sauce (the sauce you see on dish).  While the sauce was quite good, it made the skin seem slimy and uncannily...alive >_>  The skin just slips off the *ahem* innards, which were stuffed with something I recall tasting pretty good.  The innards were bready and delicately spiced but I was so busy recovering from the slimy skin, I didn't enjoy it.  The skin is rubbery, very hard to cut, and very, very chewy.  I found it hard to chew and it felt like it was getting stuck in my throat (or that may have been my gag reflex).

The oval things were nothing particularly amazing. There was more sea slug in the middle *ugh* which is prolly why I didn't enjoy it very much.   I was very happy to see this dish go ^^;;


The third course was very good! It was abalone with hatch marks cut on it so that it was perfectly cooked.  There were also pieces of fried scallops (I think).   I don't remember what the sauce tasted like - lemony maybe, but I recall enjoying this dish.


Fourth course: fried shrimp, a slice of sweet potato, all drenched in some sort of sweet and sour sauce. I liked this dish even though it was a little on the sweet side.   Also isn't the rectangular dish friggin awesome?!


Like I said, this was very sweet - almost like a dessert, but it was still really good.  The crispy-soft texture of the shrimp was an interesting contrast with the slice of sweet potato.  Quite enjoyable for me, but I know people without a sweet tooth may find this too cloying.


Fifth course: My second favorite!  An absolutely perfectly medium rare piece of beef.  The sauce was not teriyaki or anything I ate before. Quite unique.


Really enjoyed this piece of beef. I'm not going to lie, I'm not big on seafood ^^ so this was a nice break for me~  I polished this off pretty quickly.


The sixth course was an option between jajangmyun or what is in the pic above.  I liked this a lot - a tie for second place even though I was getting pretty full at this point.  It was a filling broth with noodles, shrimp, scallions, other sea food I can't name, spring onions...and I'm going to stop trying to name things because it's embarrassing ^^  It was comforting, homey dish ^_^


The seventh and last course was dessert!  As most you guys probably know, Asians aren't too big on sweet desserts.  We got little balls of pistachio ice cream, which I enjoyed even though I don't like pistachios, and chilled fruit pieces.   When we were done, a glass of dessert wine was brought out.


This was a tangy, sweet drink with just the barest hint of alcohol~ I don't like the taste of alcohol, but I love dessert wines.  A very nice way to end the meal indeed :) That's one of my little cousins through the glass btw ^_^

*whew* That was a long post~  Next up, Part 10: Namdaemun Marketplace, one of the most famous open air markets in Seoul!

11 comments :

  1. wow there are so many attractions inside that 63 story building !! one-stop shop.. lol..

    all the buildings outside your view look the same.. lol..

    and the food looks delisssssssssssssh.. mmm..

    ReplyDelete
  2. omg i really want to go to koreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! The food looks so delicious nom nom nom! <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. HI!my name's martina and I think that your blog is very nice!I'd like you visit my blog and if you want follow me! I wait you and your tips! kiss kiss ;D

    marti

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love these kind of posts, makes me feel like I'm there with you. Girl, you better hook me up with nice places to eat and go to IF I ever go to S.Korea. :) BTW I love love love dessert wine too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am planning on visiting Korea in within the next year.. your posts are helping me with research!!! =)

    Happy Holidays ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ahh that looks so great ! I have been to Korea before, three times but all in all, only one week stay ! I really loved it.

    HAHAH. LOVE ELEVATOR ! "imagine everything you can do in a minute in a private glass elevator" X-D ROFLMAO ! I was thinking that same thing :-P Such romantic culture. I even remember going to Seoul tower and seeing all those love locks ! Was really cool.

    Also the foodie pictures are making me drool all over my keyboard. Except the mention of slug. I also dislike this kind of texture, which is why I really dislike escargot/snail ! It's just chewy and slimy and yuck !

    You're lucky you have family over there ! I want family everywhere so I can have free accommodation :-P

    Have a great new years !

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow at the restaurant! Wow wow WOW! Such an amazing place! You get a private room, and such a beautiful setting! And the view from the window left me like this O.O You're up so high!! This Korea-series amazes me every single time...

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  8. I am absolutely really hungry right now and looking at your post doesn't help much!! Haha.

    Mmm, the food looks so good though. Although, admittedly, I am not really a fan of seafood either. But that chunk of beef and that noodle thing which I think I may have tried before looks good! Not to mention the dessert. I love the ice cream ball! ITS SO ...COMPACT AND CUTE? hahaha <3

    Oh and the table arrangement looks ...outstanding. I feel like stealing those chopsticks <3

    ReplyDelete
  9. i love all the little tidbits of info you left here and there about k dramas and such
    will definitely keep those in mind for when i ever go to korea =D

    the food looks amazing!!!
    even the second course.... until i read your description XD HAHA
    at the end i probably would have chosen a soup noodle too! love em =D

    ReplyDelete
  10. HI!my name's martina and I think that your blog is very nice!I'd like you visit my blog and if you want follow me! I wait you and your tips! kiss kiss ;D

    marti

    ReplyDelete

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