Gochugaru Girl has two worries when travelling to a new country.
The first concerns understanding the language.
The second concerns where to eat.
Reading 한글, the Korean alphabet, is easy enough. The problem is in understanding what the words mean. I have installed a Korean keyboard on my mobile phone and downloaded the Google Translate App. Provided there is wi-fi connection, patient co-diners and a little bit of background knowledge, it’s possible to work out the menu if it’s written entirely in Korean.
However I had not taken any of these steps prior to our trip to Korea in April. My youngest sister once advised me, if you don’t know a foreign language when travelling, just learn the two most important words: men’s toilet and women’s toilet (she said 男厕所 and 女厕所 as she was thinking of China).
I am afraid to say that I still don’t know the word for toilet in Korean as I really was only interested in recognising words like 만두 (dumpling), 비빔밥 (mixed rice), 국수 (noodles) and 케이크 (cake).
I could definitely read 순두부 (tofu) so when I came across this shop along one of the main streets in Suwon, I knew our lunch was sorted. The sign reads 한봉석 할머니 순두부. Its translation – Hanbongseok Grandma Tofu – is quite inviting to potential customers. Having to take our shoes off before entering assured us this was a place for local people, and indeed the place was filled with Korean families.
We so enjoyed our lunch. I have made 순두부찌개 (tofu stew) a few times since returning to London, and I will share the recipe in a future post.
In the meantime, here are a few photos of Suwon. Our visit on a Sunday afternoon was very brief, as we were on our way from Seoul to Hahoe Village in Andong. The main reason to visit was to walk along the Hwaseong Fortress. I am afraid to say our leisurely lunch made us very late in arriving at Hahoe, but it really was a very enjoyable meal.
|Restaurant Address:Hanbongseok Grandmother’s Soft Tofu House (한봉석 할머니 순두부)
130-14 Namchang-dong (남창동 130-14)
South Korea (한국)