I'm back in the comfort of my home, in the delicious and soft blankets that I've yearned for in those dark, cold days of my travels. In this place, in this town where I was both born and bred, I'm finally here again.
I spent many hours poring over many different publications and blogs and tweets. It's so easy to lose a step or ten if you're away, and the last two months have been no exception. I haven't had a serious post about my travels in a long time and the last few weeks in Seoul have made me wonder where I want to go from here on out. After making a delightful post about kimchi fried rice and seeing the positive response, I'm compelled to diverge this blog into a recipe blog, a format that is not only more popular amongst avid readers of food writing, but also one whose relevance supersedes the confines of a particular metropolis, as large and relevant as Los Angeles may be.
Being a restaurant reviewer has been a supreme joy for me these past three years. It's almost as if the chase, the search for that perfect dining experience, makes the whole enterprise both dazzling and remarkable for the ordinary life. To walk into a restaurant with the air and purpose of reviewing the place gives me a joy and rush that's hard to replicate.
Despite this sentiment, I find that I'm at a crossroads. First things first, I no longer have the digital camera that I've wielded for my dining adventures. I came upon a close college friend of mine visiting from Beijing who happened to lose her camera in a taxicab we took. In the previous week, I had lost my wallet in the same fashion, so I understood her completely. If anything, there were photos on her camera that were irreplaceable. So, with much thought, I resolved to surrender the very instrument which in many ways compelled and empowered my stature as a restaurant reviewer.
Though of course I'm now on the prowl for a replacement, but the time being, I only live in the world of celluloid film, 35mm to be exact. I could remain in this world and easily transmit my willing typewriting skills toward the field of recipe blogging.
I have to admit that while I admire many recipe bloggers, I don't find myself really reading them often. Honestly, I don't read that many restaurant blogs either. I merely skim. I might enjoy some good photos. There are only a few friends of mine where I read and delve on every word.
Otherwise, I spend my time reading books and magazines. Food writing of every age and format, all on the printed page. It's not quite that these are necessarily better than their digital counterparts, but just that I love paper. I love layouts and ink and glossy photos. I love enjoying various typefaces, soaking in their varied translations.
I found that while I was busy with exploring the vast city of Seoul, it was difficult to maintain a regimen of consistent and quality writing. Maybe now that I'm in my comfort zone, I can get back to it. Maybe when I'm in the company of other writers, I'll get on the ball. I can carry my petite little netbook to Intelligentsia (in Silver Lake) and nosh with other bloggers as they do their valued work (mostly on Macbooks).
Wherever I go, I know that my passion and love for good food, drink, and travel will never abate. If anything, this journey around the world has opened my tiny Asian eyes further than I could have imagined (okay, my eyes aren't that small, but they can be if I wince). And of course, I'm always reminded why I started this blog in the first place, because for me there are few things that surpass the pure joy of writing, from my heart, soul and mind.
I hope to at least entertain you with a short photo diary of the last few weeks I spent traveling in Indonesia, Japan and Korea:
Mount Bromo in Central Java, just before sunrise.
A cold morning near Mount Bromo.
Trees near Mt. Bromo and man grilling corn.
Cool family in Surabaya.
Ramen shop in Japan.
Gamjatang or pork shoulder stew at a Gangnam district restaurant.
Streets of Daejeon, South Korea.
Live flower crab (same one used at Ondal 2 Restaurant) trying to attack my dad's finger, at Jagalchi Seafood market in Busan, South Korea.
Live octopus, squirming and ready to eat.
Bin dae dduk or corn pancake at Hwangjang market in Seoul, Korea. Perfection.
Kal gook soo or knife-cut noodles at Hwangjang market. Traditional tea service at Insadong, Seoul. Ddae-chu cha (jujube) and green tea with milk accompanied by rice cakes (dduk).