Thursday, September 28, 2006

Grocery shopping

Went for my monthly Korean grocery shopping yesterday. As usual, it was actually more like snacks than food. haha! Ok, I did try to buy rice (I was harbouring the thought of doing Bibimbap this Sunday). But they didn't have any available so not my fault.



I love the chocopie. hehe! Actually eating Chocopie always reminds me of 2 shows.

My Name is Kim Sam Soon
In Ep 13, after Sam Soon climbed the Hanllu mountain on her birthday, she found Ji Heon waiting for her. At first, she ignores him, but when she heard that he has food, she couldn't resist it. He offered her some chocopie and she said something like, "who brings chocopie to the top of a mountain?" He then replied that chocopie taste the best up there in the mountain.

It was one of the many funny scenes, mostly because her expression was so funny when she asked for the food.

The Way Home
The other is in The Way Home, one of the best Korean movie that I've watched. The grandson, a spoilt city brat kept pestering the grandmother for chocopie, KFC and other food. In the end, I think he sold something of hers to buy the things he like. But it was a good ending. Very touching. Btw, this little boy, Yoo Seung Ho is now all grown up and is a teenager now. He will have a new movie soon and will also be acting as the younger version of BYJ in Tae Wang Sa Shi Gi. Looks like he may become another heart-throb when he grows older... ^^





The shop supervisor was very nice and gave me lots of little extra things to try. This is one of them- Custard cake

But hmmm..... it's only so-so.. as it's quite dry and not enough custard in it. But quite soft. Will check out the other little packages later. Hehe! Feels lik Christmas.

And yes, I am having a chocopie now even as I write this. hahaha!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Korean movies in September

I always wait in anticipation for the monthly magazines from Korea for 2 reasons.

- The free gifts that accompany the magazines. I am always curious to know if the gifts will surprised me (though after nearly 9 months, I am pretty much shell-shocked already)

- Who are the artistes featured in the magazines. For these would be an indication of who's hot in Korea at the moment.

I know it's nearly the end of September and October is just round the corner but still it seems such a shame not to share these.

Maudy Thursday/ Our Happy Time
Lee Na Young & Kang Dong Won
                       

Both Kang Dong Won and Lee Na Young belong to that group of artistes that are not quite beautiful but yet they emit a kind of charm. Both do quirky roles. I really like Kang Dong Won in Temptation of the Wolves. So far, it has been doing well and it seems to be one of the hotly anticipated movie during the Chosok holidays coming up. For more infor on the movie, please go to Twitch. I was just watching parts of Have We Really Loved the other night. Lee Na Young has come a long way was since I saw her in this role as Jae Ho's sister. She looked so young then. Of course, that was in 1999. Today, Lee Na Young is under BOF's management. I guess she has 'fate' with BYJ. Btw, have you seen her in the MV, Goodbye My Love with BYJ?

Once in a Summer
Su Ae & Lee Byun Hyun
I have to say this- I've never really like Su Ae. Not in Love Letters and definitely not in April Kiss, though I heard that she's pretty ok in Haeshin. But Lee Byun Hyun... ahh.... that's another story. I didn't catch some of his earlier shows but all those that I've watched..I like. He has an amazing ability to turn into the character. From Beautiful Days to Bungee Jumping on their Own to JSA to Addicted, he managed to portray the different characters brilliantly. That man oozes with sex appeal and none more apparant than in Beautiful Days. He's good. And because of him, I will be looking forward to this movie too, even if it's another love story. Once in a Summer is scheduled for release in October.
 

Holy Daddy
Lee Min Woo
This is Lee Min Woo's (Shinhwa) first movie and it aired in Korea on the 24th August but strange... I have not heard much about it. Hmm... does that mean that it didn't do very well? Synopsis of the movie- A prisoner dies on the day before he is to be released from jail. Regretting that he couldn't be a better father to his son, he begs the angel who has come to escort him to heaven for a little more time together with his son. Taken from Koreanfilm.org. You can watch a short trailer of the movie here

I have this urge to rub his tummy when I see this..... *blush*


Woman on the Beach
Ko Hyeon Jeong
This is her first movie since her comeback last year into the entertainment scene. Her co-star is Kim Seung Woo, the GM in the drama Hotelier. Not sure how it's doing. But for her current drama, "What's Up Fox", I heard she she's quite funny so far. Rather like Kim Sun-ah as Sam Soon in MNIKSS.

You know, there are so many movies and dramas being released constantly in Korea that it's almost impossible to keep up. It's so competitive.. actors become models.. models become actors...actors become singers...singers become actors.. Personally, I don't think the quota system will pose much of a problem as long as they churn out good movies/ dramas.... especially with so many hunks... errr I mean beautiful artistes around. hehehe!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday in Korea- Food

Grapes

This is a bunch of grapes. It's not just any grapes though. It says Korean Hwaseong- Campbell early grapes.

In other words, these are Korean grapes. But of course I bought them in our local supermarket here in sunny Singapore lah.

I first tasted Korean grapes when I was in Korea in 2004, also in September. Korean grapes are seasonal and they are a little different from the usual grapes. It tastes like what someone said :"gummy bears". It's also very winery in taste. In fact the salesgirl at the supermarket kept telling me that I can make wine out of it. Err... right, how many bunches of grapes do I have to buy to m ake a cup of wine?

Actually, it seems HWASEONG have other interesting aspects besides grapes and their Yongjusa Temple is listed in KNTO as one of the places to visit in that vicinity.

Apple picking

And with grapes, I reminded me of my very first trip to Korea in 2003. We were on our way to Chaum beach (which is rather far away). Along the way, the guide asks us if we would like to stop by an apple farm and pick apples. Of course we said yes. For city folks like us, how often do we have the chance to go pick apples? Unfortunately the apples that I picked were not very big...due to my height limitation..

For those of you who watched the drama, My Name is Kim Sam Soon, besides being captivated by the story and the cast (especially Hyun Bin), I think we were all drooling over the cakes. I know of quite a few chingus who developed cravings for cakes whilst watching the drama.. me included.

O'Sulloc
O'SULLOC is a green tea shop.. meaning all the food in here are made from green tea. From the drinks to the cakes. They have 2 branches but the most convinient one is in Myeongdong. Unfortunately the website is in Korean but the photos...oh man... I'm salivating already. Fear not, you can get the address from KNTO's website.



Cake shop in Samcheok

I'm not sure what is the name of this cake shop. But we were in Samchecok last year and passed by this shop. We couldn't resist buying the cakes even though we just had lunch. Obviously I gained weight during the trip. Photo from Kaylin.

Korean bbq restaurant

This was a highly recommended restaurant from the Koreans and the food was really good. But I remembered it was pretty crowded and you have to make reservations for a table. I'm not sure if it's still around, so better make a phone call if you are planning to go there. Important thing to note- the smell will linger in your clothes for days after, so wear something that's due for washing if you intend to go there. I think I can still remember the smell now..after 2 years. But it was well worth it.

Name: 석기시대Address: 서울시 종로구 관철동12-11 (T: 02 737 3692)

Roadside stalls and Pojangmacha


I seriously think some of the best food are from these little roadside stalls (I'm not sure wht they're called), which are prety much everywhere. This stall was in Namdaemoon and if the food looks delicious to you, they are. But you should really have it with a group of friends because
a) there's too much variety abd you end up wanting to try all of them
b) it's not cheap

Pojangmacha is the photo on the right and if you've watched enough Korean dramas and movies, it's where the Koreans normally go to have a soju or two. The food isn't expensive but the soju is...and potent too. But both stalls have my favarouite snack- Eomuk (어묵), which is skewered fish sausage. Have it on a cold night with the soup..it's absolutely heaven.

Other roadside stalls
Singapore has done away with roadside food stalls for so long that I'm always fascinated when I go Korea and see the different types of food available whether from a cart, a van or just err... a box... Maybe the food taste better because they are not as 'clean'? haha! (photo of the BBQ chicken from Jos)





Kimchi aglore
When I first saw this in the Chuncheon market, I was totally drawn by the colours and the variety. If I ever go that way again, I will definitely buy a few types of kimchi to try.


And this is how kimchi is beeing made... the traditional way. Actually looks quite gross but the result, if done properly, is heavenly. Believe me, it's different from the ones you buy from the supermarket.

Bean paste soup

This is one of BYJ's favourite dish- bean paste soup, when he was dieting and when BOF was still at the old address (it's now the BOF Park). I doubt he goes back to that place to eat anymore and I hate to say this, but it tasted really awful. bleah....but it's supposed to be healthy. Not on my to-eat food.

Royal food

This is Gujeolpan, which is a royal cuisine of the Choseon Dynasty. It's really different from the everyday Korean food and the taste is alot more delicate. As with royal food, it's the quality that counts and not quantity. I knowt DaeJangGuem sparked off a craze and interest in Korean royal food. Again, you can go to KNTO website for information on where to try this wonderful cuisine. Of course, please don't expect to pay roadside price for royal cuisine but if you can afford it, then it's really worth trying. I can only say I was lucky to have been able to try this at the invitation of KNTO during one of my trip to Korea. : )

Chuncheon chicken spare ribs
But our favourite, favourite food is actually the ChunCheon chickenspare ribs... You can also get this dish in Sinchon but the taste just isn't as good. The chicken pieces are fried in this big pan together with vegetables, sausages and tteokppokki in the spicy sweet sauce. You've got to remember to leave some of the ingredients in the pan, and then ask the staff to put in some rice and fry them together. It's so yummy, I don't even know how to describe it. Photo from Esther.


You know, after looking at all the photos and blogging about Korean food, I had a real craving for Kimchi Ramen, and so I had this for lunch today.


But what I really want is the real thing in Korea... sigh...



I want to go Korea! 한국에 가고싶어서!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Host

The Host- 괴물
Cast- Byun Hee Bong, Song Gang Ho, Park Hae Il, Bae Doo Na, Ko An Sung
Director- Bong Joon Ho (Memories of Murder)


Finally managed to catch The Host on Wednesday night with a couple of 친구 (friends). I've been curious aboutt he show since it broke all records in Korea including The King and the Clown. Especially as the star of the show is a mutant monster.



For the last few months, all the magazines have covered this movie, whether in passing or in depth. At the last check, according to Koreanfilm.org,the movie has a box office of US$12,790,800 as at 10th September.

Frankly speaking, I'm not really in horror but this being more of monster movie, I didn't mind watching it.

Synopsis
The US army pours some toxic down the drain, which flowed into the Han River. Years later, on a nice sunny day, a mutant monster arises out of the river. It attacked all those around because well, that's what monsters do. In the process, it captured Hyun Soh, the one most important member of the Park family. Without any help form the bumbling and sceptical governments (both the US and the Korean), the Park family had no choice but to embark on their own rescue efforts.

And that, really is the gist of the movie.

But what made the movie interesting were the characters and the often subtle digs at the governments and bureacracies and red tape. It has serious messages within the story but they were presented with enough comic flairs. Of course the fact that the family is rather dysfunctional helped was a surprise to me but I think that's where the draw of the movie lies in.

There's grandfather Park Hee Bong (Byun Hee Bong - the grandfather in My Girl), who runs a food kiosk by the Han River, with his elder son, the father of Hyun Suh. Park Gang Do (Song Gang Ho) is abit of a sloppy dimwit, prone to falling asleep all the time, anywhere. But he is entirely devoted to his daughter Hyun Suh (Ko An Sung). Then there's Hyun Suh's uncle (Park Hae Il, the postman in My Mother, the Mermaid), an unemployed, alchoholic graduate who used to be a bit of a radical during his school days. Lastly, there's the auntie (Bae Doo Na), a national archer competitor, probably the most outstanding of all the 3 childen. All of them are not perfect but all of them love Hyun Suh dearly and pulled together in their efforts to save her.

The dysfunctional family


In thinking back about the movie, it wasn't the major scenes like the rampage on the river bed, or the chaos in the mourning palour or the final stand-off between the family the family and the monster that stayed in my mind.

Rather it was the minor scenes that I remembered.

- The official asking for a bribe as the family was escaping from the quarantined area.

- The government officials (mostly US), having a BBQ whilst Gang Do was undergoing test treatments in high security inside a lab truck.

- At the table, where all 4 of them were having instant noodles after spending a night looking for Hyun Suh in the sewers. In their hearts, they imagined that she was with them. In fact, I found this to be the most heart-warming scene that reinforces the movie as a family centred one. In a typical Asian show of affection and concern, their question was: When was the last time Hyun Suh ate?

As for scary moments, though I'd prepared myself for the scary moments- you know the usual scenes where the monster appears when all are quiet, I still had a couple of scares. Especially when Hyun Suh was trying to escape from the monster towards the end. (hehe! one of the guy in the audience was thoroughly caught out in one of the scene and he screamed quite loudly).

I'm no movie critic and I probably missed out more than half of the message that the director intended. But it was an entertaining movie right from the start. And I could not end review without saying how impressed I am with Ko An Sung as Hyun Suh. I am certain Korea has a factory somewhere where they churned out child actors by the dozen.



A side note: The Host, Time (Kim Ki Duk) and The King and the Clown were all in contention for being selected to be submited to the Oscars by he Korean Film industry. The King and the Clown won in the end as they felt that The Host may appear too much to be like a B Grade monster movie to the American judges.

The Host is still showing in Singapore and is brought in by Festive Film. For further reviews, you can go to

Koreanfilm.org- The Host
Twitchfilm- Reviews. Serach under H as there are 3 reviews.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Boy Bands

Whilst I'm still recovering from this Shinhwa fever, it got me to thinking about some of the popular boy bands in Korea.

Usually, boy bands only last for a short while before they disband, often for the very simple reason that both the band members and the fans themselves have grown up.

Anyway, here are some bands or groups that I like.

SG WANNABE
I first heard them last year at the April Snow concert in Korea and they blew me away. I absolutely love their voices and have since bought all their albums. They've got a very unique voice.



Their MVs, as with most Korean MVs, are really lavish, almost like a mini story. Kim Dong Wan (from Shinhwa), is in one of the mv for their latest album, 3rd Masterpiece. Wonder how Dong Wan feels about being an actor in a mv instead of being a singer. hehe!

AS I LIVE
PARTNER FOR LIFE- starring Kim Dong Won!

FLY TO THE SKY
This 2 boy band was actually formed in 1999, something that I wasn't aware of. Can't remember how I got to know about them...I guess it must be whilst I was surfing the net and talking to other K Music lovers. Though FTTS is still together as a group, just like Shinhwa, the 2 boys, Brian and Fanny are both pursuing their own career separately at the same time. Fanny recently appeared in the drama, Over the Rainbow. Must say they are both rather quite cute. hehehe!
  MV- LIKE A MAN

UN
Sigh... this band disbanded last year.... after I discover them. It was only after watching Goong-공 that I became aware of the group. Kim Jung Hun was acting in this very popular drama as the other prince. He was really good looking in it, especially with his sad, puppy looking eyes. That got me curious about him, and as the only thing I know about him was the fact that he was a ex UN member, I did a little research. The rest, as they say, is history. Their last album, Goodbye and Best is really very good as it contains some of their best songs.

MV- REMEMBER
MV- TO HER



SS501
I've not really listen to this group though one of my Korean friend was activley promoting them to me. I guess I am a little hesitant because they really, really look very young.. Yeah, I know. I can hear bb saying now: "When has that stopped me?" True. Nevertheless, they seemed to hold less appeal for me.



SUPER JUNIOR
Now I know this group is super hot in Korea now. They have 13 members and I can only recognise one of them. I look at the rest and I'm going like...who is who? Apparently, they are all very talented. Hmm... don't you think they look a little like members from SS501? (Ok, fans of both groups, don't kill me.)

Oh, you can watch one of their mv, U and decide if you like them.



TVXQ
TVXQ is popular in Korea and Asia. Though I'm not sure why I keep thinking of them as either a Japanese or Chinese band. Unfortunately, errr... I got no interest in them leh. Can anyone tell me if they are any good?


LUG
Hehehe! And introducing the latest boy band, schedule to debut officially soon in Korea. They opened the act for Shinhwa's Singapore concert. Rather good voice. Let's see if they are able to make it in the competitive Korean music scene.

Enjoy their mv, Crime

Actually, there are many, many other bands in Korea but I'm no expert in this field, so I better stop blogging. Must ask Jos as she knows more than. Besides, I think I've got more than enough to handle on my list already. ^^

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Korean tornado in Singapore- Shinhwa!

On 10th September, Shinhwa became the first Korean artiste to hold a concert in Singapore. With their latest 8th album, State of the Art, they embarked on an Asia Tour and I was absolutely overjoyed that Singapore was one of the stop. : )

The 5 boys- Andy, Hye Sung, Min Woo, Dong Wan and Jun Jin arrived first on the 8th September. I think the security at Changi Airport must have been cursing and swearing at the arrival of yet another Korean artiste just barely a week after Kwon Sang Woo left. I'm sure they must be thinking..: "These crazy women, don't they have anything better to do?" Arrival of Shinhwa

And what did these boys do after arriving in SG late at night?... They went pub hopping....Yes, all 4 of them except for Jun Jin... whom I think was busy filming for his MV in the hotel room. Well, I guess it's only fair that they have some fun when they're here. In fact, I'm very glad that they went out and partied the night away. It would have been very boring if they just remained in the hotel, like what Bae Yong Joon did when he was in SG.

Poor Eric was still busy filming for his drama and only arrived on the 9th September night. He went straight to the stadium for the rehearsal. Think he was really tired and it showed during the concert.

There were about 5,500 people at the concert and the scary thing was...I kept meeting or seeing people I know or sort-of-know. Gosh, is this K community that small?

I think I haven't felt so excited about a concert for such a long time. LUG, a new Korean group started off the concert. I must say they're pretty good. Will definitely check out their cd later. But hor... they also very young leh. Sigh..

What can I say about the concert? It was good.

It was good not just because Shinhwa was good.

The atmospheare was good as the fans..mostly women, were determind to enjoy themselves by screaming and singing. And rightly so, as that is the only way to enjoy a pop concert.

All the 6 members were clowning around and having a good time. It was obvious that they are very comfortable and know each other very well. Watching them perform can get you into a high.
And Min Woo... woah... he made me dizzy watching him sing and dance. It was really funny. Min Woo is known to strip when he's performing.

So there we were, bb and I.. shouting away..:"Strip! Strip!" At one point, bb even asked me how to say "Strip" in Korean. hahahaha! But anyway, hehe, he didn't disappoint us and granted us a very brief view of his well-toned body. But it was very brief though. Click here to watch. Actually we were not really that crazy lah. And I assure you that's not my or bb's voice screaming away in the background. hahaha!

Some funny moments...

Dong Wan: When I go back Singapore...
Dong Wan: Very kamsahamneeda (감사합니다)???? English + Korean? Can become Singaporean already. haha!
Min Woo:Singapore girls very pretty. You all my girlfriend. All???? he must have had a good time at the pubs.

And this classic... when Jun Jin was being forced to speak English by his fellow members.. I can see him sweating away but trust him to think so quickly. Jun Jin ah.. better start learning some English. Say Ho ho ho!

It was a very good concert though a little short. If only Eric didn't have to fly back to Korea that night, I'm sure it would have been longer. Of course, some of the girls also rushed off to the airport to send Eric off at the airport. Me? Trying to catch a glimpse of my Jun Jin....to no avail. The only guy who came out to greet the group of fans waiting outside the stadium was Dong Wan. Sigh..

And that was the end of a very electrifying night for many of us. In fact, most of us are still on a high. hehe!

I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to see them perform again as I think some of the guys are scheduled to go into army this year. Well, maybe I can catch Jun Jin as he is going to release his first solo album later this year. *Hoping and crossing fingers and toes.*

When will I see these 6 men again? 언제 다시 만날 거에요?



Here are the 2 MVs from their State of the Art album.

THROW MY FIST
ONCE IN A LIFETIME

You can also catch a short clip of their Singapore trip on MNet here. These guys are so funny and they clown around so much.

And to end this post... their latest Lotteria burger CF.

I want a lotteria burger!!! Preferably with this man below. hahaha!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Korean tornado in Singapore

For the 1st week of September, Singapore was hit by the Korean Wave rather strongly.

KWON SANG WOO
First on the 3rd September, Kwon Sang Woo arrived in Singapore from Indonesia as part of his Asia tour for The Face Shop. As any K fan worth her kimchi knows, he has been the face of The Face Shop, a major Korean cosmetic brand for the longest time ever. He is amongst the top popular artiste today in both Korea and Asia... largely due to the weepy drama with Choi Ji Woo- Stairways to Heaven.

                 









He had a packed schedule...starting with the press conference, followed by a Meet-the-fan session, and then on to IMM to open a Face Shop. The next day, he was going to the Botanical Gardens, where an orchid would be named after him, and followed by a visit to another Face Shop at Marina Square. In fact, I think he had even more events lined up originally but alot were cancelled as he was sick.

I didn't want to spend $160 on The Face Shop products to go for the Meet-the-fans session, so I was actually planning to go down to either IMM or Marina Square to take a look. However, I changed my mind at the last minute. Good thing too coz I wouldn't have been able to see him at all... I heard the place was jam-packed like sardines... There's a clip of him at Marina Square (4th Sep). Click here to watch.

I guess because he's not one of my 'side dish', I didn't feel the urge to go down and take a look at him. I guess he doesn't set my heart a-fluttering even though he's good looking.....

Anyway if you want to see CNA's Susanne Jung's interview with him, click here

Presenting the Vascostylis Kwon Sang Woo




The theme song for SWTH was Bo Go Ship Da, 보고싶다 (or I want to see you/ missing you) by Kim Bum Soo. A really, really beautiful song which I love. Watch Kim Bum Soo sing live here I like Kim Bum Soo... ^^

Here's the youtube link to watch the MV of this beautiful sad. Click here

Oh... here's his latest CF for Bang Bang...



Next= SHINHWA. YEAH!!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dramas to look out for...

Korea produces an amazing number of dramas each year. The three stations have an average of at least 5 dramas on each week.. all competing with each other for viewers during primetime. No wonder a 'new' star arises every few months.

Anyway, according the the latest September issue of Asta TV, the following are the 'to-look-out-for' dramas.





'What's Up, Fox'- I think this is supposed to be hotly anticipated because of Ko Hyun Jung. Can't comment because I have yet to watch Spring Day and I don't think I will have the chance to watch Sandglass, of which she was famous for. But she looks a little hmmm... errr... plumpish lor.


Eric is not going to be in Sweet Guy (according to news, this is being pushed back). Instead he's going to be in 'Invisible Parachute Agent'... and it starts airing tonight! Wow! No wonder his trip to SG is so short. Saw some of the photos.. quite a change from his last 2 roles. Think Eric got good potential in a acting career.

Hwangjini. I've only like Ha Ji Won in Damo, so don't know if this will be any good. Song Hye Gyo is going to appear in the movie version later. Can't imagine her in such a role as I keep remembering her either as all teary eye in Autumn in my Heart or the lop-sided pony hair girl in Full House.

It would be good to see Hyun Bin again on the small screen in 'The Snow Queen'. Missed his dimples. hahahaha!

Hmm... Kim Rae won is pretty busy. He's currently filming a movie, 'Sunflower', which was shortly after his drama 'Which Star Are You From?'. Have only just started on this drama but the chemistry between him and Jeong Ryo Won seems pretty good so far. Oh.. there's also a movie version being filmed at the same time but cannot remember who's in it.

Another super busy person is Lee Jun Ki. He's also filming a movie now, 'Magnificant Vacation' though not as the lead. The article says he starts filming in November. Hmm.. that means not much time to rest after finishing the movie. But I thought he's supposed to be filming a K/J movie, 'First Snow'? How many is he doing????

And finally, finally, finally, Bae Yong Joon (my fav of course) has finally started filming on GKFG properly on Jeju Island. Seems there were quite alot of fans at the airport. How did these people get the news??? can't wait to see how he looks in the drama.

Don't have much news for the remaining dramas listed so will have to wait and see.

There are quite a few other dramas they didn't mentioned because there are just so many. Eg, I would be interested to find out Soon Yoon Ah and Kim Sung Soo's drama, 'Nuna', which is being aired now over the weekend. And Um Tae Woong is in 'Stranger than Paradise Now'. hehehe!

Sigh.. so many dramas, so little time...