Some things have changed since I last went back to Seoul, but most of the stuffs still remain the same. Ya-kun has finally tumbled, partly because the Koreans are probably not used to having toasted bread with kaya and half-boiled eggs. It’s just too…. Chinese? But a lot of things still remained the same, with new additions!


Yes, there is now a Hooters in Seoul. Located in Apgujeong near Sinsa-doing, this branch is pretty much the same thing that you get in Singapore, and perhaps anywhere else in the world. I didn’t peek in too much, just in case I end up looking like a chekopek, female version. I have not tried their food before and am still wondering how good it is. As for pretty girls, there are plenty in Seoul, yes, plenty, and I sometimes wish for the earth to open up and swallow me in.

Starbucks and Coffee Bean

Yes, we have Starbucks and Coffee Bean in Seoul as well. So, how do you order a Tazo Chai Tea Latte in Korean? Well.. it’s just Tazo Chai Tea Latte. But since there is no “F”, “L”, “Q”, “V”, “X” and “Z” in Korean, or at least not in their actual pronounciation, you get them replaced with “B”, “R”, “G/K”, “B”, “S” and “C” or variants of it. However, as more Koreans, especially the younger generation pick up English, it will probably be less of a problem in the future. In fact, I find more English speaking Koreans this trip than the last one last year, so things do evolve pretty quickly.

McDonald’s and KFC and Pizza Hut

Yes, you can find all of them here. Most of the menu is the same, but if you fancy a kimchi pizza, this is probably the right place to be at. Actually I am not sure if they do have kimchi pizzas, but I’d guess a good amount of localization will produce that out in no time. =) The foldovers here in Mac is fried instead of broiled/steam/don’t-know-how-they-do-it-in-Singapore, and it’s a little hard. Do give it a miss here. =P

BBQ Wings and Kimbab

Basically, it’s just deep friend chicken wings, but they have done it quite well and it’s pretty delicious. If you are tired of the local food in Seoul, this is a good option. If you need rice as your staple diet, then perhaps you might want to consider getting a roll of Kimbab which is rice, pickles, ham, veg wrapped with seaweed. Pretty good stuff; and don’t forget the chopsticks. Take 2. You’ll need it.

7-11 stores and other 24 hour convenience stores

Yes, there’s plenty of them. In fact, they have family mart, buy the way, 7-7, mini-stop, and other variants of these brands. Like the local 7-11 in Singapore, the pricing is usually higher than most. So the trick is to look for those corner shops that is like a supermarket and has everything inside. They usually give the best price in any town. Usually.

Train services and EZ-link cards

Yup, they have a completed subway known as the Metro/Subway or simple kicha; and they use RFIDs as well, pretty much like EZ-link, except that the RFID need not always be a card – it can be a small token, a memo-something (the things you hang on your handphones), or your credit card (e.g. Citibank SMRT). We call the card the T-Money card, probably meaning Transport-Money, but it can be used to pay for virtually anything nowadays – coffees, purchases, supermarket, petrol, etc. The buses use the same thing as well but the debit/credit system is slightly different.

When you first go through the gates, they deduct 900 wons from your card, then upon exit, they deduct any extras that’s needed. The way it works in Singapore is different. They deduct the MAXIMUM in Singapore and upon exit, refund you what’s not used. That’s why you have to panick and call Transitlink for your refunds. Till date, I’ve not got my refunds from Transitlink yet. Hmmph!

Ed: Oops.. gotta rush off. Will continue with part 2 later.

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