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Thursday, May 19, 2016

IS SEOUL THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD?

Well, USA Today gave 50 reasons why Seoul was the greatest city in the world.  But that was four years ago.  Anyway:
  • *1   Galbi (kalbi):  marinated barbecued ribs.  This also happens to be about the best daily dish you can have at 15 Craigside.
  • Drama queens, those soap opera series at night on TV.
  • World's most spectacular bridge-fountain:  Banpo Bridge and Moonlight Rainbow Fountain
  • #10  Asia's largest underground mall:  Samson-dong, COEX, and includes the Kimchi Museum.
  • #24  Superb service, random freebies, no tipping.
  • #25  Most art openings per square mile.
  • #31  Smart homes.
  • #33  McDonald's delivers.
  • #42  Beautiful men.
  • #42  Beautiful women, although plastic surgery is common.
  • #47  Best airport in the world:  actually, Incheon International is now #2 to Singapore Changi.
  • #49  More side dishes than main dishes.
And that article above was written just before Psy released Gangnam Style, which will probably remain You Tube's most popular song for a very long time, now approaching 2.6 billion views.  The phrase represents the lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul, close to where I'm now staying.  At the end of 2012 the song topped the music charts of more than 30 countries.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called it a force for world peace.

I caught the #1 line located below Sheraton D-Cube City, and two stops later got off at Gasan Digital Complex.  I bought a few shirts at the Mario Outlet 2 and Hyundai Outlet:


These are long sleeve golf shirts that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.  Extremely light and comfortable.  When washed, they dry in an hour.  Their golf hats are good, too, but tend to be rather expensive.  They have colorful golf balls now from Volvik, but I wonder when they'll be producing superior clubs.  Anyway, the shirts were why I came here.  Seoul happened to be a free stop on my San Francisco flight to the Orient.

TimeOut thought that New York was the greatest, with London #2 and Paris #3.  Conde Nast gave this honor to Venice, with Hong Kong #2 and Istanbul #3.  My best of 61 days around the world last year was in Venice.  Hungry Partier gave five reasons why Seoul is the #1 Party City in the World.  A final list:  Ten reasons why Seoul is one of the coolest cities ever!

With success can come some downsides, for South Korea has the third highest suicide rate in the world at 38.9/100,000 population/year, with Greenland at 116.9 and Lithuania 65.1.  Japan is 28., U.S. 20.2, Italy 10.0 and Egypt 0.1 and Nepal 0.  You would think that the stress of modern life is the cause, and, to some degree, this is so, but the rate for people in their 70's is 84.4, up to 116.9 for those in their 80's.

On the plus side, South Korea has picked its targets well:  women's golf, men/women in short track ice skating, household appliances and entertainment.  They do make the best golf attire.  When you compare South with North Korea, the night and day difference is overwhelming, much more so than when there were East and West Germany.

As I so enjoyed my breakfast at Feast, I thought I'd give it a try for dinner.  This is a buffet format, where dinner, I think, is about $80, but ala carte is allowed.   I really only wanted a kalbi, rice and kim chee dinner.  Unfortunately, there was no kalbi on the menu.  So I talked to Assistant Manager Hoon Cho, who was extremely gracious and accommodating.  He found a way to have this dish made, and even found a grill.  I added a foie gras appetizer in combination with a small salad topped with blue cheese dressing.  What came, was unexpected, but this was mostly due to some cultural/language difficulties and my vacillation.  There was no blue cheese dressing, only crumbled blue cheese, so I just poured into the salad the olive oil/balsamic wine dish on my table.

The foie gras came over raw onion slices.  Never had it this way, but, I liked it, and there were decent accompanying sauces.


The kalbi was the brownest I've ever seen.  Tasted fine, and the side dishes and soup were good add-ons:


I got essentially what I wanted, and I owe this to Mr. Cho.   The total charge with the Chardonnay and OB Beer was less than the buffet price.  I photographed a fine sunset from my table:


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