Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Korea in the News #7

This is terrible news in Korea today. A ferry sank on the way to Jeju Island, it was carrying around 350 passengers many of them high school students on a school trip.  We can only hope that they find more of the passengers alive and are able to get them to safety.

Hundreds missing after ferry sinks

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Monteith's Beer and Cider in Korea

A few years ago when I first arrived in South Korea you could not find cider (the alcoholic beverage) anywhere and for someone who does not drink beer this was very disappointing. About six or seven years ago in New Zealand cider underwent something of a renaissance and I for one was very grateful. I have mentioned before what a picky eater I am and this is seen through in my drinks as well. It is nice to have something that you can drink when others are drinking beer e.g. at BBQs or for an after work drink. I like spirits and cocktails but for the casual drink they don't really work as well. Cider is a great alternative in this instance.

While I like cider I don't like all cider, I find many of them too dry. However through trial and error and many a tasting of my friends beverages I finally found one that I liked and could drink more than a few sips of. This delicious drink is of course Monteith's Crushed Apple Cider, it is quite a sweet tasting one and has a fresh crisp taste which I really enjoy. The other one that is OK if I can't get Monteith's is from Mac's Brewery and is 'Isaac's Cider' but I don't like that one as much and I prefer the Berry one in their range which I discovered when I was home this time last year. Monteith's also has a 'Crushed Pear' flavor which I did not like as much being that I am not a fan of pears but my friends really liked it and since I have been in Korea they have also come out with a berry 'Crushed Summer Berries Cider' one as well but I have yet to try this.

Monteith's Brewing Company is a New Zealand company that originally started with beer and has gradually expanded it's product line over the years to include many different types of beers and ciders. The brewing company in some form or another has been around for about 150 years on the West Coast of New Zealand. The brewery today is located in Greymouth and the label is currently owned by DB Breweries - the name Monteith's came about in 1990 named for one of the original founders.

Now, I have seen Monteith's beer in Home Plus (owned by UK Supermarket chain Tesco's) here in Korea and at the end of last year I found the Apple Cider and the Berry Cider in the Itaewon foreign store 'High Street Market' but it was a bit pricey. Recently I have been making a point to go down the beer isle in the supermarket just to check what is there and a few months ago I noticed that there were a lot of ciders on offer and also the range of beer has increased; I noticed the 'NZ Pure' beer is there. So I've been checking regularly to see what is available and tonight to my surprise and delight I found Monteith's Cider is now in stock here too. All three options, Apple, Pear and Berries are available and I also noticed Bulmers which was new too, I know lots of people love that brand but it was one I found to dry for my tastes.

Of course my Homeplus is in Ilsan but I am sure that a lot of them will stock it as it is a chain, so if you enjoy cider go and check it out. It's not a bad price at 4,100 won. Now just to get my local pubs to stock it and I will be right.

Note: In Korea 'cider' is the word for a 'Sprite' like soda drink, it's clear and carbonated and has a lemon/lime flavor. In Korean it is 사이다 (pronounced si-ee-da) so if you see this on a menu it will mean the soda. I actually really like it, I think it's better than Sprite. The main brand is Chilsung Cider and is of course made by Lotte (what don't they make). Also another tidbit - in New Zealand we call this kind of lemon soda 'Lemonade' which is really confusing for others.

If you are looking for further information on cider and a review of some of the brands available in Korea go to this blog - A Fat Girl's Guide to Eating in Korea. She has a great article here.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Website Highlight #7

I just came across this great website and wanted to share it with you all. Another one that is set up for the expat community living in South Korea. It has informational videos, articles about culture and life in South Korea and lots of other intersting and informative stuff. 

The website is called ROKpaperscissors and you can find it here at

There is also a link added to my sidebar as I think this is another great resource for those who are in Korea or thinking about joining us here.

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Veronica Mars - The Movie (Cue excited little happy dance)

So those of you who know what I am talking about will instantly realize the momentous occasion that is 'The Veronica Mars Movie'  - of which I am excited to report will be out this year in 2014. The official release date for the US is March 14th, 2014. I have no idea when it will be out in Korea; I can only hope that it comes to theaters as it would be awesome to see on the big screen.

So for those of you who don't know what I am talking about (it's hard to imagine but there are probably a few people that missed the whole phenomenon, I know that my sister is only watching it now because I made her and of course she is loving it), Veronica Mars was a television series about a girl in high school who was also a private eye. It ran for three seasons from 2004 to 2007 and stared Kristen Bell as the title character. It was witty and smart and like many good programs got canned for no good reason. Since then there has been talk about a movie, all the actors and the creator Rob Thomas were enthusiastic about the possibility but it never got the backing - that was until the invention of a little thing called Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a website resource for financing creative endeavors, it's called crowd funding and basically you submit your proposal just like you would if you were trying to get funding from investors anywhere but you are submitting it to the world. If people like your project they can donate. There are rewards offered for investors on some projects depending on the amount donated - for example if the fund was for a book the author might offer to name a character after someone if they donate $500, for other projects you might get the finished product. It's a great idea and has helped some really worthwhile projects that may not have been able to get funded get up and going.

Rob Thomas basically went to the studio and asked if he could get the money would they back the making of the Veronica Mars movie, being a situation where they couldn't really lose, of course they said yes. Surpassing every ones expectations the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign became one of the most successful in the sites history, it raised the needed 2 million dollars in pretty much the first day and then every thing after that was what could make the movie even better. The final amount was about 5.7 million dollars raised from over 90,000 backers. True to their word the filming began over the summer and now almost a year later the movie is slated for release in March.

The first looks at the new movie are out now, so here it is 'the trailer for the Veronica Mars (2014) movie, I hope you are as excited as me to see it. It looks like it is going to be good, and if it does do well perhaps the studio will pick up the tab on the next one.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 - Happy New Year!

Well another year is over and now we are well and truly into 2014. I just wanted to say Happy New Year to everyone and I hope you all had a safe and happy festive season.

I am not sure how the blog will go this year, I will continue to update when I can and I can only hope to be a bit more vigilant than 2013. I am still in Ilsan and I am coming up to the end of my third year in Korea. My current contact will be up in March/April. I will probably be staying on for another year if my school continues my contract. Hopefully that will mean lots more things to blog about over the coming year so please keep coming back or follow the blog using one or more of the options off to the side.

Happy New Year

Monday, December 23, 2013

More Culture - The Nutcracker

This weekend past I went to my second ballet - I saw 'The Nutcracker' for the very first time. A while ago I wrote about seeing 'Swan Lake' in Seoul and this was my first experience with the ballet, I'm not a huge fan but wanted to see it one time just so I could say that I had. 'Swan Lake was OK, it was a bit boring for me and I did almost fall asleep at one stage in the second act and while I certainly did not hate it I was glad it was over when it was. I thought that if I ever went to another ballet it would probably only be 'The Nutcracker' again for the experience and to say that I've seen it at least once. 

With Christmas almost here 'The Nutcracker' is currently being performed in Seoul this December and a few of my friends decided to go. We manged to get some cheap tickets 24, 000 won each (discount of 20% for Expats and Tourists) and we saw the Universal Ballet performance at the Universal Arts Center.

It was very well done, the scenery and lights were awesome, I really liked the winter scenes and it really looked like it was snowing. The costumes were also great, very beautiful and lots of sparkle. All in all it was a beautiful production and my friends and I really enjoyed it. As someone who knows nothing about ballet I can't comment on the dancing except it looked great, the two principle dancers were beautiful and graceful and the children dancers were really cute and talented.

We did find the theater really hot, we were right up the back at the top (the cheap seats) but the view was great because we could see the whole stage. At intermission we really needed some water but the line for the cafe was huge and there was no water in the vending machines, I think that is one thing that really needs to be addressed. There needed to be some better way to cater to the crowds.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pizza Hut - Getting Pizza Delivered in Korea

I did a post a while back about getting McDonalds delivered in Korea, they have an English site so it is super easy even if you are not so good at reading Korean (like me). I was recently speaking with a friend who told me that he was getting Pizza Hut delivered, I did not realize that they had an English site so was happy to learn about this. I am actually not really a fan of Pizza - well not western pizza, I do like the original ones with the really flat bread and just basic tomato, basil and cheese but every now and then it's nice to have something easy delivered like this.

It is super easy to do, much easier than the McDonalds site I think (at least for registering) however I did think it was interesting that the choices are limited on the English site, if you look on the Korean version then there are more options available for sides and things (perhaps it is a work in progress as I did find out it is pretty new). You can find the English order website here.

I know that you can get other pizza's delivered of course, pizza delivery is a thriving business all over the world however this is the only one I have tried so far. I ordered for the first time on Monday night just gone and it all worked out fine, you have to register by putting in your name and phone number - they will then message you a code which you enter back at the site. You then enter your address which is mostly from drop-down menus so very easy, you can either choose your building name from a list or you can write it in yourself - mine was already listed so I just used that and then there is one more free-form address line so I put my apartment number here. 

My pizza came in about 20 minutes so everything worked out well, the website is very basic and it is pretty easy to follow. I did also find this youTube video about ordering with this new English site so if you want to check it out from the blog 'Kyle Living in Korea' the link to the video is here.