Curry Crazy in Seoul and Belated Buddha’s Birthday Lanterns

Sometimes it feels like there are just way too many things to do in Seoul.  I actually really miss just being bored, and having time to laze around doing nothing but reading, listening to music, and staring off into space.  Spending a weekend indoors just seems like such a waste now that the subway’s a skip away and there are so many places to go, things to see, and (most importantly) yummy stuff to eat!  Anyway, last weekend marked my favorite Korean holiday: Buddha’s Birthday!  And this year I finally managed to catch the Lotus Lantern Parade~!

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During our first year in Korea, down in Ulsan, we had no idea about the Lotus Lantern Parade and ended up forlornly watching it go by from the backseats of a taxi stuck in traffic.  And last year we turned up a day late thanks to my awesome planning skillz \m/  SO, I was determined not to miss it this year, even though it started way earlier than I’d expected, so we ended up sprinting down the subway, racing to catch up with it!

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Caught ya at last, parade!

The parade actually takes place the weekend prior to the Buddha’s Birthday holiday, and marches from Dongdaemun to Jogyesa Temple in Insadong.  All sorts of groups take part to show off their colorful costumes and synchronized dance routines, but the real stars are the massive paper lanterns which will decorate Buddhist temples all over Korea.

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We’ve seen these huge lanterns parked in the temples before (check out my archive or Buddha’s Birthday tag!), but this was the first time we’d seen them mobile.  Some of them actually moved, and a couple even involved pyrotechnic displays!

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Still, my favorites were the quintessentially Asian tigers and dragons.  You can’t go wrong with tigers and dragons!

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My most favorite part of the parade wasn’t really a lantern, though…

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DUN DUNN DUNNNN!  DANCING DRAGON!

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The head was like a lantern, but the body was all fabric.  But it was super duper cool~!  Made me feel a bit better about missing the dancing dragons during New Year’s in Hong Kong…(again, there are my awesome planning skillz at work.)

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And let’s not forget the obligatory Larva-themed lantern…

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Hey, Seoul, can we just keep these out and lit up all year long?

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Buddhists from all over Asia come to Seoul for the Lotus Lantern Parade, including this group from Nepal

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Happy Birthday, Buddha~!


Maybe it’s the sudden rise in temperature (looks like it’s super sweaty 80s and 90s from here until September, ugh), but I’ve been craving curry like nobody’s business these past few weeks.  Luckily, there are SO many Indian restaurants in Seoul, and it’s easy to ask them to leave out the cream and butter.  Woohoo!

Jyoti | Sinchon

–> w e b s i t e <–

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I probably shouldn’t read reviews of places before I visit them, cuz the overwhelming amount of positive comments I read about this place got me so hyped up to eat the BEST INDIAN EVERRR…

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Well, it was alright, but I wasn’t super impressed.  Darn.  First of all, they were out of samosas when we visited (NOOOOOO), and the veggie curry we ordered was made with frozen veggies, which I just can’t stand.  They taste like cardboard.  The chickpeas in the chana masala tasted really hard, as well, either because they’d been frozen, or maybe they were just old, or hadn’t been prepared properly.  Anyway, I wasn’t blown away.

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The spinach pakoras were awesome, at least!  So crunchy and not too salty.  I’d go back for the starters but not for the mains.

Everest Curry World | Dongdaemun

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Okay, so, funny story: a while ago, my colleagues invited me out for dinner at the best Indian restaurant in Seoul, Everest in Dongdaemun.  It blew me away with its deliciousness and reasonable prices, so I blabbered to Eoin about how he had to go, and when I finally convinced him to try it with me….I TOOK HIM TO THE WRONG FREAKIN’ RESTAURANT.  D’oh.  If you are seeking out the epic Everest restaurant in Dongdaemun, be sure you don’t make the same mistake and end up at the Everest Curry World restaurant, just a minute away.

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The food here wasn’t completely terrible, but it certainly wasn’t amazing.

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They had samosas, at least.  But BEWARE the pakoras, if you do end up here.  Oh my glob, I actually couldn’t bear to eat more than one, they were that bad.  All I could taste was salt (or MSG, more likely.)

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 ⬆️ Here’s the front of the building, so you don’t get duped like I did… ⬆️

Everest | Dongdaemun

–> w e b s i t e <–

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Some places in Seoul seem to get pretty over-hyped, but this place is always crowded for two simple reasons: delicious food and decent prices!

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Yes, if you’re wondering, I probably could just eat samosas forever.

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Pretty perfect pakoras, too!  (Though if I’m honest, my favorites are still the ones from Khajuraho in Hongdae.)

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Mmm, big ol’ chunks of (definitely not frozen!) veggies.  And their chana masala is the BEST, full of super soft and creamy chick peas.

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⬆️ Keep an eye out for this building and go up the stairs to get to Everest! ⬆️

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Directions:

To Jyoti: Sinchon Station, Exit 5.  Walk straight and turn right.  It is on the third floor of a large building.

To Everest: Dongdaemun Station, Exit 3.  Walk straight and turn left at a pharmacy.  Walk straight and Everest will be to the right.

xoxo

5 thoughts on “Curry Crazy in Seoul and Belated Buddha’s Birthday Lanterns

  1. Pingback: An Unexpected 4-Day Weekend and Random Vegan Eats | SoKoreazy

  2. Hey there ! I have a question about eating vegan at Indian restaurants in Seoul. Don’t most curry pastes have shrimp in them ? Do you just ask restaurants if their curry paste has shrimp ? Are they able to tell you ?
    I’d really love to get your advice on this, because I’m always weary of Indian restaurants, since I don’t know how to make sure it’s really vegan.
    I also don’t know that much about Indian cuisine, so if you had advice on which dishes are always vegan and what modifications to ask for to make popular dishes vegan, it would really help out.
    Thanks !

    • Hi! I know that thai curry pastes usually have shrimp in them, but Indian curry pastes are made from spices, ginger, garlic and onion – totally veg-friendly! The only concern with Indian food is that they sometimes cook it in butter, or add yogurt or cream to the curry. So I’m always really adamant about ‘no cream, no butter’ when I order. Some of the most common veggie curries here are chana masala (tomato-based chickpea curry) and aloo palak (potato and spinach). I personally also really like lentil-based (dhal) curries. Also, starters such as pakora and samosa are usually veg-friendly. Avoid naan bread, though, because it nearly always contains milk. Wholewheat roti and paratha are usually milk-free breads. Hope that’s helpful! ^^

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