My trip from Copenhagen to Sydney was the longest journey that I have ever taken in my life. It was more than 35 hours from hotel to hotel and a total of about 24 hours actually on the airplane, from Copenhagen to London to Seoul to Sidney. I never lay down for 35 hours at a time, and most of the time my body was confined in small narrow airplane seat. I was constantly moving my neck cushion from my neck, to my back, to the sides of body. I usually enjoy airplane travel but this trip was a little bit too much, which I was expecting it to be.
Korean Air provided a delicious “green tea porridge” for breakfast. I loved it. Even though I had arrested myself with the seatbelt, when it comes to food, I’m always excited. : )
Bibimbap at a restaurant in the Incheon airport, during a 5-hour stopover for my flight for Sydney.
It was 8:30 am when I arrived at my hotel in Sydney. I was hoping that I could check in earlier than their usual check in time of 2:00 pm, but they said: “The room is not ready yet. Please leave your luggage here if you want to go out while we get it ready.”
I asked: “I’m very exhausted from a long flight. Do you have any shower facilities I can use?”
They said: “Yes, you can go upstairs the 15th floor swimming pool and use the shower room.”
The shower room was actually a bathroom. I locked the door and took a long shower, changed my clothes, and even put on my makeup. I dried my hair with the hand dryer on the wall. Luckily nobody knocked on the bathroom door. : )
Then I came downstairs and left my all bags with the concierge to explore Sydney’s early morning! The people, streets, coffeeshops, all looked like I had seen them before and felt very familiar to me, like I’d been living there for a long time. Sydney is the kind of city that I would be able to live in right away. Isn’t it strange? I found a few Korean grocery stores on the streets, too.
The hotel room had a kitchen, so I could cook some food for myself and for the meetup picnic. I bought soy sauce, hot pepper paste, vinegar, soybean paste, sesame oil, garlic, etc.
The next day I met Chris who organized the meetup we were going to have. He took a day off to show me around Sydney! I invited him and his friend for breakfast in my hotel room. Our breakfast menu was rice, fried flounder, doenjang jjigae, and cucumber salad. I got all the ingredients from a Korean store near the hotel. His friend Jeongcheol said he came to Sydney on the Australian Working Holiday Program.
I asked them: “How long have you been friends? Where did you meet?”
They said: “Oh, we met at a Korean restaurant near here” I asked: “Who said something first?” Jeongcheol said: “I did.” They seemed to get along really well with each other.
After breakfast, we went to the Sydney Opera House and Chinatown (to shop for the next day’s meetup). All products sold at the market were very fresh, good quality, and cheap!
Delicious steamed sweet potato. I couldn’t resist tasting their goguma. Uh? Did it have whiskers? : )
Market near Chinatown. Chris bought one of these watermelons for the next day’s meetup.
Chris and Jeongcheol
Our meetup was held in the Botanical Gardens Park. I made spicy sweet and sour squid, spicy sweet and sour mushrooms, soybean sprouts, spinach, and rice. I made these in my hotel room kitchen.
Kongnamul (soybean sprouts), sigeumchi namul (spinach), and ojingeomuchim (spicy squid)
Delicious home cooked food that everybody brought
Tim Forrester, Chris’ brother, lives 2½ hours driving distance from Sydney and came all the way by car to join the meetup with his friends. He was introduced to Korean food by Chris, and now he’s a big fan.
Meeting Mr.Rashmi and his wife at the meetup confirmed for me that this Gapshida tour was a great idea. They have been my silent readers since I started posting recipes. If I hadn’t visited Sydney for this tour, I would never have known or imagined their existence. Rashmi brought his kimchi made without fish sauce. It was very tasty! His wife told me Mr. Rashmi always cooks Korean dishes at home with my recipes.
At the meetup, when I gave a tip about making kimchi or any side dish, I saw him taking notes. : ) And when the meetup was finished he took some of my leftover soybean sprouts and spinach dish to go home with him, even though he had brought his own. He said: “I like to compare the taste of mine and yours when I go home.” I was very impressed by his passion for cooking!
Australian Coopers pale ale beer. It was delicious! How was taste like? eh, a little bit of kimchi flavor, sesame oil… haha, that’s a joke!
Chris’ hands! “I made this wrap for you, Maangchi!” Grilled kangaroo wrapped in lettuce. Kangaroo meat is darker than beef and the taste is like beef but very tender. Funny thing is that Chris prepared Korean style grilled kangaroo meat. He brought lettuce, Korean dipping sauce (ssamjang), and Korean green onion salad (pajeori).
Popular Australian chocolate coated cookie. Someone in the group told me how to enjoy this cookie. “Take a bite from the top right and the bottom left, and put it in hot coffee to suck it, ooh yummy!” I bought a package of TimTam at the Sidney airport and tried to suck my morning coffee in the hotel in New Zealand. The result? : ) It didn’t go well. The cookie slid into the hot coffee, so I couldn’t suck the coffee. I should practice more! : )
Australian traditional Lamington: Chocolate sponge cake with coconuts. sweet, fluffy, and soft!
Sydney was such a wonderful city, and not only was I treated warmly but it really felt like a second home to me. This was my first time to go to the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere, and I’m glad I went. Next stop, New Zealand!