Lit Gay Bars, Fish Markets & Banana Beer: South Korea's One Helluva Place
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We've partnered up with Airbnb to try out their newest platform, Airbnb Trips. Instead of haul assing to a foreign country and just skimming the surface, Airbnb Trips unlocks unique places and cultures through the people who live there. From getting learned in acrobatics by a stunt double in LA to appreciating the art of burlesque in London, the opportunities to live like a local and explore your passions anywhere are endless.
If you were given the opportunity to travel anywhere on the globe, and spend a jam-packed 72 hours taking in everything the city had to offer, where would you go?
The top of my bucket list, apart from revving through middle 'Murica in a vintage Mustang, devouring inhumane quantities of BBQ ribs? South Korea. Crazy, unpredictable, colourful South Korea.
I chose to check out Seoul, the country's capital city. It's reminiscent of Tokyo with its high-tech qualities, but it's a road a little less travelled. (It's important to note here that I've barely travelled outside Australia save for a few few boozy trips to Bali like every other suburban Australian - so Seoul was way outta my comfort zone.)
Seoul is renowned for its underground food scene, and of course, Korean BBQ. While I've enjoyed my fare share of Korean-style dinners at tidy joints like Kong and Mrs Kim's Grill here in Melbourne, I never imagined I'd get to try the real deal.
Enter Daniel Gray, the gregarious host of my two-day food safari.
Dan is an American expat who owns a number of bars in the city and runs uber-successful food blog, Seoul Eats. He's on first-name basis with what seemed like every street food vendor in the city, and has even shown culinary deity Anthony Bourdain around.
In short, Dan knows his Kimchi from his Bibimbap.
Have a gander at the snaps I took of the first day of the Food Whisperer trip, sinking bevs on the Intro to Craft Beer & Street Food and Hanwoo Snowflake Beef Experiences:
I was truly pushed into the deep end, so to speak, on the second day of my trip.
Dan and I went on a Fish Market Excursion at the hectic Mapo Fish Market with another solo traveller, Rocco.
Rocco's a software engineer at Facebook and told us all about that Zuckerberg life. I probably asked him at least three times if Facebook was like the movie The Internship throughout our excursion, and he took it like a champ, never missing a beat.
All this went down while drinking Banana Rice Beer and eating raw fish, which was far more delicious combo than it sounds:
if the concept of 'sea to plate' in seconds freaks you out, maybe give this one a miss
In a flash, the trip's over and I'm back at my desk Down Under with potbelly full of barbecued goodness and (as lame as it sounds) some lifelong memories.
You can check out the full range of Airbnb Trips here (there are a tonne, so whether your passion is sport, nature, social impact, entertainment, arts or food, they’ll have you covered). All you gotta do is connect with the local expert, book in the available dates via the app and Bob’s your international uncle.
Photo: Alex Barlow / Getty.