5 things to do in Jeonju Hanok Village, Korea

We had a good time staying in a traditional Korean house, taking photos, and eating. This article should cover most needs!

Cherry blossoms in Jeonju © 2018 PEARL LEE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jeonju Hanok Village was a scenic, beautiful place. I was lucky to see some cherry blossoms while when I was there. Overall, I had a lovely stay and have come away with some recommendations.

1. Stay in a traditional Korean house and rent a fancy hanbok: 전주한옥마을숙박 “더머뭄”

81-8 Pungnamdong 3(sam)-ga, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea

Hanok refers to a traditional Korean house. Expect to sleep on a floor in a comfy mattress.

The unique characteristic of Korean hanoks is their heating system. In Korea, heating is through the floor. It’s super nice to come back and plop down on the floor to warm yourself up.

What stood out about Deomeomun, the hanok we stayed in, was how hospitable the owners were. Our lady host came out to greet us in case we got lost (we were, actually!). As we stayed there on a weekday, the owners gave us a free upgrade to a larger room.

Our room looked out to a lovely, serene courtyard. Neighbourhood cats come to visit, but they’re quite fearful.

A. Renting a hanbok

Most people go to Jeonju and want to wear the traditional Korean dress. We did the same! We rented matching hanboks and received a steep discount as guests. For three hours of renting the fancy outfit, we paid about KRW15000 each. What a steal.

The owner’s daughter also pull out all the stops to accessorize my hair!

전주한옥마을숙박
전주한옥마을숙박 “더머뭄”: Hanbok and hair accessories
Cat in Jeonju
Here I’m looking at another cat in Jeonju – there are plenty of them. You can see my hanbok and my hair accessory!

B. Breakfast, yum!

I am not sure if breakfast is complimentary, but the owners were kind enough to deliver a filling meal right up to our room. It was a nutritious meal of fruit and rice cakes and tea, and I ate it facing the courtyard.

C. Prices and more comments

We paid about SGD80 per night in total. It seems that all rooms come with a toilet.

If you’re a light sleeper, bring earplugs – the owners said the rooms are not soundproof.

We booked this property via Airbnb here. Each room comes with their own listing, so do keep a lookout as room sizes differ. The rates are here.

Overall, I was sad to leave the hanok and promised to return. It’s a good deal for a unique experience of staying in a traditional Korean house and taking pictures in traditional Korean dress.

2. Take pretty pictures: Omogdae

68-9 Girin-daero, Gyo-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea

My boyfriend and I went to this area and climbed up to an observatory pavilion. The climb is not steep and is only about 5 minutes. The pavilion is surrounded by cherry blossom trees, and we managed to get a few good shots!
Omogdae Cherry Blossoms
A look at trees bursting with blossoms in Omogdae
Omogdae Cherry Blossoms
Snap all the dream shots you want! These are pre-filter so I’m sure you can take many better shots.
You can take pictures with cherry blossoms from any angle: under the tree, in front of low-lying branches, trees in the background. It’s a perfect background to work with.
You can see the pavilion and the surrounding garden in Google Maps, surrounded by sand.
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The pavilion is in the area under the red indicator.

3. Rest and have coffee: Cafe브리즈

Jeondongseongdang-gil, Pungnam-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea

After walking so much and taking photos, we enjoyed a cup of coffee and honey toast at Cafe브리즈. It’s a building with three stories. It overlooked a garden and had a cozy environment both inside the cafe, and on its rooftop.

4. Eat delicious local Korean food: 전주 교동 떡갈비

73-2 Pungnamdong 3(sam)-ga, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea

The food here was excellent. If you love Korean food, this is the right place to be. If you don’t like Korean food, maybe this place will change your mind. 🙂

We took the reasonably priced lunch sets, and I added one bibim-naengmyeon. I don’t like bibimbap (mixed rice), but I wanted to sample the spicy sauce that Jeonju’s famous for! It was the right choice.

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전주 교동 떡갈비: The side dishes were great.
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전주 교동 떡갈비: Slightly spicy, but it’s great food.

The star of the show is the tteok-galbi: Korean grilled short rib patties. It’s a Jeonju delicacy. When I put a slab of meat in my mouth, it melted. If you love burgers, the minced meat may remind you of a burger patty.

I highly recommend this restaurant.

Click on the video to see the meat sizzle.

The restaurant had a very elegant look.

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전주 교동 떡갈비: Restaurant interior
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전주 교동 떡갈비

5. For the religious: Jeondong Cathedral

South Korea, Jeollabuk-do, Jeonju, Wansan-gu, Jeon-dong, 태조로 51

According to Google Maps: “Built 1908–1914, this historic Romanesque church features statues of Korean Catholic martyrs.”

I did not have a tour of the cathedral, but it was a nice historical site to visit in Jeonju. Like most places of worship, there’s no photographing allowed in the cathedral. The Western-style architecture is a stark contrast to traditional Korean houses!

Wishing you a good visit to Jeonju Hanok Village!


© 2018 PEARL LEE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Please write to me here to use my material. Thank you. 

Road to meeting NamChin’s parents

My trip to Korea and meeting the parents in 2012

Can’t believe I had a nightmare about sending clients a copy riddled with errors. Plus I haven’t been feeling well yesterday and today so here’s some light-hearted stuff.

The first time I met NamChin‘s parents was in the summer of 2012. After my school trip ended, we met up in Seoul and left for Daejeon where his family stayed.

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It was summer but I spotted this pretty leaf.

Road to Daejeon

Daejeon is South Korea ‘s fifth-largest metropolis. I think it is like Yishun. It’s not as glitzy but it has everything you might need at arm’s length. And it’s easy to find spaces without a lot of people.

I really enjoyed this trip because it was the first time I got to see my boyfriend’s house and where he lived! Yay!

NamChin and I took the KTX from Seoul to Daejeon. It takes around one hour.

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On a train to Daejeon in the summer of 2012
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Yongsan station in Seoul.

I was very amused when we were in Korea and NamChin knew where we were all the time because everything was foreign to me. That’s him dragging the luggage from behind on the right.

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Before leaving we had some time for lunch. I had this soup noodle thing. It was spicy.
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And of course, a snack to top it off. Waffles and ice-cream!
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Waiting for the train. No zombies.
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A different view.
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Inside the station
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KTX!
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Inside the KTX. TRAIN TO BUSAN ZOMBIES!
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On the train!
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Nice view!

NamChin’s house

Finally, we reached Daejeon. I was really excited to see where he stayed. His family has since moved to another area of Daejeon which is why we feel more comfortable posting these pics.

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Taking the taxi! So quaint
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What I saw on my way to his house.

We reached the residential area after a short ride.

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A residential area in Daejeon (not the block he stayed in). Looks like HDB flat! There’s a security guard post.
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A carpark. You can see where they stringently recycle stuff, which was the part that surprised me since in Singapore we just stuff everything down the chute.

There are even cameras to make sure people recycle their trash correctly.

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The corridor outside his home.

You can see that the houses were densely packed. One morning, I woke up to a loud shrill female voice. It was the neighbor. I wasn’t surprised though because in Singapore, I can hear my neighbors too. But I was still groggy from sleep.

Me: Hmm, I don’t think I have an Indian neighbour…
Voice: [Korean]
Me: Oh, I’m in Korea!

I reflected on it and thought that actually, Korean and Indian might sound a little similar. They have rolled Rs and when spoken really fast, can sound like a rapidly rolling marble of various sounds.


On the first day of meeting the NamChin’s parents, we went to eat fish porridge together.

We had a pretty idyllic stay. My boyfriend’s family stayed on the first floor of an apartment block. The windows were flooded with sunlight every morning and the lace curtains offered some privacy.

NamChin-old-house-food
Every morning I woke up to a delicious meal that Omma cooked. And the menu was different everyday.

Even though Omma has a full-time job, the menu changed everyday and we ate so much food.

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The lace curtains! Very pretty.
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The plants on the indoors balcony
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Seeing this picture reminds me of the houses in the Reply series!

NamChin-old-house4

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They didn’t have a sofa and a table. We sat on the floor most of the time. This table has foldable legs and they kept it folded up in one of the rooms.
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Wearing the NamChin’s “ggalggari” (the casual name for the innerwear from army), which was super warm and comfortable.

Apparently, Koreans like to joke that the “ggalggari” is the highest tech Korean military gear. I have to agree. Very comfortable.

Visited NamChin’s primary school!

I was really interested to see NamChin’s primary school so we went there. But there wasn’t a fence and people can easily walk in, which freaked me out a little because it’s a primary school! The name of the school is St. Mary Elementary School.

Apparently, when night falls, people can walk into schools to use the facilities such as the fields. I think that’s a good practice.

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The security guards didn’t stop us.
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I thought I would only see this in dramas.
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Lovely flowers.

Oh, and apparently Song Joong Ki came from this primary school. Yes, the one from Descendants of the Sun. Technically he is my boyfriend’s sunbae (lol). And sauce confirmed.

NamChin: Song Joong Ki sunbae, notice me!

The post got long so here are other stuff to do in Daejeon..

Best fish porridge in Daejeon

Wongol shikdang and nature

I had the best fish porridge ever in Daejeon, Korea.

원골 식당 (Wongol shikdang/restaurant)
254-1 Cheonnae-ri, Jewon-myeon, Geumsan, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea

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The carpark of Wongol shikdang
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Here was the restaurant. They’ve since expanded into two more of these houses.

The first time I drank makgeolli

The first time I had makgeolli was during my first meal with NamChin’s parents. I really wasn’t expecting to drink. Moreover, alcohol at lunch time seems a bit extreme. And I was quite young back then so I wasn’t expecting to be drinking at all.

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Drank from a small cup

“Is this milk?” I asked before taking a swig. It was slightly sweet, addictive, and then the alcohol hit me.

“WTF,” I thought. “It’s only the first meal together and I’m drinking already.” And it was about 4pm when it was still bright.

Thankfully, the alcohol wasn’t too strong so nothing crazy happened.

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The tasty makgeolli!

Soon, the dishes were ready.

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The fish dish!

I wasn’t expecting much because it was a week into Korea and I was getting sick of Korean food. But this was really, really, tasty stuff. The fish was fresh.

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Covered with spicy sauce
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The porridge

The porridge was thick and flavorful, which went well with the fried fish.

After the good meal, we had a walk before heading back. The restaurant is surrounded by nature and it was lovely. Before you see more pics here’s the address again because it is THAT GOOD.

원골 식당 (Wongol shikdang/restaurant)
254-1 Cheonnae-ri, Jewon-myeon, Geumsan, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea

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Just outside the restaurant.
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Walking around the stream. Kids were playing there too.

It was spring going summer, so the weather was good and cool. I walked a little in the stream as well.

Beautiful!

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Tsk tsk. 
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The waters are really clear. And no, the fish isn’t caught from this stream.

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It was a really lovely day.
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Looking at the fish porridge place from the stream.
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Omma made me this flower ring.

Omma made me this flower ring from flowers by the stream, which she used to do to entertain herself when she was younger.

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Delicate and beautiful.

Korean chicken

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One night, we had takeout. It was also my first time having Korean chicken.

 

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My first time having Korean chicken!

Little did I know Korean chicken would become so popular, thanks to You Who Came From The Stars.

Some sushi in Korea too.

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Besides the food, I had a great time in Daejeon. Walked around a lot but it was a pity I did not take any more pictures.

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Daejeon at night.
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NamChin buying me a red bean bun from a stall. Sadly, I did not take pics.

Now I’m much more used to Korean food, but after this trip, I rushed like crazy to my favorite zichar (煮炒) place to have some Singaporean-Chinese food. Shovelled Hong Kong style steamed pomfret with rice and sambal kangkong.

That felt really good too.

What I saw in Daejeon

Featuring Sung Sim Dang

Here’s a short introduction of what I saw in Daejeon during my trip there in summer 2012.

KAIST

Daejeon is famous for being home to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), one of Korea’s top universities.

I’ve never been to KAIST to take a look, but I’ve been to Hanbat National University instead. It’s really scenic and quiet there.

Next!

Say department Store

1-16 Munhwa 1(il)-dong, Jung-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

This is my favorite mall. It’s similar to North Point and Golden Village in Yishun. Why I love it:

    • Has budaejjigae (army stew). It’s a delicious pot of instant ramyeon, spam, sausage, egg, baked beans, and kimchi. The first time I had budaejjigae was there.
    • Has a really comfy movie theater
    • Has Smoothie King
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My first time eating budaejjigae!
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Soupy~
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The cinema at Say Department Store
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We watched this movie and the ticket was like this. Korea was more advanced than Singapore. These tickets were purchased at the self-service booth.
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Taking the subway! It was a little smaller than Singapore’s trains.

Sung Sim Dang

Phone, +82 42-220-4153 · Address. 중구 은행동 145번지; Daejeon 301-839.

This deserves a category of its own.

Best bread and pastries in Korea! It’s conveniently located next to Old Downtown, or Eunhangdong. It’s the most awesome shopping street – not commercialized like MyeongDong. You could get nails done for really cheap!

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Outside the store. It has a lovely exterior, but after its renovations, it no longer looks like that.
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Pastries galore!

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This is what we got.
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Yum!
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I think this is apple bread.
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Sausage bread.
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Fried bun, which Sung Sim Dang is famous for.
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Inside the buns.

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Eun Haeng Dong (the street where Sung Sim Dang is located).
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Walking and exploring Eun Haeng Dong.
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Of course, we had to have this long soft serve ice cream.

Whenever I go to Korea the ice cream is a must have.

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Tons of Molang!

This brings back good memories of walking around the street on a lovely day eating street food with my boyfriend. And this was already five years ago! I’ll always cherish those innocent and carefree moments where everything felt new and fresh.

Improve Korean with just one hour a week.

Five steps to improving Korean or other foreign languages quickly and effectively.

In mid-2012, I started to learn Korean.

It’s 2017 and what I’ve achieved thus far is to have a conversation in Korean. I noticed that more than a year ago, I could have a short ten-minute conversation before running out of things to say. Now I can ask questions and say some simple things. Still, I’ve achieved what I wanted, which is to have a conversation in Korean without using English or stuttering too much.

The biggest problem that impeded my progress was that I had too little time spent immersed in the language. I wasn’t in Korea.

I worked on this solution for more than a year before finding the right rhythm to achieve my goal.

Here are 5 steps to improving Korean with only one hour a week, without having to be in the country itself.

1. Find a good private tutor.

First of all, a new language isn’t difficult to learn. Get that out of your head! It’s hard to perfect, but not difficult to learn.

Find a tutor who is able to sit down with you one to one. The tutor should ideally be able to do these things:

  • Not say “It’s just like that” when you ask him/her why is a phrase said or used in a certain manner. This really frustrates me. There’s always a reason for everything, and knowing the history behind why certain things are said makes it easier.
  • Explain the meaning of vocabulary in your native language with appropriate context. He/she should be able to explain firstly, the definition of the word, and secondly, when can you use a particular word and when you shouldn’t use it. Ideally, he or she can translate the foreign word into your native language so you can use that to get a feel. Many fantastic tutors are expensive, but they can barely do this. Being able to speak English doesn’t mean that the tutor is competent in English and therefore can explain the meaning of a word. It’s important to find a tutor who is actually good at the language, rather than a tutor who is good at handling a class of 10 students and make a lesson entertaining. I am willing to have an inexperienced teacher, with self-directed learning.

2. Devote at least an hour a week to the language. During the lesson, read a long passage aloud.

One hour is just right. Too little and you won’t build stamina.

I use Yonsei Reading Book 3. Hangukdrama reviewed book 6 here. Before you study reading book 3, I recommend that you have completed up to level 3 of grammar books, such as the Sogang series. You can buy them here. After learning grammar, you’ll find it easier to read the text and understand the structure.

I read a passage aloud to my tutor.

Part of a passage in Yonsei reading book.
Part of a passage in the Yonsei reading book.

During the first reading, I will highlight vocab I don’t know and ask for quick definitions along the way. I form an idea of the passage I am reading, so I am not just making sounds with my mouth.

3. Translate everything you read into your native language.

The founder of Talk to me in Korean, an excellent learning resource which I don’t use, once said that if you can’t translate it, you don’t understand it. At first, I thought, how could it be the exact translation? All languages are different. However, as I improved in Korean competency, I realized that he said the truth. If you are good, no matter how complex a sentence is, you can translate it.

After reading a paragraph, I translate every single line verbally to my tutor. My tutor will check if my translation is correct and accurate while explaining the nuances to me. This is why I included section 1 of this article. Having a right tutor is so important!

The book has vocabulary at the bottom.
The book has a vocabulary list at the bottom. I also write down tricky stuff or questions.

4. Re-read the passage with the tutor.

The tutor, who is a native speaker of the language, will read the passage with me and correct my pronunciation. The tutor should also be able to tell you how to correctly pronounce a word – what you see isn’t always how it ought to be pronounced, or how the natives do it! For example, here’s a list of Korean pronunciation rules for different spellings.

One of my favourite weird pronunciation rules is 음료수 (eum-ryo-su) becomes”음뇨수” (eum-nyo-su). When I found that out, I felt so buzzed. When I finally spotted something similar I felt amazed.

5. Do the exercises and write a short passage!

I do the exercises behind the passage to test my understanding of the passage and revise it. Also, I write a short paragraph to practice writing.  I write the exact meaning I want to convey next to it so that my tutor knows what I am trying to say and will teach me the right way to write it. Through this, I also learn how to convey my opinions, emotions, and tone.

Writing is important for TOPIK exams too.
Writing is important for TOPIK exams too. This is the first paragraph which I wrote that had minimal corrections.

Results

These five steps take up only an hour week. It’s meant to be short, intensive, and effective for people with a budget like me.

At first, one hour a week would be sufficient. It’s also more realistic. You won’t be able concentrate on anything else afterward. It’s like training for a marathon, you can’t run the full distance immediately. Over time, you can increase your lesson time to 1.5 hours and more. 😀

This method isn’t just applicable to Korean, but also, many foreign languages. It took me about a year and a half of private lessons, with more than half a year of using this method to finally achieve some competency and confidence. But with this method, I improved leaps and bounds quickly.

After this, you can do some passive learning yourself, like watching videos or reading some grammar points. Because this method is so intensive, I find that I remember new grammar points much more easily when I come across them casually.

When I first started doing this, I sounded like crap. Had an old recording of myself doing it. Now I think I’m way faster and more natural sounding. I can even read Naver comics quite quickly now! Previously, I couldn’t even complete a quarter of the comic. Now I was able to finish one in 10 minutes.

Other resources

Before you start learning a new language, you may have to understand how to learn a new language.

I recommend reading this to understand what it takes to learn a new language.

I also read Noam Chomsky, such as his theory of linguistic structure, to understand what is language. It’s also good to read about the subject-verb-object concept, since Korean and Japanese are SOV languages and knowing this will eliminate many mistakes. Old habits die hard. You’ll be able to build on this knowledge to understand – and accept – quirky bits about a foreign language.

After reading these, I file away my knowledge into the different components, which speeds up my learning and application. I learned about this concept here. I pluck the word out and modify it accordingly to fit the purpose.

  • Subject: Made up of noun phrases (S)
  • Predicate: Made up of verb phrases, either active or stative (P)
  • Object: Made up of noun phrases (O)
  • Adjective phrases (AjP)
  • Adverbial phrases (AvP)
  • Conjunctions (C)
  • Exclamations (E)

Drop me questions!

Dal.Komm Coffee Singapore

This cafe is a throwback to Descendants Of The Sun – a mix of cute and whimsical

Recently, my boyfriend’s friend’s family opened a new cafe in town. To my surprise, it’s Dal.Komm Coffee. This cafe is very popular because of its appearance in a Korean drama called Descendants of the Sun. Dal Kom, spelt 달콤 in Korean, means to have a sweet taste.

The storefront.
The storefront with the Descendants Of The Sun poster.
Part of the menu and prices. I found it rather affordable for coffee in a central location.
Part of the menu and prices. I found it rather affordable for coffee in a central location.

Coffee culture is pretty strong in Korea and many people go to cafes to have “sogetting” (소개팅). This word is basically an abbreviation for “introductory meeting” (소개-미팅), which is a meeting for people to meet the opposite sex and date.

Decor

The first thing I thought of when I entered the premises was, “After a while, many students would come here to study!”

But hmm, maybe not. Well, the place is not dimly lit, but definitely cozy and bright enough if you’re just looking to do light reading, chat, and have coffee. Plus, it’s large so it’s not very noisy at all.

Cozy and large!
Cozy and large! This is just part of the premises.
Korean cafe decor - a mix of cute and whimsical.
Korean cafe decor and a throwback to Descendants Of The Sun – a mix of cute and whimsical.

I like Song Hye Gyo, but I didn’t really enjoy Descendants Of The Sun. My boyfriend is Korean but both of us prefer to watch Western dramas like House of Cards and Westworld. We really recommend those shows. I think the only Korean drama we watched bits and pieces together was Wang’s Family, with his parents after dinner back in Korea. They were really fascinated by the drama.

We had an interesting conversation once. He’s very critical of Kdramas, grabbing his head and lamenting the state of the Korean scriptwriting industry. This happened more often during Westworld, because frankly, the creators are geniuses. I asked him not to be too critical of his country’s dramas – they are very popular despite their formulaic plots and scenes, and that’s really respectable to me.

Kdramas can be very interesting especially when they are dealing with family and class relations. When I used to watch Kdramas on Channel U, dubbed in Mandarin (he finds it terrible because the voices don’t match and sound shrill to him), sometimes, I can feel quite emotional watching them. I remember following Likeable or not quite closely!

Nowadays, I think China is catching on with catchy dramas though. When I see videos trending on Youtube, there are always good looking actors, some click bait title with a video that delivers like 总裁女朋友穿着太朴素,店员竟然瞧不起将其赶走,最后后悔了 (Company president’s girlfriend wore clothes that were too plain. The sales assistants looked down on her and chased her away, only to regret it!!!). Their copywriting skills are formidable.

Drinks

First, we ordered drinks. My boyfriend is a big fan of goguma latte (sweet potato latte) and always drinks it when he’s back in Korea, so he and his friend had that. I’m not a big fan of the milky taste and needed some caffeine so I went with mocha instead.

Our three drinks.
Our three drinks. These were regular sized but it was a good amount.

Overall, the goguma latte taste was authentic. If you need a Korean fix or you want to try something new, this cafe can deliver it.

Food

We ordered a croque monsieur. It was slightly pricey, but tasty nonetheless! The sandwich came with a nice dose of creamy cheese on top, which added to its fragrance. My boyfriend and I finished it pretty fast. I am personally a big fan of ham and cheese sandwiches and would recommend this dish.

Our Croque-monsieur (baked ham and cheese sandwich).
Our Croque-monsieur (baked ham and cheese sandwich). It was SGD9.

Overall, what makes me like this cafe is its huge space and cozy ambience. A nice place to chill and hang out!


Address: The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road #01-01/02, #01-03/04, #01-05/06, #01-103 238843, 102 Nanyang Cres, Nanyang Meadows – Block 102, Singapore 637820
Hours: 10AM–10PM