Gwangju Blog

Where to Eat Wednesdsay: 참한우직판식육식당

A few weeks ago, I went to 참한우직판식육식당 (Cham Hanwoo Jikpanshik Yookshikdang) with a couple of friends after having the restaurant recommended to me by my landlord. He had already taken my beau before, saying how he needed more “man power” as he fed him raw beef bibimbap. Since I’m a huge fan of beef, it was hard to find reasons not to go.


When we drove up to the restaurant, I was immediately surprised by how large the place was. It also won bonus points for having both table and floor seating available. Attached to the restaurant was a proper meat shop with its own butcher and everything. When we walked in, we initially assumed that the restaurant got their beef from this butcher, only to embarrassingly find out that all the meat we wanted to eat (for the grill) needed to be purchased directly from the meat shop. Though it took a few minutes of confused translating, the steps were pretty simple: 1.) Pick a seat. 2.) Go to the meat shop and purchase what you want to grill. 3.) Come back to your seat and start grilling.

ButcherBeef Selection

After we got our seats, our very short trip to the butcher was a fun one. We all marveled over how fresh and gorgeous all the beef looked. The prices of the different cuts ranged anywhere from moderately priced for the decent stuff to fairly expensive for the beautifully marbled pieces. The three of us opted for one of the mid-range options along with some of the thin, fatty pieces of beef that were in the freezer (it was cheap and looked like beef bacon). We paid for our meat right there and went back to our table with our ready to cook beef, only to see that our waitress had already delivered all of our side dishes and soup.

SidesCooking Beef

The price of the beef we bought also included the price of all of our organic side dishes, which was a pretty sweet deal. Along with our usual sides was a cow blood soup that was boiling hot and rather tasty. We happily sipped on the broth while we cooked our tender pieces of beef on the grill with some garlic.

Unlike pork, which I personally think needs to be cooked all the way, beef has this magical ability to taste amazing, even when raw. Since I prefer my beef to be on the medium side, I didn’t have to leave my pieces of meat on the grill too long. As each piece cooked, the streaks of fat slowly melted away, leaving behind a tender, flavorful bite of beefy goodness. Though I wouldn’t recommend undercooking beef at any of the all-you-can-meat places, the freshness of the beef here left me feeling comfortable enough to consume those pink-centered morsels. The thinner, fatty pieces of beef, which cooked in seconds, were also quite heavenly.

BibimbapAll Mixed

Though we were feeling a little full after the grilled portion of our meal, I couldn’t help but obsess over the restaurant’s regular menu, which featured soups, stews, and the very famous 생고기비빔밥 (saeng gogi bibimbap), which is the classic bibimbap served with raw beef. Since I wanted to know what a healthy bowl of “man power” tasted like, I ordered the special version of it, which came with extra beef. What I got was a large bowl filled with vegetables, hot pepper paste, and a raw egg with a plate full of raw beef that had been seasoned with sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds on the side. I promptly mixed everything together with the bowl of rice I received, doing my best to make sure that every grain of rice was evenly coated with the pepper paste (which is how I usually mix my bibimbap). The result? Pure deliciousness. As much as I love the default bibimbap with cooked meat, eating it with raw beef takes it to another level. I know the texture can take some getting used to by those who aren’t used to consuming totally raw meat, but the flavor is so different and fresh compared to the usual.

Overall, 참한우직판식육식당 turned out to be a nice place that managed to satisfy that annoying craving for beef. Though it’s a little out of the way, it was worth the trip. I plan to go back soon to see what their beefy soups taste like.

Address: 광주광역시 서구 매월동 496-25 (about two blocks away from the main Pungam Intersection)
Phone: 062-381-3456
Hours: 10:00AM to 10:00PM
Average Price Range: 10,000 – 20,000 per person (depending on the type of meat you select)

Essentials with JD # 136 **WIN 300,000 WON IN DAMYANG**

포맷변환_2014-04-15 18;50;11

Well, what more can be said 300, 000 won and that is just the first prize.

The Damyang Festival is coming up and if you have not had a chance to explore this wonderful slow city in Jeollanamdo, here is your chance. Oh did I mention 300,000 is just the first prize? Of course there will also be some extra money for 2nd, 3rd etc places! Not bad for less than 3 hours work right!

Pencil into your diary, Saturday 3rd May 2014. All you have to do is to get together a team of 4 or 5 people and register and make sure you catch the free bus to Damyang to experience the beautiful bamboo forest and culture of a wonderful city.

Unlike the Scavenger hunt which required camera’s and such, this is pure mission based. Kind of like the Amazing race. All you have to do is locate the mission zones, complete them and get a special stamp from one of the supervisors. The team with the most stamps/points will be the winners!

So what are you waiting for. More information will be posted soon, so all you have to do for now is get your team together and register. As usual free transport to the site is provided along with a hearty post race snack as well as a really cool t-shirt.

Are you ready to win 300, 000won? I hope so!!




Swig Meets Gwangju: Studying in Korea

This week I interviewed my fellow classmates from Malaysia to gain a new perspective on expat life. Gwangju is home to a large and diverse group, which is largely composed of English teachers, but there are still plenty of expats here for other reasons that come from all over the world.  Gwangju is an international melting pot for for expats and it is great to learn about how others feel about their stay in Korea.

Where are you from in Malaysia?


Vinny: I am from Selangor, the state near to the capital, Kuala Lumpur.


Muphy: Johor

How long have you lived in South Korea and how long are you planning to stay?

Vinny: I actually came to South Korea 3 years ago as a exchange student and intern for half year and returned to Malaysia to finish my bachelor degree. This is my second time in South Korea and I has been here for around 8 months since August 2013. If it is possible, I would like to get a job here in the near future and has yet to decide how long I will stay after getting a job.

Murphy: I came here around 3 years ago to do my internship for 6 months in CNU. I came back again to South Korea on September 2013 after I got my KGSP scholarship. I spent 1 whole year studying Korean language in Inha University, which is located in Incheon. Currently, I am pursuing my Global MBA in CNU and I have stayed in Gwangju for more than 7months. If there are any job opportunities for me in South Korea, I would like to stay longer and gain more experience. (Maybe 3 years? Forever? It depends )

How does studying in Malaysia differ from Korea?

Murphy: Studying in Korea in definitely much more stressful and competitive compared to Malaysia. The marking system in the course I am taking now is based on ranking, which is totally different from my university in Malaysia. For example, top 20% among the students will get A+, the next 20% will get A and so on.

Is there anything you think the University or Government should change or provide for foreign students?

Vinny: Foreign students are also students of the university, people who will use the facilities and services in university. I believe that the university staff should be able to at least converse in basic English to assist foreign students in their schooling life. Also, some instructions or announcements should include English version. However, most of the staff expects foreign students to be able to converse in Korean language. The thing is that, not every course is conducted in Korean language, and foreign students actually have no obligation to learn Korean.

Why did you decide to study in South Korea?

Vinny: I came here as an exchange student 3 years ago, and I think of South Korea as my second home. I am more familiar with the living style here compared to other places. Also, I have friends and network here, which makes me more confident to live here instead of starting new association with other people in a new place.

Murphy: Before my graduation in Malaysia, I was given the opportunity to do my Internship in CNU, South Korea. During my internship, I was enchanted by the warm hospitality of the people and the cultures of this country. Since then, I was determined to prolong my stay. South Korea is such an advanced country in technology, commerce and industry and still going strong thrills me to study in this country.

How does the your scholarship work?

Vinny: My tuition fees will be waived 90% if I manage to secure a pointer of 3.9/4.5 every semester. Also, I am given some working stipend every month for working 2 hours per day for the weekdays.

Murphy: Basically, KGSP scholars need to attend 1 year of intense Korean Language program and pass at least level 3 in TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) in order to proceed to our Undergraduate/Graduate/Doctorate course. If happen we failed, another 6 months will be given for us to pass the test. NIIED supports our study in Korea during the invitation period, including airfares, tuition fees, 900,000won every month for living allowance, and insurance fees.

What do you enjoy most about living in South Korea?

Vinny: Safety and freedom. Safety is luxury in Malaysia as the crime level is quite high compared to South Korea.

Murphy: South Korea has a lot of beautiful landscapes and wonderful places to visit and explore. I personally love to ride and go for tour by motorcycle. Since Malaysia is not a four seasons country, I’m able to enjoy, feel and see different kinds of scenery during my ride in South Korea.

Was it difficult to learn the Korean language? Any tips for expats…

Vinny: It wasn’t difficult to learn the basic of Korean language if you have the passion to learn it. I believed the easiest way to learn Korean language is to have the interest of learning it, and you will automatically make time and effort to learn it. Once you are able to master the beginner level, all you have to do is just use them to converse, and while conversing with others, you can learn some new words. Also, watching Korean dramas or shows will help you to understand more common words used by the Koreans.

Murphy: Definitely it is. Listen to Korean songs and watch Korean dramas. Meet new Korean friends and don’t feel shy to speak in Korean. Practice makes perfect.

Thanks for taking time for the interview. I think you both provided some great insight on the alternative expat life. Looks like I need to start watching Korean dramas!

What To Do This Weekend: Baseball, Bugs and Benedict Cumberbatch

This weekend is a bit less busy than others, but we’ve still got some interesting events in store, including


bueller baseball

This Saturday 12th, come to the brand new stadium built for the Kia Tigers to see them play Lotte Giants at 5 p.m. As was stated in an earlier Gwangju Blog post, this new stadium is pretty great. Made from eco-friendly materials, it features an amazing parking lot, various sculptures modeled after baseball players,  convenience stores and other amenities.

It’s also a great opportunity to yell “Heyyyy Batta batta batta“. You know, if that’s your thing.

Convention on Biological Diversity


This Saturday,  Andreas Kim,  a Birds Korea representative and MA in IT will give the GIC talk.

The Topic?

Invertebrates, which make up the largest percentage of biodiversity on our planet, have been largely undervalued and disliked in daily life, even while scientists have found many solutions from their existence. This year the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP) will be held on October 6-17, 2014 in Pyeongchang. This will be a good opportunity to present images and ideas for how we can look at insects and spiders as enrichment to our lives in several ways. To do so we need to slow down and stop our hectic rhythms and take a close look. Then we can experience a world of small and incredibly beautiful creatures.

So come to the GIC on Saturday to learn more about Biodiversity and the larger importance of the seemingly small.



Friday night at 7:30, the Gwangju Theater will play Ten Thousand Spirits or “ManShin”, a life documentary of a woman who was shunned for being possessed by spirits as a girl, oppressed for following superstitions as an adult, how she grows to be a great shaman who embraces the pain of all people, and how she comes to be honored as a national treasure of Korea with her outstanding artistic talents throughout Korea’s tumultuous history. For a summary and to view a trailer, click here.


Saturday night at 7:30 is “Wreckers” featuring everyone’s favorite Sherlock and Smaug Benedict Cumberbatch, an excellent synopsis of which can be found here.


Sunday night at 7:10 s “Reality”

According to Dave Calhoun,

It’s set in a rough-and-ready part of Naples, and it gives us Luciano (Aniello Arena), a lively fishseller, family man and occasional party entertainer. After a brush with Enzo, a recent ‘Big Brother’ contestant and now a national hero, Luciano develops an unhealthy obsession with becoming a cast member on the show himself.

No matter what you do, remember to keep swinging and don’t forget to


News of the Week: April 10, 2014

Spring Weather with Drastic Temperature Differences Continues

Gwangju and Jeollanamdo will continue to see mostly warm and mild days this week with pleasant winds blowing around the province.

According to the Gwangju Regional Meteorological Administration, under the influence of a high pressure system currently moving eastward from Jeju and the West Sea, mostly sunny and clear skies are forecasted all day today.

Warm air circulation will move in starting this afternoon, bringing daytime temperatures up to 19 and 18 degrees Celsius in Gwangju and Yeosu, but the temperature will fall drastically during the night to 9 and 8 degrees Celsius, respectively,

Weather forecasters have advised citizens to take precautions when going outside for outdoor activities this week and predicted spring rain showers of up to 20 millimeters on Saturday.


Upward Trend in Population in Jeollanamdo

In the midst of growing fears over the continuous fall in population in Jeollanamdo for several decades, the province saw an increase of some 660 in its population in the last two-month span.

The current population of the province is 1.9 million, an increase of 660 compared to a month ago.

Naju saw the largest growth at 753, with Muan at 316 and the Shinan-gun district drawing 136 new residents.

However, Mokpo and Jangheung each recorded large numbers of people moving out at 362 and 174, respectively.

Officials attribute the recent growth in the population of Jeollanamdo to the official opening of the Gwangju and Naju Joint Innovation City of Bigtaram and the increasing number of the people returning for farming.


Gwangju and Jeollanamdo Record Relatively Low Drinking, Smoking and Obesity Rate

Drinking, smoking and obesity rates in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo were reportedly low compared to figures tallied in other regions in Korea.

According to the results of the ‘Regional Community Health Inspection’ survey, which was released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among 220,000 respondents who took part in the survey, some 43 percent of respondents in Jeollanamdo said they smoke, the third lowest number in the nation.

In addition, amidst the growing trend of obesity nationwide, which has risen from 21 to 24 percent in a 5-year span, Jeollanamdo and Daejeon each recorded 23 and 21 percent, far less than the national average.

Gwangju also had relatively low figures for heavy drinkers at 16.8 percent, recording the third lowest number among cities and provinces nationwide while South Gyeongsang province was highest at 19 percent.


Low Reading Rates in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo

The annual number of books read by residents of Gwangju and Jeollanamdo recorded the lowest figures in the nation, with citizens of Gwangju reading four books a year and Jeollanamdo residents reading 5.7.

The national average was tallied at 9.2 books a year and Gwangju was ranked 16th out of 16 cities and provinces in the nation, while Jeollanamdo came in next to last.

The citizens of Ulsan reportedly read the most books at 14.3 a year, followed by Seoul at 13.4 and Jeju at 12.7.

Average reading time per day in Gwangju was 10.9 minutes, the lowest figure in the nation, while Jeollanamdo recorded 18.2 minutes and ranked 10th out of 16 cities and provinces.

Usage rates of public libraries in the region were also low at 10.9 percent, drastically lower than the national average of 30.3 percent. The reading rate in Gwangju was 60 percent, indicating that four out of ten citizens in Gwangju reportedly did not read a single book last year.