Gwangju Blog

Where to Eat Wednesday: 1913 송정역시장 (Part 2)

Last week, I wrote about the savory aspects of what has quickly become my favorite place in Songjeong. In case you missed it, here is a link to said post.

While the savory offerings at the 1913 송정역시장 (1913 Seongjeong-yeok Shijang), it should be noted that there’s so much that goes beyond fried goodies and meat on a stick. Though this post will be a little shorter by comparison, I thought it would be cool to cover the sweeter aspects of this traditionally hip street while also bringing some focus to some of the lesser known shops.


Though I was quite full from my savory journey, my sweet tooth began acting upon noticing the many dessert and drink options that were scattered throughout the street. My friend and I were mildly devastated to see that the 호떡 (hotteok) place had closed for the night, especially after she had told me how amazing it was. Considering how amazing 호떡 is in general, I could only imagine how good it was here. I’m planning to return soon to try one (or three) once the weather gets cooler.

As we walked along, I noticed a long line outside of a small bakery named 또아식빵 (Ttoasik Ppang). After a bit of research that came in the form of me bugging my friend for answers, I learned that this bakery was quite famous for its fresh bread that was only offered in limited portions. From what the signs said, they only bake around 50 loaves at a time (once every few hours) and are limited to one per customer. To get around this, entire families were sitting together for what would easily be a forty minute wait. From what I could tell, the bread came in flavors like Cheese, Chestnut, Pizza, and Chocolate. Had there not been a large crowd already in line, I probably would have waited to see what the hype was about. Unfortunately, there was no way I was going to get any bread within the next two hours, so I opted to move on.


After a bit of walking, we ended up at 쑥’s 초코파이 (Ssook’s Choco Pie). As someone who grew up eating the packaged and processed version that’s pretty much the Korean answer to Moon Pie, the idea of having a version of it made from scratch left me curious. To make things extra interesting, the pies were offered in different flavors like Original, Blueberry, Banana, Mango, and even Strawberry. I ended up trying the 쑥 (Ssook) flavor, which translates to Wormwood and is the stuff that’s used to make green rice cakes. As I bit into my purchase, I was reminded of a simpler time, but without the awkward processed aftertaste. The texture was a little more cake-like than I remembered, but it was still pleasant. I was also quite happy that the sweetness wasn’t overpowering, as it made it possible to enjoy the whole thing in a few bites without feeling overwhelmed.

As we continued walking, I grabbed a 미숫가루 (misutgaru) drink, which is basically like a thick shake made with mixed grains, and browsed through sweets ranging from bagels, coffee, rice cakes, to even shaved ice. As I looked around, it was also fun to see places selling local ingredients like noodles, different types of rice, dried fish, produce, and even meat. Outside of food, there were also old fashioned stores that offered toys, blankets, and even Gwangju-themed stationery.


Eventually, our evening came to an end. As we left, we made one last stop at a handmade dessert shop to grab a couple of adorable popsicles. While I unfortunately don’t remember the name of the place, it had a number of delicious looking candy and sweets that would dangerous for any diet. The milky icy treats we got were delicious, but they melted pretty fast, forcing us to chomp down while trying not to make a mess (I failed).

At the end of the night, I walked away from the 1913 송정역시장 with a full stomach and happy mood. The entire trip was as fun as it was delicious, and it was clear that everyone else walking out with me was feeling the same. I would definitely recommend this place as a necessity for anyone coming through Gwangju, especially for visitors from out of town who might not be feeling brave enough to take on some of the more traditional markets in the city.

Address: 광주 광산구 송정로8번길 13 (across the street from the Seongjeong KTX Station)
Phone: 050-7145-53434
Hours: Varies
Average Price Range: Varies

Essentials with JD # 251 **CHUNGJANG STREET 70/80’S FESTIVAL **


The 13th Chungjang Festival (충장축제), the biggest street culture festival in the nation, will open this weekend September 29th to October 3rd, for 5 days.

The theme this year is ‘Beyond Memory, To the Future’ and will take place downtown the ACC and will feature 29 newly launched programs and will offer various and amazing cultural activities to visitors so as to give them good, unforgettable memories about Gwangju.


The festival also features various kpop and korean singers in concerts in the evening from around 8pm, and this year will feature Crush, Romantic punch and Han Hae to name a few.


If you want to see the concerts make sure you get there early as seats fill up fast.


Also this Wednesday is the last Wedneday of the month is Culture day where various places will be offering discounts and most museums will be free. Be sure to check out ACC creation which opens till 9pm and Yangrim dong will also be having their 1930’s festival with cosplaying and music from 1930’s.



Gut feeling.

Gut Feeling


It has been just over a week now since the ending of Thanksgiving, or ‘Chusock’ break here in South Korea. The initial frenzy of travel and subsequent rest has now likely flat-lined into memory. Pants perhaps operate under slightly larger constraints. Similarly, memories of family and the dramas slash ritual which accompany them must also make room for a present that is somehow larger than the past. Living in South Korea as someone of differing genetic and cultural descent provides few avenues for feeling a direct experience of homesickness. At first, this statement might seem counter-intuitive. However, having many cultural norms be outwardly in-congruent with my own expectations allows for a radical awakening and potential acceptance of perceived foreignness to occur. However, spending time with local residents during Chusock destroys any such detached comfort.
Coming from the U.S.A, I grew up under-appreciating the Thanksgiving holiday. Its inherent lack of presents, and overabundance of people who I saw (from my opinion) too often already, did not exactly instill my heart with cheer worthy of a campy X-mas rhyme. However, after years spent living outside of my country of birth, I came to idealize the simplicity of a holiday which prioritizes the present while paying homage to past efforts and blessings. For what else can living abroad better teach than to stay present to your alien surroundings while at the same moment recognizing where you’ve been, and where you hope to go. The photo above instills me personally with the energy of such occasions.

In this week’s image, the matriarch of a family outside Iksan dips fish and a variety of other vegetables and processed meats into an egg batter (think french toast, but not). Several hours before the Thanksgiving meal itself starts, she has time to repeat this same action again and again. Slowly the pile of finished food extends beyond the bounds of the platter next to her frier. This stockpile of food seems to be way more than necessary. Yet, she assures me that I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, and that she should know how much ‘jeon’ (the finished batter-dipped bites) nine people will eat that afternoon. I take her advice, and begin to pick at the half-battered rejected jeon off to the side. With that subtle reassurance of my own hunger and lack of knowledge about what to do before a big family dinner, I was, for a brief moment, home again. In retrospect, it never tasted so sweet.

[Photo taken with my Bronica SQ-Ai w/ an 80mm f2.8 lens, shooting Velvia 100.]


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)



What to Do This Weekend: Trivia, Art, and Ladies Night!

Hello Gwangju!

I hope everybody enjoyed the Chuseok holiday. Let’s see what’s happening this weekend.

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Friday Night Trivia is back at Speakeasy! Teams of up to four people can compete for cash and prizes. It only costs 5,000 won per person, so get your team of trivia experts together. The second place team will get their money back, and the first place team will take the rest of the pot. There are also prizes for best team name, and for a perfect round. The fun begins at 10 p.m. with quiz master Sarah, and Derek and his staff serving great drinks. For more info, please go to the Facebook event page.

The Saturday Art Class returns after the holiday break with a female figure drawing class. The class will start at 12:30 p.m., and the model will arrive at 1. The door will be locked for the privacy of the model (the model will be nude). The cost of the class is 10,000 won, and all materials will be provided for you (you may bring your own if you wish). The art classes are always held at the GIC. For directions to the GIC, please go to their website. For more information about the class itself, you can go to the Facebook event page here. The class will be hosted by Jen Lee.

Courtesy of the GIC

Courtesy of the GIC

After the art class stick around for the GIC Talk series which begins at 3 p.m. This weekend’s topic will be an interesting one-Evolution: A Theory or a Belief? Nasrin Shamima will be leading the discussion this Saturday. For directions to the GIC, see the link above. For more details about the talk, please check out the GIC Talk page on Facebook.

This Saturday is another Ladies Night at Loft 28. Any group (4 or more) of ladies will have a chance to get a free bottle of Gin, Vodka, or Rum. To make your reservations for Ladies Night, please go to Loft’s Facebook page. Ladies, if you haven’t checked out Loft 28 yet, this Saturday night is your chance!

Courtesy of the Gwangju Biennale

Courtesy of the Gwangju Biennale

The 11th Gwangju Biennale continues to run until November 6th. There are five galleries to explore that feature  photography, video, sculptures, and more. Ticket prices start at 4,000 won for children and seniors, and there are passes available in case you want to make multiple trips. For more details about the Gwangju Biennale, please go to their main page here. You can also visit their Facebook page as well (in Korean). Take some time to check out the Biennale this weekend.


Want to spend some time walking, and cuddling with dogs this Sunday? Of course you do! Go to the Gwangju Animal Shelter Volunteering page to find out how you can. We’ve got a lot of residents who are doing a lot to help protect our four legged friends here in Gwangju!


What’s Coming up in Gwangju?

Horror movie marathon next Saturday!

The always exciting Date Auction to benefit Adopt-a-Child for Christmas!

Another Synergy show in two weeks!

People You Should Know in Gwangju…Prashant Mool

Hello Gwangju! It’s time again to meet another member of our community here in Gwangju. This week we meet (or perhaps get to know better) a face that we’ve seen around for the last 5 years. He helps keep up hydrated (at least in adult beverages), keeps us fed, and is really good at evoking smiles and more than the occasional laugh. Here in his own words is Prashant Mool, a person you should know in Gwangju! 




Name: Prashant Mool

Occupation: Student,  bar tender at Tequilaz, part-time English teacher

Length of time in Korea: 5 years

Hometown…Kathmandu, Nepal

My hometown is famous for…Ancient monuments especially temples and palaces, delicious foods, and majestic views of The Himalayas

If I could have any superpower it would be…I like all the Avengers and wish I could have all their superpowers. If I can have only one then I would like to turn green and become hulk whenever I get angry.prashant-at-tequilaz

My nickname is…MOOL ( in Korean it means water and coincidentally its my family name, also Koreans really find difficult to pronounce my first name…)

The show I am most likely to binge watch is…Prison Break, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things

The food I make that I am best known for is…I am pretty good with tacos and burritos.

On my days off I like to…go to Mudeungsan and look out on the beautiful view and enjoy the fresh air (that’s what I’d like to do….however, in reality if I am not hanging out with my friends..I always end up in my room alone watching movies with fried chicken and beer in front of me.)

My favorite movies are Book Thief, The Beach and the lists goes on and on.

How did you end up in Gwangju? I never planned to come here but luckily I received the Korean government scholarship to pursue my higher degrees.


What is your surefire way to beat the blues when you are feeling homesick? Put on some classic 60’s hits or classic Nepalese songs with a bottle of Budweiser.

What is your favorite game to play? Soccer/ Cricket (but its been ages since I’ve played because I haven’t been to fields to play these sports.)

Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju?  I don’t belong to any clubs but I do volunteer at UNESCO’s CCAP (Cross Cultural Awareness Program). This program is a great opportunity to represent your own country and share your culture, heritage and other information about your country to students from different schools within Gwangju and other small cities nearby.


If you’re in the mood for some food, beverage, or smiles check out Tequilaz.

Their hours follow and can be found on Facebook. 

Monday: closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 5pm-12am
Friday: 5pm-2am
Saturday- 5pm-2am
Sunday – 3pm-11pm