Gwangju Blog

Where to Eat Wednesday: 오꾸닭

Oh, chicken. What an interesting protein it is. When treated wrong, it can be tough, dry, and just plain sad. When treated right, it can be a juicy morsel of love. Unfortunately, I’ve had more experiences with the former than the latter, causing me to be paranoid, yet still hopeful. Though the chicken I’ve had so far in Gwangju has been pretty good, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered just how delicious something as simple as fried and/or roasted chicken could be.

FrontInside

Not too long ago, I went to 오꾸닭 (Okkudak), which is short for 오븐에꾸운닭 (obeun-e kkuun dak), or just “chicken that’s been cooked in an oven”, with a couple of friends for dinner. One of them had recommended the restaurant to me, going off about how moist and juicy the chicken was whenever she had the chance to bring it up. Though I was initially skeptical, I’ve made it a point to grow a little more trusting of the opinions of others and figured that it couldn’t hurt to give the place a chance.

When we arrived, the large restaurant was packed. Luckily for us, there were still a few tables left. The noise level in restaurant got louder with each step we took inside, echoing through the building. It was not quite at nightclub levels, but it was still loud enough to where we had to shout every now and then to make conversation.

Once seated, we were given a menu. I flipped through the pages, looking to see what kind of chicken was available. Outside of the set menu options, many of the choices were also in English, making the chore of picking what to eat for dinner an easier one. The most impressive aspect of it all was just how many different types of chicken the restaurant offered. Their specialties included Crunch (battered and fried), Crunch Seasoning (battered, fried, and seasoned), Roast Original (oven roasted), and Roast Seasoning (oven roasted and cooked up in a pan with vegetables and sauce). Some of the side dishes looked rather interesting as well, though it mostly consisted of popular bar snacks like sausages and potatoes. After much deliberation on empty stomachs, we settled on ordering the Welsh Onion Roast Chicken, the Crunch Boneless Chicken, and the Grilled Cheese Pumpkin (we wanted the Egg Tortilla, but they were out). After we placed our large order, we were asked to choose two types of sauces to eat with our chicken. Though it wasn’t easy to pick two out of the eight options (with interesting ones like Black Garlic and Pineapple chili), we chose Wasabi Mayo and Sweet Chili.

SidesCrunch Boneless Chicken

As we waited for our orders, we found that it was a little difficult to get the attention of the staff to get drinks, even with a bell at our table. While I’m sure that it was mostly due to them being busy, my shy nature left me in an awkward place when they brought us only two glasses of water when we asked for three. On the bright side, they were pretty quick on filling our requests when we ordered soda.

Before long, our table no longer had any real estate available for our phones as our food arrived. We were first given the usual sides of pickles and radishes with our sauces on the side. After that came the Crunch Boneless Chicken, which was still piping hot. Soon after, we received the cheesy mess that was the Grilled Cheese Pumpkin, as well as the Welsh Onion Roast Chicken. Though we were left questioning if we had possibly ordered too much food, but those worries were silenced as soon as we started eating.

The first thing I tried was the fried, crunchy chicken without bones. I feel like saying each bite was moist and succulent is a bit of an understatement. I don’t know how it was done, but these pieces of battered and lightly seasoned chicken were almost too juicy, if that’s even possible. Due the juice levels, the first few bites were painful from having just come out of the fryer, though that didn’t really slow us down. I also got into the cheesy pumpkin while waiting for my chicken to cool down a bit. Though it looked a little overwhelming, the combination of salty, oily cheese went surprisingly well with the sweet, creamy pumpkin that came in varying textures. The only downside to the dish, as with most cheese covered options, was that it didn’t take long for the cheese to go from being gooey and melty to tough and chewy.

Grilled Cheese PumpkinWelsh Onion Roast Chicken

My last few bites of dinner consisted of the roasted chicken, which had been served with a bed of shredded and dressed scallions. The subtle sauce that the scallions had been seasoned with pooled at the bottom of the pan, causing the already moist chicken to soak up those complex flavors. Despite the high levels of moisture, the skin of the roasted chicken still managed to stay crisp, just the way I like it. This chicken was my favorite part of the night, though the raw green onions were a bit overwhelming. Seeing how no one else touched the stuff just confirmed that we all would have preferred the dish without the greens.

After just one visit, 오꾸닭 has officially climbed up the ranks in my list of places for chicken, easily taking the top spot. Never in my life have I had chicken this moist and flavorful, and that includes what I’ve had outside of South Korea. While a quieter restaurant with slightly better service would make this place poultry perfection, the chicken alone will definitely keep me coming back.

Address: 광주 동구 문화전당로35번길 16-4 (on the same street as German Bar)
Phone: 062-223-5992
Hours: 4:00PM to 6:00AM
Website: http://okkudak.co.kr/
Average Price Range: 13,000 to 20,000 per chicken dish

News of the Week: April 24, 2014

Festivals Scheduled for the Month of May to be Cancelled or Postponed

Municipalities and organizers of major regional festivals in Jeollanamdo will reportedly cancel or postpone festivities scheduled in May to mourn and share the pain of the victims and their families from the ferry sinking accident.

According to Jeollanamdo and various other districts and counties in the province, a variety of festivities, cultural events, and sports programs scheduled for the month of May were either cancelled or postponed.

Wings for Life World Run, an international charity marathon event in Mokpo and Yeongam that was set to take place from May 4th has been canceled as Mokpo is located near to the accident site in Jindo and operates hospitals for rescue and recovery process of the event.

The Hampyoeng Butterfly Festival scheduled from May 2nd to the 11th has been also cancelled, but its butterfly ecological center and other exhibition facilities located in the Hampyeong Expo Park will remain open.

Jangseong Hong Gil-dong and Haenam Canola Flower Festival have been canceled along with the Boseong Green Tea Marathon Competition as well as the Hwasun Healing Food Festival.

 

Local Museums in Gwangju to Operate Art Classes for Children

Local art museums in Gwangju have reportedly prepared a series of cultural and artistic programs for the ‘Family Month’ of May.

Mudeung Modern Museum will host a ‘Playing in Wonderland’ exhibition from April 24th to June 30th for children and their parents.

A total of seven artists submitted artworks aimed at children with the art pieces themed after famous super hero characters and character-oriented artworks and clay pieces.

Also, Eunam Art Center is operating a ‘Dream Saturday Culture School’ every Saturday, targeting 4th through 6th graders who can directly take part in the paint and drawing works as well as go on mission trips across Gwangju to Art Street.

 

Bus Arrival Guidance Equipment to be Additionally Installed in Gwangju

The city of Gwangju will expand the installation of a bus arrival information guidance system for intra-city buses in Gwangju by the end of this month.

According to the city, the bus arrival information guidance system and the installation of its equipment at bus stations across the city that was begun last October will be completed this month.

When complete, some 436 bus stops in Gwangju will be equipped with LED lighting guidance posts that will provide passengers with up to date information about the arrival time of buses.

In addition, intra-city bus networks and operation information will be offered to passengers through the official webpage of the intra-city bus in Gwangju at bus.gjcity.net.

 

Population and the newly Employed in Gwangju Increase

The number of population in Gwangju and its newly employed personnel as well as export amount grew sharply this year.

A total population of Gwangju was tallied at 1.49 million, up .3 percent compared to the same time last year and among them, the number of foreign population in Gwangju increased by 7 percent at 16,000.

The economically active population in the city was tallied at 729,000, up 25,000 from the same time last year.

The number of newly employed in the city also rose by 23,000 at 708,000.

A total production amount also grew by 2 percent at 26.7 trillion won with export deal increasing by 12 percent at 15.8 billion won from the initial 14.1 billion won last year.

Scavenger Hunt Update: Postponed

On behalf of GFN, we regret to inform our readers that due to recent ferry disaster, the 2014 Bamboo Festival, which was to take place on May 3rd in Damyang, has been postponed until further notice.

Once we receive updates on when the festivities are expected to resume, we will update the blog with details regarding both the Scavenger Hunt and the 2014 Bamboo Festival.

Swig Meets Gwangju: Sports Directory

Since spring is here and summer weather is just around the corner I thought it would be a good idea to compile a Sports Directory. Gwangju has a Facebook group for practically everything you could be interested in, but it is hard to find all the information in one place.  Gwangju has plenty to offer from a ping-pong club to basketball group that meet on a regular basis. Most of the information should still be relevant, but some of the groups  only meet when it has been pre arranged and others meet every week.  Below are all links to the Facebook pages for each group. If you have a group or sport you want to add please leave a comment below!

IMG_7645

Volleyball- This is a rather new group that meets on Saturday or Sundays at the GIST University.

Basketball- If you are interested in basketball this is the place for you. If you aren’t interested in a league there are pick up games every weekend at the Chonnam National University courts (near the track).

Baseball/Softball- I couldn’t find any group for these two. There is definitely an expat mens baseball team. You can check this thread here to find more info on current baseball and softball meetings.

Tri Sports- If you want to swim, bike and run all in one this is the group for you.

Gwangju Fitness- This group is to talk about all things fitness in Gwangju. If you like to run, walk, lift, or just be active this place is for you. Come and share motivation, goals, results, routines, etc. Lets help make Gwangju more fit.

Gwangju Yoga- This group is all about yoga, there are plenty of classes throughout Gwangju and this is the place to find one near you.

Gwangju Running- A club for serious to not so serious runners to congregate for weekend runs, selected marathons, hash runs and the occasional post-run beer. All levels welcome! They meet on Sundays and then have a dinner together after the run.

Taekwondo- Srirang Taekwondo has no boundaries of races and nationalities. The whole globe can be united as one through Srirang TKD! This group meets on Mondays and Thursday nights.

Ladies Soccer- This group is for any ladies looking to join a soccer league or just kick the ball around.

Gwangju Soccer/Football- Described as  “A drinking team with a football problem.”

Ultimate Frisbee- If you want to toss the disk around in an organized group or play ultimate this is the right place for you.

Gwangju Motorcycle Club- Long and short rides in and around Gwangju (Jeollanamdo). They plan to have at least 2 overnight rides per year and meet regularly.

Riders of Korea- ROK is a group not just in Gwangju, but all over South Korea. This group is for anyone who likes to ride or is interested in motorcycles in South Korea.

Golf- After you have mastered screen golf, it is time to test your skills on the real thing.

Juggling- Just a bunch of jugglers that want to play with their balls in public.

Cricket- If you want to play some cricket on the wicket then this is the group for you.

Ping-Pong- Join this group to stay in the loop for the next pong meeting.

Cycling Korea- Another group that meets all over Korea to do some group cycling.

Climbing Team- Group of rock climbers

Rock Climbing- This is a previous post about rock climbing and info on the venue in Gwangju.

If I didn’t list a group or sport that is active please leave a comment below. If your favorite sport isn’t listed it might not exist,  you can be the first one to try and organize a group and help keep Gwangju active!

What To Do This Weekend: Hip-Hop, Horticulture and Edward Hopper

Between tulips, the GIC talk, the Gwangju Performance Project, Anne of Green Gables, and Expat musicians, this weekend’s gonna be fraught–with fun. (womp)

gas

1) GIC TALK: LEROY KUCIA ON EDWARD HOPPER: “CITY LIFE, ISOLATION AND UNFINISHED NARRATIVES”

Saturday, 3pm at the GIC

Leroy holds an M.F.A.  in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design, and a B.F.A. in Interactive Media Design from Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. Saturday’s talk will discuss artist Edward Hopper, specifically “City life, Isolation and Unfinished Narratives”.

Edward hopper was unlike many painters of his era. He was unfazed by European ideals and international schools of thought in the art world. Hopper was a driving force in shaping american art in the 20th century. Primarily a realist and genre painter, Hopper’s work was both evocative and captivating. His approach to figurative painting was unconventional for his time, yet his work continues to endure and impress. Edward Hopper’s work can best be described as an incomplete narrative that forces the observer to become engaged with the work and thoughts introspectively, so they may establish their own conclusions about the scenes that are depicted.

2)  Global Families of Gwangju “Eggstream Field Day” at the Gwangju Foreign School 

This is a great kid-friendly event to be held Saturday from 1-5pm at the Gwangju Foreign School. The event will include a team based sports contest, an Easter egg hunt,  a baby corner, crafts and snacks. Volunteers can help with  set up and clean up. If you like families and outdoors, join in.

3) Gwangju performance Project Meet and Greet/Workshop

Sunday, April 20th at 15:00–17:00 at the GIC

Do you have interest in or passion for Performance Art? Are you looking for a way to get involved in the Gwangju art community? The Gwangju Performanc Project will be offering a free ‘Stage Movement Techniques and Exercises’ workshop with Kelly Finley Davis, a graduate of Westminster College in the United States with a BFA in Acting and an emphasis on physical theater. Participants will get to explore “Suzuki” and “Viewpoints” theatre techniques. Be sure to wear un-restricting clothing if you want to participate in the workshop.

4) GWANGJU CINEMA

aogg

Friday 7:30 ANNE OF GREEN GABLES 

A staple of my childhood, this is a charming film adaptation of the bestselling 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery recounting the adventures of orphan Anne Shirley, mistakenly sent to the Cuthberts, a brother and sister living on a farm on Prince Edward Island.

han-gong-ju-poster-718x1024

Saturday 7:30 HAN GONG JU

A film by Lee Su-jin, starring Chun Woo-hee in the title role, it premiered at the 2013 Busan International Film Festival where it won the Movie Collage Award and the Citizen Reviewers’ Award. The film is a coming-of-age story about a high school student, the titular Han Gong-ju, who loses her friend in a terrible incident and is pressured to leave her family and move to another school by the perpetrators’ parents to escape scandal.

Sunday at 7:30: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, which I’ve already written about here.

imjadotulips

5) THE TULIP FESTIVAL IN IMJADO

In light of yesterday’s Jeju Ferry tragedy, Pedro has cancelled his planned trip to the Tulip Festival. If you wish to go on your own, it is a good idea to arrive at the Mokpo Ferry Terminal by 9:30 am to get on line for Ferry tickets to Imja-do. Ferry tickets will probably be around 35,000 won round trip. The festival is beautiful and scenery includes not only tulips but beaches and outdoor performances. The Festival will occur both Saturday and Sunday.

speaks

6)  R&B, HIP HOP, AND REGGAE AT SPEAKEASY

For all the hippie expats out there who love live music, this Saturday is for you.  Come out to Speakeasy starting around 11pm to see live performances by expat artists including Hypnotiq (Gwangju), Joe Rollins (Seoul), Oddyssey (Seoul),and JoshRoy (Seoul) for free.

And as always,

ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND.