Gwangju Blog

Special Award Ceremony for Michael Simning

Margert & Mike

Today at 6:30PM, the Gwangju and Jeonam Branch of the 2014 Korea Producers’ & Directors’ Association will be holding a special award ceremony at the Gwangju Bitgoeul Citizens Culture Center. The award will be given to the late Michael Simning for his efforts and contributions in expanding the roles of English media for expat communities in the region, as well as his tireless passion for the radio program City of Light, which he was a part of from January 2009 to August 2013. There ceremony will place special empahasis on Michael’s influence on connecting GFN and expat communties in Gwangju and the surrounding area. Michael Simning’s mother, Margaret Law, will be there to receive the award on his behalf.

The even is organized and hosted by the association once a year to commemorate and celebrate influential figures in local press. There will be an acceptance speech given by Margaret Law, as well as an intrucutory video clip of Michael.

Weekend of Feb. 27: The Back in Town Edition

Phot courtesy of the Yoga Yogi.

Photo courtesy of the Yoga Yogi.

The Yoga Yogi is back in session! Here’s her schedule for the new year. Check out the Facebook page for more information and directions to the studio.

Speakeasy is hosting Jazz night on Feb. 27 at 10:30 P.M. The theme of the night is various styles of bossa. Check out the event page for more information.

Cailin Noble is back with Saturday Zumba classes at the GIC at 10:30-11:30 A.M. on Feb. 28. The event is open to the public, and the 5,000 won participation fee goes to the GIC to cover costs for the space. Check out the event page for more details.

Photo courtesy of Mariya Haponenko.

Photo courtesy of Mariya Haponenko.

Mariya Haponenko is back with her drawing classes in the new year. Feb. 28 is a Male Nude Model Drawing class from 12:30-3 P.M. at the GIC. The cost is 10,000 won. For more information check out the Facebook event page.

Jenny Jung is hosting another Language Lounge get together, this time the theme is Coffee and a movie on Feb. 28 from 4-6 P.M. For more information and directions to the meeting location, check out the Facebook event page.

Photo courtesy of GPP.

Photo courtesy of GPP.

The Gwangju Performance Project is hosting an Acting Basics Workshop on Feb. 28 from 6-8 P.M. at the GIC events room at the Samho building.This workshop will focus on learning basic voice, movement, and script analysis skills for acting on stage. This event is free for GIC members, but non-members who attend are encouraged to donate between 1-5,000 won to help the GIC cover the cost of the use of the space. For more information check out the Facebook event page.

Photo courtesy of ‘As You Wish’ calligraphy.

Photo courtesy of ‘As You Wish’ calligraphy.

There is a modern Korean calligraphy class starting March 4 at the GIC. Classes run from 10:30-12:00 every Wednesday morning for 90 minutes. The class is limited to 10 people, and registration is first come, first served. For more information, check out the GIC website. Registration closes Feb. 27 at 5 P.M.

The Gwangju Book club has their first meeting of the year on Mar. 4 from 7:30-9:00 P.M. The selection is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. If you want to join in, pease read the first two parts of the book, which are The Theatre and A Midsummer’s Night Dream. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.


News of the Week: February 26, 2015

Gwangju Kimchi Festival Seeks Ideas from Citizens

The city of Gwangju will seek and adopt new ideas from citizens for the Gwangju Kimchi Festival, which will be transformed into an industrial festival.

The ideas being sought include those that will contribute to the revitalization of the Kimchi industry by means of the festival and other programs focusing on promoting the cultural assets of Gwangju, such as the national Asian Culture Complex.

Different packages of Kimchi will be awarded to 8 winners who turn in great and creative ideas.

Meanwhile, taking place since 1994, the conventional Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival has been scrapped from this year’s festival agenda in Gwangju.

A task force team comprised of experts in culture, industry, festivals and tourism was launched to promote Gwangju and its Kimchi industry earlier this year and is currently preparing various measures to create a more successful and effective Kimchi-themed industrial festival.


Elementary and Middle School Teachers to be Freed from Administrative Work

Administrative work duties will be removed from the elementary and middle school teachers in Gwangju, resulting in more effective education by allowing teachers to focus more on teaching.

The Gwangju Office of Education recently finalized overall educational plans for the regularization of school work amongst teachers and instructors for the 2015 academic year.

The plans include the democratic and effective allocation of teachers and the installation of an education-focused school system.

The educational office will reinforce and strengthen the educational function of the instructors by launching a separate educational administrative support team comprised of a vice president and department heads.


Youth Unemployment Rate in Jeollanamdo Marks the Fifth Highest Figures in the Nation

The youth unemployment rate in Jeollanamdo came in at 10 percent last year, marking the fifth highest figures amongst 16 cities and districts nationwide.

The national statistics office released the unemployment rate amongst youth aged from 15 to 29 and Jeollanamdo marked 10 percent following Incheon’s 12 percent, 11 percent in Daegu, Seoul’s 10.3 percent and Gangwon’s 10.2 percent.

The lowest figures for the youth unemployment rate were tallied in Jeju at 6.1 percent and North Jeolla and Gwangju followed with the second and third lowest figures at 6.5 and 6.8 percent.

Regions that saw a decrease in the youth unemployment rate included North Jeolla, Gwangju and South Chungcheong.


Four Major International Events in Jeollanamdo to Aim at Attracting 1 Million International Tourists

The city of Gwangju and Jeollanamdo will join hands with Korea Tourism Organization to attract a total of 1 million international tourists to international events set to take place in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo, such as the Universiade, the opening of the Asian Culture Complex, and the Bamboo and Agricultural Expositions.

Gwangju, Jeollanamdo and the Korea Tourism Organization signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday that pledges mutual cooperation in development of tourism products, promotional activities and marketing with an aim to attract a surge of overseas travelers from China, Japan, America and Southeastern nations.

The city of Gwangju also designated this year as the ‘Year of Visiting Namdo’ with Namdo referring to Gwangju and Jeollanamdo and will host an array of cultural events in connection with various tourist attractions in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo as well as international events.

Where to Eat Wednesday: Corona (Part 2)

As someone who is always searching for new places to eat, I generally make it a rule to not visit the same restaurants too often (unless my friends just happen to always be there). My rules regarding revisits can get especially strict when it comes to reviewing places. That being said, despite my stance, I am willing to allow a few exceptions.


I first reviewed Corona back in 2013 when it first opened. Located in the bustling Chonnam Backgate area, what began off as a small and simple Tex-Mex restaurant has started to evolve into what I hope will soon become a household name among both expats and locals. Though I didn’t make too many trips after thoroughly reviewing it the first time, a couple of recent visits have left me filled with regrets for not coming back sooner.

Before I start talking about the food, I’d like to point out that anyone who follows the restaurant’s Facebook page can be updated on specials, events, and even sports broadcasts that are played on a very nice projector. There have been multiple instances when this cozy and welcoming business was open on days where everyone else was closed for one reason or another. For people like me who sometimes get powerful cravings for chips and chimichangas, this is definitely a big plus.

Nachos GrandeChicken Chimichanga

The last time I went, which happened to be a holiday where no one else appeared to be working, I was accompanied by some friends who also had no place to to be. The restaurant was packed, but we thankfully managed to find a spare table. When I cracked open the menu, there was a smile on my face when I saw it been updated. Classics like Tacos, Burritos, and Chimichangas were still around, but options like Shrimp and Avocado Tacos, Beef Chili Soup, Taco Dip, and even Steak (available as a special) had become regular dishes since sometime in 2014. After a short chat with Choong, who is the owner of the establishment, as well as one of the nicest guys around, it became clear to me that he was open to new ideas and wanted try his best to work with his customers to make an already pleasant experience into a great one. After fighting the urge to order one of everything, we ended up getting the Nachos Grande, a Chicken Chimichanga, a Beef Quesadilla, Beef Tacos, Chili Cheese Fries, and the Steak special. We initially wanted to get some of the avocado-based dishes, but they were unavailable due to winter taking away all the avocados in Gwangju.

Beef QuesadillaBeef Taco

During my very first visit, one of the few criticisms I had was that the service was a little slow. This was not the case this time around, which was impressive considering how busy it was. We first got to try the Nachos Grande, which delicious and didn’t skimp on the toppings. Both the Chicken Chimichanga and the Beef Quesadilla arrived piping hot and had not been left out to get soggy in the least. Though they were sauced up, which is typical with dishes in Korea, I personally can’t find myself ever having anything negative to say about having my food topped with healthy amounts of cheese and sour cream. When the Beef Tacos came out, I noticed right away that we were receiving significantly more food for each order compared to my first visit. The flavors were right where they needed to be, and we were given more than enough jalapenos in case we needed a kick.

Chili Cheese FriesNew York Strip Steak

The Chili Cheese Fries, which were also hot and crisp when we received them, came with enough food to be a meal in itself. Compared to other variations of this messy and delicious dish, this version did not hold back on the amount of chili and cheese we were given. As for the Steak..? I’ve done a lot of thinking since I tried the somewhat out of place steak at this small Tex-Mex restaurant in Gwangju, and I’ve been doing my best to stay as honest and unbiased as possible while trying to construct an opinion. With that in mind, I can say without a doubt that this was the best steak I’ve in the 4-5 years I’ve lived in South Korea. Not only was it seasoned well, but the beautiful strip of beef had been cooked to near perfection. Covered with gorgeous grill marks, the outside of my steak had just the right amount of char and salt to offer a delicate crunch while managing to stay tender and medium rare on the inside. I’m sure the dish came with a salad and a cheesy potato, but I was too busy savoring (while hesitantly sharing) my steak until there was nothing left.

Though I don’t have pictures of what I ate during another visit, I feel like some attention should be brought to the Wings. I’m a person who digs spicy food, and each bite of these saucy pieces of chicken gave a good, long burn that could only be appreciated by those who can handle the heat. Though some of us were tearing up and drinking more than our fair share of water, everyone agreed that these were some of the best wings in town.

It appears that, like good cheese or wine, Corona only seems to get better with time. Not only is the food very good, but the selection of beer is unique and even rare enough to be reason enough for some people visit often. All that combined with a welcoming atmosphere and a solid entertainment system make it pretty obvious why people have fallen in love with this local favorite. Though I wouldn’t recommend this place for lunch (as they don’t open until dinnertime), there are few situations where I wouldn’t want to go back. The only downside I could think of is that seating is still somewhat limited, so be sure to reserve in advance when arriving with larger parties.

Address: 광주광역시 북구 용봉동 159-8 (located in the Chonnam Backgate area)
Phone: 062-251-7221
Hours: 6:00PM to 2:00AM
Average Price Range: 7,000 to 16,000 per person

Essentials with JD # 176 – Finale

Hi guys. Due to some technical difficulties today’s post was delayed.

Anyway it is a sign off from me, as you might know that this will my last week writing for Gwangju Blog. I would just like to take the chance to say thank you for everyone who has supported the blog and its events over the past years, and I would also like to give a shout out to our readers who were with me for almost two hundred posts. It has been a great pleasure not only writing for the blog but helping to organize many of the amazing events that the blog does in order to help introduce different parts of Korean culture to the expats of Gwangju. From Kimchi Festival events, Damyang and Daein, thank you so much for reading and supporting us. It has been a great 4+ years for me.

Though I won’t be able to provide any more essentials, if you want to keep informed on all things Gwangju, the top of the list is to find the Gwangju Facebook page as it has loads of information as well as insider information of people who have been through it all. Also don’t be afraid to ask any questions. Someone is sure to know the answer.

Secondly log on to for all the up to date news of the area that affects you in English. You can also read the news right on the main page and will give you all the local events and news that will help you in day to day life.

Finally – if you need anything do not forget about the foreigner help like with multilingual services If you want information about areas outside of Seoul, enter the area code of that region before pressing 1330.

[Area Codes]
Area Number
Seoul (0)2
Gyeonggi (0)31
Incheon (0)32
Gangwon (0)33
Chungnam (0)41
Daejeon (0)42
Chungbuk (0)43
Busan (0)51
Ulsan (0)52
Daegu (0)53
Gyeongbuk (0)54
Gyeongnam (0)55
Jeonnam (0)61
Gwangju (0)62
Jeonbuk (0)63
Jeju (0)64

Peace and have a great new year.