2.5 months in Seoul, South Korea
Sunday, July 15, 2007
COEX Mall and Exhibition Hall

I love COEX. Out of shopping areas in Seoul, it probably doesn't compare in cultural and historic value to colorful, bustling districts like Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, or Namdaemun. No random street vendors or winding side roads of hole-in-the-wall stoors here...

But it's a welcome break from the frenziedness of Seoul. COEX is:

(a) not crowded to the maximum,
(b) has (relatively) wide walkways,
(c) is indoors and air-conditioned,
(d) has a mall DIRECTORY -- e.g. no searching fruitlessly for a particular store or restaurant, (e) once, someone actually said "excuse me" to me after bumping into me,
(f) has cute clothes! that are pretty good quality but not as strangely expensive as in department stores, [it's weird to me that you can buy a winter coat off the street for 10,000 won ($10) but a similar looking coat for 250,000 won ($250) at Hyundai Department store]
(g) **it has an exhibition hall upstairs that has cool events**

On Thursday COEX exhibition hall had a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Market that I haaaad to go to because I am constantly craving fruit here. I miss my hometown Produce Junction (South Jersey phenomenon?) with its big $1 bags of peaches, plums, grapes, melons, etc that come straight off the farm. Unfortunately for me, Korea is the land of the $15 cantaloupe :(
Anyway, the exhibition turned out to have a lot more than just fruit and vegetables; it more like a farmer's market. There was a 3,000 won ($3) entrance fee, and the exhibition hall was upstairs from the mall:

Inside were rows and rows of stalls... Same as at any farmer's market, a giant pumpkin was on display:A cow farm had a stall where you could try different flavored milks and yogurts. I'm in love with Korean dairy product! Whenever I stay in Seoul I end up drinking milk or yogurt at least every day, more than I ever do in America, just because it's so so good here. Here they had walnut, blueberry, and strawberry flavors:

Kaila and Presca investigating the handmade soap bars..

Beautiful velvety black mushrooms:

Rice arranged in baskets at a stand opened by a local rice paddy:

Locally grown aloe:

Prettily displayed vegetables:

Everyone looking a little shell-shocked from the sheer amount of stuff to SEE here:

South Korean tomatoes... I prefer South JERSEY tomatoes though.
In Korea, tomatoes are viewed as fruit, and are often served sliced with sugar. This could explain the Korean phenomenon of sweet ketchup and sugary tomato sauce that's served on top of pizza and pasta in restaurants all across the country:

One stand let you try dwenjang and kochujang (soy bean paste and red pepper paste), staples of Korean cuisine:

Strangely, there was a giant Dole stand that was offering cooking classes to a long line of eager people:

Artsy stuff at the exhibition ranged from random things like statues made out of sawdust,

microcosms of clay,

and lanyards (remember the ones that were so popular 10 years ago in elementary school?) and mobiles:

and more practical things like tiles to make walls for your house and looms for Korean cloths and mats

The exhibition also featured live ANIMALS!

A stand set up by some type of organization dealing with efficiently using insects on farms featured live Korean bees--check out this video:

Ducklings and bunnies, but enclosed by no fence! I watched in horror as one little boy proceeded to hit all the rabbits and ducklings with a balloon, as his mother watched indulgently...
I swear this one bunny was posing for me.. as soon as I took out the camera it wouldn't stop staring :)

Something called (I kid you not) an oompa loompa (우파루파, scientific name ambystoma mexicanum):

Chameleon: Big headed characters dressed up in Korean traditional clothing that I took pictures with after getting dressed up:

Although I've been to COEX many times, this was my first time seeing an exhibition there. I highly recommend! Here is a schedule of their events. Right now there are several exhibitions going on, including a Robot Exhibition and a Fairy Tale themed one.

posted by Jane @ 5:10 AM  
  • At 8:08 PM, Blogger Ma-keu said…

    i can't wait to see you guys!!!

    remember the crazy bug pets we saw in the hyundai dpt store when we sent to see the omen!!!!!!!!

  • At 1:40 AM, Blogger Kaila said…

    tomatoes with sugar? gross, man.

Post a Comment
<< Home
Posts by Category: click to expand
Culture and Society
Events and Performances
Places of Interest
About Me

Name: Jane
Location: New Haven, CT, United States
See my complete profile
Recent Posts