Vegan's Day + [Vegan]

Road-Trippin' from Busan to Cheonan
Busan Family Trip July 2010

Here's the view from from my aunt & uncle's house in Busan. After a hot and sleepless Monday night (the mosquitoes there are vicious!), I got up at around 6 o'clock the next morning to get an early start to my online editing work. Even though I had a huge buffet dinner the night before, I still woke up hungry and ready for breakfast.

Busan Family Trip July 2010

My aunt didn't have many vegan breakfast items on hand (no oatmeal or vegan bread), but I wasn't bothered because there was plenty of fresh fruit, which never disappoints. So I assembled a plate of bananas, yellow melons, and a plum, and also had a cuppa hazelnut coffee with soymilk.

Busan Family Trip July 2010

And then I had a plate of juicy watermelon.

After finishing up work and visiting more relatives, my stomach was grumbling for a real meal! At first, we (my family, aunt, and grandma) were going to go to a Vietnamese noodle restaurant, but after realizing that there would be very little for a vegan to eat (everything has fish sauce), we settled on a naeng-myun (Korean cold noodle) restaurant at Busan's new Lotte dept store building. I'm always grateful and touched when my relatives think about the one vegan in their midst when picking a place to eat!

Busan Family Trip July 2010

We shared a bindae ddeok pancake...

Busan Family Trip July 2010

... and I got a bowl of bibim naeng-myun (비빔냉면). It normally comes with slices of beef and a boiled egg as garnish, but I specifically asked for those to be left out, which was no problem. It's been a really long time since I last enjoyed this popular summer dish and am glad to have reintroduced it into my life. The redness of the sauce looks like it would set your mouth on fire, but it's really more sweet than spicy.

Busan Family Trip July 2010

Here it is with the crunchy cucumber and pear slices mixed in with the noodles. I really enjoyed this lunch and didn't leave a single stray noodle in the bowl. Yum!

Busan Family Trip July 2010

After lunch and chilling at a coffee shop, it was time for my family to hit the road and drive back up to Cheonan. While I had arrived in Busan by the KTX from Seoul, my parents and sister drove there from Cheonan, so I joined them on a road trip north-bound. Road trips with my family always remind me of those days in Ghana when we would have to drive for three days on bumpy gravel "roads" to get to my boarding school in Ivory Coast. We always reminisce about how we used to compare the few strips of paved asphalt roads to "carpets" because they were so special and seemed so luxurious. :)

Busan Family Trip July 2010

One thing I love about Korea is the mountains. My sister and I were trying to get some good shots of all the mountains in the distance, but we weren't so successful in doing any of them justice.

Busan Family Trip July 2010

My aunt sent us on our way with two huge bags of corn puffs. I guess the bibim naengmyun didn't fill me up too much cuz I couldn't stop munching on these the entire trip... or maybe it was just boredom speaking.

Busan Family Trip July 2010

I also had lots of dry-roasted black beans.

Busan Family Trip July 2010

Gotta love road-trip snackage.

Busan Family Trip July 2010

For dinner, we stopped at the 'Song-Ri Mountain' (송리산) rest area, which is surrounded by beautiful mountains in the distance:

Busan Family Trip July 2010

The food court there didn't have many vegan options, so I went with the ol' stand-by: bibimbab. I also went to the counter and specifically asked them to leave out the fried egg and ground beef.

Busan Family Trip July 2010

I guess traveling in Korea as a vegan does have its challenges. You always have to modify dishes, or plan ahead and pack your own meals and snacks. It can be annoying at times, but it's always worth the extra effort.

Busan Family Trip July 2010

Anyway, it was a long car ride from Busan to Cheonan, but we made it home safe and sound, and we also got to see the sun set over the mountains.