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Visiting Busan, South Korea

Aired July 10, 2013 - 05:30:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to my country.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have all of these different (INAUDIBLE).



PETRA JUNG, FORMER RADIO HOST, BUSAN EFM: Here we are at the outdoor Jagalachi fish market.

Let's check it out.

Busan is a port city located in the south most part of South Korea. It's right at the end of the peninsula, hence, the reason why it's right next to the ocean.

And here we see Jagalachi is the largest fish market in this country.

Dry fish is used for certain marinated dishes and also used in stew, as well. Some people actually eat dried squid as a snack.


JUNG: So here she's saying that the reason why the ajima or the females that we see here, older women or married women that are working, it is because most of their men have jobs in a company or they work outside of the fish market. I'm guessing that some -- some of the workers, the husbands go and catch the fish and the wives are the ajima there. We stay here, the more robust or having no shame, come and sell the product.

BOBBY MCGILL, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "BUSAN HAPS" MAGAZINE: This is the east gate of Geumjeong Mountain Fortress, located on Geumjeong Mountain. Geumjeong is known as the mountain of the golden well. There's a great story the Koreans have throughout their history looking at the situation strategically, where they're located in between the larger powers of China and Japan.

And the saying goes is that a shrimp who is stuffed between the battle of two whales breaks its back. This is kind of a product of that, where the Koreans are trying to defend themselves from the invading Manchus of a century before and also the Japanese, who invaded this quite -- this area quite regularly.

The Imjin invasion, which took place in 1592, the Japanese invaded Korea with 180,000 troops, took place in the valley below at another fortress. Was one of the first starting points of what would be the seven year Imjin War.

Well, much like the rest of Korea, the country is two thirds mountains. Pretty much, if you come to Korea, you're going to be hiking. So when you do come here, get your best pair of hiking shoes and bring them along, because, you know, as you could see along the trails, even here we are on a weekday morning and we've got people all over.

Now, this is a restoration. All of these walls have been restored over the years. There were all destroyed either during the Japanese occupation or earlier. You would have the soldiers here watching the gate. This would allow people to come in and go out.

And then if we look over here, we can see the wall, which stretches all the way around through the mountains.

There's not really a lot of old things in America. So when I first came to Korea, I think one of the things that struck me the most was just so many old things, so much history here. And, you know, but Moses (ph) is a great example of that. It was originally constructed in 673. I think I was about five years old at that time.

Buddhism started filtering over from China into Korea and then over into Japan, you know, building temples in the mountains, places of solitude, where, you know, a big part of that were kind of people could get away from everything else and sort of find themselves.

Now, Christianity is the most prominent religion. Korea actually has one of the fastest growing Christian populations of any industrialized country in the world. So there's churches popping up everywhere. And yet, with all the rebuilding of this temple, there is also a movement to maintain the old while the new is rushing in.

So she said that there's certain places in the world where there's like a magnetic power which they call qi and that Bumosa (ph) is one of those places. And so when those who are seeking this like a magnetic power, it's like a mystical power, find it they build a temple on that location.

They say here that the sensitive people can feel this power. And I don't know if I'm a sensitive guy or not, but, you know, I feel this sort of tranquility overcoming me. And I thought it was just the trees and the peace, but maybe there actually is some kind of magnetic power that's working its way through me.

JUNG: We are now in the general area called Tonhapko (ph), which is kind of the shore -- another shore of Busan. And here, what's really nice is they have all of these different shellfish restaurants. And my favorite place that I like going to is called Cgeut Jip (ph). It's over there. And cgeut meaning -- it means end and jip means house. So if you do it a literal translation, it means end house. so as you can see here, we have the various side dishes. Very famous when we're eating Korean food. Here's pretty much your sauce with onions and the wasabi. This style of cooking shellfish is quite unique here in Busan because the difference between Busan and Seoul, when you order the shellfish, they don't actually put it in this tin foil here. And they mix it with butter, which is also quite unique. So this is a different style of cooking shellfish.

I don't know if you can smell it while watching this, but you could imagine how this will taste fantastic.

So I could eat this alone. Um. Fabulous. Or what I can do is I can mix it into this dish here with wasabi, onion and this sauce. Take some of that.


MIN HO YUN, photographer (through translator): This is the photo booth of Busan's baseball park. Busan is commonly known as the city of baseball. Today is the last game out of three between Lobe (ph), the home team, and the other Busan team.

After watching a game in Busan stadium, one commentator said, "It's the biggest karaoke in the world."

We have less people than usual today, but people normally sing together and dance. A lot of people come to the games to release their stress, as well. More than watching and following the game, they come to shout and cheer together. Even if they come to the games to release their stress, as well. More than watching and following the game, they come to shout and cheer together. Even if they don't know anything, they just follow other people.

When first base is filled and the opposing team throws a ball to peg a runner on the base, everyone yells, "Ma!" what it means is it's a Busan dialect. Busan is shortened a lot. I don't know exactly what it means, but it's a shortened form of, "Hey, you bastard!"

This is to give a sense of intimidation to the opposing team. Because there's so much trash after the game, the team suggested the, "Let's bring back what we brought in," campaign and started handing out trash bags.

But fans started wearing it on their heads and it became fashion. Some people wear it roundly, other people make a ribbon or rabbit ears. Each person makes it unique.

As far as I know, baseball was not that popular from the beginning. But recently, the Korean National team has done very well in the Asian Games, the Olympics and the World Baseball games. This has started a baseball boom in Korea. When I was a little boy, baseball culture here was a men's game. Only older men watched baseball. It was very male-oriented.

But now things have changed. Every team has developed their own character, for example, developing fan culture where everybody and anybody can join in and enjoy the games. Now you see families coming to baseball games together with their children and more women are also coming to watch games.

JAY SONG, OWNER, MY TABLE ALL DAY CAFE: Well, we are in the Marine City (INAUDIBLE). And so far, it's famous for the residency area for rich people. But these days, it's more tourists is coming to here to look around, see how they are living in this area.

So as you see, there's many new high buildings. And then (INAUDIBLE) it's a different side of the Busan at this space. If you compare it to like a (INAUDIBLE), all -- all the area and this is a very new and modern area.

Busan is changing every day, very fast, very dramatically. You can come here at night and then you can say that, OK, this is a totally different area here.

Here is the Park Hyatt in Marine City. And recently, they've started a business here. And I really enjoying to come here, because I can see this (INAUDIBLE), you know, view.

This is a great place to see the (INAUDIBLE) bridge from up high. However, basically in Busan, I bring those people to come here and to show this view. This is -- I am so proud to have this kind of view in Busan.

JUNG: To my right is this very secret area that I like going to. It's a strong makgeolli area. Look at that magnificent view. Not a lot of people actually know this place, which is amazing. And isonomy favorite places to come to in general.

And so I'm going to sit down and I'm going to order some makgeoilli.

So here's some makgeolli in a ceramic bowl. So there's various types of makgeolli, different flavors that you can choose from. But generally, they stick with just kind of an original taste, just the rice itself. But my favorite and also, I guess, more particular in this Kumnun Province (ph) area, is the noodle makgeolli. It's made from fried rice, well, where the rice kind of sticks to the pot and you take the crust of the rice and you make makgeolli out of that. And it tastes a little bit different.

But this is not noodle makgeolli, this is just regular makgeolli. Cheers.

When you think of Korea, what's the first alcoholic beverage that you think of?

Most people would normally say soju, which is true. Soju is a representative of this country.

But makgeolli has a long history. It has a rich, long history. Mostly it used to be drink -- it used to be drunk by farmers. And with soju, it has a very short history. It only was here less than probably 100 years as compared to makgeolli, where it's been here for hundreds of years.


SONG: Here is the Sumjum Beach (ph). I prefer to come here instead of Ahilda Beach (ph) because right here you just feel (INAUDIBLE) move. And this place is getting popular for their surfers. So let's go surfing.

This is my instructor. And I'm taking a beginning course with (INAUDIBLE). And (INAUDIBLE) just two days away, which is not really good. So we are -- but we can feel it, you know, (INAUDIBLE) to paddle.

There are three places in Busan. And the Gwangalli (ph) and the Gwangalli Beach is actually, it's very small. And also Haeundae. It's too crowded. But here, I can, you know, (INAUDIBLE) enjoy it by myself and it's a little bit quiet if I compare it with those two beaches. So that's why I bring my son with me and then stay here for a while during the weekend. I enjoy it.

Here is the coffee shop. This is my favorite. You can see the many roasting machines here. And then, of course, he will show us how to roast the coffee beans and also, people who drink the coffee, they only know sometimes espresso, Americano, cafe latte and that's all. But there's other, you know, fancy coffee styles.

Thank you.


SONG: This is sacaroso (ph). And then you can see that it's real foamy here. It's strict espresso and that there is a cafe shaker and you put the extra espresso and ice and shake it very strongly. Then you can make this one.

This is a -- of course, you can just drink espresso plus ice, but it's a totally different one, so please take it.


(INAUDIBLE). Um. So I can hear it. Actually, this is very fresh. And -- and also, whenever he roasts it, (INAUDIBLE). And so he can consume very quickly. So that's why I selected this coffee shop and to bring this coffee to my -- my own coffee shop and then a lot of people drink it.

GINO BRANN: Here we are at the Kyungsung-Bukyung University area. There are four major universities within the vicinity. So here and Busan National University are the two main hot spots for nightlife.

VIOLET LEA: It's really super busy here. It's kind of like the heartbeat of Kyungsung, really, this little area. So oftentimes you'll see him or I loaded down with gear, about three times a week, trying to get across this -- like fighting our way across.

BRANN: University kids, you know, they want a couple of cheap drinks and good food, lots of great restaurants.

LEA: Here's Jazz Cat. You can see it on this sign on the third floor there.

BRANN: Another busy street here in the (INAUDIBLE)...

LEA: Yes.

BRANN: -- Kyungsung-Bukyung area.

LEA: Actually, this bar, for a Thursday party, you can find hundreds of them, right, all over Korea, probably. And it's a really popular...

BRANN: They are everywhere.

LEA: -- place for college students, actually, Korean and foreigners, like 50-50, which is kind of rare for a bar that popular.

BRANN: My favorite barbeque place here.


LEA: This is a rotisserie, so you don't have to actually cook your own meat here, whereas most barbeque restaurants, you have to labor over your own meat. But here, they have timers and rotisseries grills and they just put it on there and set the timer and you get perfectly cooked meat in like seven minutes. It's awesome.

BRANN: Here is Club Realize, the premier hard rock and heavy metal place in the city. If you want to check out any hard rock or heavy metal music, this is the place to be.

LEA: Get you guys didn't know you'd be meeting spies (ph) today.

BRANN: Here we are at HQ Bar. It's a little home away from home. We'll go in and have a drink.

Hi, guys.

LEA: The first thing I would like to direct your attention to is this wall of records right here. Almost every bar of Kyungsung, you're going to find a wall of records like this. It's pretty cool.

BRANN: This is Kim Doha.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, how are you?

BRANN: My very good friend. He...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Busan now. Busan is nice.

BRANN: So Tuesdays are a great jazz jam night here at Ole 55. But Wednesdays are the place to be for the great open mike that we have, where all the local musicians come out and have a great time jamming and playing and meeting other people and meeting other musicians, lots of them.