In Korea, there are several indications that it is fall, besides the leaves and temperatures changing. One is that roadside pungeo-bbang (붕어빵 or taiyaki in Japanese) stands start popping up again. Literally, “fish bread”, they are pancake-like cakes shaped like fish, with red beans inside them. They are perfect when you’re walking home in the cold and want a quick snack.
Because they are hot food, a lot of them close down during the summer (when people would rather eat patbingsu anyway). They are often surrounded by a sheet of clear plastic to keep in some heat for the poor person working there and for the people who stop to buy things.
Another change in the roads are the things that are spread out to dry on them. This is more common in the countryside, where farmers spread out rice to dry on tarps, but in the city too you can see hot peppers and other things spread out wherever there is room.
As you see, rice often takes over the sidewalk or a lane of the road. The farmers rake it to get it evenly dried, then go along with a machine to scoop it into bags. This shows the communal nature of Korean society: although I’m sure some crime exists in this area, people don’t go out at night and steal all this rice.
There are other foods too that are spread out to dry. Like melons,which I saw a few days ago.
When we were on Jeju, the semi-tropical island south of mainland Korea, there were lemon peels laid out to dry by the road, I guess to make lemon tea out of.
Don’t you love fall? I realize that in a country with only one or two seasons, there might not be fall like this, but if there is, what other little touches do you see in your area that show that the seasons are changing?
October 29th, 2013 at 9:30 pm
We call the first photo, “Taiyaki” It’s popular sweet in Japan. 😀
October 29th, 2013 at 11:14 pm
The fish bread looks delicious! I assume it is a sweet red bean filling. Yum!
October 30th, 2013 at 12:04 am
Love your photos here, David. I have some photos on my blog of our Colorado Aspens changing in the fall, which are a big tourist draw here, and very beautiful up in the Rockies and popular with the photographers and just everyone. I am curious with your pics of the rice and melons dried on the sidewalks and streets. What keeps them clean and free from rodents, insect or wildlife (besides people taking their share) from crawling over them and eating on them during the ‘drying’ process? The fish cakes above look delicious. 🙂
October 30th, 2013 at 7:39 am
Well, the melons probably aren’t left out overnight and it might be cool enough that there aren’t any mice around. As for other wildlife, there isn’t much in Korea. While there are deer and other animals they stay in the mountains usually.
October 30th, 2013 at 12:24 pm
Oh. I see. I guess that just leaves the human thieves, then. 🙂 Does S. Korea have any problem there with a lot of homeless people?
October 30th, 2013 at 2:45 pm
There are some homeless people in the cities and more in Seoul, but not nearly as many as in some cities back on North America. At least not that i’ve seen.
October 30th, 2013 at 12:36 am
Thanks for the memories – my favorite is when they spread red peppers everywhere – nothing more beautiful
October 30th, 2013 at 7:34 am
Yeah, that’s a great sight.
October 30th, 2013 at 1:56 am
This is cool, David. I love the fish cakes and the drying rice and fruits. I didn’t know it was such a communal city. What a great experience to live there. I absolutely adore fall. I think it’s my favorite season. We just got a chill in the air here, finally, and the leaves are falling and changing. Nothing too out of the ordinary here.
October 30th, 2013 at 2:08 am
The practice of laying things out in the road is very interesting, especially because I’ve been attending a lot of presentations recently by employers looking for placement students. I’m pretty sure M&S specifically mentioned this (not necessarily in Korea, but they mentioned a few African countries,) as one of the reasons they visit all of their suppliers, as they would not consider it an acceptable way of drying foods for the reasons Joyce mentions!
As for Autumn, I find it hard to get used to the earlier nights. The clocks have just gone back so I’m suddenly finding myself walking home in the dark. The only redeeming feature in my eyes are events like halloween and bonfire night. I have no plans for the latter. but even if I don’t go you’ll still find me making parkin and bonfire toffee!
October 30th, 2013 at 7:33 am
You have bonfire night there? Where are you from? The only place I know of bonfire being celebrated is Newfoundland
October 30th, 2013 at 7:36 am
England! Bonfire night to celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes before he blew up the houses of parliament! (Though that is not how it actually went, in reality.) I assume newfoundlanders celebrate bonfire night for a different reason?
October 30th, 2013 at 7:42 am
Newfoundlanders get the tradition from England although the historical reason is lost. I’ve always heard it called Guy Fawkes Night in England. I didn’t know you called it bonfire night there too.
October 30th, 2013 at 7:48 am
It varies I guess, there’s perhaps regional differences as well.
There’s been a decline of it for various reasons, which is a shame.
October 30th, 2013 at 5:54 am
They sound yummy and the pictures are wonderful. I love when you show glimpses of your world 🙂
October 30th, 2013 at 9:14 pm
loved the photographs David! I wonder how they taste! 🙂
You love Korea a lot, don’t you?
November 4th, 2013 at 4:38 am
That bread looks and sounds delicious! We don’t have fall at all, but those scenes of drying grains and spices is a common sight here as well!
November 4th, 2013 at 4:56 am
Oh, man, a hot red bean handpie would be delicious on a fall night! (I was actually thinking they’d be savory, didn’t occur to me that sweet red bean might be more likely in Korea until I read the other comments.) I think I’m gonna go online and look for a fish-shaped pie form.
For me, my harbinger of fall comes in September, when the yellowjackets start getting hysterical — their lives are ending, so they start eating everything in sight; I’m guessing it’s to shore up the queen before she hibernates. Some days I’ll find numerous apples on the ground around the tree, each one crawling with a dozen or more yellowjackets chowing down.
November 5th, 2013 at 9:34 pm
yum! those fish pancakes look really good. i really should visit your blog more often. i’d frequently buy fish-shaped sandwiches with vanilla ice cream and red bean in a Korean store in the Philippines. ^^ ^^
November 5th, 2013 at 9:43 pm
Yeah, I really like that kind of ice cream sandwich too! They are kind of a cold take-off of the pungeo-bbang. Unfortunately, they’re the kind of food you can’t ship well, so I’ll miss them whenever I leave Korea. Thanks for stopping by~ 🙂