Annie: "One of the best way to learn the culture of a country is by trying out their cuisine"

Expat interviews
  • Annie in Ulsan
Published on 2013-06-06 at 02:00 by team
Annie is 26. She started travelling in 2011. She travels to get to know the local culture, to capture some pictures... mostly of food. She has indeed a passion for food and even dedicated her blog, "Epicurious Annie", to Korean food.

Why did you decide to move to Ulsan?

I love Korean cuisine even since I lived in Jakarta, Indonesia. I always dreamt of trying out the "real" Korean food in its own country. So when the opportunity presented itself, I packed my suitcase and left.

How was the adaptation process?

The first two weeks here were pretty tough. It was mainly because I didn't have any friends here. I stayed in most of the days and just went out to find food. I was also sick for two weeks since the weather change was quite significant: from hot Jakarta to freezing cold South Korea in winter. After a month here I started making friends with the locals. They all are nice people!
I didn't have any issue with the culture here, it's not much different than Indonesia.

How many countries have you been living in?

I have lived in three countries: Indonesia, China and now South Korea.

What are the main differences between South Korea and Indonesia, your home country?

The lifestyle for sure: everything is much more expensive here compared to Indonesia. The food here is mostly spicy, we Indonesian love spicy food but the Koreans are on a completely different level!

What does a typical day as an expat in Ulsan look like?

Waking up to the nice, bright sunrise. Exploring the city, discovering some of the best restaurants in town, taking pictures of the surrounding, meeting friends for dinner then go home and write on my blog. Life is good at the moment! haha

Please share with us something you particularly like about Ulsan:

People here really pay attention to details. I love to see how beautiful my food looks like on my plate or the interior design of the cafes and restaurants here. They are really creative!
People here are generally friendly. All the people that I've met are so nice and caring.
The food is amazingly good and healthy! I love to see lots of fresh vegetables on the table.

As you have lived quite a long time in China, could also tell us more about your experience here? What are the main differences with South Korea?

I was rejected once by a night club in Ulsan because I was a foreigner, even though I came with two Korean friends. Still wondering why... In China, people are so excited when they see or meet foreigners and they love making friends with us. Here in SK, some of the people are still not used to foreigners. Although, some of my Korean friends gave me this idea that some people here are just too "scared" because they don't speak English and wouldn't know what to say to us. Another thing that I've noticed is that they're not used to shaking hands, hugs or friendly kiss on the cheek. While in China I would see girls and guys do all of the above. I am still trying to adjust myself to this because in my country, it is a gesture of friendliness.

You blog mainly about food: any good specialities from South Korea you would like to share with us?

The Koreans are so good at making soups. I love their spicy pork rib soup, I know this Gamja Tang restaurant that I discovered with my Korean friend Young Ju and have been going back and forth just for the soup! I even took almost all of my Korean friends there and let them taste it themselves. They all were pretty satisfied, if not over the moon.
It's true that one of the best way to learn the culture of a country is by trying out their cuisine!

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