From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."


In South Korea, you will find a Manoffin cafe at almost every subway station. Manoffin is known for its mouth-watering designer muffins. Aside from the regular muffins, the cafe sometimes makes special muffins for holidays and celebrations. As the season of spook is approaching, Manoffin now sells these cute and creepy Halloween-themed muffins.


My favorite is the “red-eye” muffin. I want to try all of them, but I have to cut down on sugar… T.T

For 2, 600 KRW (2.42 USD) (105 PHP) you can enjoy any of these scrumptious Halloween treats. They go well with a cup of Americano which costs 1,500 KRW (1.39 USD) (64 PHP). The coffee isn’t bad, at least a little lighter for my taste. If you are not a coffee drinker, you can order tea, smoothie, or fruit juice. Coffee and other beverages are cheaper in Manoffin than in other coffee shops. They’re okay if you are not that choosy when it comes to drinks.


In Dongdaemun Station‘s Manoffin express, they sell Halloween muffin gift sets. You can buy a set of four muffins for 10, 000 KRW (9.30 USD) (402 PHP); a set of six for 15,000 KRW (13.94 USD) (603 PHP).

20131010_13191720131010_13205020131010_132038If you are going to a Halloween party, these muffins are a perfect gift. You can also purchase a wizard’s (or witch’s) hat or a light up pumpkin headband to complete your Halloween getup. The hat is 6, 000 KRW (5.58 USD) (241 PHP), and the flashing headband is 3, 000 KRW (2.79 USD) (121 PHP).

20131010_131855 20131010_132058Have a spooooooooky and fun-filled Halloween! ^^☆



Seoul’s Little Manila

What a busy, busy, busy week!

Thank God, I was able to unwind last Sunday after my hospital visit. I thought of going to the Filipino market since I was already in Hyewadong.

Every Sunday, the road between Dongseong High School and Hyehwa Catholic Church transforms into Little Manila. The vibrant and convivial atmosphere of the Filipino market attracts not only Filipinos but also Koreans and other foreigners.



Haraboji (grandfather in Korean) looked amused as he was looking at the items in this stall.


Genuine smile that is truly Pinoy (Filipino)

When I visited the Filipino market for the first time, I saw only a few stalls, but last Sunday, new stalls had mushroomed. The place was busier, noisier and there were more foreign visitors.

You can buy just about anything “Filipino” in Little Manila: cosmetics, toiletries, snacks and pastries, condiments, meat, vegetables and fruit, beverages, etc.










Little Manila is also home to a variety of authentic Filipino dishes.




Pork barbecue


Balut (a popular Filipino street food that consists of a whole egg containing a duckling or chicken fetus)


Turon (deep fried bananas wrapped in spring roll wrappers)


Bananacue (deep fried bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar)

I decided to have my lunch in one of the carinderias (eatery) that serve some of these popular Filipino dishes. A Korean ajossi who was busy mixing pancit (Filipino noodles) and enthusiastically calling out customers caught my attention. With him was his Filipina wife who had that big smile on her face as she was inviting passersby to try their food. I wanted to try all of the food in the menu! Oh, how I missed Filipino food.

The carinderia is owned by Ate Violy and her Korean husband. The food is good and very affordable.

For 6, 000 KRW (242 PHP) (5.58 USD), you can choose two main dishes or viands with Filipino style-rice (not the sticky one) and soup. I ordered menudo and lumpiang gulay (vegetable roll). The soup of the day was sinigang, my favorite. ^^


After enjoying the meal, I had a little chat with Kuya Ed Atienza, the cook, and Ate Violy. I asked them if I could take some photos of the carinderia, and they were more than happy to oblige.





Ate Violy makes these sausages.



Pancit and barbecue… perfect combination! =)


Empanada (stuffed bread)



Lumpiang gulay (vegetable roll)


Kutsinta and Puto (Filipino rice cake)


Kakanin (Filipino dessert made from glutinous rice)

I rarely cook Filipino food in the house, because my in-laws prefer Korean food (of course), but every now and then, I crave Filipino dishes. It’s too bad that Little Manila is open only on Sunday, and I have to travel for nearly two hours just to get there.

More than just the food, it’s Filipino amiability, hospitality, simplicity and enthusiasm that I like about going to the Filipino market. I hope, in years to come, Little Manila will not just be a little place in one corner where Filipinos gather and enjoy a weekend of food and shopping, but a bigger and stronger community where Filipinos relive their culture and embrace their distinctiveness.