Nonsan Strawberry Festival and More

This past weekend I went on a trip with an expat group to the Nonsan Strawberry Festival and Daedunsan Cloud Bridge (Sidenote: The word san/means mountain. So, it’s Mt. Daedun or Daedun Mountain in English – not Daedunsan Mountain </hangul lesson>). I signed up for this adventure with the understanding that I would be going solo and could use this as an opportunity to meet new people. Well, to my pleasant surprise, 3 of my friends were signed up for the trip also. In the end, I also met a lovely couple from Utah who live fairly close to me. Hello, Glo and Spencer! I’m hoping I can rope them into noraebang and other wholesome fun very soon. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning…

Strawberry Village in Nonsan, South Korea

Despite the cold, rainy, and foggy forecast on Saturday I had an awesome time. We first picked organic, greenhouse-grown strawberries from a farm near the festival – and I likely ate my weight in berries in the process. I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical when I was first told we would be picking berries indoors, but I perked right up when I saw all the deliciousness that was in front of me.

Nonsan Strawberries

We then hopped back on the bus and made our way through Nonsan’s Strawberry Festival.

2013 Nonsan Strawberry Festival

Yes, the festival was in full swing in the rain. It felt as though the entire town had pitched in to make this event a success. There was strawberry everything – pancakes, makgeolli (rice wine), hot sauce, syrup, jam, rice cakes, etc.

Ajummas & halmonis making strawberry pancakes at Nonsan Strawberry Festival
Strawberry rice cakes
Kimchi & seafood pancake

There were also many other interesting food finds.

Boendegi (silkworm larvae) and Goelbaengi (sea snails)

Yep, I ate silkworm larvae and it wasn’t completely horrible. I showed my 4th graders this photo today and they were impressed and drooling. Many of them love this dish. Me? Not so much. *shrug* To each his own.

Eating silkworm larvae

This was probably my favorite festival food find.

Korean spiral-cut potato

They put a whole potato on a skewer, place it in some type of contraption that makes it spiral around the stick, deep fry it until it’s nice and golden, then dip it in powdered BBQ, cheese, or spicy pepper sauce. Yum!

Animals at 2013 Nonsan Strawberry Festival

After we had our fill of food and saw what looked like the oddest petting zoo setup, we made our way to tackle Daedunsan. The wind cooperated and the cable cars were able to go up the mountain – saving me a less than pleasant hike given the weather conditions. I’m sure on a clear day the view would be wonderful, but I actually appreciated the fog and mist that surrounded us. I think it added to the idea of being on a Cloud Bridge.

Daedunsan Cloud Bridge

I’m told there was another bridge at the peak of the mountain, but I didn’t go up there. Truth be told, I had little desire to hike another 20 minutes in the cold rain after I reached the first bridge. I came, I saw, I took my happy behind back inside to enjoy honey citron tea and spicy ramen in the heat. Judge me if you must 🙂

Korean BBQ

Once we made it back to Uijeongbu, our gang of 6 went downtown to enjoy Korean BBQ. I’ve been wanting to try this since my arrival, but it’s not the sort of thing you do when alone – which is what I usually am. It was a wonderful way to end the day with grilled meat and lovely company.

I think this  trip was exactly what I needed to shake things up a bit. Stay tuned for more shenanigans.


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