Salah, eating a Mooncake baked in China, and buying foods and necessaries from the Philipppines in Seoul. Doesn’t it sound weird? But it’s not a lie. We can attend worship at the Mosque in Itaewon, we can eat a mooncake in Incheon’s China Town, and we can buy things made in the Philippines in Hyehwa. The Sookmyung Times reporter Kim Dana went to the three countries in only a day.
1. Islamic Countries : Mosque in Itaewon
Itaewon is famous for its exotic places in Seoul. Especially, there is a place where we can feel Islam; the first in Korea and the biggest in Korea the Mosque in Itaewon. We can get there in 10 minutes walking from Itaewon station. While walking toward the mosque, I saw National Foodmart which sells foods from around the world. So there were many foreigners who came to find the foods made in their home countries. And with more steps, I found a white mosque. Accidentally, I came to the mosque on Friday. But since Fridays are a holiday to Muslims, it’s better to go there on other days. There were people who came from Malaysia, and they were also Muslim. I was curious how they would think of the mosque in Korea. They walked toward me and asked “Are you korean? Can I take a picture with you?” I felt like I was in Malaysia and I was the only Korean there even though I was still in Korea. In the mosque, chapels are separated by gender. Unfortunately, I cannot go in a mosque, but I can see from outside onthe carpet. When I opened the door, I naturally became reverent. There were a red carpet and a mysterious fragrance with a solemn atmosphere. It was bigger and more delicate than I had imagined. Because I like the feeling of being quiet, I wanted to be a Muslim for a day. I thought that if I go in there and sit with eyes closed, unnecessary anxiety would naturally disappear. When I came out of the mosque, there was a mural that depicted a mosque and a camel. After traveling to an Islamic country, I moved to China.
2. China : China Town in Incheon
When I got off at the last stop of line 1, Incheon Station, I found China in Korea. That’s China Town in Incheon. If there are a lot of people and signs with red color and Chinese characters, you are in the right place. China Town is a place where overseas chinese have lived for over 120 years, so we can feel China more than anywhere in Korea. When we do a web-search for “China Town,” the first word that come out is jajangmyeon because the first jajangmyeon was born in China Town. So I went to the famous jajangmyeon restaurant in China Town. Even though there was nothing special in it, I thought it was more delicious than jajangmyeon in Seoul. And on the street, there are decorations give the street a Chinese feel. Also, there were Chinese foods. I bought a mooncake, which is a traditional food in China. A mooncake has a variety of flavor, including red bean, honey, mango, and chestnut. On another side, there was grilled mutton. When I bought it in China, it was really cheap. But it is 1,000 won in China Town, which is quite a bit more expensive than in China. There are many streets in the town, and one of the streets has a mural of the history of the Three States. It pictured the history of the Three States which is famous to us. It was like a picture book. And there are three museums : the jajangmyeon museum, the Incheon Open Port Museum, and the Incheon Open Port Museum of Architecture. There was a special ticket which can enter all three museums. It was only 1,700 won, so I bought one. Because these were not that big, it just took only thirty minutes to go around. After that, I went to the Philippines.
3. The Philippines : Little Manila in Hyehwa
Every Sunday, Daehangno (Hyehwa) becomes the Philippines. Because there is a market that sells things from the Philippines, it is called “Little Manila.” It is nearby Hyehwa Station, exit 1 and on the way to Hyehwa-dong Catholic Church. Every Sunday, there is a mass for Filipinos and Filipinas, so a lot of people from the Philippines gather that day. Also, when I visited Little Manila, I could easily find them. There were foods made by Filipinas and sold by Filipinos. It looked similar to a sundae, but the actual name was something else. Also, there were several fruits that I saw in the Philippines. The price is more expensive in here, but I was surprised I could find them in Korea. Not only foods and fruits, but also necessities were sold. For example, there were medicines, toothpastes, and shampoos which are made in the Philippines. It is not that big, but I could feel that I was in the Philippines just for a short time.
Subways can now take you where you thought you would need an airplane.