Crazy about Crazy Pepper

Today we intended to do some more cultural things like visit Hongik University and its Art Free Market. The description in the guide book made it sound like the street vendors on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley so we thought it might be interesting to see what artsy things they sold in Korea. However, we couldn’t find it! We wandered around blocks and blocks and couldn’t seem to locate it although it was supposed to be at a children’s playground right across from the university.

But the area was interesting anyways, Hongik Uni is apparently an Art school so there were interesting shops and restaurants. After walking around so much, we decided to try this restaurant called Crazy Pepper because I had a craving for duk bok kee (rice cakes).

The kitchen was mostly visible from our seats and we could see flames coming from the pan:

We thought it was all for show but we would be proved wrong later…

Now Ron and I can usually eat pretty spicy food, we’ve had a lot of practice with Korean food and spicy Thai curries. At this restaurant you could choose the scale of spiciness on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most spicy, aka “are you crazy?”

It was pretty late in the afternoon so we were very eager to eat. It looked so delicious when it arrived at the table.

We dug in right away… after a few bites, we had to take our breath. It was SO spicy that we were both tearing already!! But we ordered it and it was REALLY good so we kept on eating it… we weren’t the only ones whose tastebuds were suffering, I could see others fanning their mouths because of the spiciness. Also, we had ordered a kiwi smoothie which we were sipping periodically to cool off our tongues.

We heroically finished off most of the dish:

Near the end, Ron had started dipping the pieces of rice cake and fish cake into his water glass to “rinse” off the red oil. See the layer of oil on the surface of the water:

But surprisingly our stomachs were okay. I was afraid of heartburn. It was a good lunch but a painful one.

We then attempted to catch a taxi to the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts to catch a show on traditional Korean dance but it took over an hour to get there and by then, the show was over. We wandered around a bit before having some Korean BBQ in Apgujeong with some Stanford MBA students who were taking the trip together. We then met up with our friend Susan who flew in from Taiwan to spend a few days of vacation with us. We tried to go do some shopping and find some food. We ended up eating at a food stall and missed the last subway so took a taxi home.

We finished off the evening with a dessert of a pan fried cinnamon and sugar pancake. We don’t know why it’s green…

For larger photos, click here for Picasa album.

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