Cycle 12 – Cycle 301
2 (Tue) November 2021
at El Pino 323
-Itaewon, Yongsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
Long history short: I was born in Korea (1972), immigrated to the States (1976), and moved back to Korea after graduating elementary school (1985).
At that time, I was a voracious book-a-day reader, mostly fiction, of course in English.
So, when we repatriated to Korea, I was very disappointed to discover that English-language books were virtually impossible to come by.
Sometime around 1986, I discovered Itaewon Foreign Books. It was a tiny shop, perhaps 1/4 what it is now. But to me, it was my favorite store in the world.
Itaewon Foreign Books is a used book store. Deals exclusively with imported titles, 99.9% in English, a few random titles in Spanish, etc. The owner started the business in 1973 by selling books discarded by the US Army base in Yongsan. The store has been designated as a cultural heritage site by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
Every month or so, the owner now comes to Tongbang Books to buy stock. Full circle.
When I first met him last year (technically, we’d “met” back when I was a customer), I gushed about how important his store had been to me.
After work today, I dropped by the store. I ended up staying for 2 hours, buying several books (e.g., out-of-print James Bond novels) – he gave me a discount.
El Pino 323 is a Mexican-American restaurant. Specializes in Southern Californian cholo-style tacos. Currently ranked 93 of 26,581 restaurants in Seoul on TripAdvisor.
The main drawback of living in Wirye is the dearth of non-Korean dining options.
As such, any opportunity to eat in Itaewon is a blessing.
Excellent tacos. The shrimp were huge, juicy, nicely seasoned. Topped with avocado, cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream, jalapeño, fresh lime. The homemade corn tortillas were deliciously nutty – I can’t recall if I’ve ever experienced anything like them. Every bite was a burst of dynamic flavors.
Looking forward to exploring the menu.
(See also BOOZE)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)