Back from Japan, Miriam and I emptied the majority of our suitcases into the laundry room. Then I sorted through all the paper stuff, making three piles: Mine to keep, things Don and Chris might like to peruse in preparation of their own trip to Japan next year, and stuff I could throw away—always the smallest pile!

At dinnertime, we went to Shindangdong, yet another “colorful” neighborhood of the city, in the Jung-gu District. It had lots of neon and other signage, and scooters dashing everywhere. The street we walked up from the subway was very narrow, no sidewalks, and we competed with cars to work our way through.

Depending on where you looked for your information, the place was either known for its “Tteokbokki,” or “Topokki,” but regardless of spelling, it was always pronounced “toe-poke-ee.”

Don ordered the spicy mozzarella ramen bowl, and a huge shallow metal bowl filled with assorted fish cakes, four dumplings, four hard boiled eggs, dry ramen noodles, onions, carrots, mushrooms, mozzarella balls, and standard Tteokbokki rice noodles, along with spicy sauce and fluid was placed on a natural gas burner on the table.

We all put on aprons, as the bubbling liquid can get quite energetic! When the whole thing came to a boil, the ramen quickly softened, the spices were stirred throughout, and dinner was served!

Each of us had a small metal bowl, into which Don ladled a little of this and that (no mushrooms for me!) several times over. Although it looked like a huge amount of food, we made short work of it.

Back on the street, we each had a small bowl of chocolate ice cream with “air infused” and then meandered back to the subway, and on home.

The whole experience was delicious! And although I thought there was nothing “new” to try here in Korea, I was pleasantly surprised!