Sunday, February 25, 2007


The weather is getting nice enough to start biking again. After a few days of getting warmed up in town, I decided to make an out of town trip this weekend. My destination was Ansan, which is home to a large Asian immigrant population. I've heard about the wide selection of foreign restaurants there, but the realities exceeded all of my desires. In a short stretch, there is almost every type of Asian food one could hope for. Thai, Vietnamese, Mongolian, Uzbek, Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and more, are all represented. To someone from outside of Korea, this may seem like faint praise, but for anyone living in Korea, you will understand the importance of this find. Incheon, with its 3 million people, doesn't have a single Mexican restaurant (there is a little food stand in one of the department stores that sells "empanadas," but they look more like steamed rice buns than empanadas). As far as I know, there aren't any Thai or Indian restaurants in Incheon either. Outside of Korean food, the only mainstays are Chinese-Korean food, Japanese-Korean food, pizza places, and fast food restaurants.

I ended up selecting the Thai restaurant this time, as I haven't had Thai food in over a year. I'm not exactly sure what I had was called, pad something or another (reading English words in hangeul (Korean writing) is bad enough, there's no way I'm making out Thai in hangeul), but it was excellent. No Koreanization (like adding octopus to every pasta dish, or putting sweet pickles in everything) of the food here. Just pure, unadultured, Thai food. And reasonably priced, at W8,000 (around 8 US$).

The bike ride itself was pretty good. It's only about 23km (14 miles) each way. There are a lot of little towns along the way, so I had to contend with plenty of stop lights. But most of the roads either had good sidewalks or ample shoulder room. There were only a couple of small hills to conquer as well. It's definitely on the top of my return list.

Some of the restaurants in Ansan. In order, you have Uzbek, Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Indian, Thai, and Mongolian restaurants.

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