Last week we had another 회식 (pronounced “hwaeshik”: a social gathering) with all the teachers at my school. These gatherings typically consist of dinner, and then about three more rounds of drinks and a bit of dessert before heading home into the wee hours of the (work week) night. Oftentimes, the 회식activities are evident the following day when many teachers show up hungover and exhausted for school.
This 회식, however, was a little more wholesome than the classic soju sagas. We left the office early and headed for the Jeongseon railbike, about and hour and a half from Taebaek. There are two types of railbikes in Korea: automated and mechanical. This particular railbike was mechanical so we had to pedal our way through the course. Getting started demanded a small commitment to forward motion from each of us, but a few minutes in we were cruising downhill with no effort.
The tour through mountainous farmland was enhanced by the fall colours creeping through the hills. At the end, we were greeted by two massive fish railcars and a number of cafes and convenience stores.
Beautiful fall colours at the end of the line.
Of course, no 회식 is complete without copious amounts of delicious food. Taebaek’s famous takalbi was the perfect hot and hearty meal to warm us up from the cool autumn air. Takalbi is a dish consisting of chicken, cabbage, rice cakes, and onions cooked in gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) and wrapped up in lettuce or perilla leaves. Sometimes its topped with melty cheese, though I prefer the more traditional version sans fromage.
Taebaek’s spin on the dish is famous for being soupy rather than dry, to accomodate the damaged throats of mine workers. This particular restaurant is quite famous across the country and has been featured on tv numerous times. After eating there twice, I can see why! It’s such as delicious dish and at a very reasonable cost.