Korean Adoption

Hello Seoul Eaters. Lately I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to photograph the moment adopting parents meet and pick up their new children here in Seoul. As you know our site founder Daniel is an adoptee so he’s asked me to share my work. It’s been very interesting, rewarding, and emotionally charged work. The process takes around two years and I just get the apex of a two year build up of emotion, expectation, excitement, and nervousness. All that spills out in a one hour meeting where the new parents finally meet a child they’ve only read about and seen pictures of, and the foster parents give up a child they’ve spent years caring for and getting to know. Needless to say there are tears on all sides, and thankfully I’m not in any of the pictures because I’d be embarrassing. The pictures in the small room with big windows are the initial meeting, and the outdoor shots are post-adoption family shoots. Enjoy. For more photos check out my site.

Update: Dustin has since moved back to the United States to be the best San Diego wedding photographer. He thanks everyone for the amazing time he had in Korea.

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Northwest Seoul, Tidbits of Zen

A Night Out in Hongdae is a Must-have Experience

Hong Cup

 Hongdae is the hip street where art, fashion, college life, music, and angst all collide.  There are so many things that you can see. Plus there are many great eateries such as street stalls, barbecue places and bars. Above is the owner of Hong Cup which serves spicy fried chicken pieces in a chili sauce (2,000 for the small and 5,000 for the large). The cup is great because it has delicious tater tots and rice cakes all mixed in. You can even sit and enjoy a beer (2,000 won) or a Somaek (Soju and Beer 3,000 won).

Dakbal House

Here is another street stall specializes in collagen rice, chicken feet. It’s a hit with the ladies and guys looking for something a little spicy.

Bukchon Son Mandu

Bukchon Son Mandu is really famous for their handmade mandu that is stuffed with Japchae noodles or meat. I recommend their fried mandu and at only 1,000 won a piece, you can’t go wrong. The mandu are crispy and stuffed with meat.

Besides just the eateries, there are lots of shops and things to see on the street. In Hongdae you’ll find the Hello Kitty Cafe that is dressed entirely in pink and the famous cafe that was in the drama: The Coffee Prince. You’ll also find many street vendors selling everything from cell phone covers, hats, vintage clothes, toys, and much more. It’s a great place to visit late at night because most of the shops will stay open till at least 12pm. Some stay open to 2am.

Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae
Hongdae Park

Hongdae Park is a popular hangout spot on Friday and Saturday Nights because you’ll get to see local bands perform. In the park, you’ll also see some enterprising kids selling cocktails.

Hongdae Street Vendor
Luxury Noraebang Hongdae

There are also a number of Singing Rooms (Noraebangs). Luxury Noraebang is the most famous one. This one looks like a Barbie Dream House and you can see people singing from outside.

Gangster Tteokbokki
Gangster Cutting Soondae at Gangster Tteokbokki

Gangster tteokbokki is another late night hotspot. It started as a streetcart in the Hongdae Parking lot by a group of gangsters that left the gang. It quickly became popular because…well..they are gangsters that can make a mean cup of tteokbokki. You can see one of the gangsters cutting Soondae above. The real rice-based noodles in the spicy, sweet sauce makes this a great place to visit after getting buzzed.

Gangster Tteokbokki
Gangster tteokbokki
With friends at Vinyl

Vinyl is another Hongdae Night Spot and here you can get cocktails in a bag. They are great for sipping while traversing Hondae way.

Pizzasta Hongdae