Battle Trip Recap: Episode 23

Battle Trip Recap: Episode 23
Episode 23: October 15, 2016

The Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism along with the Korean Tourism Organization have dubbed October 24th to November 6th fall vacation week, so this week’s <Battle Trip> is a second MC battle special. This round features Kim Sook (Jeolla Province) vs San E (Gyeongsang Province). I really like the episodes that focus on domestic travels because that means that I can actually afford to visit some of these places. Yay!

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This week’s guests are Hwang Kwanghee and Park So-hyun. Park So-hyun and Kim Sook have been friends for over twenty years, and started out in the same entertainment company, so I think they’ll get along well. On the other hand, I’m a bit worried about the Hwang Kwanghee and San E pairing since they don’t really seem to know each other.

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Kim Sook is up first with “The Overnight Tour” in Jeolla Province. During a pre-trip meeting with the <Battle Trip> writers, Kim Sook brainstorms for guests. She calls Park Na-rae first and of course she’s busy drinking even though it’s only 3 pm. Kim Sook decides Park Na-rae is too drunk to take anywhere, so she tries her other <Radio Star> co-MC, Park So-hyun.

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They meet up the next morning at the Yongsan train station. Park So-hyun is excited because she rarely gets a chance to go outside of Seoul due to her daily radio show. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to work 365 days a year, even if it’s just for a couple hours a day.

The trip starts out in the city of Jeonju at a hangover stew restaurant. (Maybe Kim Sook should have taken Park Na-rae instead.) They have bean sprout soup over rice which of course Jeonju is famous for as well as pig blood soup and some scallion pancakes. The highlight here though is the non-alcoholic makgeolli which is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing. It’s perfect for those who come hungover, but want to have some famous Jeonju makgeolli.

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The second location is a desert cafe featuring fruit and tiramisu tarts. They are pretty cute, but look pretty expensive too. Sung Shi-kyung comments that women would really like this place. Do men not like sweets? Because every time a food show features deserts, someone makes this comment about women.

Next, Park So-hyun wants to visit some random high school? Apparently Sunggyu of Infinite graduated from there. Nuna is showing some K-pop love. She asks some locals if Chonbuk National University High School is nearby, and fortunately it is not, so the two don’t have to use up their time there. Park So-hyun also wants to check out Taeyeon’s eye wear shop. Back at the studio, the other MCs complain about her choice, so she defends herself saying it’s a major tourist attraction especially among the Chinese.

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Of course when in Jeonju, you can’t skip the Jeonju Hanok Village, so the two put on traditional hanboks and have some fun cosplaying as Park Bo-Gum and Kim You-Jung from <Love in the Moonlight.> There are lots of cute cafes and restaurants in the Hanok Village.

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For example, there’s a popular bakery where they get grilled cheese. Not a grilled cheese sandwich, but literally grilled cheese, which seems to be a trend these days. They also get mango bread which Park So-hyun says is even better than traditional Korean steamed buns with red beans inside.

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The two rent a bike to the next location, but the bike runs out of battery, so some locals have to push them. LOL. The next attraction is a fortune telling vending machine. Kim Sook gets her love fortune told and it says that she’ll have three suitors, a Mr. Kim, Mr Lee, and Mr No. Hm . . .  looks like there’s no room for Yoon Jung-soo.

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For their final attraction of the day, they check out the Jeonju Night Market top 5 street foods. Some of these are not for the squeamish.

  1. Fire Sushi
  2. Steak Tips
  3. Octopus on a Stick
  4. Blood Sausages
  5. Tripe Skin

Kim Sook and Park So-hyun worry about how they’re going to manage to eat all that food, but it turns out it to be a pointless worry. The line for the fire sushi is no joke. It looks like hundreds of people packed in the small night market alleyway. The same for the other four foods on the list, so Kim Sook and Park So-hyun end up failing to try any of the five street foods on their list and have to settle for some mango flavored shaved ice. For anyone planning on visiting the night market, Kim Sook recommends running there as soon as the night market opens at 6 pm.

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The next day, the two plan to visit three more places in Jeolla Province: Sunchang County, Damyang County, and Gwangju City, which they first tour by mini-airplane. They’re smaller than the average car.  This looks super cool, and if only I had the money I would definitely try this on my next vacation. The only bad thing about it though is that the planes are so small that they can only fit one person in addition to the pilot, so these aren’t really ideal for dates or families, but Kim Sook and Park So-hyun at least can communicate by radio.

Apparently though, those radios are used often for marriage proposals. It must be awkward for the pilots.

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Next, they go to a traditional Korean restaurant that only accommodates parties of six or more. They are pretty strict about that rule and don’t even accept small parties that offer to pay for six servings worth of food. Kim Sook’s never managed to go there before because there weren’t enough people with her, but this time they have camera crew members who can help fill up the other four slots.  Lucky for them.

It’s not hard to see why this place requires reservations of six or more, the restaurant serves a whopping 89 side dishes, and it only costs about $20 per person. I have never heard of any place with so many side dishes. The most I’ve ever even heard of had like 20 and even that was a ton of food. After lunch, Kim Sook and Park So-hyun go for a walk on Metasequoia Road which I’ve only been to in the winter, so it wasn’t as impressive.

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The highlight of the day, at least in my opinion, is the Bamboo Forest in Damyang County. I’ve been here before and this place is definitely worth a visit. It’s a fairly large forest, and there are a bunch of mini-activities to do there if you get bored of looking at just bamboo trees. One of these is a set of bamboo stalks placed according to the average width of people sorted by age.

The first stalks are spaced out 17.75 cm for those in their 20s, 19.21 cm for the 30s, 20.72 cm for 40s, 22.77 cm for 50s, and 24.79 for 60s. If you can pass through the slots, then you are under average for that age group. Park So-hyun clears the 20s slot with ease, but Kim Sook forces her way through and only manages it when Park So-hyun pulls her through from the other side.

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The day ends at a Korean pancake restaurant in Gwangju City where you cook the pancakes on the table yourself on front of you. They try beef, clam, and octopus pancakes. These are definitely an upgrade from the scallion pancakes the day before.

It’s time for audience votes. How many people will approve of the travel course?

It’s a whopping 94 out of 100, which is the highest in the six month history of this show.

Next week’s episode of <Battle Trip> features the “Meet Meat Tour” in Gyeongsang Province with San E and Hwang Gwanghee.

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