Thursday, April 14, 2011

Earth Day, 2011

There have already been posts about two recurring monthly events, both of which have been planned to fall on Earth Day weekend: Daegu Green Living's seventh Eco-Film Night (Saturday at 7:30PM) and Daegu Bike Festival's second ride of the year (Sunday at 11:00AM). But there's more!

In honor of Earth Day - all of it, from 12:00AM to 11:59PM - all cars, buses, taxis, and taxis, and maybe even scooters will be prevented from entering passing through the stretch of road between Jungang Intersection (the corner of Daegu Lotte Young Plaza is) and Banwoldang intersection. The effect on air pollution will hardly be noticeable, but the ambiance of Jungang-no changes significantly. Here are some images from Daegu Car-Free Day last September:

F&*^ Off, cars!

There may or may not be live music.

Who knows who they'll hire for the big stage. Maybe better to bring your own tunes:

Lots of cyclists, tents, and wholesome noise:

Most importantly, the space freed up will be used for stuff like this:

All along Jungang-no, various eco-conscious organizations will be setting up tents, selling products, teaching arts and crafts, explaining this and that, and spreading the word about what they're doing to make Daegu, Korea, and the world a slightly cleaner place. If you want to know what sort of environmental stuff is going on in Daegu, and how and where and when you can get involved, don't miss this chance!

Noksaek Sari will also have a booth! Please stop by, hang out, pass out fliers, and enjoy the spring while it lasts^^

The festivities will likely start at about 10AM, but those who are truly dedicated/slightly crazy are advised to come out at midnight! A few members from the Green Consumers Alliance are planning to pitch a tent or two the moment the car blockade goes into effect, and then spend the whole night there at Jungang-no. Our plans aren't too solid yet, but they will likely include (live) music, card and board games, chatting and snacking, and maybe watching a film or two. Please join us - what's not to like? The YMCA has agreed to stay open and let us use its bathrooms, and, as we all know, kimbap and other snacks are available around the clock. Just bring a a tent, a mat, a blanket, a coat, a water bottle, a snack or two, an instrument, a game, or something to talk about.

Hope to see you there!

2011 Daegu Bike Festival, Round 2 / Earth Day Celebrations

The 2011 Daegu Bike Festival campaign kicked off on March 19, with nearly one thousand riders making a 14-km loop from the West District Office, around West Daegu, and Back. In addition to a massive number of Korean participants, several foreigners joined in the fun, including the first ever foreigner to don the shiny, yellow, slightly obnoxious staff vest then cycle to and fro protecting children and ajumma alike from the vicissitudes of Korean traffic:

More importantly, though, the following picture made it into several local newspapers:

Way to go, Shane and Aaron! How great is it to have some lasting evidence of foreigners participating in and contributing to a meaningful, barely-publicized event like this? Three cheers for integration! (Thanks also to Niall and Matt, who must have been somewhere else in the pack. Maybe if you wear badass sunglasses next time, you'll make the front page.)

So, let's do it again! 2011's second Bike Festival will take place on Sunday, April 24th in honor of Earth Day. We'll kick off from Jungang-no downtown and go for, again, a 14km loop around the southeastern part of the city, with a short break at Suseong lake.

The plan is to start with photos at 10:30, have the opening ceremony at 11:00, hit the road at 11:20, and wind down with prizes at 1:00.

Look here for a map of the course and other details, and click the big orange button to sign up for your raffle ticket.

As with all Daegu Bike Festival events, all are welcome and everything is free.

Hope to see you there!

Eco-film Night #7: The Garden

Earth Day is coming up and Daegu Green Living has been thinking of a few ways to celebrate, inform, and empower. Thus,

Daegu Green Living Presents / 녹색살이대구 보여드립니다

Eco-Film Night / 친환경 영화 상영: The Garden

Unfortunately, it looks like the official website is under attack at the moment. You may have to content yourself with the following trailer and description:

"The fourteen-acre community garden at 41st and Alameda in South Central Los Angeles is the largest of its kind in the United States. Started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in 1992, the South Central Farmers have since created a miracle in one of the country’s most blighted neighborhoods. Growing ...their own food. Feeding their families. Creating a community.

But now, bulldozers are poised to level their 14-acre oasis.

The Garden follows the plight of the farmers, from the tilled soil of this urban farm to the polished marble of City Hall. Mostly immigrants from Latin America, from countries where they feared for their lives if they were to speak out, we watch them organize, fight back, and demand answers:

Why was the land sold to a wealthy developer for millions less than fair-market value? Why was the transaction done in a closed-door session of the LA City Council? Why has it never been made public?

And the powers-that-be have the same response: “The garden is wonderful, but there is nothing more we can do.”

If everyone told you nothing more could be done, would you give up?

* * *

The Garden has the pulse of verité with the narrative pull of fiction, telling the story of the country’s largest urban farm, backroom deals, land developers, green politics, money, poverty, power, and racial discord. The film explores and exposes the fault lines in American society and raises crucial and challenging questions about liberty, equality, and justice for the poorest and most vulnerable among us."

Where: Buy the Book Cafe, Rodeo Street, Downtown Daegu
When: Saturday, April 23rd, 7:30PM-9:00PM

As always, entrance is FREE and all are welcome. Have dinner with friends and then stop by, or enjoy something off Buy the Book's new expanded menu. Hope to see you there!

**In addition, please look for further posts about Daegu Car-Free Day, which will begin at midnight on the evening of the film, and the monthly Daegu Bike Festival, which will start at 11:00AM from Jungang-no on Sunday.**

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Porin Shabu Shabu

Let's be honest: despite all the wonderful vegetables present in Korean cuisine, the salad bars here generally leave more than a little to be desired. Either they're ridiculously expensive (lookin' at you, VIPS and NOVOTEL), or they're filled with pretzels, taste-free iceberg lettuce, and out-of-season produce that doesn't even deserve the name (take that, Pizza Hut.) Is there nowhere we can go to find heaps and heaps fresh, local vegetable abundance?

Despair not! Behold, Porin Shabu Shabu in Chilgok.

Ok, so it's not exactly a salad bar. No raisins, shredded cheese, croutons, or thousand-island dressing here. Rather, it's a Shabu Shabu (AKA Chinese hot-pot) buffet. An analogy for the uninitiated: cooked directly in front of you in fine Korean DIY fashion, Shabu Shabu is to Chicken-noodle soup as Samgyeopsal is to microwavable bacon. The poster below explains how it's done:

Step 1) Heat up the broths; one spicy, one mild.

Step 2) Head to the bar and pick up a few plates of veggies and friends. Choose from about ten different kinds of leafy greens, chives, green onions, sliced potato and sweet pumpkin, tofu, bean sprouts, tiny ddeok dumplings, a few varieties of mushrooms, and more.*

If all the choices leave you at a loss, and if you've got a translator, read the explanations of each vegetable and its nutritional benefits. This "jeok-gyeo-ja" is apparently full of vitamins A and C and is reputedly good for your eyes, ears, and "stability of heart.":

Bring the treasure back to your seat, dunk, and enjoy. Dip in either Thai-style hot chili sauce or soy sauce with wasabi.

Step 3) **OPTIONAL** Add either seafood, imported beef, or Korean Han-u.

Step 4) Enjoy a clump or two of nice, thick noodles.

The sign doesn't mention Step 5: Go back for seconds.

If you were a rabbit in your past life, if you're into vegetables piled high, or if you're even the slightest bit tired of standard doenjang and gochujang-based banchan, Porin will be a welcome change of pace. Graze on more kinds of greens than you knew existed, then fill up on delicious pumpkins and thick, chewy noodles. Choose either plum or cinnamon tea for desert, and then enjoy a cartoony game of kawi-bawi-bo with the owner. Win and you get a coupon for your next trip^^

The details:
Name: Porin Shabu Shabu
Location: Chilgok, within about 5 minutes walking distance of HomePlus.
Veg*an-friendly?: The broths are made with some amount of animal products; customers are expected to order meat or seafood with the meal, and the staff are confused if you refuse, but eventually they'll concede.
Price: dinners from W9,000, weekday lunches from W6,500.
Address: 대구 광역시 북구 동천동 904-4번지
Contact: 323-6661

UPDATE: There's a second location (which was actually the first location) at 대구광역시 수성구 수성3가 5번지, on the green line right between Daegu Bank Station and Beomeo Station.

*Up until a few months ago, Porin's Shabu bar contained a good deal of organic produce. Nowadays, due to increased prices, they've had to return to standard stuff. Keep supporting them and maybe they'll be able to switch back!