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By Way of Korea

South Korea   |   New York

A Korean food blog and travelogue inspired by

an epicurious New Yorker's journey around South Korea


A Geological Wonder of the Gobi Desert - Tsagaan Suvarga, the "White Stupa" (Mongolia)

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

Our UAZ rolled to a stop just before a precipice, which I cautiously approached on foot. A magnificent work of art commissioned by Mother Nature unfolded before us. Long ago, the seawater had dried up, revealing the sedimentary escarpment on top of which we stood. The winds had sculpted the unique stupa-like forms and clay deposits had colored them with layers of pink and red hues. What was once the seafloor had transformed into clay-rich earthen mounds that resembled a bloodstained battlefield.

Descending the steep cliff without any ropes or gear proved to be tricky. Though I tried my best to identify solid patches on which to secure my footing, much of the path down gave out under my weight like quicksand, forcing me to slide along with the loose sediment and brake intermittently so I wouldn’t lose control altogether and tumble. Once we reached the base of the cliff, we larked around the vast, undulating terrain and admired the full magnificence of the Tsagaan Suvarga, the “White Stupa.” Caves and Bronze Age rock drawings could be found along the cliff, but before we had a chance to find them, the sun began to set and we had to climb back up the cliff to continue on our way to our ger for the night.

The elements will continue to weather and shape this magnificent work-in-progress, a geological record of Earth’s dynamic history that will continue to write itself. A single, meandering tire trail disappearing into the horizon away from the Tsagaan Suvarga was the sole trace of human activity. I wondered what lied that way as we drove off into the opposite direction. There were neither roads nor signs to follow, and I could not even surmise what I might see or not get to see. And therein lied the beauty of my journey across Mongolia, a rare experience of pure first impressions made possible by freedom from any preformed expectations.



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"If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go."

Anthony Bourdain's unmatched relish for adventure and humble approach to food, cultures, and humanity left an indelible impression on my younger self. Imparting on me the courage to veer into the unknown, he inspired me to embrace my vulnerabilities and seek adventures and growth beyond the comforts of home.


In July of 2017, I boarded a one-way flight to Seoul, South Korea. Within the first week of arrival, I signed a lease for an apartment and by the end of August, I had accepted a job offer that relocated me to Pyeongchang and Gangneung, where the Winter Olympics were soon to be held. From there, I had the rare opportunity to explore much of the greater Gangwon Province's beautiful mountainous and coastal regions and their distinctive foods. Once or twice a month, I'd return to Seoul or travel to an unfamiliar region to poke around alleyways, markets, and mountains in search of more good eats and adventures.


By Way of Korea is a storytelling project inspired by the food, places, and faces I encountered throughout Korea. By sharing my fondest memories, notes, and images of Korea, I simply hope to play a small part in piquing greater curiosity about Korean food and culture in my readers.  My content will heavily spotlight, but not be limited to Korean food and culture. 

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