Sunday, 6 May 2012

Lee Boulanger (part deux)

Around 6 months ago, I wrote an entry about how my good friend had set up his own bakery in Seoul called Lee Boulanger.  Once I knew that I would be heading to HK, I figured since I was close enough to Korea, why not try and see if I could organise a trip there? 

We arrived in Seoul on a Saturday evening and met my friend Won for a lovely dinner of bulgogi (the same resto which President Obama ate at when he visited), followed by some delicious bindaetteok at a street stall and my first taste of Korean rice wine, makkoli. Sorry, no pics of any of our meals; it was so lovely to see my friend Won again and we had so much to catch up on that I forgot to take the camera out during the whole evening!

Prior to our trip, I had asked if it would be OK for me to spend a day at Lee Boulanger and Won kindly agreed. Since his bakery was not in the city centre, he suggested the best way to get there was by taxi. English is not actually very widely spoken in Seoul so Won kindly wrote down directions for me so I could just give them to the taxi driver and make my own way there. Everything was going smoothly on the Sunday morning until the taxi driver just told me to get out of the car and drove off! I had no idea where I was! We knew that our mobiles wouldn't work in Korea and so, had rented out a local mobile at the airport. Ma Chan was going to come out later so I thought it would be best if she kept the mobile assuming that I would have no problem finding my way around. How wrong I was??!! Turns out that Korean addresses are NOTORIOUSLY difficult to find (even locals have problems!) - Won had written down an approximate address for the taxi driver and he would be able to collect me once I arrived. It didn't go exactly to plan and I ended up wandering around the neighbourhood for a good 45 minutes trying to find his place. I did feel a little helpless (and ignorant) with no knowledge of any Korean so had to resort to sign language which wasn't particularly effective. Eventually, I stumbled across a supermarket and asked one of the staff if they had a public telephone I could use. They didn't but very kindly used their own phone to ring Won; needless to say, he was mega-worried so had to reassure him I was fine. I then had to ask the supermarket worker to explain where I was and a few minutes later, Won arrived to pick me up. I felt pretty terrible for causing him so much stress but once we got back to the bakery, everything was a little bit calmer again.

It was a brilliant day and I was really happy to see my friend's business in the flesh; I did help out a little in the lab but I think I was more of a hindrance than help! I also quickly realised how rusty my breadmaking skills were!!! Luckily, Ma Chan had less of an ordeal heading to the bakery and we sat down in the afternoon to a lunch of delicious freshly made bread and tasty coffee! Yummy - thanks again Won for putting up with us!! :)
Lee Boulanger entrance - I was actually very close but missed the street entrance, d'oh!!

Shop floor and lab

Baking the morning's bread

I botched up the scoring of Won's baguettes, sorry chef!! :(

A Lee Boulanger creation, brown rice bread, super bon! 

1st floor seating area cum art gallery


 Lunch - merci chef :)

2nd floor art gallery

Outside porch area

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