With 1826 posts to date, including this one, the information has become so expansive/extensive that I can no longer maintain statistics with precision.
In fact, the internal search function can't handle the load anymore, so I have to google my own blog to find information from older posts.
The only number that I can offer is that the blog appears to have generated 106,366 hits during Cycle 5 (calculated by taking the total current hits as of today and subtracting the hits from the previous cycles: 56,319 in Cycle 4, 41,764 in Cycle 3, 16,156 in Cycle 2, and 2,015 in Cycle 1), about 290 hits per day on average. At this rate, I could achieve the status of a one-million-hits-per-day power blogger by the conclusion of Cycle 17.
In any case, along the lines of how I wrapped Cycle 4 (see generally 4.365 Rice & Egg Porridge), here's the highlight reel for Cycle 5...
MOST HISTORICALLY SYMBOLIC: On the evening of moving into an apartment in Manila, initially for a sojourn of just three months, this meal represents the beginning of what has since become an official expatriation in the Philippines, possibly for years to come; it was also the launch of TERRP (see 5.008 TERRP 1(1.01) C2 Classic Cuisine : Chicken Pork Adobo + Siningag).
BEST SURPRISE: Regrettably, however, I failed to live up to the faith and promise of Gustaf's care package, preparing just 2 Swedish meals this cycle, including this one (see 5.100 Tomatsill with Baguette); but I will make up for it in 2015.
MOST PERSONALLY TOUCHING: The featured item, as well as the supplementary stuff on tobacco marketing, both relating to the same kid (see 5.102 Potato & Corn Croquettes).
BEST DISH (COOKED) BY ME: A simple and obvious yet nonetheless profound breakthrough, like that guy who first wore pants (see 5.303 Doenjang Jjigae); few candidates in this category with only 34 "by me" items this cycle, compared to an average of 160 in each previous cycle.
About the ramyeon, she brought in a pack one day to work (acquired during a mission to Korea) (reasons unknown) and asked me how to make it; at first, I was confused by the question, thinking maybe that she was asking me how the product had been manufactured; but she didn't know how much water to add or whether other ingredients needed to be added and in what order, etc.; funny that something so obvious to people who've grown up on instant noodles here in Asia could be confounding to a person, even an excellent cook, from other parts of the world.
After spending Christmas with the family in the Philippines (see most recently 5.357 Chicago Cowboy Steak), I came back with them to Korea to celebrate the New Year, arriving Monday night, returning to Manila tonight.
All of a sudden, I'm an Elite Member of the Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles Club. I discovered this at the airport in Manila on the way here, at the check-in counter, when I was handed a boarding pass stamped "ELITE" and a ticket for lounge access, even though my ticket was for economy. Haven't flown enough miles to qualify, so I'm thinking that maybe the recent business-class flight to Australia (see generally 5.335 Chicken Tausi) bumped me up. Don't care why. Kinda afraid to ask, in case it turns out to be a mistake. The lounge will be particularly welcome in Manila, where the airport terminal is uncomfortable and boring and absent of decent dining/drinking options; priority baggage claim will also be nice given the ground crew's insufferable slowness that sometimes requires nearly an hour's wait for baggage. I'll be flying PAL a lot more, here on out. Win-win.
Incheon International Airport is split into two sections: the main terminal (for bigshot flights, mostly Korean Air and Asiana, to/from long-haul destinations, like the US); and the *satellite terminal, accessible via 2-minute tram-ride (for scrub flights, mostly non-Korean carriers, to/from nearby destinations, like the Philippines); perhaps because passengers on scrub flights tend not to go business, the Asiana lounge in the satellite terminal was largely empty.
Free unattended booze, thank you very much.
The food, however, was meh. Snacks, no real food. Whatever--I'm not there for the food (not really).
Business-class travel presents the passenger with a peculiar gastronomic surfeit. For starters, the lounge offers a variety of items to eat and drink in unlimited quantity, usually of decent quality (though not here, apparently). Then, during the flight, the food and beverages are also bound to be pretty good and plentiful (see for example 5.286 Chili Mango Prawns...). Too many choices. As with most things in life, the opportunities are broader and deeper for those who don't need them.
If I arrive early enough to secure a seat by the exit...
...and if I pack my own goodies (e.g., like figs and brains), then I could very closely emulate a complete business-class experience.
The Prodigal Son Returns to Welcome the New Year, Day 5 (see previously 5.361 Palbochae).
After spending Christmas with the family in the Philippines (see most recently 5.357 Chicago Cowboy Steak), I've come back with them to Korea to celebrate the New Year, arriving Monday night, returning to Manila on tomorrow evening.
While Seolmaene is still one of my favorite restaurants in the city, one of my favorite restaurants of all time (see most recently 4.125 Bossam), I confess that I'm getting a bit tired of the limited menu.
In any case, the meal didn't quite satisfy as before. The nakji bokkeum, which hasn't previously been covered on the blog, had a nice charred flavor on the octopus itself, but the rest of the dish was blah--perhaps the most disappointing dish that I've ever experienced here. Everyone else also seemed less than thrilled.
Sundae + Ddeokbokki (3.5)--afternoon snack at my favorite food stall (see most recently 5.267 Ddeokbokki + Sundae), now a neighborhood joint--always satisfying.
After spending Christmas with the family in the Philippines (see most recently 5.357 Chicago Cowboy Steak), I've come back with them to Korea to celebrate the New Year, arriving Monday night, returning to Manila on Saturday evening.
Yes, I'm aware that these aren't pure coincidences, just that I always have dinner with the same groups of people around the same time of year.
Taking a glance at my DSLR camera, the owner offered us a complimentary bottle of hooch and asked that I be generous in my review--the second time that this has happened to me (see also 4.331 Special Nigiri Set).
Hong Myeong is a Korean-Chinese restaurant.
The food was hit/miss. While the ingredients were clearly very fresh, and the preparations exhibited a skilled hand, the seasonings fell a bit short. The palbochae, for example, the best dish of the meal--fresh seafood is pretty good regardless--was kinda bland. Whatever.
Good times nevertheless.
Happy New Year!
For brunch earlier in the day, as per New Year's tradition, my mother made ddeok guk; personally, I feel that her style is too spartan--she likes food to be "clean" in appearance (see for comparison 5.269 Ddeok Galbi Tang).