A city of pies and temples


One of the great pulls for our trip to Daegu was the knowledge that it had a branch of Jesters, an Australian/New Zealand chain of pies.  Meat pies are hard to come by in Korea and for any true blue antipodean, this is a real shame.  How many of us have walked to the petrol station in our pyjamas with a hangover to pick up a breakfast pie?  How many of us have scoffed a too hot pie straight from the pie warmer in a drunken stupor on the way home from a night out?  A pie at a rugby game…a pie from the school tuck shop…a pie on the beach…a pie, well just cause pies are awesome.

Recovering from the discovery of our medium (H-J) to intense (Dan) sunburns, we headed back out into the searing heat of Daegu to find the Hyundai Department Store which promised a Jesters in its basement food court.

En route we discovered a man posing in what seems to the fashion for men around Korean in the stinking hot summer.

We found a teeny bit of street art too.After not too much mucking around, our target was in sight.
You will note in the photo below that H-J is distracting herself with a book so as not to devour the pie whole before Dan has completed its photo shoot.  It took some resistance.  The Southern Man was a hearty steak and cheese pie – the classic!
Dan was so enraptued with his pie, he promptly ran back to the Jester’s stand where he purchased more pies and made the staff part of his excitement too!
A Billy T pie this time round – otherwise known as mince and cheese.

Bellies full of pie and antipodean roots re-confirmed, it was time to head back to the motel and rest our weary sun-burned bodies before another early start.

The next morning an hour and a half bus ride whisked us away to Haein-sa Temple, a repository for famous Buddhist books the Tripitaka Koreana and generally nice place to hang out.

As we commenced the stroll up the path toward the main temple, we were distracted by this awesome looking dragon statue.  Accordingly, we decided that it was a great location for a spot of breakfast bacon and egg pie, purchased the night before in a fit of pie lust and general good planning! Breakfast devoured, we headed off toward enlightenment.It turns out that the books that compose the Tripitaka Koreana are, like many relics, housed away from greasy fingers and damaging camera flashes.  We had to suffice with a photo of the sign and some shots of the stunning building made to house them safely.   In lieu of being able to go near the actual books, the temple powers-that-be have thoughtfully provided a picture of them so you can stand in front and have your photo taken.  We could lie and say we broke in and looked at the books but even we’re not so dastardly as to sully a Buddhist temple.Masses of chanting commenced throughout the main temples and all the smaller temples at 10am.  Its a rather surreal thing to experience, high up in the largely uninhabited hills of Korea.  When the chanting ended, the monks then had a go on the drums.
And before we knew it, it was time for us to head off into the day for more adventures.
So off we went to the bus-stop with the weirdest, least-catchiest but perhaps most informative name ever. What we were to discover next was anybodies guess!

Categories: Food, Korea, Photos, TravelTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

42 comments

  1. There’s a Jester’s in Itaewon in Seoul! I’d never had a meat pie before coming here, but after drunkenly eating one at about 3 am I’m hooked! Delicious 🙂

  2. did they also have those samosas that are the vegetarian’s junkfood and that every wellington dairy has in the pie warmer for $2.50-$3.00?

    also, we should have a photozone in Auckland of all famous world sites. Then we only need to take a plane trip to Auckland to get pics of the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower and the Venus de Milo instead of half a billion hours to get to ANYWHERE. and everywhere else in the world should have photozones of fiordland and they can pay fifty cents to have their photo taken there and the money goes to the new zealand tourism board. then we still get the money but without the tourists!

  3. The “I can’t believe I’m eating a pie” pic is so incredibly amazing. My meat pie repetoire has sadly been limited to Chicken Pot Pie (great but now I’m feeling as if I’m missing out on something). Must google search for Jester’s in Shanghai , right now!

    • Its a special moment when you finally have your mitts on a delicious pie…there doesn’t appear to be a Jesters in Shanghai but I found this http://www.shanghaipie.com/ – thought you might be interested!!! We’re always happy to help someone try and find PIE, wherever they may be.

      • PIEEEE! Much thanks , I also just searched and came to the same realizations. This Shanghai Pie is a must try. Sadly I have no Jester comparisions to make. If I’m out here long enough an oven will be an awesome investment. Let the homemade pie reign supreme!

      • Good luck on your pie quest! Jesters are the best of what we can find here but they’re definitely not the best pies on the planet – so who knows, maybe Shanghai Pie will kick the other pie’s butts! Haha. And yes, lack of ovens/space for ovens in Asia is definitely something that takes some getting used to…We often weep over the thought of a good roast, or some freshly baked bread 😦

        Ps. Let us know how your pie quest goes!!!

      • What’s your favorite pie? I’ll definitely let you know how Shanghai Pie is! I’m not going to let myself get too excited though , I tend to find Western food is waayy overpriced and sometimes not all that great for the amount of cash you paid. But here’s hoping!

      • Dan: “All pies, but especially steak n’ cheese. Oh and homemade bacon and egg. And potato top.”
        H-J: “Homemade bacon and egg, followed very closely by a chunky, steak pie, NO CHEESE. Cheese in pies is weird.”
        Dan: “Cheese in pies is AWESOME!!!! You’re weird.”

        And yes, Western food is oft over-priced and really disappointing in these parts of the world. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that its sometimes made by Asians for Asian palates, rather than just made the expat way…sugar on hotdogs anyone? Shudder…

  4. Every time you post about meat pies, it takes me back to our NZ trip and is a reminder how ubiquitous they were there and how we haven’t had any since then. Sigh.

    Also really nice to see the photos of Haein-sa Temple and your experience there. It was one place we had planned on going. Though now, that we know the Buddhist texts are hidden away out of view, we may have to reconsider. Though it does look lovely.

    • Surely, SURELY there must be some homesick Kiwi living somewhere in the States who has figured out a way to import them or make them themselves?! I find it horrifying that you’re feeling deprived. Perhaps when you’re in Korea you can have a pie, haha.

      Haein-sa is a gorgeous place to wander around but I admit it was a little disappointing that we couldn’t get a decent glance at the books. You can peer at them through gaps in the wooden slats behind which they sit. The way they are ‘preserved’ is actually pretty cool as its very low key – efforts in the past for more hardcore preservation damaged the books, so they went back to a more old-school way, which is essentially just a wooden building (with loads of fire extinguishers around, haha) with lots of air flow. We both loved Haein-sa and the surrounding grounds regardless of not seeing the books. Earlier in the year when we were at Bulguksa Temple we made the hike up to the Seokguram Grotto to see the famous Buddha – now that was extremely disappointing as its behind a thick piece of perspex, in a cramped little room and you can barely see it while you’re being jostled by billions of other tourists.

      Keep an eye on the blog for a post coming up soon though about what we consider the most stunning temple we’ve seen to date in Korea…its a beauty!

      • That would be ironic – having to go all the way to Korea just to get some NZ pies!

        When we lived there (this was in 2nd or 3rd grade), our class took a field trip to one temple where there was a huge Buddha. Of course, at the time I could care less and didn’t pay attention and now regret all the field trips and opportunities I wasted. That and shunning the opportunity to learn Korean (my mom said I’d regret it when I grew older and sure enough, she was right).

      • Kids are kids everywhere and generally reluctant to suck up the stuff that might “be good for them later on”! Haha. Its something I bang my head against the wall about everyday with my students here…I’m sure you’ll relish the chance to catch up on some stuff when you’re visiting Korea next year.

  5. Interesting as always, and nice photos. 😉 I am not so familiar with pies, have tasted some wonderful ones in England but not enough to be addicted..

    • It must be something about our antipodean/British colonial roots that make us so drawn to pies, haha. Most cultures seem to have some kind of variety of savoury filling stuffed into pastry, whether they be pies, pasties, empanadas, pierogi, Jamaica patty, samosa…is there anything similar in Norway? I’m getting hungry thinking about all of this!

  6. wish I could go to a Jesters, love reading your posts!

  7. PIES!!!! Nice one! I was introduced to the beauty of pies when I visited NZ!!! Thankfully, there is pie o’ plenty in Canada!!! What I do miss is the savory muffins!!!! Oh yes, + the temple is beautiful as well!!! You guys have a great take on Korean adventures!

    • Yay, another pie fan!!! Good to hear that pies are in bountiful supply in Canada. Do you get a good variety of flavours there?

      And yes, savoury muffins rock – are they unique to New Zealand? I guess I hadn’t thought about it but now that I do, I only see sweet ones on my travels. I don’t like sweet muffins – I think you may as well eat a piece of cake instead and not muck around – but a good savoury muffin is an awesome, awesome thing. I have an incredible recipe if you’re interested.

  8. Wow all this pie talk especially this Jester’s is getting me craving to try this! I went on their site and it looks like no Jesters in Canada : ( Sigh…I guess I’ll have to goto New Zealand/Korea to try this! I’ve always wanted to go both places. I’ve had chicken pot pie (really good one at the Bay department store downtown) and every kind of patty you can imagine and even had steak and kidney pie in England but not a pie that looks like this one. One of your shots of the pie had it looking like the size of an apple pie lol but I guess the perspective angle was deceiving.

    • They may not have Jesters in Canada but apparently there’s heaps of pies – see Nanook’s comments below! Sounds like you’ve got some trawling for pie to be done, which is NOT a bad thing in our book! Jesters isn’t the best pie we’ve ever had (we have a high, high bar set for us being Kiwis!) but definitely the best we’ve had in Korea. I’d recommend NZ for a pie destination if you’re keen to travel 🙂

      The angle of our photo must have been deceiving – apologies – if you curve your hands (like if you were going to make a sock puppet talk) and touch the fingers and thumbs of both hands together in such fashion, the pie should neatly fit in the gap created. Hope that helps, haha.

      • NZ is a future destination goal of mine so we’ll see if I can make it out there. I hope one day we will cross paths in our future travels but until then I’ll keep in touch through our blogs : ) Keep up the good work!

      • Glad to hear that you’re factoring in NZ somewhere along the way. Of course we’re biased but there aren’t many people who visit NZ and don’t fall in love with it just a little. Who knows, maybe we’ll be back on our shores by the time you make it there and we can all eat pies together!

  9. THOSE PIES. WHY. WHY DO YOU DO THIS. I WANT. PIES. I really do miss NZ pies. I ate so many of them back in the day. Along with the waterfallsandcaribous random adventures/cindyhkim bottled butter and pastry aroma/Rent-A-Korean-Mom, we need to add PIES to the business!

  10. Hangover breakfast pie from the petrol station in your jim jams is my favourite!! ahhh memories!!!
    I do like the fashion pose, if that was at home, he’d be a plumber, with lower jeans and a pie in hand…

  11. I’d almost gather from reading that first section of your post that ‘Pies are your religion!’ lol and it would be an awesome thing! Meat pies overseas can be somewhat dubious (my little bro recounts his story in Shanghai at the Australian pavilion) and paying full price for a meat pie in what turned out to be just a little party pie-not happy!

    But seriously the temple looked like an incredibly tranquil and cleansing environment to visit. Vegan, vegetarian, meditative Joy! 🙂

    • Vegetarian? Vegan?!! Wash your mouth out woman!!! There will be none of that talk on our blog, haha.

      Religion of Pie, however…now that’s not a bad idea at all. We could be the High Priest and High Priestesses (you can be one too, if you flag the vegan speak) of Pie.

  12. Well, I didn’t cover anything outside Seoul the way you did, but I was impressed by how ornate their temples were, even for the small ones within a city. Your photos are gorgeous! I remember eating kimchi fried rice! Yum!

    • Mmm kimchi fried rice is awesome 🙂 And yes, the temples are lovely! We’ve spent our months living in a tiny village in the south of Korea so have had to venture far and wide for adventure. Seoul is relatively untapped by us, aside from one week we spent there we first arrived in Korea. We’re looking forward to seeing more of it on our way out. Vietnam is somewhere we’d definitely both love to travel – and we’re getting closer with our next steps…!

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