Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Bittersweet Seoul Part 2 - The Food

Oh glorious food!

This is the 5th time in Seoul for me and the first time I stayed in Seoul without having touched any Kalbi!

Anyway here are some snippets of what I ate throughout my stay this time.

First off, haemul tang (seafood soup). As you can see in the photo below, it's basically spicy soup (with chilli powder) and an abundant array of seafood - from fish to mussels to clams to octopus to squid to vegetable to mushrooms to...

And can you see that weird looking intestine like thing there? They're fish guts.

The soup itself got really 'sweet' after simmering for a while and goes well with plain short grain rice.

Next is Kraze Burger. It's a Korean burger chain with a fine array of delectable burgers served with pickles and fries.

My friend brought me out of the city into Gyeonggi-do (about an hour's drive out) and we came to this traditional looking restaurant. He says it is one of his favourite places since they serve home cooked style Korean cuisine. The place is really cold inside due to the lack of heating but I liked it nonetheless. The walls were decorated with ancient Korean words that could not be deciphered by either of us.

The dishes did have a 'homecooked' vibe to them. Seen here are some river fish grilled and then lathered with sweet chilli paste. Even the dwenjangjigge tasted different (not better or worse... just more rustic).

I did of course have 2 things I normally have when I visit Seoul. First was juk (korean porridge). The tables of the restaurant are so finely decorated underneath the glass table top.

The other dish is buddaejigge (aka army stew or potluck stew) which is a kimchi and chilli based stew with lots of spam and sausages and ramyeon. I had this twice during my trip. One place even supplied bibs as the stew would bubble and splatter all over us.

There was also a quick stop at Krispy Kreme. It was a bit sweet though. We ordered a dozen of the originals with some Arizona lemonade. On another note, I must say that Rotiboy is doing well in Seoul!

I must mention that if ever you are in South Korea during strawberry season, FOR GOODNESS SAKE, BUY SOME!!! They will easily be among the largest and sweetest dalgi (strawberries) you will ever have and it is not a boast.

The best bulgogi I've ever had. We had the same thing the following day because it was so good. The side dishes here are spicy as hell but so delicious.

An aesthetically pleasing pumpkin tea after a wonderful lunch at Nolboo (which was surprisingly good for a chain restaurant though I was too busy stuffing my face to take any photos of the food).

A really special dinner of samgyupsal with rice cake slices to accompany the pork and grilled kimchi. The place was stuffy as everyone was grilling and the smell soaked into my sweaters but I didn't care. This meal was superb especially with the naengmyon (cold noodles) perfectly complementing the spicy pork. The grill was placed slanted to ensure that the fat would just roll down into the kimchi as the pork gave out its juices.

It was one the last cold mornings I spent in Seoul when I decided to venture into the Korean pizza chain, Mr Pizza. The chain had the cute Moon Geum Young (aka Korea's national little sister) as a spokesperson. The pizza I chose had cajun chicken and prawn on it. The crust I chose was made from 'frozen' dough which resulted in a crispy crunchy texture.

Ok near the end of this post...

The last thing I got before I left Incheon Airport... a really nice box of beautiful korean rice cakes (which I felt were too pretty to be eaten).

Copyright (c) Kelvin Tan

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