Warning: you may be hungry after reading this post.
I haven’t posted pictures of food in a little while, and I promised this would be a food and travel blog, so here are some snapshots of my meals here in Korea.
딸기골 [practically on Yonsei’s campus]:
There’s a little place just down the street from the KLI building that a lot of students frequent for lunch because it’s cheap and pretty good (but apparently they use a lot of MSG in their soups and such). It’s been full of people every time I’ve gone — after you go the first time, it’s hard not to go back. I’ve already been there twice in the last week.
The first time I went with a friend who suggested the 만두 (mandu, Korean dumplings). You get 8 steamed mandu for 3,500 won, and it was plenty for lunch (for me, at least). I love steamed mandu, so it was the perfect choice for me. And they were delicious!
The second time I got the 김치 볶음밥 (kimchi bokkeumbap), which is basically kimchi fried rice topped with a fried egg and some dried seaweed. I was concerned it would be too spicy (I can’t handle spiciness as true Koreans can), but a friend assured me that it wasn’t too bad. It was good, but now that I think back on it, some of the flavor was probably MSG.
명동 교자 [명동/Myungdong]:
My cousin Jiyoung took me to a 칼국수 (kalgooksoo, Korean knife-cut noodle soup) restaurant that we had gone to last time my family was in Seoul. It’s in 명동 (Myungdong), a popular and ever-crowded shopping district. This place is really well known for its kalgooksoo, so it’s always busy. The service is fast and the noodles are great — what more can you ask for?
All-You-Can-Eat Korean BBQ [신촌/Sinchon]:
All-You-Can-Eat Korean BBQ for 8,000 won?! A few of my classmates told me about it, so we decided to go there for a class lunch. It’s pretty much a buffet-style self-service place; you fill up small plates with as much 반찬 (Korean side dishes) and 고기 (meat) as your heart desires, and then you cook the meat yourself on tabletop grills.
Caffe Bene [신촌/Sinchon]:
I tried my first waffle dessert at the Caffe Bene in Sinchon (they’re all over Seoul). 4,000 won (the cheapest waffle on the menu) got me a Belgian waffle topped with yogurt and strawberries. It was good, but not great…personally, I prefer the ice cream sandwiches made with Eggo-like waffles that a vendor sells just down the street.
Pomato is a little lunch place that proclaims itself a home to “Asian fusion cuisine”. It serves various rice dishes, cutlets, noodles, and typical Korean street food — 떡뽁이 (rice cakes slathered in spicy red sauce) and 김밥 (Korean rolls usually filled with vegetables and meat).
I got the om (omelette) rice, which is fried rice covered in an egg and sometimes served with a sauce. Om rice is like comfort food to me, and this one was not bad! The sauce was interesting; it was almost like a tangy, sweeter version of ketchup with the slightest kick. I also really enjoyed the shredded cabbage salad on the side (yes, the dressing is gray, and no, I don’t know what made it that color).
한신포자 [홍대/Hongdae, also in Sinchon]:
Last, but not least, I present to you…Korean drinking food! I don’t know how typical these dishes are, but two Korean Korean’s ordered for the table, so I suspect they had some idea about what to order. (Note: I am of legal drinking age in Korea. In case you’re wondering, it’s 19, and my Korean age is 21. Korean age and American age differ, but I’m legal by my American age too!) The first dish is basically seafood and onions covered in hot sauce. As you can see, it’s served in a pan on a tabletop stove, so you let it cook and simmer down for a little while before eating it. It’s very, very spicy, so I didn’t eat much of it.
The second dish we got was an odeng (fish cake) soup. I love fish cakes in pretty much any form, so this was a perfect alternative to the spicy seafood for me.
Hope you enjoyed this snapshot into my foodventures here in Seoul!