I’m back from South Korea! Actually, what I truly mean is, I’m back from South Korea. 😦

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GWANGHWAMUN

Nathan and I stayed in Gangnam, and we spent time in Myeongdong, Insadong, Gwanghwamun, Soondae, and Jamshil.  We were outside of the city as well in Yongin, Gyunggido.

Seoul is a food city. Cuisine steeped deep in tradition, Koreans love their fresh, pickled, and fermented veggies, meat, seafood, noodles, rice, and spice. You can’t go anywhere without a plethora of delicious options  right at your feet. Local little eateries line up and are smushed side by side down tons of vibrant side streets and alleyways. The main streets have more variety of food from foreign cuisines. Street food is everywhere and cheap (although not Penang cheap). Oh, and coffee shops? Do you like coffee? Because in Seoul, there is no escape. They are everywhere, and they will haunt you.

I don’t even know where to start. I’m getting overwhelmed as we speak, trying to figure out how to go at this without incessant excited rambling and bombardment of 200 photos!

Let’s start off with food from the restaurant Donwoori, located in Soondae! It is one of my favorite Korean barbecue places to eat at. (It’s not just because my cousin runs it with the owner, who is also his best friend.) This restaurant is all about pork and delicious food! The service is great here too.

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KOREAN BARBECUE
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FRESH LETTUCE AND SESAME LEAVES
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BANCHAN
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BANCHAN

Korean barbecue is a staple in the culture here. In nearly every restaurant there are grills installed right onto the table top, or stove ranges for simmering food in shallow woks or cooking meat on metal domes. You order various choices and cuts of meat, usually pork or beef. Served with a bunch of banchan, which are various side dishes, you grill your meat, pile it up in fresh healthy greens, and choose how to top it off before you wrap it all up and shove it in your mouth. That’s sangchu ssam. Of course you also have your savory stews, water spinach, palette cleansing and heat calming soups, egg omelet cooked in pots, fish cake, tofu, salads, kimchi kimchi and more kimchi. And that’s maybe just half of them!

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SANGCHU SSAM

I like to assemble mine with fresh lettuce, steamed rice, fatty meat, fresh hot peppers, raw garlic, and gochujang (red chili sauce that Koreans put in everything).

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FISH CAKE & POTATOES

Fish cake up top and sweet potato at the bottom. Have you ever had Asian varieties of sweet potato before? Oh man, you’re missing out if you haven’t. I grew up with my mother just steaming them whole, peeling them like a banana and eating them plain.

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DOENJANG JJIGAE – SOYBEAN PASTE STEW

Another one of my favorites! I love jjigae and this may come as a shock to you, but I just have to eat this with rice.

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GAERAN JJIM – STEAMED EGG CASSEROLE

I was very surprised at how good this was. I was expecting it to be like Japan’s Chawanmushi, but I liked this much more. Light, fluffy, and more flavorful than I expected.

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BOKKEUMBAP – SPICY FRIED RICE

My cousin made this dish, and I just want to note that it was a big hit!

Now onto other places and foods.

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GAMJATANG – POTATO PORK BONE SOUP

This is one of my favorite Korean dishes, if not my favorite. Eat it with rice, and it’s one of the best things in the world.

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MOOL NAENGMYUN – WATER COLD NOODLE SOUP

I love mool naengmyun. I could eat it all year round, even though this is a dish that is popular in the summer time. I don’t care, I want it right now. I like adding hot mustard and more vinegar to mine, but it’s delicious as it comes as well!

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MANDOO – DUMPLINGS
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MOOL NAENGMYUN 
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SOON DAE – STUFFED INTESTINES BLOOD SAUSAGE
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MAKGEOLI

What are we looking at here? The creamy looking white substance in those bowls is Makgeoli! Soju isn’t the only alcoholic beverage from Korea. Made from rice or wheat, this lightly sweet and slightly carbonated beverage was my favorite to imbibe with. It is usually drank from bowls.

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MODEUM JEON- VARIETY OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF KOREAN PANCAKE

There are so many different types of jeon, which are Korean pancakes. These dishes were so fun and delicious! I grew up loving these, and I believe jeon might quite possibly be Nathan’s favorite food from our trip. For Koreans, jeon and makgeoli go hand in hand!

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KIMBAP WITH SPICY MUSTARD
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GOLBAENGI MUCHIM – SPICY SEA SNAIL SALAD

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JEYUK BOKKEUM – SPICY PORK
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JEON
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PYONGYANGSHIK MANDUCHUNGOL – PYONGYANG STYLE DUMPLING STEW
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PYONGYANG BULGOGI

Yes, Pyongyang. We went to a restaurant that served North Korean dishes, and I was really happy to be able to experience that.

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JOKBAL – PORK FEET
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BANCHAN
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BOSSAM – STEAMED PORK BELLY
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SANGCHU SSAM
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MYEONGDONG KALGUKSU
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MANDU
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BAEKSEJU

Baekseju, not to be confused with soju, will help you live to a hundred years!

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SIDE STREETS AND ALLEYWAYS WERE THE BEST PART OF THE CITY

Holy cow that was a stupidly long post, wasn’t it? And I’m not even finished yet! My part two will entail Korean street food, a famous food market, and foreign cuisine. Until then.

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