Seoul Part Two: Food Market, Street Food, And A Bit Of Etc.

Gwangjang Market

Visiting Gwangjang Market located in Jongno-gu was awesome. It is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in Korea, and it was so much fun to experience. Crafts, souvenirs, clothing, traditional medicine, textiles, and food food food! We went during a public holiday, and I don’t know how it usually is on a regular day but it was packed. When I go to Korea again, this will be the first place I’d like to re-visit.

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GWANGJANG MARKET

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There was jeon (Korean pancakes) everywhere! So many different varieties, with cute old ladies manned at every station. Many of these food stations have seating available so you can plop right down and feast. So cool. And be prepared to leave with the smell of grease on your clothes!

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JEON AND ASSORTED FRIED FOOD
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FRESH SEAFOOD AND A BUNCH OF MEATS
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I ALWAYS FEEL BAD FOR THE CRABS BUT GODDAMN, DOESN’T THIS LOOK AMAZING?
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FRESH SEAFOOD
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WHAT A GORGEOUS SIGHT

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HUGE ASSORTMENT OF DIFFERENT NOODLE, SOUP, AND RICE DISHES. AMAZING!
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DDEOKBOKKI

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Myeongdong 

Myeongdong is an area in Seoul that is very famous for its shopping, which includes Korea’s booming skincare and cosmetics economy. Endless streets and corridors filled with stores with  street food that is very fusion, very creative, and sometimes weird! From roasted chestnuts to cooked corn on a stick, to little egg bread and french fry covered corndogs. There’s a lot of unique things to try!

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CREPE FILLED WITH NUTELLA, BANANA, CRISPY WHEAT CEREAL THEN ROLLED UP

I’m not a big sweets person but this was pretty delicious.

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TWIST POTATO

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As I mentioned earlier, I’m not much of a dessert fan but ice cream is the major exception.

Insadong

Insadong is popular for its representation of traditional Korean culture. Here you can find a plethora of crafts and goods unique to Korea and not easy to find elsewhere. It’s also a hot spot for artists and art lovers!

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SIDEWALK BAR

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You can order booze, right outside on the sidewalk. They make your cocktail, put it in a sealed plastic bag with a straw poking through, and you’re on your merry way. Aaand, why don’t I live here?

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This guy puts on shows with the ice cream, and those are all cones you see stacked around the stall. After a minute of him hiding my scoop and making me look at other things to distract me, I told him I just wanted my ice cream. Please.

And Etc.

I was very curious how Seoul does food from other countries. I wanted to experience some of my favorite foods, pho and sushi, in Korea and see how much it differed, if at all.

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VIETNAMESE APPETIZERS
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PHO ADD ONS

The pho sides were quite different from what I’m used to. They still use chilies and sprouts, but you also see tangy and sweet marinated onions and pickled radish. I definitely missed my holy basil and lime.

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PHO

The broth was very beefy, and not complex and delicious as what I’m used to. The meat was lean, and if I’m remembering correctly, they didn’t add tendon or tripe. However, I only went to one pho place so of course, I’m not speaking for the whole city.

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COLD SOBA, SUSHI AND TEMPURA MORI

I love cold soba but I have only known one place here in GR that served it, and it was temporary. The tako sushi (octopus) really stood out to me. It was incredibly tender and so tasty.

That’s the conclusion of my vacation in Seoul! If you’re obsessed with food, travel, and rich culture, do yourself a huge favor and book yourself a flight to this vibrant, energetic, cuisine filled city. Keep in mind that while the scene is vast, it’s not the most diverse. You may not be able to indulge in wonderful Ethiopian or Middle Eastern food, for instance. (Maybe in Itaewon, the foreigner’s district?) However, there is so much deliciousness entailed with traditional and fusion fares in Korean culture and all of it is a must try! You won’t be disappointed. This trip certainly reignited my passion for it.

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You Love Food? You’ll Become Obsessed With Seoul!

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.