Friday, 16 October 2015

Seoul Food

One thing I haven't really mentioned in my travel posts yet...the food! I knew I liked Korean food before I visited having eaten at various Korean restaurants in London and on other Asian travels but having visited it's true love! I didn't have a single bad meal and food is so reasonably priced. My unstoppable sweet tooth found a new love - patbingsu - shaved ice desserts topped with red bean, fruit, chocolate, cheese... I might have had a giant bowl of ice for lunch on a fair few occasions. Here are my foodie highlights:

hello kitty cafe seoul
Hello Kitty red bean patbingsu - topped with Kitty's face and with the red bean and mochi served on the side, this was a sweeter take on the dessert but who can resist biting into Hello Kitty's face in ice cream form?! The Hello Kitty cafe I visited is in Myeong-dong.
seoul food
Veggie udon noodles and an inflatable flamingo cupholder in the shabby-chic Kinfolk Kitchen in Myeong-dong.
ongo food cookery class
I did a cookery class with Ongo food - we started with a food market tour. Kimchi is a staple in Korea and while in the UK we only seem to have the cabbage variety, Korean markets sell all sorts of kimchi. Be warned, its a lot spicier than the UK version! 
ongo food cookery class
Proudly presenting my bibimbap! I learned to make bibimbap and a Korean salad - both very easy with professional help and the ingredients already prepared! 
ongo food cookery class
My finished bibimbap and salad. I love doing cooking classes on my travels - I'm not much of a cook in real life so I think this makes me all the more proud for managing to make something edible!  
seoul food
The best bowl of patbingsu - the reason? I was accidentally hiking up a mountain having not had lunch. When I saw the cafe I genuinely thought I was hallucinating and that it was a mirage. Perfect hiking fuel and the last few kilometres to the top of Namsam were a lot less hangry. 
126 mansion seoul
A traditional Korean feast at 126 Mansion. It was so fun to eat with our hosts and the other guests. Korean pancakes are so good!  
ongo food night tour
A night food tour with Ongo - this was so much fun. First stop was a Korean BBQ restaurant down a side street I would never find on my own. The BBQ was washed down with a cocktail containing Coke, soju and beer... not quite my usual G&T! 
ongo food night tour
Next stop on the food tour - an off the beaten track cafe for Toppoki, a Korean stew with dumplings, noodles and rice cake.  Here we sampled plum wine and played Korean drinking games which thankfully I didn't lose at! 
ongo food night tour
As night fell we were led down an alleyway (known as "Avoid Horse Alley") to a tent restaurant with hand drawn menus and loo roll hanging from the ceiling! Here we ate mackerel to boost our brain power and drank a mix of beer and soju to simultaneously lessen it... 
ongo food night tour
Our last stop was a market restaurant to eat a Korean pancake which originated in North Korea. The pancake is made of mung beans and is flour free. This was washed down with makgeolli - a milky rice-based alcoholic drink which weirdly I liked the best. Or it that could just be due to the three drinks before it. The night tour was a great way to try restaurants that you'd never find solo, order foods that might not be recognisable and be introduced to Korean drinking culture rather than ordering a G&T which turns out to be 90% gin and definitely does not contain tonic water... 
seoul food
Street food in Busan - the items on the left are frankfurter sausages encased in a sweet batter served on a stick. Korean fried chicken (KFC) and tempura make for good snack options at around 50p a go. 
seoul food
Spicy cheese-topped topokki. Korean rice cakes are a world away from the dry, diet food we call "rice cakes" in the UK. The rice cakes are dense and chewy - Asian food is often more about texture than taste but I really liked these. Covered in spicy sauce and melted cheese and with the obligatory kimchi and pickles on the side. 
seoul food
Bubble tea is Taiwanese but is popular in Korea - I tried a standard milk tea with tapioca because the menu wasn't in English and this was the only option my Korean-reading could stretch to. 
seoul food
Cheese-topped patbingsu in Hongdae. This rather odd-sounding combo actually worked.
seoul food
Last bowl of patbingsu at Wicked Snow in Gangnam - topped with golden powder, mocha and red beans. Every spoonful savoured while trying not to think of the up-coming British winter and not feeling the slightest bit guilty when my break involved impromptu 15km hikes and bike rides. 
seoul food
Airport breakfast - cheese gimbap. Gimbap (/kimbap) is Korea's version of sushi. It's a bigger, looser roll than Japanese sushi and the fillings are...varied. I saw tuna and sweetcorn, ham and cream cheese versions. 

Safe to say that sandwiches and any food that doesn't come with a large dose of spice feels sad now. Bowls of sugary ice aside, Korean food is pretty healthy so if I manage to re-create anything which is tasty and looks instragram-worthy  I will share the recipe!

Do you like / have you tried Korean food?
lilylipstick
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4 comments

  1. Why is red bean so good? You've mentioned it a few time snow and I'm just curious as to what it's like/is.
    All that food looks amazing. I just wouldn't know where to start for what to order as it's just so so different to the UK. I'd give it all a good go though!!

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  2. Shaved ice is so good! And these look even better than the syrup version i've tried before!

    I want to eat it all!


    - Elodie x
    www.elle-yeah.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah the food the food! I need to visit Korea and eat their fried chicken, Kimbap (which I adore) and I want to eat Samgyetang - that ginseng chicken dish. Yum. Lovely post Lily! You've made me hungry.

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