The food mecca in Korea is, unsurprisingly, not Seoul but in fact the entire southern region which was why the bulk of our travels were in the south – Jeonju, Busan and Gyeongju. In Busan, we really went all out to enjoy good food at a decent price with endless rounds of snacks and dessert. (Disclaimer: Or as “all out”as possible because I am seriously not a foodie.) Below are some of the highlights of our food when we were in Busan:
Our experience in Jagalchi Market was a little ambiguous. We did a bit of pricing research online but we still couldn’t shake off the feeling of being short changed.
We didn’t buy fresh seafood from the first floor. Rather, we went straight to the second floor and were ushered into one of the stalls. We ordered 1kg of Snow Crab, a plate of scallops and prawns each. The ahjumma even gave us a complimentary fish soup (with a mix of different fishes that’s supposed to be for a sashimi platter) and made fried rice (mixed with the crab’s eggs) for us.
I have never tasted such delicious seafood in my entire life. They were steamed – relatively easy right? But they were so fresh that when you put the prawn into your mouth and took a bite, the juice came out sweet and light. There were no need for sauces. Same went for the scallops and the crab. We really, really enjoyed the entire meal.
The snow crab was 80,000, the scallops 30,000 and the prawns, 30,000 – a total of 140,000 korean won. Perhaps, we could have gotten a better deal (in terms of bigger portions or cheaper rates) if we wanted to bargain. We had 9 scallops, 11 prawns and one medium sized snow crab on top of the sashimi soup and fried rice.
Out of curiosity, we went down to the marketplace to ask how much would a kg of snow crab be – the man quoted us 40,000. Perhaps, the cheaper way of eating seafood in Jagalchi would be to buy them from the first floor and bring them tot he second floor for cooking. Just make sure to ask how much they are charging cooking fees for.
Hotteok and Chicken Gangjeong
Street foods are a bomb and my favourite in Busan will definitely be their hotteok! Cannot get over how good they were (definitely cheaper than Seoul too!). The stall that we liked best was located in Seomyeon at a junction – I am not really sure how to explain the directions but they have a website – the link is here.
The chicken gangjeong that I tried in Biff Square is called Ban Wol Dang. The crispy fried chicken were mixed with teokbokki and had a sweet and sour taste to them. I did try other chicken gangjeong and they pretty much tasted the same – they were all delicious, especially the rice cakes which were always crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Forget Yoogane. Yoogane is nothing compare to Paik Chulpan. Surprisingly, this franchise is not so common in Seoul (only one outlet in Gangnam).
They were everywhere in Busan though, especially the hotspots – Biff Square, Seomyeon and even Haeundae Beach. We liked it so much we dined there twice. Once, we tried the Teriyaki flavour and the other time to try the spicy one. Turned out we preferred the Teriyaki because the spicy version was just too spicy. x
Bingsu at Sulbing
When in Busan, Sulbing’s Bingsu is the way.
We couldn’t stop eating this even though it was winter. To have this weekly in the eternally-summery Singapore would be so heavenly! The bingsu in Singapore doesn’t taste as great though and they charge SGD18 for the exact same thing (but less generous toppings). In Korea, this is about 10,000 won (SGD12) depending on which flavour you pick – more than enough for 2 pax.
As you can see from the list of food choices I highlighted, the type of food I enjoy is basic af. I am sure there are much better food recommendations out there in Busan – with quirky cafes or spots that only locals know how to go. Regardless, I really enjoyed the food we chanced upon in Busan.