Wangbijib located in the heart of MyeongdongTosokchon – Ginseng Chicken
Barbeque! BBQ all day errday.
Myeongdong Street Food
Sigol Bapsang – Banchan Tasting (Itaewon)
Kyochon Chicken – DeliveryHangover Soup / Gamjatang (not that we were, mind you)Army Stew
My top food list during our rendezvous in Seoul:
#1 – BBQ Pork and Beef
#2 – Korean Fried Chicken
#3 – Bingsu
#4 – Banchan (side dishes)
If I were to visit Korea again one day, I will be on repeat from #1 – #4. Disclaimer: I have a very everyday taste bud – one influenced by my environment while growing up. I know what I like and they stick. Hence, I am really the least correct person when it comes to introducing food. This is more of a personal diary for the years to come.
What I really, really liked from my trip to Korea was how fresh and generous the serving of kimchi was. I enjoyed every meal of it. Just like how drinking milk tea in Taiwan beats the experience anywhere else, having kimchi as side dish makes the meal even more tasty than it already is. Their side dishes are plates after plates of freshness served and complemented the BBQ meals we had daily.
Of course, trying out street food in Myeongdong was a must. There were too many varieties that we basically just picked what we felt like eating the most at the moment. The best part about eating in winter was that the food were all served steaming hot but minutes later they were warm and delectable (i.e. did not burn my tongue). My top favorite would be the (1) dak-galbi (stirfried chicken with ricecake) or Korean’s popcorn chicken, (2) hotteok – Korean pancake, (3) Bulgogi + Japchae, (4) Sundae cone – best served during winter and finally (5) steamed fish cakes – what we Malaysians will know as ‘lok lok’.
Sigol Bapsang. This tiny, almost derelict looking store is located behind a convenience store, GS25. From Itaewon station, take exit 2 and walk 10-15 minutes until you see the convenience store. When we dined there, we were humbled and surprised by the space which could take up to only 15 people at a time. With just 8,000KRW, you could have a taste of 20-21 banchan (side dishes) with steamed rice and soybean paste stew. In all honesty, we struggled to finish all the side dishes – there were just too much food going around. The kind lady even gave us complimentary steamed egg.
When we left, we mentioned that this place wasn’t worth going back a second time too because as a foreigner, we weren’t used to all the dishes served. Some, while refreshing, tasted odd to us. In hindsight though, this place was one of the most memorable due to how new and authentic the experience was. I definitely recommend a visit to Sigol Bapsang. In the sprawling metropolis of Seoul, this is definitely a gem.
Another chance encounter would be the gamjatang or pork bone soup (specifically, neck and back bones). Tired after visiting Gyeongbokgung palace, we were wondering around the perimeter of the palace and stumbled upon this okay-looking restaurant with some locals and tourists dining inside. Feeling particularly adventurous that day, we picked gamjatang, a dish we had never even heard of before our trip to Korea. When the soup was served, I was startled. The bones were huge reminding me of bricks – as I have always been very prejudiced towards pork, I couldn’t stomach it. The dish could have fed at least 5 people! This was not for picky eaters.
Last but not least, Korean Fried Chicken. I never knew there would be something better than KFC but apparently there is. We ordered fried chicken almost every night and tried the different flavours – original, honey, soy garlic, caramel – from different shops. Undeniably (and unsurprisingly), Kyochon emerged the sole winner with its crispy skin and moist meat underneath. Having chicken with jajangmyeon is one of the most sinful comfort food combo one can ever find.
This pretty much wraps up my eating experience in Seoul. If any of you readers have any “must have” to recommend when in Seoul, please let me know! I would love to try them out.