What I ate – Korean restaurant edition.

Dwaeji kimchi jiggae

In September I left Seoul. After the rush and heartbreak of finishing work and moving out of my house I had a little over a week to say goodbye to this city that kept teaching me new ways to love it. Here’s what I ate.

Dinner: Dwaeji Kimchi Jiggae – Kimchi stew with pork and tofu. Banchan: Korean leeks with a spicy sesame sauce, candied black beans and peanuts, dried squid, kimchi and rice cooked with another grain. An incredibly fresh meal for the price (5,500₩ at 고집 Hongdae.)

Brunch: 1 (surprisingly good) sausage, 1/2 rasher of bacon, 1 fried egg, 2 yorkshire puddings, green salad with flaked almonds and a free Americano (15,000₩ at Organic Cafe, Hongdae). An excellent example of the dire western food situation in Korea. This is tiny, average and pricey.
Cafe latte at Coffee LEC in Hongdae. (4,800₩) An empty cafe with passable coffee, free and fast wifi and comfortable couches.
Dinner: Pulled pork sandwich from Linus’ pop-up restaurant. Served with slaw and baked beans (10,000₩).
Nok cha bingsu. Patbingsu, sweet red beans, milk ice, red bean ttoek, with green tea ice cream and green tea. (15,000₩, shared)
Midnight meal: Dolsot bibimbap and gogi mandu from kimbap chonguk (~7,000₩). A necessary midnight breakfast after a few drinks.

Brunch from Organic Cafe

Breakfast: Buttered toast and hot coffee. The hostel provides this for free, with the added warning to ‘butter your bread after cooking’.
Lunch: Mul Naengmyeon with grilled meat at Yookssam Naengmyeon (5,500₩). Disappointing.
Dinner: Korean/Mexican – spicy pork burrito with perilla leaves and cabbage, 9,000₩ at Grill5 Taco. Spicy, packed with meat, beans and leaves, this really hit the spot.
Dessert: Rum raisin ice-cream from Fell + Cole  (4,200₩) Good texture, lacklustre flavour.

Breakfast: Toast and coffee.
Lunch: Bibimbap/sujebi. Rice cooked with other grains, mixed with gochujang, leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Kimchi varieties, seaweed and hand-cut noodle soup with mussels. 6,000₩ at U-Sujebi near Ewha University. Huge portions, clean tasting, I came away from this meal feeling healthy, but stuffed.
Iced cafe latte from Berlin Cafe, Hongdae. (5,500₩). Nice space, blargghhh coffee
Dinner: Donburi – rice with egg, onions and tempura prawns. (7,500₩) No.
Kahlua and Makgeolli popsicle from Molly’s Pops, Hongdae. (2,800₩). Great flavour, icy crunch.

Sundubu jiggae.

Breakfast: Toast and coffee.
Lunch: Sundubu Jiggae – Spicy soft tofu stew served with rice, steamed soybean sprouts and various kimchi. (4,500₩ at 뚝배기집) Delicious, and not nearly as spicy as it looks. Everyone else at the shared table had doenjang jiggae. Next time.
Frozen yogurt with raspberry compote and flaked almonds.
Chocolate croissant from Paul and Paulina (3,700₩). So expensive, so good.
Dinner: BBQ pork and 7 minute kimchi jiggae at Saemaul Sikdang (새마을 식당) a popular BBQ franchise.
Dinner round 2: Makgeolli (Korean rice alcohol) sweetened with honey, white kimchi with tofu, pork and spicy octopus at Wolhyang, a famous makgeolli house. Yet again ‘fusion’ food disappoints.
Patbingsu with fruit and ice cream.

Kimchi rolls from Wolhyang

Breakfast: Blueberry bagel and coffee
Lunch: Doenjang jiggae – Korean style fermented soybean soup with mushrooms, greens and tofu. With rice, jeon and many kinds of banchan including simply cooked mushrooms, zucchini, dried squid with chilli and sesame and raw cabbage salad. (7,000₩ at BaB, Hongdae). An affordable and expansive lunch option.
Earl grey macaron and drip coffee from Belief Coffee, Hongdae (8,800₩). Average, all around.
Dinner: Taiwanese eggplant pork and tofu stew with rice, salad, sides and dumplings and dessert at 아우미식 Chinese Restaurant (15,000₩). Too much good food.

Doengjang jiggae from BaB.

Breakfast: Nectarine and coffee.
Boribap – Kind of like bibimbap but with barley instead of rice. Doenjang jiggae and banchan, D-Cube shopping centre, Sindorim. (9,000₩). Incredibly disappointing, but I was eating in a shopping centre.
Lunch – BLT on walnut bread at D’Avant, Hongdae (12,000₩). A pretty good sandwich if the thick slices of raw onion and extra bread was removed.
Yogurt and peach gelato from Gelati Gelati, Hongdae (4,000₩). Punchy flavours, creamy texture and friendly service. Excellent.
Dinner – Beer and kimbap – Korean style seaweed rice rolls, stuffed with vegetables, danmuji (yellow pickled daikon) and tuna or kimchi.

Breakfast: Nectarine and coffee.
Lunch: Grilled pork meal.  Rice, doenjang jiggae and banchan, including pickled garlic, odeng, and perilla kimchi (6,000₩  at 고집 Hongdae). This is a lot of grilled meat, the kimchi jiggae is a much better option.
Cafe latte (4,800₩ at Coffee LEC Hongdae).
Dinner: Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) at Seorae (서래) a BBQ franchise. Wrap the grilled pork in perilla leaves with beansprouts, spring onions and chilli sauce. Finished with a few mouthfuls of bibim naengmyeon.

Samgyeopsal cooking.

Beef and gochujang samgak kimbap (700₩ at a convenience store). A stabiliser, necessary to combat hanger.
Lunch: Hamburger with havarti cheese and homemade bacon, skin-on chips and dill pickles. (15,000₩ at Salt and Butter, Apgujeong). Delicious but decadent. We both felt sick afterwards from over-indulgence.
Coffee with thick cream (LEC Coffee Sinsa, 6,000₩).
Patbingsu from Meal Top, apgujeong (7,000₩). Satisfaction.
Dinner: Spicy seafood with rice (7,000₩), steamed dumplings (3,500₩).

What turned out to be too much burger from Salt and Butter.

Brunch: Tteok mandu guk – Rice cake seaweed soup with big dumplings. (7,000₩)
Dinner: Bibim naengmyeon (5,500₩ at new noodle house in Sangsu).
Patbingsu (8,000₩ from  경성팥집 옥루몽). Portions meant for two, good, but not amazing.


A final meal of a superlative dolsot bibimbap (mixed rice in a hot stone bowl) left a good taste in my mouth for Korea.

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  1. Posted November 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    The food in Korea from this post looks spectacular! I’ve never been able to resist a good Korean BBQ or hot soup bowl. I am soooo relieved you think fusion food disappoints, nothing beats the real thing. Well done!

  2. Posted December 3, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    You eat so much good food that this verges on ridiculous. The Taiwanese eggplant and pork stew sounds amazing! Heading to Seoul in a few weeks, I know where I’ll be going to eat…
    Tom @ Waegook Tom´s last [type] ..The Beauty of Bulgogi

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