Seo-pi-dong-pa: Mix of East and West
Literally, the name means: West-Pizza-East-Pajeon (pajeon/pajun is a kind of pancake here, filled with green onions, seafood and other things usually).
Seo-pi-dong-pa is good. Hae-mool-pa-jeon is good as well. For drinks there is the incomparable (especially in summer) Dong Dong Joo (served with ice crystals suspended in it) and also Seo-pi-dong-pa Joo (like Meishil, or plum wine, which is also popular in Korea).
You'll also get a mussle soup as a starter (everything is made to order). The Dae-hang-ro one is the originla, but the original owner moved to Sinchon and now that place has the original soup (with much bigger mussles in it!).
Favorite Dish: Directions: in Dae-hang-ro: from Exit #4 of Hye-Hwa Station (line 4) go left down the side street to the end (it'll open into an traffic intersection, near a Family Mart) Take an extreme left and continue until you reach the elbow in the road. There is a sign (may be just in Korean, though) and it's in the basement. Ask around.
In Sinchon, exit the Sinchon Station (line 2) by the exit closest to Hyundai Department Store. Walk toward KFC, take a right down the side street at it. Then Follow that street as it veers LEFT after a block or so. Take the second left, it's about 3/4 of the way down the street (past Sam-gim restaurant and before Rollin' bar...pic on the left of the place below it).
Korean Style Shabu Shabu: A Favourite of Mine.
Tradition and folklore tell us that Shabu Shabu cooking dates back to the 13th Century and Genghis Khan. As he built his power and became ruler of Mongolia, Khan assembled a massive and highly-organized army.
As he widened his domination throughout China and Eurasia, his army was constantly on the move. He developed "hot pot" or Shabu Shabu form of cooking as a way to feed his troops. The hungry troops would gather around a large pot of boiling water and dip their thinly sliced meat into the pot.
Purpose of the "hot pot" was to feed the troops efficiently, nutritiously, and to save on the army's limited fuel resources. By using thinly sliced meat, troops were able to cook the meat very quickly and efficiently absorbing all of the nutrition of the meat.
The "hot pot" method of cooking survived over the centuries in different regions of China and went through many changes as time passed on.... In 1948, a small restaurant owner in Osaka, Kansai introduced Shabu Shabu cooking to Japan, and within few years Japan introduced Shabu Shabu cooking to the world, today it has gained immense popularity throughout the world.
Shabu Shabu is Immensely popular in Japan, and it has taken off in South Korea in a big way too.
Favorite Dish: There are a number of ways to eat Shabu Shabu. Some people just through oll the the thinly sliced meet into the "Nambi" or all purpose cooking pot, and serve it as a brothy stew, cook the sliced of meat one by one by dipping into the hot pot as it steams on its hot plate infront of you. Then eating the soupy broth later with added Kal GukSu or Cut Wheaten Noodles (that also finf their origin in Mongolia.
Samgyup-sal is a very popular dish here in korea. You will see the locals cooking it up almost anywhere. Last night, durring a pouring rain, I saw some college students grilling it up underneath an overpass here at Kookmin university.
It is basically pork strips which are grilled, dipped in a sesame oil sauce and wrapped in lettuce. Some people add rice, or kimchi, or other stuff to it. It is really up to the person consuming it. But as is the korean tradition, you cook it yourself at the table.
Anyway. The restaurant basicaly has a large selection of meat which you scoop up and take back to your table to grill. For 22,000 won it is all you can eat and drink (which includes alcoholic beverages) for a three hour period. I have never eaten so much food in my life! Plus, since you are making it yourself, it is cooked to order, how cool is that!
Favorite Dish: While Samgyup-sal is the big food there, there is another type called Mok-sal which is better. It is a thicker cut of pork, and typically does not have the bones still in it. It is also more flavorful. Mix that with a little Shigum-chi (A sort of spinach salad) and it is quite tasty!
For those who don't eat pork, look for Kalbi, it is marinated beef, also a bit thicker and without bones. But is quite tasty too.
Woo-si-ya: Bulggogi in Insa-Dong
Sometimes you get in the mood for meat, meat and more meat...luckily Korea is full of meaty restaurants. Bulggogi is one of the best kinds--especially for those new to Korea (it's not too spicy) and low on dough (you can get a full meal for about 10,000 won (USD 9)). (Menus, however, are all Korean.)
This place has Korean and Japanese writing all over, which tells you that it's frequented by the many tourists in Insa-Dong and staying at the YMCA across the street. I noticed the service to be a little slow, not sure why. But then, my expectations of Korean service are pretty high now.
Favorite Dish: The Bulggogi is good. But if you order rice it's 2,000 won more...usually it's 1,000 won or free at most places. No matter, the food is good (especially after a few hours of walking around the city).
Nol-Bu-Jip Hang-a-ri Galbi: Korean Galbi
An excellent galbi house.
The meat is good, they have Erdinger on tap, and they have a great selection of wine and hard spirits.
Many side dishes.
It is a two storey restaurant; they are sometimes very busy.
Even if you go when it's really busy, they have fast service and you will usually be seated within ten minutes.
Favorite Dish: They offer both the normal bbq galbi you grill and then wrap with various leafs, and rib galbi with dokboki in a chili sauce. Both are good here.
Airport Cafe: The Food at Gimpo Airport Food Court
If you're rushing to catch a flight but dying for good food anyway, pop over to the big food court at Gimpo Domestic Airport. Not only is the airport linked by the subway, the food there is excellent a lot better than the crap they serve at the International Airport. I had my meal there before taking a convenient shuttle to the international airport.
Favorite Dish: Go for their excellent lunch boxes (bentos). About everything is good over there, so you can't go wrong choosing a dish over here.You'll find western, japanese and korean food over here.
Korenan Restaurant (not a misprint): New Kalbi Restaurant in Yeouido
Ok, so their English isn't perfect...maybe it's a little endearing. This new place has large windows looking out over downtown Yeouido and an interesting twist to its cooking methods.
Many kalbi restaurants have some sort of heated grills in or on the tables. Some are gas, some are heated bricks, others are briquettes: most are dug into the table. Here, however, there is a 1 foot diameter mosaic circle of stones in the middle of the tables. On this is placed a bowl filled with white-hot briquettes and covered with a grill. It's a neat and novel way to cook (in a place that prides itself on new things).
Service is good, and the vacuum/fans stretch all the way down to the grill, so there is less of that smokey smell on your when you leave (although I like that scent).
Favorite Dish: I had the Kalbi...what else? There are many cuts. The one for 11,000 won (USD 9.50) per person is very good. Very lean, very tasty. The priciest is 18,000 a person.
KDB Cafeteria and Art Gallery: Food and Art
This place has a little of everything. Upstairs and down are sculptures as well as (usually) photos and paintings on display--all encased in a stadium-like structure. (It's a government building, so they don't worry about heating costs.) Go to B1 via the spiral staircase (on the right) and follow the crowd to the cafeteria.
Meals are just 3,500 won (USD 3) a head and you can choose between pseudo-Western or pure Korean fare. Both have ample sidedishes (take as many as you like) and a good main course. You can also get more rice and kimchi at any time from a table in the dining area.
Seating is in a massive room that is broken up by glass walls that have water cascading down them...very cool.
At the end, take your dishes to the cleaning area (it's still a cafeteria) and have a glass of water from the machines (Koreans like to drink water after a meal, it seems, not during it).
Also, on B1 there is a store with a little of everything and on the main floor there is a coffee-hut with 1,000 won coffee.
Favorite Dish: It's my fav because it was free. The chicken flu was going its course (no cases in Korea) and the government wanted to tell everyone that Korea's chickens were ok so they gave away free servings of Sam-Gyae-Tang to all patrons.
Taco Chilichili: Decent Mexican
The food here is good! Made when you order, with fresh ingredients.
Not expensive, and decent sized portions.
There are two restaurants, one in Daichi (Hanti station) and a newer one in Itaewon.
The Daichi restaurant is a narrow, multi-levelled building. Has free internet upstairs. Also a patio out front for summer.
Haven't been to the newer Itaewon branch...
Favorite Dish: I like the Chicken Burrito, for 6,000 won. It's delicious, and large enough to fill you up.
Menu items range from 3,000 to 7,500 won.
Tacos, quesadillas, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, and nachos.
Offer beer, too.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Salam: Turkish Halal
The food is authentic Turkish, and delicious!
They offer various meat and vegetarian dishes, as well as soups, desserts and drinks.
You can finish your meal with a hookah of flavoured tobacco, too.
Pricing is very reasonable.
Favorite Dish: I like the donair kebab sandwiches (4,000 won) and the lamb shishkebab (6,000 won).
- Beer Tasting
- Religious Travel
Sanchon: The Best Cusine and Cultural Experience in Seoul
Read on if a sample of this menu entices you...Hot, sweet gruel made of wild rice and sweet potatoes.Crisp, fried seaweed flavoured with sesame seeds.Succulent wild mushrooms cooked with garlic. Crisp,sweet rice puffs...
Favorite Dish: I am a self - proclaimed "meatarian". So horrid are my meat lovin' instincts that I'll pop into any Mcdonald's in any city, just so I can see how they serve their burgers there. Ya, I'm lovin it man... (Timberlake eat your heart out!) So, why am I introducing this vegatarian buffet in Insa-dong? Well, I suppose if a meat lover can vouch for this buffet meal, it should convince a whole lot of you that this meal is excellent.
Really it is, I can't rave enough about the soft beancurd or the delicious simplicity of potatoes boiled with soya sauce. Interestingly, this is standard temple fare and it is prepared by the owner who used to be a monk himself! For about US$30 or so, you'll be served about 16 vegetarian dishes and be entertained by a troupe of traditional dancers at about 9pm.
Call and make a resevation before going as this place is a hot spot for all tourists. Don't worry about the language. Everyone there speaks English.
In any case, here's some useful info if you are convinced by this meatarian:
Business Hours: 12:00 - 22:00
New Year's Days, Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Holidays)
Sanchon Folk Dance: 20:00 -21:00,every day
Cards Accepted: All types
Seating Capacity: 100 seats
Vine Restaurant in Lotte Hotel Downtown: Fresh from the Vine
I've been here once, on the company card (otherwise it might not have seemed like such a good deal). Burgers (not all that well-done) were 16,000 won (USD 14) EACH and plus a couple of cokes and soup and you've got yourself a 72,600 won (USD 63) bill for lunch. Well, it was ok, but for Korea it was pretty steep.
I'd recommend this place if you're entertaining clients or have a big occation to celebrate or if you're really into wine (which I am not).
Paldo Kamja-Tang: Good Potato Soup Place
At first I thought this place was called Faldo (because Koreans don't have an 'f' in their alphabet, and it may have been named after gofler Nick Faldo), but upon looking it up I found that Paldo means "the Eight Provinces of Korea; all Korea". Kamja-tang literally means: potato soup, but there is more to it than that.
Paldo Kamja-Tang is a little place where the menus are in Korean and the prices are good. You'll get the ubiquitous kimchi and other veggie side dishes and there is not only kamja-tang but also various pork and kimchi main dishes as well.
Favorite Dish: I always have the kamja-tang here. It's basically pork ribs and spine cooked like crazy in a kimchi soup with a couple of potatoes thrown in (I guess when Korea was poorer it was more potatoes than meat--they might as well call it dway-ji-tang (pig soup) now).
I suggest using the clean side-dish to place the pork in to that it can cool down. This is also one of the few times that you can pick up the food with your hands and gnaw meat off the bone.
Interestingly, and the only place I've seen it outside of boshintang (dog soup), the soup has about a handfull of black pepper heaped on it before serving. As you mix it in the kimchi seems to bond with the pepper--making for one spicy concoction.
Cost per person for the meal: 5,000 won (USD 4.40). Wow, that is a deal!
Mad For Garlic: A Good Wine & Garlic Combination
Mad For Garlic is a garlic restaurant that also has a lot of wine on display. I'm not a wine guy so I can't tell you if they have the best labels, but it sure does look impressive (and in Korea that's half the battle). They must be doing something right because it's usually pretty busy here and the food and service has been consistently good.
Favorite Dish: I like the set menus (one of the more convenient aspect of Korea) where you get a whole meal with appetizer and drink for about 20-30,000 won (USD 18-24).
Wako Japanese Restaurant: Japanese Food with a Korean View
If you're into a spectacular view while dining on sushi look no further than Wako (pretty sure it's pronounced wah-ko...otherwise sounds like the Branch Davidian standoff spot in Texas).
Service is quite good, food is like art, and prices (you're paying for the real estate/view) are higher than an Earth-bound table...but it's worth it if you're out to impress a date, client or future fiance.
Favorite Dish: I had the set menu. Not sure of the price, but it was likely 50,000 (USD 45). They serve lunch and dinner, so if you go there in the mid-afternoon you may find them a little 'closed' (just push, you can likely get a seat and service).
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