Sunday, July 31, 2016

myung-dong gyoza (명동교자)

myung-dong gyoza (명동교자)
서울특별시 중구 명동10길 29; also at 서울특별시 중구 명동2가 25-2

what was consumed: mandoo! aka gyoza. and spicy noodles.

in myung-dong, the food options are oh so overwhelming. but in the midst of all of the street food and all of the shopping is myung-dong gyoza. 

go for some simple mandoo (steamed is my preference) as a light snack as you engage in some retail therapy. the delicious flavors in the center of each mandoo will be a nice pop of flavor and give you energy to head out to your next retail location. or sit down for a noodle meal (and i recommend going half-sies with a spicy one and a brothy one); either way, ask for some broth to accompany your noodles because it's really yummy. 

for some reason, the first time we tried to visit myung-dong gyoza, we couldn't find it. and then we felt pretty dumb (because it's sort of right off the main drag with a huge sign) and were enthralled to find that we had made it just in time (i.e., they were open). mandoo for all! YUM.


Saturday, July 30, 2016


서울 용산구 이태원로 190 
tel: 02-792-4767

what was consumed: baklava, turkish coffee

the connection between the koreans and the turks continue! especially here at kervan bakery and dessert cafe. have a hankering for baklava? miss turkish coffee? kervan is definitely the place for you.

i'll usually pick up a few things from kervan and enjoy my wares with friends. but note that they do have a little bit of seating if you're looking for a quick break from everything else in itaewon.

they sell a few varieties (i think varieties. maybe just shapes? all delicious, though) by weight. you can purchase a piece for immediate enjoyment, or a package to share with friends.

and don't forget your turkish coffee! it reminds me of my time in the middle east where turkish coffee is the norm. don't drink the sludge at the bottom (so strong!), but the coffee beverage is a treat and just the caffeine jolt you might be looking for.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

kkaolli pochana

kkaolli pochana
서울 용산구 녹사평대로54길 11; also at 서울 용산구 이태원2동 706

what was consumed: pad thai, fried spring rolls, seafood curry

oh, thai food, i love you so much. all of the rice noodles, all of the fish sauce, all of the papaya salads. so, when kkaolli pochana got on our radar, we were all about it (once we could figure out when they were open, anyway).

kkaolli pochana didn't have some of my usual favorites that i associate with thai cuisine (aka papaya salad). someone told me that kkaolli pochana focuses on thai street food and while i'm not sure if that's necessarily true, i went with the story. the eatery has a sort of last minute pop-up sort of feel to it, but as long as the food is good, i'm happy to enjoy.

the highlight for me was their seafood curry. chock full of different seafoods, rich with coconut milk and curried spices that i associate with thai food. YUM. i hear that they've raised the price on this dish, but thinking about this dish makes me agree to pay the higher price. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

hakadabunko (하카다분코)

hakadabunko (하카다분코)
서울 마포구 독막로19길 43; also at 서울 마포구 상수동 93-28

what was consumed: japanese style ramen!

i'm glad japanese style ramen is taking the world by storm. don't get me wrong, i love the korean style as well (what's up neoguri!), but it's about variety, right?

the first time i visited hakadabunko was with isa and al, in one of our many eating adventures. there was a line outside, letting us know that it was either not open or that it was really popular because it was delicious. lucky for us, it was the latter. we waited a bit and were thankful for the quick turnover. also note that hakadabunko has a limited number of bowls that they serve. i.e., once they sell out, they sell out. and that's that. as a result, each time i've been to hakadabunko, all i've had was their ramen. they have a few other things, but their popularity made them unavailable to me :(... next time!

but yeah. the ramen noodles are solid and each bowl is made to order. and there's something about the delicious delicious ramen broth that calls my name and makes me want more. rich, yet simple. YUM. i can see why the wait is long and people are willing to stand in line. have a bowl or two for me, folks!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

noh-rang tong-dahlk (노랑통닭)

noh-rang tong-dahlk (노랑통닭)
서울특별시 서대문구 연세로11길 10; also at 서울특별시 서대문구 창천동 52-8

what was consumed: fried chicken! mixed. and fried potatoes (to include tator tots. yeah!)

yay chi-mek! noh-rang tong-dahlk is one of my favorite places because they have a good fried chicken variety and include tater tots in their fried potatoes option. what's not to love?

the other thing i like about noh-rang tong-dahlk is that they have a super spicy option (in addition to the standard fried and sauce variation). there's something about the spiciness that cuts through the oil and makes the fried chicken so delicious. and spicy food is so yummy. they give you the option of getting one or all three, so go wild! and have some for me (at a location near you). YUM.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

hyo-ja bah-beh (효자바베)

hyo-ja bah-beh (효자바베)
서울 종로구 자하문로1길 42; also at ; also at 서울 종로구 체부동 210-3

what was consumed: bbq! cooked on a weber grill, on charcoal, inside of the restaurant (yes, it gets a little smoky). and a spicy italian inspired tomato soup. both are a must.

in the cute area near gyungbok palace (aka seo-chon), there is a strip of restaurants that we'd frequent after work (just a short walk from the office). hyo-ja bah-beh because one of my favorites. order the bbq platter and you won't be disappointed. beef, chicken, pork, seafood ... there's a little bit of each on your platter, sitting on top of some steamed cabbage (got to have some veggies, right?). everything is cooked on what looks like a weber grill, on charcoal. yes, you will leave the place sort of stinking, but it's totally worth it.

and be sure to order the spicy seafood stew. it's a cross between a soupy spicy spaghetti (literally. there are spaghetti noodles in the dish) and jjambbong. it's a little on the spicy (and tomato-y) side, but definitely delish and a nice part ii of a delicious meal.

yay for hyo-jah bah-beh!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

mahn-seon jju-kku-mi (만선 쭈꾸미)

mahn-seon jju-kku-mi (만선 쭈꾸미)
서울특별시 종로구 자하문로1길 20; also at 서울특별시 종로구 체부동 193

what was consumed: spicy mini octopus! and a seafood pancake

walking along all of the eateries near gyung-bok palace, we are always in a quandry as we decide where to eat. chicken? beef? pork? seafood? one day, we stumbled in to 만선 쭈꾸미, from where we decided that seafood was going to be our pick!

만선 served spicy mini octopus. you order based on the number of diners and it is served to you, family style (as is the case with lots of korean cooking). once served, you add a bit of the octopus to your bowl, along with some rice and some of the other side dishes, and mix it up before eating. and oh yum oh yum oh yum, is it tasty! the spicy sauce covers all of the other additions in your bowl, and the saute/grill that they utilize to cook the octopus puts just a bit of char on the octopus that comes through in such a tasty way.

and don't forget a seafood pancake! while i'm not a fan of green onions (or scallions or spring onions or or or), i have to say that the pancake is quite a delicious appetizer as you wait for the rest of your meal to be served. there's nothing like biting in to a crispy pancake, hot off the stove, filled with delicious seafood bites. YUM.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

seol-bing (설빙)

seol-bing (설빙)
various locations

what was consumed: bing-soo! shaved ice/milk topped with fruit. or chocolate. or or or ...

oh, korean shaved ice, you have come a long way. now, there are dessert cafes that are dedicated to shaved ice (or, more common, shaved frozen milk) that is a treat no matter what the weather is like outside! i like the more traditional option (with the red beans), but seol-bing takes it to a different level, especially for those who are not red bean fans.

at seol-bing, on a mound of shaved ice/milk, you'll find a variety of different options: strawberries, mangos (when in season), chocolate, etc. each bing-soo is served with a small container of condensed milk, for those who are looking for a sweeter treat.

i could totally for for some seol-bing right about now ...


Sunday, July 17, 2016


서울특별시 중구 명동길 73 YWCA연합회; also at 서울특별시 중구 명동1가 1-3

what was consumed: indian food! samosas, paneer makhani, lamb vindaloo (these tend to be my usual at indian restaurants. hahaha)

yum. indian food! 

i asked my indian american friend about her preference for indian restaurants in seoul. even before i could finish my question, she recommended taj. she said that it's on the pricier side, but it's worth it and the best she'd had in seoul. i'm glad i trusted her opinion because taj is delish!

so, kenny and i, as was our tradition, trekked out to myungdong to try out taj after christmas (or was it easter?) service. the dinig room was quite large and i've never seen it totally fill up (in subsequent visits to taj, that is). that just means there is always a seat for us, and frequently the exact seat that we want. once seated, we quickly put in our order and wait for the delicious food to come our way. we start our meal with samosas and move on to the curries. 

not surprisingly, taj has most other indian dishes (like tandoori) and they seem to be popular among other diners. kenny and i, however, have our favorites.

the first time i'd ever had paneer makhani was with kenny, at ganga, in seoul, years ago. it's still one of our favorites and something that we always order, without fail. taj does a good job, with its buttery-ness and paneer-ness. i often wish they served larger portions, even though that's just my eyes talking because i always leave too full (but happy).

i dunno what it is about indian food, but it's always on my list of places i need (not want. need) to find. luckily, in seoul, there's taj!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

gahm-chon (감촌)

gahm-chon (감촌)
서울 종로구 청진동 166 르메이에르 2층

what was consumed: soft tofu stew (순두부 찌개)

one of the most popular korean dishes (at least in that is not bbq is likely soon-doo-boo jjigae (soft tofu stew. thank you, BCD!). it's a favorite of mine as well, regardless of what country i'm in. and while beef based broths are good, i prefer mine with seafood. and if it's spicy, all the better.

gahm-chon specializes in tofu dishes, and getting the 순두부 here is a must. the broth is rich and there is a lot of tofu (and other stuff) for you to enjoy within the stew. yum.

gahm-chon is also frequently included in the tour of restaurants when considering lunch options for official guests. apparently, former ambassadors stevens and kim were fans and frequented gahm chon (their photos along with press is up on display. hahaha).

gahm-chon also offers non-spicy varieties as well as a slew of other tofu dishes (and oyster pancakes when in season. YUM. highly recommended if you're an oyster fan like me).

Thursday, July 14, 2016

soh-gong-dong ddook-bae-gi jip (소공동 뚝배기집)

soh-gong-dong ddook-bae-gi jip (소공동 뚝배기집)
서울특별시 종로구 새문안로3길 30 대우빌딩; also at 서울특별시 종로구 내수동 167

what was consumed: spicy pork bbq! served with a slew of side dishes and to be eaten with rice, steamed soy bean sprouts, and a ladle filled with spicy tofu soup.

just a short walk away from the office is 소공동 뚝배기집. they serve spicy pork bbq, family style, along with a slew of side dishes. after you've eaten a round (or two) of side dishes (or maybe that's just me), and when the spicy pork comes out, you put a spoonful of it into your bowl that contains steamed soy bean sprouts and maybe a bit of lettuce. add the rice (i usually add only half) and top it off with a ladle filled with spicy tofu soup (note: this spicy tofu soup should also be enjoyed separately. hahaha). mix it up and devour.

funny, this is also where bjl went to lunch (with mjk, of course) after getting paper-married at jongno ward office. hahaha ...

if 소공동 뚝배기집 is your lunchtime destination, be sure to make a quick beeline out the door because, much like other delicious places around the office, the restaurant fills up quickly. the turnover is pretty fast, but when you're hungry, you're hungry (or if you're me, some major hangry-ness can take over).

and for those of you who are looking for non-spicy options, not to worry! 소공동 뚝배기집 also has bulgogi (a favorite especially for those who are new to korean food) that is also delish.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

bbongsin (뽕신)

bbongsin (뽕신)
서울특별시 종로구 동숭길 62; also at 서울특별시 종로구 동숭동 130-27

what was consumed: jjam-bbong! and its variations ...

noodles. YUM. always up for noodles. when cousins and i would go to lunch after church, i was frequently intrigued by bbong sin. the restaurant was always packed (i imagine we didn't frequent it as much as we would have liked because it was always so crowded) and steamy from all of the hot soup. but one day, neice sarah insisted (and they had a table available), so bbong sin it was!

bbong sin specializes in noodles. to be more specific, they specialize in the korean-ized version of chinese noodles in spicy seafood stew (my favorite when i go to korean chinese restaurants). bbong sin then takes those noodles and uses them in a series of other soups and sauces, of course along the lines of the korean palette (like the korean-ized version of a soupy seafood cream sauce. still delish). 

their portions are a bit small (major downside!) and noodles digest so quickly (for me, anyway) that we also ordered a ... pizza. or what sort of looked like a pizza. with, yes, a square of american cheese melted o the top (in addition to inside of it). out of the ordinary as it was, it didn't prevent us from devouring it and enjoying every last bite.

bbong sin FTW!